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  The Great Bible Story #10
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Abram, the ordinary man

Jacob Ninan
Abram was seventy five years old when he left his hometown along with Sarai, his wife, and Lot, his nephew. As he passed through different places on his journey, he started making altars and offering sacrifices to God as a way of calling upon God. There was a famine in the land and so he went to Egypt where food was available. We do not know if this was a part of God leading him on the way to the Promised Land, or it was out of Abram's own plans. Anyway, when they reached Egypt he saw the condition of people there and feared that one of the men might kill him in order to take his beautiful wife, Sarai. So he schemed with her that if any man asked her, she should tell him that she was Abram's sister. In other words, he seems to have been willing to lose his wife rather than get killed.

Pharaoh, as the king of Egypt was known, came to know about Sarai when some of his men reported about her to him, and he took her into his harem. He treated Abram well because of Sarai and gave him plenty of gifts. But God was watching over Abram and Sarai, even though they had strayed from Him, and He took steps to protect them. God began to send sickness into Pharaoh's family to warn him. Somehow Pharaoh realised why this was happening, and he called Abram and rebuked him for not telling the truth about Sarai. Pharaoh also warned other men in Egypt not to give any trouble to Abram and Sarai.

But it seems Abram did not learn enough from this experience. Later on, when they were staying in a place called Gerar, he told Sarai to use the same guile. Abimelech the king of Gerar took Sarah. But that night God spoke to him in a dream and told him that Sarai was married. Abimelech replied that he did not know that, and he had done this in innocence. God told him that He understood that, and that this was why He had prevented him from doing any harm to Sarai. The next day when Abimelech questioned Abram, he replied that Sarai was also his half sister from his father's side. So Abimelech returned Sarai to Abram, along with many gifts. Then God healed the sicknesses that had come on Abimelech's family.

Abram was just beginning to know God and His ways. He had come from a family of idol worshippers, and he still had many things to learn. As we can see later, God took an ordinary man like this, with all his weaknesses, worked on him, and transformed him finally to a place where he was called the father of faith and an example to all people! That is grace.


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