Abraham did amazing exploits as God led him into the fullness of his blessing. Later, though, when circumstances turned bad, Abraham lost his focus on God’s glory. He turned instead to his own resources: “Now there was a famine in the land. So Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was severe” (Genesis 12:10).
The story makes clear that Egypt was the last place Abraham should have gone. Along the way he put his wife in jeopardy; he lost her to a hostile king for a season, and he lied and manipulated things to save himself. This man had trusted God wholly up to that point. Why didn’t he trust God to see him through his difficulty?
Maybe similar things happen in your crises. When life gets hard—in your finances, your health, your family—do you keep your eyes fixed on God’s glory through it all? If you’ve ever “gone to Egypt” for help in such times, you know how lifeless an effort it can be. Often it complicates the problem, adding shame and despair.
My point is this: Our separateness from the world doesn’t happen through our efforts or abilities. It happens through a revelation of God—and His glory remains with us even in our hard times. Consider the prophet Isaiah. When he entered the temple, he saw the glory of God: “I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple” (Isaiah 6:1). That holy sight sent Isaiah face down on the floor in humble awe: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!” (6:5).
At that moment Isaiah recognized God’s separateness. The Lord told him, “I have separated you for My holy purposes. I am sending you to preach My Word to a corrupt people. They will resist you, but you’ll be able to endure it because you have seen My glory. When they turn on you, you won’t have to ‘go to Egypt,’ because you’ve seen the nature of the God who has called you.”