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There was a famine in the land. Abram went down into Egypt to live as a foreigner there, for the famine was severe in the land. Bible

“famine in the land.” There are a number of times in the Bible that Israel had a famine. God wants to bless the land we live on, and the Devil comes to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). There is a war going on between Good and Evil, and, because of the sin of Adam and Eve, the Devil has control of much of what happens on the earth. That is why he is called the “god of this age” (2 Cor. 4:4), and the “ruler of this world” (John 14:30), and controls or influences everything that happens on it (1 John 5:19).

The Devil was occasionally able to cause a famine that affected the people of God, and at least for some of these famines godly people left the land of Israel. Abraham left the land because of a famine (Gen. 12:10). So did Isaac (Gen. 26:1). So did Jacob, who went to Egypt (Gen. 45-46). So did Elimelech (Ruth 1:1). Was it the right thing to do for them to leave Israel? Life is difficult, and God gave every one of us different ministries, and different levels of risk tolerance. There are many things in life that are not “right” or “wrong,” simply different. Some people prefer to stay where they are in hard times and “tough it out.” Other people see wisdom in trying to mitigate difficult circumstances by doing different things, one of which is moving.

Although some Christians assert that moving out of the land demonstrates a “lack of faith,” that is not true. It was often the wise choice, and Proverbs tells us that “wisdom is supreme” (Prov. 4:7 NIV84; HCSB). It is wise to move from danger. Abraham and the others saved their flocks and fortune. Jacob moved out of Israel due to a famine, but then his descendants made the mistake of not going back when the famine was over, and eventually they became enslaved. Moving once saved them, if they had moved twice they would have been saved again.

Life is uncertain and there is danger everywhere. To do our best for God we have to be convinced that this world is not our home. We cannot become too attached to any property here. We have to be ready to move if the situation calls for it. Often we are not sure. For example, a believer standing alone without a fellowship faces a difficult decision. He or she can go to the trouble of moving to be near a fellowship; or, he or she can stay and keep witnessing in the hope that there will be fruit and a fellowship will develop. What is the right decision? Often, we don’t know, we just make the best decision we can and pray for God’s blessings. In the same situation, someone else might make the opposite decision. One thing is certain in these difficult situations; what we need from other Christians is understanding and support, not criticism for the decision we have made.


Commentary for: Genesis 12:10