Hashem always keeps H.s promises to the “t”. The road to get there isn’t always immediate and straight but in the end, Hashem ALWAYS keeps H.s promises. The Zera Shimshon shows a beautiful example of this in this week’s Parsha.
וַיְהִי רָעָב בָּאָרֶץ וַיֵּרֶד אַבְרָם מִצְרַיְמָה לָגוּר שָׁם כִּי כָבֵד הָרָעָב בָּאָרץ
The Rambam on Avos explains that this famine was a test. Hashem promised Avrohom to go to Eretz Yisroel in order to become a big nation and to become prosperous. However after he got to Eretz Yisroel there was a famine and Avrohom was forced to leave Eretz Yisroel childless and still poor. This certainly seemed like Hashem didn’t keep H.s promise. This was a tremendous test to see if Avrohom would still have faith in Hashem and H.s promises.
The Zera Shimshon asks why was this such a great test. Hashem never gave a time limit for this promise. Therefore there was no real reason to doubt that Hashem would EVENTUALLY carry it out.
He answers by pointing out something very interesting in the first possuk in the Parsha.
This week’s Parsha opens with the possuk:
וַיֹּאמֶר יְדֹוָד אֶל אַבְרָם לֶךְ לְךָ מֵאַרְצְךָ וּמִמּוֹלַדְתְּךָ וּמִבֵּית אָבִיךָ אֶל הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר אַרְאֶךָּ
The standard translation is “And Hashem said to Avram, “Leave your land… to the Land that I will show you.” In other words, the word אראך is referring to the land that I will show you. Zera Shimshon questions this translation because there is a cantillation note (“trup”) between the word הארץ- the land- and אשר אראך- that I will show you. This implies that “I will show you” is not at all connected with “the land”. However, according to the standard translation “I will show you” refers to and explains which land!
Zera Shimshon therefore translates אשר אראך that I (Hashem) will show you (Avrohom) to others. In other words, Hashem promised to Avrohom that he will go to Eretz Yisroel and Hashem will proclaim and make known that Avrohom is a tzaddik.
How exactly would Hashem broadcast Avrohom’s righteousness to everyone? He explains that Eretz Yisroel is a very special place that responds to the spiritual level of its inhabitants. When they live on a high level, there is prosperity, and when they are not…
According to this we can now understand the tremendous test that Avrohom faced. If he would have become wealthy and have children right away then everyone would understand he was truly righteous just like Hashem promised. However, if he had to leave the land childless and penniless (Rashi explains that he had to borrow money for his lodging on the way down to Mitzrayim) then even if he would eventually prosper, people would not attribute it to his righteousness (because if this was the cause of his being rich why didn’t it happen right when he arrived in Eretz Yisroel.) Rather they would say that it is just his mazal or the sort.
We are still left with a question, though. True, that Avrohom didn’t question Hashem and passed the test. However, how did Hashem eventually keep the promise that he would show the world Avrohom’s righteousness?
He answers that if the land would have begun to blossom immediately following Avrohom’s arrival then Avrohom himself would not have benefitted from it because he was still poor. The people , therefore would conclude that the prosperity was not because of him and his righteousness.
Therefore Hashem brought a famile which caused him to go Mitzrayim. There Paroah tried to marry Sarah and was forced to appease Avrohom with presents which made him into a wealthy man. When he finally returned to Eretz Yisroel the land prospered and Avrohom, who was now wealthy, was able to benefit from it. Seeing this everyone attributed the prosperity to the righteousness of Avrohom exactly like Hashem promised!