top Abraham #2 Saturday, June 24, 2017
ABRAHAM, STUDY #2, A STUDY OF HIS LIFE:
By, James l. Thornton
This section begins the study of the life of Abraham after he had settled in the land of Canaan. The study will be taken from Genesis 12:10 ---- 14:24
ABRAHAM SETTLED IN CANAAN:
The following is a list of thing we will discuss in this Study #2
A. The high cost of letting down
B. A famine in Canaan
C. A spiritual famine
D. Abram in Egypt
E. Abram back in Canaan
F. The right to choose
G. Lot chose for himself
H. Letting God choose
I. Abram responds to the voice of God
J. When you need a friend
K. Victory achieved
L. The peril of victory
M. Refreshing the weary
(A.) THE HIGH COST OF LETTING DOWN:
With his tent and his altar, Abraham sojourned in the land of Canaan. He had no permanent home but moved from place to place.
The Land of Canaan, as we have already discussed, is a picture of the spirit filled life. It is not a place of special privilege, as many think, for the great and favored few. The land of Canaan is where God expects every Christian to dwell every day of his life.
Though Abraham is now in the land, he has not yet learned the conditions of life in the land. Abraham, like so many new Christians, though "in" the spirit had not yet learned to "walk" in the spirit.
As so often happens in the life of all of us, Abram, in Genesis 12:10, looked upon the outward circumstances, and he had a failure of faith.
Remember when Peter looked upon the "boisterous" wind and waves his faith failed and he began to sink.
(B.) A FAMINE IN CANAAN:
Genesis 12:10. And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was grievous in the la
Abram was a man with flocks and herds, and when the rains failed to come these were severely threatened. Abram’s livelihood depended upon pasturing his flocks and herds. As the scarcity of food grew, it must have seemed impossible to remain where he was.
Abram felt driven to leave Canaan, even though God had called him to be there. There is not a word here about asking God’s permission to go down to Egypt. Abram listened to his fears and he went to Egypt.
(C.) A SPIRITUAL FAMINE:
A spiritual famine is any circumstance that threatens our dependence upon God. A spiritual famine is any circumstance that makes faith difficult. We all have experienced such a famine.
Something seems to cut-off the full joy of fellowship with our Lord. A cloud moves between us and God. Something beyond our control makes it hard to maintain that fellowship. It’s hard to maintain the altar when the rains don’t fall.
It may have been a bitter disappointment that crushes you, making your heart ache, and leaving you with little strength for prayer and fellowship.
There may have been a misunderstanding between you and someone you loved, or respected, that has not been resolved.
Maybe a relationship that soured.
A friendship that was broken.
There maybe in-law problems.
Problems with neighbors.
A sickness that has lingered long and painful.
Many are the circumstances which makes it hard to maintain our fellowship with God. The spiritual rains which had watered our soul have stopped and our soul is drying up. When this happens we are tempted to run rather than to stick it out.
The rains had stopped weeks ago and the land was drying up, the water was scarce, the grass was gone, things looked bleak for the stock, so Abram went down to Egypt.
We also try to get away... Physically if we can. We all sometimes say, "I’ve just got to get away for a while." We move to another neighborhood, change jobs, take a trip, or go home to mother.
If we cannot run physically, we try to run mentally. There are multitudes which have retreated into a mental Egypt where life seems more pleasant. Many live in a realm of fantasy all day long.
You can find a mental Egypt in your TV set, your radio, the movie theater, the bottle. For some the retreat they choose is a constant round of social life... Always ready for the weekend.
Whenever we attempt to satisfy the spirit with the things of the world, we have gone down to Egypt. Going down to Egypt means taking on the attitudes, the expectations, and resources of the world. But we cannot let down and adopt the world without paying a high price.
(D.) ABRAM IN EGYPT: (Genesis 12:11-20)
Let’s follow Abram to Egypt and note the folly of his move. Let us see what happens in Egypt. First of all the pressure is off, Abram found in Egypt the release he was seeking. There is plenty to eat in Egypt. But something else happened.
When Abram lost his faith back in Canaan, he lost his courage. Loss of faith makes cowards of us all. Even before he got to Egypt he grew afraid and sunk to cowardice and falsehood.
Genesis 12:11. "And it came to pass, when he was come near to enter into Egypt, that he said unto Sarai his wife, behold now, I know that thou art a fair woman to look upon:
12. Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see thee, that they shall say, this is his wife: and they will kill me, but they will save thee alive.
13. Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister: that it may be well with me for thy sake; and my soul shall live because of thee.
He told a little white lie, and persuaded Sarai to go along with it. He said to Sarai, "You are a beautiful woman and when Pharaoh sees you he will kill me to get you." "So tell them you’re my sister."
Abram, out of the land, away from the tent, and the altar, old self came to the front, and he stoops to falsehood, hypocrisy, and deceit.
This is the result of anyone who moves away from God and where he wants us to be. The outcome of this lie was that Sarai was put in real danger, and into humiliating circumstances. The king claimed her for his harem...Abram had opened the door for him.
The danger he thought existed had no power over them until he made it possible by his lie. Our loved ones always suffer when we go down to Egypt. Not only was Sarai endangered, but lot also went down to Egypt with him.
No doubt the lust for comfort, and worldly pleasure, and glory, was born in Lot while he was in Egypt.Shortly after their return to Canaan Lot made his choice and moved into Sodom.
Another thing about his sojourn in Egypt was that Abram was made rich by the King of Egypt. Abram was given sheep, oxen, he-asses, men-servants, maidservants, she-asses, and camels. One of the first things, this caused was strife between Abram’s herdsmen and Lot’s herdsmen over the riches they got in Egypt. (Genesis 13:2)
One of the maidservants was Hagar, of whom Ishmael was born, who became a thorn to his descendants, even to this day. The price of Abram living in Egypt is great, even to this present generation. But this is not all that happened.
Abram became a curse to pharaoh. Remember God had called him to be a blessing.
Genesis 12:17. “And the Lord plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai Abram’s wife.
Finally, Egypt is a place of rebuke and humiliation.
Genesis 12:18. “And Pharaoh called Abram, and said, what is this that thou hast done unto me? Why didst thou not tell me that she was thy wife?
19. Why saidst thou, she is my sister? So I might have taken her to me to wife: now therefore behold thy wife, take her, and go thy way.
Abram was driven out of Egypt.
Genesis 12:20. “And pharaoh commanded his men concerning him: and they sent him away, and his wife, and all that he had.”
What a terrible folly going to Egypt became. Abram repeated his sin years latter. (Genesis 20:1-18)
(E.) ABRAM BACK IN CANAAN:
Genesis 13:1. “And Abram went up out of Egypt, he, and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the south.
2. And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold.
3. And he went on his journeys from the south even to Bethel, unto the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Hai;
4. Unto the place of the altar, which he had made there at the first: and there Abram called on the name of the Lord. "…
Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold." Much of these riches he had gotten in Egypt.
Abram came back to the place where he first set up his tent and where he had made an altar. What a lesson Abram had learned. He discovered that God is able to supply his needs.
Are you in a time of trial and testing that makes it hard to hang onto God? Don’t think for a moment you will find what you need by running down to Egypt, you will find a kind of relief but the price of Egyptis terrible.
(F.) THE RIGHT TO CHOOSE (Genesis 13:5-18)
Someone has said that life seems to be arranged backwards. We are called upon to make our most important choices at a time when we have the least amount of experience to guide us. So many times we say later, "If only I had known," Or, "If I had it to do over again."
Solomon left wise counsel in,
Proverbs 3:5. “Trust in the lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
6. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
As we said earlier, life in the land is one of continual conflict... We must go from victory to victory. Further, it is a life of unending choice.
There is no doubt Lot was a continual weight for Abram to carry. Lot evidently responded when God spoke to Abram and called him out of Ur of Chaldees. Lot’s father was dead so he wanted to go along, so Abram brought him with him. But one thing we notice about Lot, he always depended upon Abram.
There are many Lots around. They never seem to learn to walk alone with God, but lean on another’s faith for strength. As long as they have a strong church to lean on, or a close friend who is faithful to pray for them and encourage them, then all is well. But when the prop is weak, they are weak. We could call them second-hand Christians.
Now, even though the Bible calls lot a righteous man. (2 Peter 2:7-8)
He was wholly and totally dependent upon Abram for his faith.
The story tells us that,
Genesis 13:2. “And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold.” But Lot also had prospered by being associated with uncle Abram.
Genesis 13:5. “And Lot also, which went with Abram, had flocks, and herds, and tents."
This was to cause trouble, because there had been a long drought and the land had not had time to fully recover when they came back from Egypt.
