Even when we’re led astray by fears and temptations, God knows how to get us back on track. Dr. Stanley examines a time when Abraham lost sight of God’s promise and took things into his own hands. From this story, we can learn why trusting God is always the best option. For more messages from Charles Stanley, including this week’s broadcast, go to https://intouch.org/tv

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male announcer: “In Touch,” the
teaching ministry of Dr. Charles

Stanley, reaching the world with
the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Next on “In Touch,”
“When Faith Gives Way to Fear.”

Dr. Charles Stanley: Have you
ever felt like God told you to

do something, and you
started out that way,

and then somewhere
along the way,

you either got discouraged,
something happened,

and you just decided you
would do it some other way?

And you realized
shortly thereafter,

you may have made a wrong turn.

That maybe you decided to do it
another way because it looked

easier, because your
future looked difficult,

because that’s not exactly
what you wanted in life.

And so what happens?

You probably didn’t stop to ask
yourself the question—why would

I change routes
that God has given me?

And I think one of the primary
reasons is that our faith gives

away to our fears.

That’s what I want to
talk about in this message.

“When Our Faith
Gives Way to Our Fears.”

When that happens, we lose.

When that happens,
we disobey God.

When that happens, we oftentimes
never get back to where God

intended for us to be.

So, a perfect example of that
is in Geneses chapter twelve.

And I want you to
turn there, if you will,

then we’ll talk
about what it says.

And Genesis chapter
twelve, beginning in verse ten.

Now, while you have it there,
let’s go back to the first few

verses of twelve, and
remember what God said.

Here’s His unconditional
promise to Abraham.

“Now the Lord said to Abram,
‘Go forth from your country,

from your relatives,
from your father’s house,

To the land which
I’ll show you.'”

Here’s a seven-fold
unconditional promise God made

to Abraham, “I’ll make you a
great nation, I will bless you,

I will make your name great;
and so you shall be a blessing;

And I will bless
those who bless you,

and the one who
curses you I will curse.

And in you all the families
of the earth will be blessed.”


Did you see any if,
ands, and buts in that?


That’s an unconditional
promise of God.

If it’s unconditional,
that means that nothing

is going to alter it.

So, Abraham in the
seventh and eighth verse,

he’s on his way to Canaan
out of the Ur of the Chaldees.

That is, he’s come up north and
around heading toward Canaan,

and the scripture says, “The
Lord appeared to Abraham and

said, ‘To your descendants
I will give this land.’

So he built an altar
there to the Lord

who had appeared to him.

Then he proceeded from there
to the mountain on the east of

Bethel, and pitched his tent,
with Bethel on the west and Ai

on the east; and there he
built an altar to the Lord

and called upon the
name of the Lord.”

So twice, here’s what he does.

When he stops and prays, that
means he not only is honoring

God, but he’s
claiming that land.

He’s claiming a land that God
said He was going to give him.

And then, if you’ll
notice in verse nine,

“Abraham journeyed on,
continuing toward the Negev.”

That is, going south, now.

“Now there was a
famine in the land;

so Abram went down to
Egypt to sojourn there,

for the famine was
severe in the land.

It came about when he
came near to Egypt,

that he said to Sarah
his wife, ‘See now,

I know that you’re
a beautiful woman;

And when the Egyptians
see you, they will say,

‘This is his wife’;
and they will kill me,

but they will let you live.

Please say that you’re my sister
so that it may go well with me

because of you, and that I may
live on account of you.'”

Too bad for you, but I may
live on account of you.

“It came about when
Abram came into Egypt,

the Egyptians saw that the
woman was very beautiful.

Pharaoh’s officials saw her
and praised her to Pharaoh;

and the woman was taken
into Pharaoh’s house.

Therefore he treated
Abram well for her sake;

and gave him
sheep, oxen, donkeys,

male and female servants, and
female donkeys and camels.”

That is, he swapped off
this beautiful woman for oxen,

donkeys, camels, and sheep.

Now, today that
would be a Mercedes,

a Bentley, and a Rolls Royce.

Had to be something.

