Festival of the Baptism of our Lord Jesus Christ
Scripture: Genesis 12:1-20 (NKJV)
1 Now the Lord had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you.
2 I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; And you shall be a blessing.
3 I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
4 So Abram departed as the Lord had spoken to him, and Lot went with him. And Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. 5 Then Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his brother’s son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people whom they had acquired in Haran, and they departed to go to the land of Canaan. So they came to the land of Canaan. 6 Abram passed through the land to the place of Shechem, as far as the terebinth tree of Moreh. And the Canaanites were then in the land.
7 Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants I will give this land.” And there he built an altar to the Lord, who had appeared to him. 8 And he moved from there to the mountain east of Bethel, and he pitched his tent with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; there he built an altar to the Lord and called on the name of the Lord. 9 So Abram journeyed, going on still toward the South.
10 Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to dwell there, for the famine was severe in the land. 11 And it came to pass, when he was close to entering Egypt, that he said to Sarai his wife, “Indeed I know that you are a woman of beautiful countenance. 12 Therefore it will happen, when the Egyptians see you, that they will say, ‘This is his wife’; and they will kill me, but they will let you live. 13 Please say you are my sister, that it may be well with me for your sake, and that I may live because of you.”
14 So it was, when Abram came into Egypt, that the Egyptians saw the woman, that she was very beautiful. 15 The princes of Pharaoh also saw her and commended her to Pharaoh. And the woman was taken to Pharaoh’s house. 16 He treated Abram well for her sake. He had sheep, oxen, male donkeys, male and female servants, female donkeys, and camels.
17 But the Lord plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram’s wife. 18 And Pharaoh called Abram and said, “What is this you have done to me? Why did you not tell me that she was your wife? 19 Why did you say, ‘She is my sister’? I might have taken her as my wife. Now therefore, here is your wife; take her and go your way.” 20 So Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him; and they sent him away, with his wife and all that he had.
“By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country” (Heb. 11:8-9). The people of the Earth had spread far and wide, as God had willed it. There were distant lands and different cultures, foreign countries. God, Who knows all things, commanded Abraham (Abram) to venture forth into the great unknown, and Abraham, in the assurance of things not seen, obeyed. Embedded in the command was the promise that not only would God provide him protection, and not only that God would make him a great nation, but also that all the families on Earth would be blessed in him; your family and mine included.
We see Abraham, for all his obedience, not only as a hero of the faith, but also as a sinner, being fearful and, therefore, less than honest with Pharaoh as concerned his wife. Still, God’s promise is based not on human performance, but on His own grace and faithfulness. We also may be assured that Jesus will never leave us nor forsake us, that He is with us always, wherever our journey leads. What is more, He will never turn away from the one who turns to Him for forgiveness.
We pray: O God, You have called Your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go, but only that Your hand is leading us and Your love supporting us. Amen.