Genesis 13:6. “And the land was not able to bear them, that they might dwell together: for their substance was great, so that they could not dwell together.
7. And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram’s cattle and the herdmen of Lot's cattle: and the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land.”
Their prosperity was at the very root of what we read here. We are going to see that the character of Lot was demonstrably injured by his prosperity. Abram escaped corruption through wealth, yet that wealth was indirectly the power which deprived him of his kinsman.
Better to remain poor and keep friends than to become rich and lose friends. The scarcity of pasture and water brought about strife between their herdsmen.
The insertion of the Canaanites and Perizzite, ancient dwellers in the land, into the narrative seems to indicate they also were involved.
Genesis 13:8. And Abram said unto Lot, let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren.
9. Is not the whole land before thee? Separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left. (KJV)
In this Abram exemplified the very spirit which Jesus brought to the world.
Matthew 5:39. “But I say unto you, that ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
40. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also.
41. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.
Romans 12:10. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;
We must remember that God had already given Abram the land, So he, not Lot, was entitled to choose which part of the land went to whom. That concession of his rights was intended to head off hostility between himself and Lot, and preserve the unity of the spirit in the bonds of peace.
Strife looms at our door. Always the evil is lurking, ready to devour us. Just outside every Christian’s heart the evils of the flesh, Jealousy, envy, resentment, bitterness, malice, await opportunity to bring us down.
Abram reminded lot, "We are brethren." That means we are tied together in the same bundle of life. It means if I hurt you I am hurting myself... If you hurt me, you are hurting yourself. We cannot have strife without injuring one another.
Whenever strife develops between members of the body of Christ,
Everyone gets hurt. Wounds are inflicted which, many times, never heal.
When Abram saw what was happening he did a wonderful thing,
Something which must have made god very proud of him. He gave up his own rights without a murmur, and gave lot the right of choice.
(G.) LOT CHOSE FOR HIMSELF:
Genesis 13:9. Is not the whole land before thee? Separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left.
From the plateau at Bethel one has a panoramic view of Palestine. As Abram and Lot stood on this plateau, the land stretched away as far as the eye could see.
Genesis 13:10. “And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar.
11. Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other.”
"Lot chose for himself."
Now let us take a good look at these verses.
"Lot lifted up his eyes and looked..." What did he see? He had no doubt been out looking around before. He knew that when choosing property the number one thing is, Location, location, location.
It is obvious he looked in only one direction. He looked to the east and he saw the Jordan river and the well-watered plain, like a garden. The deepest point on the face of the earth...
Then, it had lush green grass on either side as far as the eye could see. He was greatly attracted to it... A dream place. Then he saw the cities of the plain...cities like as in Egypt. Lot remembered Egypt and all it’s splendor. This is what lot saw. ..but there were some things Lot did not see.
The word ‘Jordan’ means ‘descender’. The river ends in the Dead Sea. There is no life there...grand to look upon, But spiritually it meant death. It is always going down, going away from God.
Jonah went down to Joppa. Jonah went down into the bottom of the ship. Jonah went down to the bottom of the sea. (Jonah 1:3, 2:6)
Genesis 13:12. “Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom.
13. But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly.”
Lot saw the cities but did not see the moral corruption which they wallowed in. Another thing lot did not see... He did not see that God had marked these cities for judgment. He saw prosperity and beauty...
But he did not see that all this was to be swept away in a fire storm from heaven.
While it is true, that neither Lot, nor Abram, could foresee the death, the rottenness, nor the judgment that life in Sodom would bring.
But the whole point of this lesson is this, "Lot chose for himself." and, "Pitched his tent towards Sodom." Not all the way in, but towards, Sodom. Presuming to run his own life, and deceived by what he saw, he chose for himself, heart-ache and judgment.
It was not long before he moved into Sodom, Worse yet, Sodom moved in with him. Most likely his wife was from Sodom.
(H.) LETTING GOD CHOOSE
Genesis 13:14. And the Lord said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward:
15. For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever.
16. And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered.
17. Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for i will give it unto thee. (KJV)
Immediately on Lot’s departure Jehovah approaches. The appearance of the heavenly friend, came to compensate for the loss of the earthly kinsman, as often happens in the divine dealings with men and saints, and was a welcome relief for Abram.
This is the third time that God spoke directly to Abram, and he recognized his voice. Abram’s heart was no doubt troubled because of the separation of lot, and dejected as he realized his solitude among hostile neighbors, and being a stranger in a foreign land. So these words were given to console and encourage him. "Lift up thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art..."
