A Choice of Trust
In what ways has God shown you He is trustworthy?
This week, we see Abraham go from walking in fear to walking in faith. Isn’t that just how faith really is: a mixture of caution and trust? The important thing for us to remember is that in each circumstance, God is at work. We come to know God by experience, as we choose trust daily. It’s His faithfulness to us and to His promises that makes that happen.
About This Journey
God desires for women to take a step of faith and discover their place in His plan. For Military wives, dedication to Christ translates into dedication to our husbands and to Military life. In “Dedicated to God’s Plan”, we trace the steps toward a dedicated life through the journey of Abraham and Sarah in the book of Genesis.
This Week's Readings
In a Moment of Panic!
When he was about to enter Egypt, he said to Sarai his wife, “I know that you are a woman beautiful in appearance, and when the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me, but they will let you live. Say you are my sister, that it may go well with me because of you, and that my life may be spared for your sake.”-Genesis 12:11-13
Am I the only one who has endured the humiliation of going to a military social event only to forget the name of someone important (like the commander’s wife)? Am I the only one who has stretched the truth (just a little bit) to save face and protect myself? Am I the only one who has panicked in a stressful situation and made a foolish decision?
I read Genesis 12:11–13 and say, “Whew! I’m not the only one!” Abraham, a man who became the patriarch of Israel, a friend of God, and a hero of faith, did all of these things.
Up until this time Abraham is pictured doing what God asked him to do. The Abraham portrayed in Genesis 12:1–10 seems to be calm and obedient, but the unexpected news of famine transforms this picture from calmness to anxiety. In fact, the first words reported from his mouth are words to encourage his wife to lie. Excuse me?
Before my criticism seems too harsh, I note that Abraham did not deny God, he simply forgot him. He was new to this “walking with God” thing and in a panic he turned to his own devices. At this point in his life this was his default, but—looking ahead—we will see how the default of panic was transformed to a default of trust.
In a moment of perceived powerlessness, Abraham made some poor decisions. Why? He was a man in process. His growing faith was tested and he failed the test. I find comfort in this tale of disappointment. You see, Abraham’s failure did not stop God from growing him into a mighty person of faith. Similarly, the mistakes you and I make will not keep God from growing us into the people he calls us to be. Because of Jesus, there is forgiveness when we sin and help when we panic. Our default can be one of trust as we keep our focus on God.
Is anything causing you to feel panic in your soul today? Spend some time in prayer asking God to send you his peace.
May I always be aware, Lord, of your presence. You are near, and nothing can shake me. Amen (from Psalm 16:8).
The Law of Attraction
When Abram entered Egypt, the Egyptians saw that the woman was very beautiful. And when the princes of Pharaoh saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh. And the woman was taken into Pharaoh’s house.-Genesis 12:14-15
She had just moved to a new town. She was lonely. Her husband was busy at his new job. He was consumed with making a good first impression. She felt invisible. She felt marginalized. She felt vulnerable. A lingering look and a little attention from a stranger was all it took for marital dedication to be put to the test.
Can we say right up front that the dedication of Sarah to Abraham in Genesis 12:14–15 is above and beyond? Just for today, let’s not focus on Abraham’s outlandish request and the selfish motivation that landed her in Pharaoh’s harem and just focus on Sarah. Beautiful Sarah found herself in a precarious situation not unlike the subject of the scenario above.
In today’s supermodel world, it is hard for us to wrap our minds around a woman in her mid-sixties being considered such a beauty. While Sarah’s move into Pharaoh’s harem was caused by Abraham’s fears for self-preservation, there’s a warning here for women. The warning is to be on guard during those times when you feel vulnerable. Be watchful during those times you feel less than attractive. Be careful during those times when your reality does not match your fantasy.
We can only speculate whether Sarah was flattered by the attraction she received from Pharaoh and his court. We can only speculate whether Sarah, if given a choice, would have been tempted to stay in Pharaoh’s household. Think about it: wandering in the desert and living in a tent versus being told you are beautiful and living in a palace. Temptation sounds pretty credible in that situation.
You can only speculate what you might do when someone other than your husband finds you attractive. Don’t laugh. It happens. Is it inevitable? No. Is it possible? Yes. Marital faithfulness is the responsibility of both husband and wife. Military wives are often faced with extended times of absence from their husbands. You may be incredulous at the thought of marital infidelity, but Scripture wisely tells us to be on our guard. “If you think you are standing firm you had better be careful that you do not fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12).
How can you be proactive in protecting your marriage? Have you and your husband ever attended a marriage conference or taken a class that focuses on Gods design for marriage? What can you do today to strengthen your marriage?
Bless my marriage, Lord, with your peace. Help us to be kind, considerate, and concerned for one another. Increase the faith my husband and I have in you. Amen.
Because of Her
And for her sake he dealt well with Abram; and he had sheep, oxen, male donkeys, male servants, female servants, female donkeys, and camels.
But the Lord afflicted Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram’s wife. So Pharaoh called Abram and said, “What is this you have done to me? Why did you not tell me that she was your wife? Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her for my wife? Now then, here is your wife; take her, and go.” And Pharaoh gave men orders concerning him, and they sent-Genesis 12:16-20
What an encouraging story of God’s concern for Sarah. Consider that for her sake Pharaoh dealt well with Abraham to the point of giving him expensive gifts. There is no indication that Sarah was affected by the plague that assaulted Pharaoh’s household. Even after Pharaoh realized his association with Sarah had caused his affliction, it would have been understandable to order Abraham to return all the gifts, send him to prison, or decree a death sentence. Instead, he sent Abraham on his way along with Sarah and “everything he owned.” We have no clue of Sarah’s feelings but we see God’s actions, caring for her as he protected her and returned her to her husband.
