The Pulpit Analyst
And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was grievous in the land.…
No doubt Sarai was Abram's step-sister; their father was the same, not their mother. Allowing the fullest consideration to this point, still Abram's character falls very deeply. "O that he had died when he built the altar!" we may be inclined to exclaim. Have there not been times in our own history when we have uttered the same exclamation? Had we been caught up into heaven in some ecstatic mood of devotion, we should have been saved from this sin and from that. Why were we spared, when God must have foreseen that our very next act was to be one of dishonour? Spared to sin! There are two practical points of great importance: —
I. AVOID EQUIVOCATION. It is not enough to tell the truth, we must tell the whole truth. There are men whose life seems to be one long experiment of trying how near they can go to the boundary line without becoming positive liars. There is a very minute particle of truth in what they say; and to that particle they trust for acquittal should their integrity be impugned. Few of us surely are liars — deliberate, scheming, confirmed liars; but how many of us are innocent of equivocation, of fine-spun attempts to give a word two different meanings, of saying a little and keeping back much, of saying sister when we ought to say wife?
II. TRUST GOD WITH THE PARTICULAR AS WELL AS WITH THE GENERAL. Abram had undoubtedly great faith. Abram could trust God for the end, but he took part of the process into his own keeping. So difficult is it to let God govern little things as well as great — to take care of one's home as well as one's heaven. Could God not have taken care of Sarai? Did He not, in fact, after all, take care of her and deliver her? But we cannot give up our own little foolish ingenuities; we stand amazed before our own shallow profundities, and think how grand they are. More than this, we shelter ourselves behind such words as "prudence," "due care," and "proper precaution." Where is the perfect faith which God requires, and never fails to honour? What a humiliation for Abram, to stand before Pharaoh, and to be rebuked for a mean and childish artifice! And, on the other hand, how honourable to human nature to act as Pharaoh acted! One thing, however, is to be borne in mind, and that is, that religion is never the cause of any man doing a mean thing. Do not blame Christianity because professing Christians act dishonourably; they are the enemies of the Cross of Christ; they crucify the Son of God afresh!
(The Pulpit Analyst.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was grievous in the land.