“But the Lord struck Pharaoh
and his house with great plagues

because of Sarah, Abram’s wife.

Then Pharaoh called
Abraham and said,

‘What is this that
you’ve done to me?

Why did you not tell me
that she was your wife?

Why did you say, “She’s
my sister,” so that

I took her for my wife?

Now then, here’s your
wife, take her and go.’

Pharaoh commanded his men
concerning him; and they

escorted him away, and his wife
and all that belonged to him.”

You say, “Well what’s that
got to do with me today?”

A whole lot, so
listen carefully,

’cause the theme of this is
simply this: when faith gives

way and you start becoming
fearful of doing the will of

God, the first thing I
would say is simply this,

and that is when that happens,
it’s because our focus has moved

from God to our circumstances.

Remember that twice
he built an altar,

claimed that land for the
Lord, moved on to Canaan,

which is promise
of Almighty God.

And the scripture says that he
moved there and naturally he

would build altars there.

And when he got
there, he got surprised.

There was a famine in the
land, he started out with faith,

but when circumstances changed,
he had a change of mind,

a change of heart.

He’d built an altar twice,
and so, think about this.

God’s never caught by surprises,
so God knew that there

was going to be a famine.

He knew before
Abraham ever started,

that Abraham was going to walk
into a big situation that was

going to demand him
to trust the Lord.

And so, I think about
when I look at that,

we reason obeying God
and say, “Yes, Lord.

Yes, Lord.”

And then when things don’t turn
out the way we expect them to,

our “Yes, Lord; yes, Lord” is

“Maybe, Lord; maybe, Lord;
mm-mm; no, Lord; no, Lord.”

So what happens is our
focus moves from God

to the circumstances.

Whenever we allow
that to happen,

we’re going to get in trouble.

Circumstances are
always changing.

Our focus has to
stay on who God

is, what He promised.

He always keep His promise.

So what he did,
took his eyes off God,

forgot ’bout–forgot all
about these two times he’d built

altars before the
Lord and worshipped Him.

Then when things are
not going so well,

he chooses to go by reason.

Reason is there’s food in Egypt,

there is a famine in Canaan.

And so he moves in
the opposite direction.

So here’s the truth.

And is–full of truth, so
I want you to get them.

And that is, because my
circumstances change does not

mean that I should change.

If God shows you His will on a
certain thing and tells you to

do it, He intends
for us to walk in it.

So remember this.

When we step out
of the will of God,

the plan of God,
the purpose of God,

the Word of God, we’re
going to get in trouble.

Secondly, faith gives way
to fear when we begin making

decisions based on
human reasoning rather

than on faith in God.

And that’s what he did.

Human reason said
there’s a famine in the land.

I don’t want my family to starve
and I lose all my servants and

my cattle and all the rest.

And so, based on human reason,
he did what human reason would

tell him to do: just find out
where is the food and go there.

That’s not what God said.

That promise of God was a
sevenfold unconditional promise.

But it was a
reasonable thing to do.

He had a big family with
all of his servants and

every–cattle and so forth.

And so here’s what he reasoned.

He reasoned was, now he’s
forgetting what God said.

He reasoned, “Well, I go down to
Egypt for a very short period of

time and I’ll get enough food
and we’ll just come on back and

do what God told us to do.”

Listen, the reasonable
thing to do is not

always the right thing.

The third point I want you to
get is this: when we forget that

God is both
provider and protector,

we take things in our own hands.

Now, what should he have done?

He should have
gotten on his knees or,

as we would say, or built
another altar right there in

Canaan where the food was
so scarce and everything was

looking bad, and gotten
on his knees and said,

“God, here’s what
You told me to do.

Here’s the promise You made me.

Now Lord, look at this mess.

Lord, I–we don’t
have enough food.

Now God, You’re my
provider, You’re my protector,

what am I to do?”

God is never at a
loss as to what to do.

He should have stayed right
where he was and trusted God,

even in a famine,
to provide for him,

but he didn’t do that.

He did what human reason said
to do because he forgot that God

was his provider as
well as his protector.

And we do the same thing.