This kindness of God reminds me of a time God showed his care for me. My husband gave me a lovely ring for an anniversary. I had not had the ring long when I was volunteering at a gift shop sponsored by the Wives Club in Korea. I spent the day packing and unpacking boxes, checking merchandise for customers, and bagging purchases that were carried out the door to destinations near and far. At some point, I reached down to touch my new ring. My hand instinctively jerked upward as I discovered one of the diamonds was missing. I sadly retraced my steps, resigned to the fact that the stone was lost forever.
Later that day I opened my wallet to pay for a purchase. I could not believe what I saw. There among the coins was a beautiful little diamond. That stone could not have fallen out of its setting in a more protected place than my snapped-shut wallet.
The timing was not lost on me. Our family had just moved to Korea and I felt like that stone, as if I had fallen out of my setting. God showed me that day that I was precious to him. In his time, I would find the setting he prepared for me in this new place. It was enough for now to know he had not forgotten me.
God protected Sarah because she was an integral part of the promise he made to Abraham. Her setting in the plan was sure and God would bring it to pass in time.
There’s a place in his plan for you too. His care for you is certain and his love for you is undeniable.
Do you ever question Gods plan for you? What are some ways God has shown his care?
Lord, forgive me when I doubt your care for me. Help me to remember that nothing can separate me from your love. Amen.
You Win or Lose By the Way You Choose
So Abram went up from Egypt, he and his wife and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the Negeb.
Now Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold. And he journeyed on from the Negeb as far as Bethel to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai, to the place where he had made an altar at the first. And there Abram called upon the name of the Lord. And Lot, who went with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents, so that the land could not support both of them dwelling together; for their possessions were so great that they could not dwell together, and there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram’s livestock and the herdsmen of Lot’s livestock. At that time the Canaanites and the Perizzites were dwelling in the land.
Then Abram said to Lot, “Let there be no strife between you and me, and between your herdsmen and my herdsmen, for we are kinsmen. Is not the whole land before you? Separate yourself from me. If you take the left hand, then I will go to the right, or if you take the right hand, then I will go to the left.” And Lot lifted up his eyes and saw that the Jordan Valley was well watered everywhere like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, in the direction of Zoar. (This was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) So Lot chose for himself all the Jordan Valley, and Lot journeyed east. Thus they separated from each other.-Genesis 13:1-11
“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” “If one of your friends jumped off a bridge, would you jump too?” “My goal is for you to become a productive member of society!”
In our home these phrases became family expressions meant to motivate our children. Truth be told, the statements brought more rolling of the eyes than motivation. From the time the children were toddlers, another common household phrase was: “You win or lose by the way you choose.” Of all our family expressions, I hope this is the one passed to the next generation. Making wise choices is paramount to a good and godly life.
At this point in the journey, Abraham and his nephew Lot had become wealthy men. As they settled back at Bethel in Canaan again, they found that there was not enough room for them both. There was not enough water and pasture land there for all the livestock they had accumulated, and Abraham’s people and Lot’s people began to quarrel. Someone had to go.
Abraham took the high road by giving Lot the option to take the land he wanted. The anxious and self-preserving Abraham who fled to Egypt in a panic is not the Abraham pictured in this scene. Here we see a calm and generous figure who chooses to renounce his option as the leader and elder and give his nephew first choice of the land.
So Lot chooses, based on the beautiful land he sees. His choice does not make me a fan of Lot. Then I consider my own history of “poor, self-centered, hide-the-biggest piece, take-the-best-place, and sneak-the-extra-portion” choices—and Lot starts sounding more like a kindred spirit!
A choice may not seem important at the time it is made, but it can set the course for life.
What are some things to take into account that will help you make wise choices?
Lord, give me a heart of wisdom, a heart that is willing to obey you. Help me to make wise choices. Amen.
Walking and Praying
The Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, “Lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward, for all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring forever. I will make your offspring as the dust of the earth, so that if one can count the dust of the earth, your offspring also can be counted. Arise, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to you.” So Abram moved his tent and came and settled by the oaks of Mamre, which are at Hebron, and there he built an altar to the Lord.-Genesis 13:14-18
I met Ruth when our husbands attended a military school together. We were acquaintances who were happy for the possibility to become friends when we heard the news that both our families would be moving to Fort Benning, Georgia. In the providence of God we became neighbors on the same street.
Ruth and I walked in the evenings around the neighborhood for exercise and conversation. As we walked, we shared our frustrations about our new community, our fears about our husbands’ new jobs, our concerns about our children’s education, and our struggle to find our own places of ministry and service. Eventually, our walking and talking became walking and praying. Over time something interesting happened. As we walked and prayed for our neighbors, the neighborhood became something we cared about. As we walked and prayed for the school, the school became a place we cared about. As we walked and prayed for our husbands’ jobs, the soldiers and their mission became something about which we cared.
God’s instruction to Abraham to “walk through the length and the breadth of the land” that God promised to give him reminds me of the walks I took with my friend. While we walked and prayed the Lord made that place home for us. In Old Testament times, measuring out the land on foot was part of the action of taking possession of the land. The promise of God to give the land to Abraham and his offspring was confirmed and sealed in Abraham as he obeyed and walked. An added benefit of walking with my friend is that our relationship grew strong. We remain the dearest of friends to this day. Abraham’s relationship with God grew stronger as well with every step they took together.
Do you have a friend with whom you pray? If not, consider making it a priority to find someone to join you in praying for the needs of your community.
Lord, I ask you to bless my military community. Strengthen relationships and bring harmony to each home. Amen.
Resources & Info
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