Abraham – Great People Failing Greatly

This is lesson 2 of 5 in the Abraham sermonlink series. Find this and other pursueGOD.org sermons on YouTube here.

The Bible does not hide the weaknesses and follies of the people we read about. Abraham has just had a wonderful experience of God’s goodness to him. He was given the promise to become the father of a nation that would bring blessing to the entire world. But then a trial showed up in his life and exposed a weakness.

Temptation Often Comes After Triumphs

Genesis 12:10-12 Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine was severe. As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, “I know what a beautiful woman you are. When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me but will let you live.

A famine came upon the land where Abraham lived and he therefore moved to Egypt. When he entered Egypt, Abraham became fearful that his life would be threatened, so he lied. So picture yourself having a great moment with God on Sunday, but then on Monday you have to face a boss after you made a mistake. You’re concerned that if you tell the truth you’ll be fired or face a stiff penalty and so you lie. We all face these moments where we’re tempted to lie or do something else that God’s word prohibits.

[Related: Abraham and the American Dream]

Lying Demonstrates a Lack of Trust in God

Genesis 12:14-15 When Abram came to Egypt, the Egyptians saw that Sarai was a very beautiful woman. And when Pharaoh’s officials saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh, and she was taken into his palace.

Abraham was fearful for his life.  He’s convinced himself that if the Egyptians discovered that Sarah is his wife that they will kill him.  So he told the Egyptians that she’s his sister.  Sarah was a beautiful woman and when she entered the new country news of her arrival reached the ears of Pharaoh.  Pharaoh was pleased by the sight of Sarah and took her as one of his concubines.  Pharaoh gave Abraham a boatload of goods as a thank you for giving his wife to him.  Sarah is put in a terrible place while Abraham is sitting in the lap of luxury.

Abraham was clearly doubting the promise that God had made to him.  He had to go into another country and was fearful for his life.  We can easily fall into the same trap when difficulties come into our lives.  We can feel that God has lost control or that he’s not going to come through on his promise to us.  So we resort to something that God does not want us to do and make the situation worse.

[Related: Admitting You’re Wrong as a Parent]

[Related: Lying to Others]

With God, Failure Is Never Fatal

Genesis 12:17 But the Lord inflicted serious diseases on Pharaoh and his household because of Abram’s wife Sarai.

God comes back to Abraham to bring help to a dire situation. This episode of his life  could have been far worse were it not for God coming to his aid.  Abraham had just been caught lying to the most powerful leader of Egypt.  Let’s not forget that Abraham was a man with no rights in a foreign country.  After Pharaoh welcomed Sarah into his palace several diseases were inflicted onto him and his family.  Pharaoh did not appreciate this coming upon him and is able to connect this happened as a result of Abraham’s lie.  He told Abraham to leave Egypt at once lest something worse happen. God provided protection to the man he called to represent him to the world.

We will see Abraham’s journey with God go three steps forward and two steps back.  As time goes by Abraham sees the undeserved faithfulness of God and begins to trust Him more.  God acts the same way to his people today like he did with Abraham.  We begin to mature in Christian character as we see God’s goodness and loyal love to us.  God actually turns our failures from being fatal to being transformative.

[Related: How to Forgive Yourself]

Discussion Questions:

  1. Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
  2. Can anyone think of a famous person who was undone by lying?
  3. Read Genesis 12:10-12. Can you relate to Abraham of being tempted after having an encounter with God?
  4. Read Genesis 12:14-15. Talk of a time when a trial in your life tempted you to not follow God.
  5. Write a personal action step based on this conversation.

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