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Sunday School Lesson - October 24, 2021
"Confidence In The Face Of Fear"
Genesis 12:10-13; 17-20; 13:1-4
"Trust God when you are overwhelmed with fear."
What do we do when the ugly little head of fear begins to creep into our lives? An example from Abram's life shows us what we should do - and what we shouldn't do.
11 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;
12 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.
13 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.
A great famine swept across the land of Canaan. God had called Abram to Canaan and made a covenant with him to provide land and offspring; because the famine was so severe, however, fear kicked in and Abram chose to take his family to Egypt. Some would say Abram's survival instinct may have led him to do what he thought was wise, but let's call it what it is: fear. Since God had called Abram to Canaan, surely God would take care of him in Canaan, but fear and uncertainty led Abram to resettle his family down in Egypt.
As Abram approached Egypt, his mind began to zero in on his fear. He began to envision the circumstances that potentially awaited him and his family. In Egypt they would be considered sojourners, foreigners with no rights or protection. Abram had fled the famine in fear, but he seemed to have traded that apprehension for the fear of being oppressed by the Egyptians. That fear led him to respond irrationally. That should not surprise us since fear has the ability to reduce our sound judgment and logical reasoning. Because fear is relentless in its power over us, it can cause us to act erratically. We see this on display as we see Abram's fear inducing him to hand over his beautiful wife Sarai, to the Egyptian Pharaoh, so that his own life would be spared. We might thing that Abram was being totally irrational in passing off Sarai as his sister and not his wife, but perhaps it was in line with the cultural thinking of that time. Abram may have truly thought he was protecting his own life and doing the right thing even though this was a lie.
Fear and uncertainty strike at all of us. In those moments, we need to remember what Abram seemed to forget: God is with us and He will take care of us. In those moments, we must take our attention off of the fear and focus instead on the Father. Let me state it another way; turn your worry into worship. When we change our worry to worship and carry our fear to the Father, our perspective becomes clearer - and we'll avoid the unnecessary journey to a place out of God's Will.
18 And Pharaoh called Abram and said, What is this that thou has done unto me? Why didst thou not tell me that she was they wife?
19 Why saidst thou, she is my sister? so I might have tekn her to me to wife: now therefore behold thy wife, take her, and go thy way.
30 And Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him: and they sent him away, and his wife, and all that he had.
When Abram arrived in Egypt, the beauty of his wife Sarai captured the attention of the palace officials. Sarai went along with her husband's scheme. The officials then raced to Pharaoh with the news that a beautiful new woman was available in his land. Pharaoh was not about to turn down such an opportunity, so he had Sarai brought to his palace. In exchange for Sarai, the Pharaoh lavished Abram with many valuable gifts.
How do you think these events made Sarai feel?
Could it be that she felt betrayed by her husband and confused? Is it possible that she questioned any confidence she had in God's promise to Abram?
Fear not only can reduce our faith, but it also can reduce the faith of those around us.
Abram's fear induced lie also impacted Pharaoh and his entire household. Innocent people who had no idea what was going on were affected, "as the Lord plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues, because of Sarai, Abram's wife."
The level of our fear and faith today can have a ripple effect on others. Either for good - or bad.
Fear and faith are both highly contagious when chaos or trouble strikes, or when we have the opportunity to lead or influence others. We should consider how our attitude and actions will impact them.
1 And Abram went up out of Egypt, he and his wife, and all that he had, and lot with him, into the south.
2 And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold.
3 And he went on his journey from the south even to Bethel unto the place where his tent had been at the beginning between Beth and Hai.
4 Unto the place of the altar, which he had made there at the first: and there Abram called on the name of the Lord.
Abram took Sarai, his family, and all his possessions and started the journey back into Canaan. He went back to where he first built his altar, "here Abram called on the name of the Lord. Abram's act of worship reflects his recognition of the incredible mercy God granted to him, instead of the incredible judgment He could have granted.
There is a form of fear that actually strengthens our faith. It is our reverent fear of God. The more we deepen our reverent fear of God, the more our faith and trust in His mercy grows. As we truly understand the depths of God's magnificent power and holiness, the more confident we become - and we are overwhelmed by the heights of His undeserving mercy that He offers to all.
For more information on today's lesson, attend Sunday school at our church Sunday October 17, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. We will be glad to have you.