We look around, look at
our circumstances and say,

“Well, I know that’s
what God said, but.”

And this always
gets us in trouble.

When we make a
substitute for the Word of God,

the will of God, the plan of
God, we get in trouble.

Well, here’s what
I’m going to do.

Is that what God said?

No, but what God
said won’t work.

Listen carefully, God
doesn’t make any mistakes.

There’s no such thing as
what God says won’t work.

Now, He won’t work if
you’re living in sin and

choose to disobey God.

But whatever God calls us
to do, God will see to it

that it works out.

But here’s what he did.

He looked around
and said, “You know,

things look bad here and I don’t
want to lose all my servants and

all my cattle and
all my things.”

So the question is:
What should he have done?

He should have trusted God
and, knowing and remembering

sevenfold unconditional promise.

Not if there’s a famine or
if I’m attacked or if this.

God said, “Here’s
what I’m going to do.”

And so he decided to look around
and ask himself the question:

What should I do?

What can I do at this point?”

And what happens is this.

When God tells us to do
something and we start looking

to see what we can
do, we get in trouble.

We’ll always come up, “Well,
I can’t this and I can’t that

and I can’t the other.”

Forgetting the fact that
sometimes God withholds,

withdraws, or puts us in a
place where we are absolutely,

totally dependent upon Him, not
realizing that He wants to teach

us something, that He wants–He
wanted to teach Abraham.

“I made you a promise
that I’d provide for you,

protect you no matter
what, unconditionally,

that’s My Word.”

Instead of believing that,
he forgot what God said,

or he looked at his
circumstances and said,

“This is not going to work.”

And he probably said, “I
am sure God understands.”

Have you ever said that?

I know God will understand.

No, He’s going to
stick with the best.

And so, he should have
just stopped right there,

made himself an
altar and said, “God,

I’ve come this far.

What do You want me to do next?”

He forgot that God was the
provider, God is the One

who called him, God is the
One who made this awesome

promise, God is the One who
had taken care of them so far.

God is the One who’d
given him servants,

his beautiful
wife, and everything.

And now because
circumstances are not very good,

he decides to take
a step, watch this,

you take one wrong step, you’re
prone to take a second wrong

step, and a third wrong step.

Obedience is doing
what God says do,

when He says do it,
how He says do it,

and if we don’t, what
happens is we pay the penalty.

And so this is what he did.

So instead of trusting God
for everything he needed,

he decided he’d do it his way.

And I think
here’s a good example.

When we’re willing to sacrifice
our most precious possessions in

order to gain the favor of
others, we get in trouble.

Now, watch what happens.

His fear led him into
Egypt out of the will of God.

Now he’s facing something even
greater because he said to her,

“I know you are a
beautiful woman.”

And he said that a
couple of times.

And she must have
been a beautiful woman.

“And I know if we go down to
Egypt what we’re going to face.”

And because that was
the way pharaohs

and the way kings often did.

They just took what they
wanted and who they wanted.

And so, He’s heading
in the wrong direction.

Listen, when you take a
step in the wrong direction,

step number two is easier.

Step number three is easier.

That’s why God wants us to walk
in His will and trust Him that

He will do what
He promised to do.

And so, he said to her, “I know
that you are a beautiful woman.”

And so I want you to go back
to verse twelve for a moment,

in that twelfth chapter.

Now, “When the
Egyptians see you,

they will say,
‘This is his wife’.

and they will kill me.”

Watch this.

You’re talking
about selfishness.

Listen, look at this.

“When the Egyptians see
you, they’re gonna say,

‘This is his wife’,
and they will kill me,

but they will let you live.”

That’s what
they’re going to think,

“Please say that you are my
sister so that it may be well

with me because of you, and that
I may live on account of you.”

Who is he talking about?

He’s thinking about himself.

I’m willing to give
you up to save my life.

Now, he doesn’t think
about what’s going

to happen after that.

He doesn’t think
about what’s–what

really is going to happen.

He’s just saying, “I’ll
give you up in order

to save my own neck.”

And so what happens?

He gets down there,
and the fifth point I

wanted to make is this.

