Summary: We can’t trust in our works and the grace of God at the same time. We are justified freely by the promise of God to all who believe.
All or Nothing
Abraham and Sarah had been blessed. They had experienced many years of marital camaraderie and intimacy, enjoyed a full life with many wonderful memories, and were looking forward to their retirement years. Just as they were making plans to sleep late during the week, go fishing on the weekends, and do some traveling -- God called.
Through the years they had entertained many friends and neighbors in their home, but they had never entertained any visitors like the One who came to call them to pull up stakes and engage in an adventure that no travel agent could ever put together.
God said, “Come on.” Abraham said, “Where are we going?” God motioned and smiled, “Come on and I’ll show you.” With great faith and questions of where their trip would end, Abraham and Sarah left. That’s all we know. There is no discussion between them. No argument. No “What if?” All we can learn from God’s Word is found in verse 4 – “So Abram left, as the Lord had told him.” (Genesis 12:4 NIV)
Fast forward a few years. Abraham and Sarah and their nephew, Lot, were prospering. Vagabond prosperity if you will. They had no home. No mailing address. They traveled through Canaan land. They were making their way through Shechem when they were interrupted by the Lord once again. God said, 7 … “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the LORD, who had appeared to him. (Genesis 12:7 NIV) Abraham turned around to see who the Lord was talking to since he knew that he and Sarah had sold the baby clothes in a garage sale before they left home. The Lord said, “You Abraham! I’m going to give this land to your offspring. Just wait and see.” How do you even respond to something as preposterous as a prediction that an old man and his old wife are going to attend childbirth classes one day?
Abraham and his entourage traveled on. They left Shechem and made their way to Bethel. They pitched a tent in Bethel long enough to build another altar in honor of the One who had made their life so full, and then they traveled on towards the Negev.
After Abraham and Sarah had spent some time in the Negev, a famine hit the land. Abraham went down to Egypt to live there for a while. After a little “white” lie had gotten him in trouble with Pharaoh, Abraham and his crew went back to the Negev, more wealthy and prosperous than he had been in his entire life!
Abraham and Lot had become so prosperous that the land wouldn’t support all of their livestock. Their hired hands began to fuss at each other until finally Abraham said, “We can’t have a family feud. You choose the land you want and I’ll make do with what is left.” Lot was no fool. He saw the choice land and chose it. Abraham lived with his wife, Sarah, and all of their flocks and hired hands in Canaan.
Abraham was minding his own business when the Lord interrupted him once again. The Lord said,
14The LORD said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, “Lift up your eyes from where you are and look north and south, east and west. 15All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever. 16I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted. 17Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you.” (Genesis 13:14-17 NIV)
Abraham just shook his head, but he thought to himself, “There He goes again.” Abraham packed up, walked through the land as he had been instructed, and settled near the great trees of Mamre at Hebron where he built another altar in honor of the One who had made his life so full. No matter what Abraham may have thought, he trusted God and praised Him for His mighty blessings…each and every one.
Meanwhile, Abraham’s nephew Lot was in trouble. He was living in Sodom at the time. Some kings decided to join forces and raid the city. They carried off Lot along with all of his goods…all of his possessions were gone. Someone escaped the raid and went to tell Lot’s uncle, Abraham. Abraham took 318 of his most skilled men and rescued Lot along with all of Lot’s possessions. On Abraham’s way back home, the king of Sodom came out to meet him. Melchizedek, the king of Salem, who is called a priest of God, also came out to meet Abraham. One man was there to get from Abraham and another to bless him. Melchizedek said,