Faith Strengthened

Teena Myers
Teena Myers

Abram and Sarai had betrayed the most powerful man in Egypt. Pharaoh could have killed both or killed Abram and kept Sarai for himself. Josephus tells us:

“And when he [Pharoah] found out the truth, he excused himself to Abram, that supposing the woman to be his sister, and not his wife, he set his affections on her, as desiring an affinity with him by marrying her, but not as incited by lust to abuse her. He also made him a large present of money, and gave him leave to enter into conversation with the most learned among the Egyptians…” [1]

The Egyptians were more honorable than Abram thought they were. Abram is the one who caused the problem, yet Pharaoh is the one who apologized. He feared the wrath of Abram’s God if he did not return Sarai. Then he let Abram satisfy his questions about who had the better notions about God. Josephus writes:

“the Egyptians were formerly addicted to different customs, and despised one another’s scared and accustomed rites, and were very angry one with another on that account, Abram conferred with each of them, and, confuting the reasoning’s they made use of, everyone for their own practices, demonstrated that such reasonings were vain and void of truth; whereupon he was admired by them in those conferences as a very wise man, and one of great sagacity, when he discoursed on any subject he undertook; and this not only in understanding it, but in persuading other men also to assent to him.”[2]

While the wise men of Egypt were impressed with Abram’s wisdom and agreed with him there is no indication in Egyptian history that Abram’s influence converted them to a “better way” nor moved them to abandon their idols to worship one God. The one exception is the brief, seventeen-year reign of Akhenaten who abandoned Egyptian polytheism to implement the worship of Aten, the sun disk. However, these religious reforms collapsed after his death, and the Egyptians quickly returned to their polytheistic religion.

Abram’s experience in Egypt taught him and Sarai an important lesson. Their spiritual Father loved them in their fear, unbelief, and sin. Instead of punishing them for their lack of faith, God worked for their good, so they could return to Canaan and fulfill their calling.

Paul later wrote to the Romans,

Romans 8:28-32 NAS95 (28)  And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

(29)  For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; (30)  and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. (31)  What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? (32)  He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?

Even powerful political leaders cannot stop God from accomplishing his purpose for our lives.

The Egyptians did not convince Abram he should conform to this world’s way of worship. And facing the truth about himself strengthened Abram’s faith in God’s love. God did not punish them for being weak and creating a mess that could have resulted in their deaths. He opened the door for Abram to investigate this world’s way of worship. Abram did what Paul challenged us to do.

Romans 12:2 NAS95 (2) And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Any notions he had that he should get the land instead of his son were swept away by the truth that he is a liar who manipulates people to his own advantage. After talking to some of the greatest religious minds of his day, he decided the way this world worships are “vain and void of truth”.

The proof is in Abram’s actions after he left Egypt.

Genesis 13:1-4 NAS95 (1) So Abram went up from Egypt to the Negev, he and his wife and all that belonged to him, and Lot with him. (2)  Now Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver and in gold. (3)  He went on his journeys from the Negev as far as Bethel, to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai,

(4)  to the place of the altar which he had made there formerly; and there Abram called on the name of the LORD.

Abram returned to the altar he abandoned at Bethel ready to continue his walk with God, but God was not ready to talk yet.

[1] Josephus, F. (1980). The Works of Flavius Josephus Volume II p 87. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House.


Josephus, F. (1980). The Works of Flavius Josephus Volume II p 87-88. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House.

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