When we forget the unconditional
promises of God and begin to

fear man, something happens.

We’re in trouble.

Now, I’m not saying that God
makes you an unconditional

promise every day in your life.

There are unconditional
promises in the Word of God,

but after you’ve trusted Jesus
Christ for a season of time,

you should realize that He
is going to keep His promise.

And God made such a big
deal out of this with Abraham.

He gave him all those promises
and, with no exceptions.

Here’s what I’m going
to do in your life, period.

And now he is in Egypt
where he should not be.

And remember this.

When you go where
you shouldn’t be,

you’re going to do
something you shouldn’t do,

and you’re going to feel
something you shouldn’t feel,

and you’re going to pay a
price you don’t want to pay.

And so now, he
stepped out of God’s will.

He’s in Egypt and now he’s
preparing how am I going

to work this thing out?

And the only thing he can
figure out is to be willing to

sacrifice his beautiful wife.

That’s what he said,
she was beautiful.

And when Pharaoh’s
servants saw them,

they said she was beautiful,
so Pharaoh, he took her–he

must have thought
she was beautiful.

“I’m going to sacrifice
my beautiful wife to

save my own neck.”

And when you think about that,
and think about how that fits in

God’s plan, it doesn’t fit.

This is why, and you’ll
hear me talk about this often.

Here’s why we talk
about the will of God.

The will of God is
the plan of God.

It’s the message of God.
It’s the direction of God.

And God wants us to
trust Him and to obey Him.

And we can stand up in
church and just sing,

“Trust and obey.”

Then walk right
out and disobey God.

And so, God had given
him this awesome promise.

And now he’s in a situation
where he knows what’s going to

happen because that
was their custom.

Pharaoh would take
anybody he wanted,

as much as he wanted.

And so he took her in.

Now, taking her in doesn’t
mean that he just set her

on a platform somewhere.

He treated her like his wife.

And so, when we forget
God’s unconditional promises,

we begin to fear
our circumstances,

we get ourselves in trouble.

And this is such a
perfect example of that.

Faith gives way to fear when we
make decisions that are ungodly,

decisions that are in
contradiction to God’s will.

He said, “You’re
to go to Canaan.”

He didn’t say you would
have a bypass and go to Egypt.

He didn’t say, “Unless
there’s a–unless there is

a famine in Canaan.”

He said, “I’m
sending you to Canaan.

That’s where My people
are going to grow up.”

And he only listened as
long as he was comfortable.

And so, here he is now, and he’s
facing a situation that he knows

is going to be very difficult.

The only way he’ll be
able to survive this,

he knows, is to give
up this beautiful wife.

‘Cause that’s just the
way it was in those days.

If Pharaoh said, “I want
something,” he got it.

There was no question.

So, the sixth point I want
you to jot down is when we’re

willing to cause others pain and
great harm in order to protect

ourselves, when we do,
we’re going to face

difficulty and hardship.

And what happens is when
faith gives way to fear,

that’s our response.

When we stop trusting God and
start fearing circumstances,

we’re willing to cause
others pain and great harm

in order to protect ourselves.

Now he said, “They will
kill me and let you live.

So, if you say you’re my sister,
I’ll be treated well and my life

will be spared
because of you,” period.

Then what?

Then you live with Pharaoh
the rest of your life

and I go on to where?

Down here in Egypt
where I shouldn’t be.

So, if you say you’re my
sister, I’ll be treated well.

My life will be
spared because of you.

And so, think about this.

Whenever you want to
do something wrong,

you can usually find a pretty
good reason for doing it, right?

If you want to do
something wrong, you can

find a pretty
good reason for doing it.

He knew that was wrong.

And he was
willing to give her up.

And this is what he was doing.

He was, you see,
what happened was,

he made a decision
when he got to Canaan.

It wasn’t what he expected, so
he turned to what he thought was

his only resource,
which was Egypt.

Wasn’t God’s plan.

He made a choice
based on human reasoning.

I can’t stay here
and starve to death.

And I can turn and go to Egypt,
stay there for a little while

till things are better up
here, and then I’ll come back.