How many times has God come to us and told us to "hold your head up, and look around you.”
Once again Jehovah renewed his covenant with Abram, with emphasis on the land being given to him and his seed forever, and the promise of innumerable descendants. "arise, walk through the land..."
Note the words of Jehovah.
"Lift up thine eyes,..." "arise,..." "walk..."
"Arise, walk through the land..."
"Don’t wait for it."
"Enjoy it now."
"You can have it."
"Set your feet upon it."
"Possess it... Now."
God is telling Abram not to be moping around, get up, and start moving, I’m going to make you one of the greatest figures in human history, so get going.
(I.) ABRAM RESPONDS TO THE VOICE OF JEHOVAH:
Genesis 13:18. “Then Abram removed his tent, and came and dwelt in the plain of Mamre, which is in Hebron, and built there an altar unto the Lord.
Mamre means, "fatness," or, "strength."
Hebron means, "association," or, "fellow-ship."
"Built there an altar unto the Lord."
Abram settled down there and made it the central point of his abode in Canaan. From here he could leisurely survey his inheritance with the calm assurance that it was his.
Our lesson from this, we still have choices. We can say with Lot, "I want what the world can offer me." Or like Abram, wait on God, and let him choose for us.
Several kings attack Sodom and take lot captive. (Genesis 14:1-16)
Abram with his tent and his altar is dwelling in Hebron when suddenly his quiet life is shattered... A man is running, a messenger is coming.
In Genesis 14 we are introduced to the first war ever recorded in scripture. It vividly contrasts the blustering armies of earth with the quiet overcoming power of faith. We get the first glimpse of these earthly armies in the first three verses of Genesis 14.
Four kings, one as far away as Pakistan, are banded together, and after invading nation after nation, subduing and plundering at will, are at the gates of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Genesis 14:2. “That these made war with Bera king of Sodom, and with Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, and Shemeberking of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela, which is Zoar.”
Sodom pictures the world in its lust for wealth and sensual pleasures. The invading armies from the east portrays the world in its raw naked power. Power to enslave and tyrannize and take away physical liberties of man.
Here are two different forces, both arising out of the fallen nature of man. One desires material gain, economic advancement, luxury, ease, and sensual pleasure, the other animalistic nature.
Now Lot, having been separated from Abram several years, has long ago moved into Sodom. He no longer worships before an altar; he has lost touch with God. He stands helpless before the apparent invincibility of this enemy.
Genesis 14:5-7. Reveals the raw, naked power of this army, subduing the Amalekites, Kadesh, Rephaim, and Zuzim. These last two were families of giants... These were mighty men, some eight feet tall, And greatly feared by those around them. . David fought one of them.
Here then was an enemy seemingly invincible, relentless, unstoppable, striking fear into every heart as they crushed all opposition.
Genesis 14:11. And they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their victuals, and went their way.
12. And they took Lot, Abram’s brother's son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed.
If it was not for what happened in this last verse, the world would have never known about all these marauders. Lot, his family, and all his goods were carried away by the invading army.
(J.) WHEN YOU NEED A FRIEND: Genesis 14:13
Perhaps, as Lot, you have found yourself captured against your will by some evil habit, or power, that enslaves you. The Holy Spirit shifts the scene to Hebron and to Abram on the mountainside, so that we might see the overcoming power of faith.
Genesis 14:13. “And there came one that had escaped, and told Abram the Hebrew; for he dwelt in the plain of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol, and brother of Aner: and these were confederate with Abram.
That’s when the man, running, the messenger we spoke of earlier, arrived at Abram’s tent. Perhaps Lot, at the last minute, before his capture, sent this man to find, and tell Abram. Perhaps in desperation, Lot turns to Abram... "I need help." "Help me if you can." All hope for Lot now rests in Abram’s hand.
Perhaps there is someone today that is taken captive by some evil force, some evil habit, which you cannot escape from. One Christian can often be the means of deliverance to a weaker brother or sister.
Galatians 6:1. “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.
Be on the lookout for signals for help...
Learn to recognize the signs someone is sending.
You that need help,
Send a note,
Make that call,
Raise your hand.
You may not have the spiritual strength to walk down to the altar.
But somehow send the message, send it today.
(K.) VICTORY ACHIEVED: (Genesis 14:14-16)
Let us see how deliverance came for Lot.
