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Daily Devotional | Sarai - Self-Preservation

Early last year, our state’s governor issued a disaster proclamation in response to the COVID-19 virus. A shelter-in-place order followed, bringing long-term consequences that we are only beginning to comprehend. These circumstances left many simply asking: How do we survive?

While Abram and Sarai were still heading toward the Negev, they realized the severity of the area famine and detoured toward Egypt. Because of the Nile’s predictable flooding, Egypt was less threatened by drought. Remember, not long before this, Abram had built altars to the Lord, accepting His call into Canaan (vv. 6–7). Did this detour represent doubt? Did Abram fear that God would not provide as He promised to? Was going to Egypt Abram’s first mistake?

As they were about to enter Egypt, Abram hatched another plan. He instructed Sarai to tell everyone that she was his sister. Sarai was so beautiful that Abram was afraid the Egyptians would kill him to get to her (v. 11). His justification sounds so self-serving: “Say you are my sister so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you” (v. 13). Fear does that to us, doesn’t it? It pushes us into self-preservation mode and short-circuits our decision-making ability. Pharaoh’s household bore the immediate consequences. They were struck with disease (v. 17). But even when Abram was caught and sent away, he seemed unrepentant—even though his lie had put God’s covenant at risk. If Pharaoh had taken Sarai, what might have happened to the great nation God had promised? 

>> Abram was not so different from us. The virus of sin has infected us all. God gave His promises knowing our weakness. That is the majesty of grace. Have you ever boldly followed God’s call . . . until you hit your first problem? How would it be different if we responded, not out of fear, but in faith?

Pray with Us

Dear God, while our own plans give us a sense of security, your plans are often inscrutable. We desire to follow you with childlike faith, trusting you even when we don’t understand.

BY Kelli Worrall

Kelli Worrall is Professor of Communications and Chair of the Division of Music and Media Arts at Moody Bible Institute. She is the author of two books, one of which she co-authored with her husband Peter. Kelli studied at Cedarville University (BA), Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (MRE), and Roosevelt University (MFA).  She enjoys speaking both individually and with Peter at events and retreats. They live in northwest Illinois with their two children.

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