Even the best of God's saints will face problems at one time or another. Abram had his share of troubles, too, and the passage below gives a few details of one episode which Abram probably would just as soon forget! When famine came, Abram left the land of promise and wound up in the land of problems. This is the first time the phrase "go thy way" appears in the King James Version of the Bible—ironically spoken by a pagan king to a saint of God!

"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. And it came to pass, when he was come near to enter into Egypt, that he said unto Sarai his wife, Behold now, I know that thou [art] a fair woman to look upon: Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see thee, that they shall say, This [is] his wife: and they will kill me, but they will save thee alive. Say, I pray thee, thou [art] my sister: that it may be well with me for thy sake; and my soul shall live because of thee. And it came to pass, that, when Abram was come into Egypt, the Egyptians beheld the woman that she [was] very fair. The princes also of Pharaoh saw her, and commended her before Pharaoh: and the woman was taken into Pharaoh's house. And he entreated Abram well for her sake: and he had sheep, and oxen, and he asses, and menservants, and maidservants, and she asses, and camels. And the Lord plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai Abram's wife. And Pharaoh called Abram, and said, What [is] this [that] thou hast done unto me? why didst thou not tell me that she [was] thy wife? Why saidst thou, She [is] my sister? so I might have taken her to me to wife: now therefore behold thy wife, take [her], and go thy way. And Pharaoh commanded [his] men concerning him: and they sent him away, and his wife, and all that he had" (Gen. 12:10-20).

Problem 1: The Famine
Abram was living in the southern part of the land of Canaan (Gen. 12:9) when the famine took place. This famine wasn't the first or the last to affect this area apparently as another famine struck this land in Joseph's day more than 100 years later. God recorded that story in Genesis 42 and 43, and related chapters. We aren't told how severe this particular famine was, (just that it was grievous, according to verse 10) or how long it lasted. We only know it was enough for Abram to leave the land of promise and head for a foreign land.

Clearly, Abram made some mistakes in this situation. First, we don't read in this passage that he asked the Lord what to do, or that he asked the Lord for relief. We shouldn't be too hard on Abram, though, as he was probably a new believer in those early days of his walk with the Lord. We also find he hadn't had too much in the way of problems until this time. We don't read that he actually "believed in the Lord" until Genesis 15 some time and events later, but Abram still had enough faith to follow God's leading…except in a case such as this.

Problem 2: The Falsehoods
Abram made another mistake, which caused another problem, just before he and his followers got to Egypt. He apparently forgot how beautiful Sarai was! So not only had he left the land where God led him, but he was about to make a blunder that could have cost him his wife! I wonder how he came to the conclusion the Egyptians would kill a man for his wife (thus, add a widow to the situation). Regardless, he told Sarai to lie, saying, "He's my brother." We can read how well that strategy worked!

Sarai went along with the half-truth (she was his half-sister) and promptly was carried off to Pharaoh's house (see verse 15). Pharaoh apparently wanted to buy or trade Sarai for a number of animals and servants—and not one word as to whether he would let Sarai return to Abram.

Again, Abram was in a problem of his own making here. He had not asked God's guidance as to what to do or where to go when the famine hit. We don't know for sure why he chose to head for Egypt, but we do know God didn't tell him to go there. He's also in the dilemma of losing his wife, whom he had said was his sister, and soon realized his falsehood had consequences. Maybe he had begun to lose hope that he'd ever see Sarai again? Lies and falsehoods are easy to make up, but are hardly easy to live through. Abram would testify to that!

Problem 3: The Failed Testimony
Sarai might have stayed in Pharaoh's house till she died if something hadn't happened. That something was the plagues God brought on Pharaoh himself, as well as his entire household. We're not given specifics, including the length of time Sarai was part of Pharaoh's house, but we know this was enough to get Pharaoh's attention.

Pharaoh's reaction is interesting. He called Abram and basically shamed him by asking, "What is this that you've done to me? Why didn't you tell me she was your wife?" More striking is his admonition to Abram, "Take your wife and go thy way!" He even commanded his men to give them an escort out of the land of Egypt!

It's never right to lie or stretch the truth because God knows the heart of all people. He protected Abram, Sarai and the rest of the household. However, if Abram had been honest from the beginning, the whole journey may have been a much different experience.

Problem 4: The Fruitless Journey
Abram's reaction to Pharaoh's charge was dead silence. We don't have one single word of his response in the chapter. Clearly he was wrong and had little, if anything, to say in return. Although he had obtained more animals and plenty of servants (How did he plan to feed them?), we don't read that he found enough food, which was the primary reason he went there in the first place! We don't know for sure where Abram and his extended household were living, although verse 8 mentions Bethel. So he's back to where he started with more than he started out with, but with the realization that he had made a huge mistake in going to Egypt in the first place.

When a pagan king tells a child of God to "go thy way," meaning, "Scram!" in this case, it's easy to see God didn't bless anyone. This first encounter with the phrase, "Go thy way" isn't very pleasant, but we can find a lesson. Trust the Lord when hard times come! If the Lord doesn't tell you to move somewhere else, don't. If He tells you to go somewhere, do it. To emphasize the point, Abram didn't ask God for guidance, he told lies when he got to wrong place and risked losing his wife and his life! Worse, he basically was kicked out of Egypt after being told, "Go thy way" and wound up right back where he started.

My prayer is that we never hear the unsaved world tell us to "Go thy way"!

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