Genesis 14:14. “And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan.
15. And he divided himself against them, he and his servants, by night, and smote them, and pursued them unto Hobah, which is on the left hand of Damascus.
16. And he brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people.”
318 men, trained for battle..
Disciplined men he could rely upon.
His own men, born in his own house.
Only 318. But, that was all he needed.
Remember at this time Abraham was probably 85 years old.
It might have seemed a pitiful handful against the vast armies of those four kings who had come out of the east, plundering everything before them. God wants us to learn a lesson from this that God’s victories are never won by force of numbers.
Zechariah 4:6b. “., This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts.
God wanted us to know that numbers didn’t matter.
Leviticus 26:8. And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword.
Moses and Aaron stood against the might of Egypt.
Sham-gar took on 300 philistines with an ox-goad.
Gideon with 300 men defeated vast numbers.
Jephthah, Samson, and David were all out-numbered.
Elijah withstood the hundreds of prophets of Baal.
If 318 people were to gather to pray today, what a day this would be.
If those 318 knew how to pray, were trained in the warfare of prayer, they would shake the powers of evil around the world. 318 could put to rout all the armies of evil.
Abram divided his forces into a two-pronged attack.
We also have two very powerful weapons in spiritual warfare.
The word of God, and prayer.
Ephesians 6:17b. “..,And the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God:
18. Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;”
Abram pursued them as far as Hobah, north of Damascus. (150 miles)
Abram never let up, he kept on, he pressed to the utmost, he did not quit fighting until complete victory. Don’t stop praying at the first break in the enemy’s resistance. Press on through until you have won complete victory.
In verse 16, we see the extent of the victory Abram won.
Genesis 14:16. “And he brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people."
There was complete and total deliverance.
James 5:16b. “... The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
The prayer of a righteous man has great power in it’s effects.
A Chinese translation says, "The earnest hot-headed prayer of a righteous man releases great power.”
When you need a friend. You will never need a friend any more than when you have fallen into a snare of the devil.
Seek out some friend,
Some saint of God,
Someone you can trust,
Lay the matter out before them.
Ask them to pray for you, and with you.
Abram had the resource to deliver Lot from physical bondage of the forces of the world, but only Lot could take himself out of Sodom. Lot chose to move back into Sodom where he was to eventually lose everything Abram had regained for him when God destroyed Sodom.
Sodom represented an inward choice in the heart of this man. If Lot chose to live there, Abram could not help him, not much could be done for him. When Lot could not help himself, Abram, separated in heart from Sodom-like attitudes that rendered Lot so powerless was able to lay hold of God and effect a great and mighty deliverance.
(L.) THE PERIL OF VICTORY: (Genesis 14:17-24)
Abram was now on his way back to Sodom with all the goods of the city, and most of the population, including lot and his family. It was a time of victory for Abram, and therefore a time of peril.
In our spiritual life, the enemy loves to strike when we are relaxed and off-guard after some spiritual victory. Satan’s approach then is never open, or frontal, but subtle, and cunning, taking advantage of our relaxed defenses, especially after some great victory or blessing.
In this way Abram was suddenly confronted with a subtle temptation on his way back to Sodom. But God’s fore-knowledge of what Abram would face brought about a strange interlude in his path which brought deliverance from this temptation.
1 Corinthians 10:13. “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”
First we want to look at the temptation then at the interlude which took place just before Abram faced it.
Genesis 14:17. “And the king of Sodom went out to meet him after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer, and of the kings that were with him, at the valley of Shaveh, which is the king's dale.”
The King of Sodom met Abram on his way back from the battlefield. They met in the king’s valley just outside the village of Salem. The Kidron Valley is where Jesus and his disciples went on his last night, just outside Jerusalem.
Genesis 14:21. “And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself.
Notice the subtlety of the temptation which suddenly came upon Abram. The King of Sodom simply asked for the return of the people of the city. The goods and riches he gratefully offered to Abram. The wealth of Sodom was all to be Abram’s. It appeared so right.
Abram could have said,
"This is certainly only what I deserve."
"After all that is what everyone does."
"I can take the wealth of Sodom and go my way."
"I would never have to live in a tent again."
"I could give to Sarai all the luxuries she deserves."
Who of us, standing in Abram’s shoes, would not have thought like this? Think of it for a moment. All of the wealth of Sodom was offered to him. He could have been, perhaps, the wealthiest man in the world.
