The Sin of Self-Preservation (Genesis 12:10-20)

Do you want God to take care of you or leave you alone? If you want God to leave you alone you will find yourself miserably consumed with self-preservation. But, if you believe that God is best equipped to take care of you, you will rest in His Divine preservation. In our sermon today, we shall learn from a crisis in Abram’s life, what he did, and what he learned and pray that God would help us rest in His care.

  1. God Promises Adversity (v. 10). There is a problem in the Promised Land. A famine in the land was so severe that Abram and his family had to leave and travel to Egypt. Did you know that adversity is promised? Jesus said, “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Adversity itself is not good, but what God does through it is good (Rom 8:28). You see, adversity is an important part of your spiritual life because it tests the genuineness of your faith (James 1:3&1 Peter 1:6-7). So, do not be surprised by the trials that come your way.o you want God to take care of you or leave you alone? If you want God to leave you alone you will find yourself miserably consumed with self-preservation. But, if you believe that God is best equipped to take care of you, you will rest in His Divine preservation. In our sermon today, we shall learn from a crisis in Abram’s life, what he did, and what he learned and pray that God would help us rest in His care.
  2. God Permits Sin (vs. 11-13). Self-preservation will lead you to make foolish, sinful decisions. In verse 11, Abram crafts a deceptive plan to say that Sarai is not his wife so “that it may go well with me because of you, and that my life may be spared for your sake.” Abram made this plan because he did not think God would be able to protect him in Egypt. Notice that God neither commended nor prevented it. Why does God permit us to make sinful decisions? Because God wants us to see the foolishness of self-preservation and to see the necessity of trusting Him and living by faith.
  3. God Allows Consequences (vs. 14-16). Abram’s plan worked, somewhat. The good news was that Pharaoh treated Abram well, which is what he wanted. The bad news was that Abram’s wife Sarai is now living in Pharaoh’s house! There is an old saying: “Be careful what you wish for because you just might get it.” God allows sin’s consequences in order to show us the horror of sin and that we may learn to flee from it. We must see sin as repulsive and thereby see Christ as glorious.
  4. God’s Divine Preservation (vs. 17-20). God promises adversity. God permits sin and its consequences, but the child of God must take heart that he/she is divinely protected. In verse 17 we read: “But the Lord afflicted Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram’s wife.” God promised that Abram would have offspring through Sarai and nothing was going to prevent the fulfillment, not even Abram’s sin. It must be noted that God may or may not deliver His people out of their predicament, but He will always keep His people secure.

Abram had a crisis. The famine was so severe he had to travel to Egypt. Before he and his wife arrived, Abram selfishly sought his own interests and threatened to derail God’s promise to give his offspring the land of Canaan. Abram’s self-preservation almost cost him everything. Thankfully, God will always see that His promises are fulfilled. Let this serve as a warning to us and a comfort. The warning is that seeking our own self-preservation will cause great trouble and produce horrible consequences. The comfort is that no matter how bad we mess things up, God is working to preserve us and “is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of His glory with great joy” (Jude 24).