We have been traveling with Abram starting in chapter 11 as he left Ur of the Chaldeans up north to Haran and down south into the land of Canaan. God called him and gave him the promises of blessing him, giving him a great name, making him a great nation, blessing those who would bless him and cursing those who would curse him. God promised him that he would be a blessing and in him all the nations of the earth would be blessed. As he entered the land in chapter 12, God appears to him again reaffirming these promises and further promising him that the land would be his (vs. 7). This is it, Abram. This is where I want you to be. This is the land where I want you to settle.
Immediately after this appearance and promises of giving him the land, comes vs. 10 “and there was a famine in the land”. Not just any famine but a “severe” famine. Abram seems to be struggling with a choice. Stay in the land where God brought him and endure a famine or go down to Egypt and save his family and flock.
Abraham’s life, as that of all believers, is nothing but a series of trials. God is training him to be a man of faith and a father of all the faithful. The only way for that faith to grow is to be tried and tested.
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness and let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” Jms. 1:2-4
Notice, the testing of our faith produces steadfastness and steadfastness aims to make us “perfect and complete, lacking in nothing”.
If our aim and desire is to be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing, then the road to that aim is the trials of our faith.
We will juxtapose this passage in James over what’s happening with Abram in this trial of the famine. It will help us shed light on why Abram is doing what he is doing. So please take time to read James 1:1-18.
We will break the passage in Genesis into two main headings:
- Trial and Temptation – 12:19-16
- Grace and Mercy – 12:17-13:4
May Christ be glorified,