He could have built his own city, with his own castle.
But Abram recognized the peril of this offer. To accept this kind of gift there would be an obligation to the giver. From that day on the King of Sodom could say, "Abram is indebted to me. If I need help my friend Abram will come." "After all I made him rich."
If Abram yielded, he would never be wholly God’s man again. There is no doubt that the pressure on Abram to accept this gift was very great. But without hesitation he replies to the King of Sodom,
Genesis 14:22. “And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the lord, The Most High God, the possessor of heaven and earth,
23. “That I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, i have made Abram rich:
Notice how emphatic Abram is, "I will not take anything of thine." It is a bold and positive declaration. It is a clear cut victory for Abram over this subtle trap of Satan.
Now we want to find out how Abram could pass this test so easily. The answer lies in this strange interlude which we have passed over till now.
There are three verses which the Holy Spirit inserted here which we must read and take note of.
Genesis 14:18. “And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the Priest of The Most High God.
19. And he (Melchizedek) blessed him (Abraham), and said, blessed be Abram of the Most High God, possessor of heaven and earth:
20. And blessed be the Most High God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he (Abram) gave him tithes of all.”
Now we know that just before the king of Sodom met Abram with his offer of all the worldly goods of Sodom, Abram had met with another king. The mysterious king Melchizedek.
This King steps suddenly out of the shadows, ministers to Abram, and just as suddenly disappears again from the pages of scripture. Not another word about him for many centuries, then, David, In Psalms 110:4, speaks of him, linking the Messiah to him. Then another thousand years roll by, and we have another reference to this strange individual in Hebrews chapters 5, 6, 7.
Hebrews 7:3. “Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.
4. Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils.
Who is Melchizedek?
The guesses range from Shem, son of Noah, To an appearance of the pre-incarnate Christ in human form.
One thing we do know he was a type of the eternal priesthood of our Lord Jesus Christ “who ever lives to make intercession for all who come to God by him.” (Hebrew 5:10) Thus Melchizedek’s priesthood is a ministry of help to those who face a time of trouble. The priest of the Most High God, the one who owns everything in heaven and on earth. He is able to meet any human need.
Philippians 4:19. “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus."
Now we can see why God led Abram back to his home by way of the king’s valley. The king of Sodom was coming to meet him but Abram knows nothing of his approach, nor of his subtle offer which would make Abram indebted to him.
But God knew, and he sent Melchizedek to meet him first. Perhaps he warned Abram of this subtle trap awaiting him. "The King of Sodom will offer you wealth, but Abram, your God is possessor of heaven and earth, He owns it all. There is nothing he cannot give you."
(M.) REFRESHING THE WEARY:
After the long strenuous march, and fight against the kings of the northeast, Abram sat down to eat this meal with Melchizedek, and was strengthened and refreshed. Then we are told he (Melchizedek) served him (Abraham) bread and wine.
Possibly part of the wine was poured out as an offering to the Lord God. In the intimacy of this fellowship, under the ministry of Melchizedek, Abram worships his God.
The record says Abram gave him (Melchizedek) a tenth of everything he had recovered. This is the beginning of giving tithes to God.
In 2 Corinthians 8:5, Paul speaks of the Macedonian Christian, "but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God."
So it was here in the king’s valley, where many centuries later a greater Melchizedek would sweat blood in agony, that Abram enjoyed fellowship, by faith, with love and joy. He raised his hands to God, and swore to him, He would not take anything the king of Sodom had to offer. (Genesis 14:22-23) Then he rose up and went out to meet the challenge... Now he was ready for it.
Many times the reason we fail is because we do not give our Melchizedek the opportunity to minister to us.
How valuable is our fellowship in the house of God.
There, in his presence, we make promises to him.
It is there that God meets with us, and blesses us,
Strengthening us for the test ahead of us,
As we raise our hands and worship him.
There is nothing in this world that compares to the glory of fellowship with the living God, maker of heaven and earth. After such a fellowship as Abram had with the "King of Righteousness," it was not hard to answer the King of Sodom.
Genesis 14:22. “And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the Lord, the Most High God, the possessor of heaven and earth,
23. That I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich:
24. Save only that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men which went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion.
All that Abram asked for was the small amount his own men had eaten and a portion which his allies of the land of Canaan deserved for helping in the battle. (Genesis 14:13&24)
Top Study #2
This study will continue in Abraham #3.
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By, James l. Thornton