How the faithful fail
In these verses we see Abraham leave his whole life and follow God into whatever lies ahead. If we just read these verses we could put Abraham on a pedestal and see him as a faultless example of faith.
This famine was Abraham’s first real test and we can also experience similar situations, everything is going well in our faith and then a ‘famine’ hits e.g. a death, lose your job, illness.
When these tests come they’re not about God marking how good a Christian we are, it’s about us working out how much we really trust God and its the only way we can really grow our faith.
When the test comes it will also show us what our default coping method is when we struggle to trust God. Some people’s coping mechanism is escapism and hiding away from reality, a particular vice or sin etc. It’s when we use that coping method that we make bad choices and when the faithful fail. What is your coping mechanism?
Abraham’s coping mechanism is to lie and in all of this he’s failed to protect Sarai and he’s failed his first test.
Even though he failed God doesn’t abandon him, he saves him and Sarai from Egypt.
God knew that Abraham would fail and wouldn’t remain perfect in his faith.
And God is the same to us, God is for us and is committed to us, so much so that he sent Jesus to die on the cross.
3 practical things we can learn from Abraham’s failures:
1. Everyone faces famines
Can sometimes be small things or big things. But the biggest lie of the devil is that it’s only you facing a famine.
Famines can provide an opportunity to grow and something we can improve on is sharing our experiences. Talk openly and realise that you’re not the only one going through that trial.
2. Every Abraham struggles with weaknesses
Everyone has them. It’s those flaws and weaknesses that lead us to make bad decisions. Our coping mechanism is a detriment to our relationship with God. When we use that coping mechanism, we’re trusting ourselves rather than trusting God. We need the Holy Spirit to be able to say no to the coping mechanism.
3. Everyone’s compromise impacts someone
When we go to our default coping mechanism then someone will get hurt. Sarai trusted Abraham to lead her through the famine, but she was led to be a terrible situation. We all have people around us who trust and love us and when we sin it impacts others, there’s no victimless sin.
But we can be encouraged because God’s commitment to us is not dependent on our actions.
At the end of Genesis 12 it looks as if Abraham has gotten out okay, God rescued him and Sarai and they took lots of cattle and servants with them out of Egypt. But we’ll see later on in Genesis that the wealth and servants he got caused a division within his household.
God is committed to Abraham but there are consequences to his actions.
God is a good father and a good father will love and forgive his child, with no shame or condemnation, but they will allow their child to suffer the consequences of their mistakes, to learn from their mistakes.