Tuesday, March 5, 2019
Genesis 14:17-20 After Abram returned from defeating Kedorlaomer and the kings allied with him, the king of Sodom came out to meet him in the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley). Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, and he blessed Abram, saying, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. And blessed be God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand.” Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.
In our ongoing saga of the life of Abram, from which we are learning great lessons in faith, Abram has become very established in the land of promise and has grown in wealth and power. Lot has moved from his tents on the outskirts of Sodom to living in the city. Lot is captured in a war with neighboring territories. When Abram receives word that his nephew has been taken prisoner, he organizes a small army of 318 men from his household and pursues Lot’s captors. When he catches them, he routs them in a nighttime battle and recovers all the stolen property and captured people.
This was a great act of faith on Abram’s part. He took 318 men into battle against five kings and their armies from their respective cities. But there is an even greater act of faith to follow.
On their way home, the King of Salem, now modern day Jerusalem, came out to meet Abram. King Melchizedek, holding a dual office of king and priest of God Most High, blesses Abram and gives the glory for the victory to God. Then, in phase one of Abram’s incredible act of faith, he gives Melchizedek one tenth of everything they had recovered in the war. Before there was any law that required tithing, from the love in his heart for God, Abram gave a tenth of everything to the Lord.
This is a great lesson for us today. We do not give to the Lord’s work because the law obligates us to: we give to the Lord because love motivates us – God’s love for us and our love for Him. If you wonder how much you should give, here is the starting point – 10% of everything you receive from any source, because the ultimate source is God.
But that is not the end of Abram’s faith in this story. The king of Sodom approaches Abram and tries to bargain for the rest of the spoils, specifically for the people. This king was smart, and knew that people were far more valuable than possessions, and people would generate more possessions. He offers to let Abram keep the material prizes in exchange for the people. But Abram models incredible faith for us and says this,
“I have raised my hand to the LORD, God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth, and have taken an oath that I will accept nothing belonging to you, not even a thread or the thong of a sandal, so that you will never be able to say, ‘I made Abram rich.’ I will accept nothing but what my men have eaten and the share that belongs to the men who went with me – to Aner, Eshcol and Mamre. Let them have their share.”
WOW! Abram’s faith was so strong that he gave everything away except his actual expenses and the fair share for his men. Abram kept nothing for himself. Why? Because he never wanted any credit for his life to go to anyone but God. He trusted the promise of God so completely that he could give everything away and have complete confidence that God would continue to provide for him.
What a great lesson for us today – God alone is our provider. God alone receives the glory for what we have and what we accomplish. We can cease from our personal agendas, plans, pursuits, and power struggles, and relinquish everything to the promises of God. Let it never be said of our lives that anything of the world made us what we are. Let us raise our hand to the Lord God Most High, Creator of the heaven and earth, and swear an oath to Him that we will accept no glory for ourselves from the world. We will not allow the world to take any glory for who we are, what we have, or what we accomplish. All the glory is God’s alone.
Let us walk in that level of faith.