All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. - 2 Timothy 3:16-17

From Jeopardy to Redemption

Ancient Hebrews followed the concept that similar things could be equated with each other, whether they were stories, persons, situations, events, or colors. Good examples are found in the stories about Abram and his descendants. They contain great similarities, both in the jeopardy humans keep imposing on God’s covenant plan, and in His amazing remedies.

An Example

Genesis 12 finds Abram in Canaan, but a severe famine makes him leave the Promised Land for Egypt—a place abundant in food, so long as the Nile has its spring overflow. He’s keenly aware that his life will be in jeopardy if an Egyptian desires beautiful Sarai and discovers that she’s his wife. So he asks her to say that she’s his sister. After all, she is the daughter of his father, but not his mother (Genesis 20:12).

Most will understand this to mean that she’s his half sister, but there may be another interpretation. Since they were childless, the inheritance would be in jeopardy if Abram died without an heir. However, according to Amorite law, this could be remedied if Abram’s father adopted Sarai as his daughter, enabling her to receive his inheritance. Perhaps this is why Abram repeats the same scheme in Genesis 20 with the Philistine king, Abimelech. (Even more curiously, his son Isaac follows the same pattern with Abimelech years later!)

The Pharaoh’s princes see Sarai and commend her to him, so the king takes her into his house and showers Abram with great gifts of animals and servants.

But God is not pleased, and brings great plagues on the Egyptian king. Pharaoh then calls Abram, reprimands him, and expels him from his country (although he’s careful to give him a guarded escort to the border).

Abram errs, but God remedies the situation and fulfills His covenant promises by taking him out of Egypt and restoring him back in Canaan—along with the blessing of the great riches Pharaoh gives him.

Another Example

Two generations later Abram’s grandson, Jacob, asks for Rachel’s hand, but is tricked into marrying both Rachel and her older sister Leah. But in spite of clearly favoring Rachel, only Leah gives him children.

When Rachel finally has a child, baby Joseph quickly becomes his father’s favorite, creating a rift between him and his older half brothers. Eventually their resentments cause them to sell Joseph into slavery, but God miraculously establishes him as the Egyptian prime minister. Then He reveals that a famine is coming, so Joseph heads up a program to stockpile grain. In reality, he becomes a savior to that entire area of the world by providing food.

Finally, Joseph calls his father to Egypt, and God assures Jacob that He’ll go with him, and surely bring him back to the Promised Land. But after several generations the Hebrews essentially adopt the pagan gods and are enslaved by the Egyptians. Once again God’s covenant promises appear to be placed in jeopardy by man. However, He begins to remedy the situation and fulfill His covenant promises by bringing ten plagues upon Egypt. The Hebrews are virtually expelled from the land, but as they leave, the Egyptians shower them with articles of gold and silver as well as rich clothing.

And Another

Many generations later, a similar situation arises with the most important of Abram’s descendants—Jesus Christ. After hearing of His birth, King Herod believes Him to be a threat and orders all of Bethlehem’s male children two years and younger be put to death. However, God appears to Joseph in a dream and instructs him to flee to Egypt.

After Harod’s death, Joseph, Mary, and Jesus return, fulfilling the messianic prophecy, “Out of Egypt I called My Son.” Matthew 2:15 (see Hosea 11:1 and Numbers 24:8). Once again, man places God’s covenant plan in jeopardy, and once again He remedies the situation. And in this case, the riches given Christ are the ones He saves.

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