When you step out
of the will of God,

your next plan’s
never assured.

You step out of the will of
God, it doesn’t make any

difference what
your next plan is.

If you’re out of the will
of God, you can’t bet

on the next step, unless
you’re turning around with God.

And all he was
saying is it’ll save me.

So, what happens?

The scripture says, “But the
Lord struck Pharaoh and his

house with great
plagues,” not just one,

plural, “plagues because
of Sarai, Abram’s wife.”

Now one thing
you’ll give old Pharaoh,

he was wise enough to catch on.

“Then Pharaoh called Abram
and said, ‘What is this

you have done to me?

Why did you not tell me
she was your wife?

Why did you say, “She
is my sister,” so that I took

her to be my wife?

Now then, here is your wife,
take her and get going.’

Pharaoh commanded his
men concerning him;

and they escorted him
away and his wife

and all that belonged to him.”

Listen, when God says, “I’m
going to do something,”

He’s going to do it.

So, what does He do?

He sends a plague strong enough
to turn the Pharaoh upside down

and his whole kingdom.

Take this woman
and get out here.

And don’t come back.

And all of this really simply
says when faith gives way to

fears, we get in
awesome trouble.

Did you get that?

When faith gives way to
fears, here’s the process.

Here’s what happens.

And naturally, God
preserves Sarai.

She had a son you can
trace all the way to Jesus.

Remember what He said?

Listen to this,
and I love how God said it,

“I’m going to make
you a great nation.”

I’m not going to make
you a great man–I’m

going to make you
a great nation.

Who–what nation is it?

Israel, Jews.

I’m going to bless you, “and
make your name great;” and we’re

still talking about him.

So, “You’re going to be a
blessing,” and he was.

“And I will bless
those who bless you,

and the one who
curses you I will curse.

And in you all the families
of the earth will be blessed.”

That includes all of us.

Now, God kept His word.

But the lesson is real simple.

And that is, when my
faith gives way to my fears,

I’m going to make a mess
of things, no matter what.

Don’t forget this lesson.

When your faith
gives away to fear,

so that you step out of the will
of God for fear of whatever it

might be, all you’re doing
is getting in deeper trouble.

You’re stepping off from two
feet of water into twenty feet

of water, and you can’t swim.

That’s a great story,
because it’s a great warning,

that when we step out of the
will of God, we step out

of the will of God because
we don’t believe God.

Listen to what He said,
“I’m going to make

you a great nation.

I’m going to bless
you, not entrap you,

make your name great.

You’ll be a blessing.

I’m going to bless
those who bless you,

curse those who curse you.”

That would have
included Pharaoh.

“And in you all the families
of the earth will be blessed.”

God’s unconditional promise.

But when my faith moves from my
trust in the Word of God to what

I can do, what seems better,
what’s the most profitable

thing, the most
acceptable thing,

then I’m in trouble.

So when you go
home this afternoon,

maybe tonight, you get
on your knees to pray,

or however you pray, maybe
you ought to ask the Lord,

“Lord, am I where I ought to be?

Am I spiritually
over here in Egypt,

when I ought to be in Canaan?

Obeying You,
walking in Your will,

walking in Your way, answering
Your will for my life.”

It’s either going to be trusting
Him or making a mistake in life.

And you know what, I wish I
could sit down with every

teenager and say,
“Listen, listen carefully.

If you don’t ever hear
anything else, listen to this.

This is a divine pattern.

If you sacrifice anything
for sin, you’re in trouble.”


Father, we thank
You for this story.

Thank You for this truth.

Thank You for this warning.

And I pray that you’ll sink this
into the mind and heart of every

person who hears it, in this
room and around the world.

It doesn’t make
any difference who,

where, when, what, the
principle never changes.

That when we step out of Your
will, we’re going to find

ourselves in fear,
and maybe even tragedy.

I pray that if there’s somebody
here today who’s never trusted

You as their Savior,
give them wisdom,

God, to ask You to
forgive them of their sin,

ask You to help them
overcome their past,

surrender their life to You
without any question,

and begin living a godly life.

I pray this in
Jesus’s name, amen.