Summary: Who is Melchizedek? How did Abraham honor him? Are we going to honor our King Jesus this Christmas?
Why should we follow God? Today we’re going to see the freedom that comes from following God, and the imprisonment of following the world and its ways. Our message today is about real faith, not the kind we say in a prayer when we decide that church isn’t so bad and I think I can be a Christian. But the kind that says, “Lord my life is yours, every decision I make, every situation I’m in, I will submit to you and let your will prevail over mine. Total trust.
I can’t help but think of my wife when I think of faith. We hadn’t seriously talked about me becoming a pastor and leaving my counselling job, but the day I emailed her and asked her what she thought about me quitting my job and selling our house, her response was one of simple faith, OK. Kind of like how Abram answered God.
Then I watched as she worked out her faith even further. At first she said you can take a position in the Lower Mainland within a short distance of her mom, then it was within a few hours, then within a day’s drive, then something released inside of her and she realized that truly following God can’t be conditional, and here we are half way across the country.
And did it work out? Beyond our wildest imagination. God does reward faith folks, but as soon as we complete one step of faith, God doesn’t leave us there, he moves us to the next step. If you never want to grow in your faith, don’t take any risks, but if you do, God will help you along by giving you tests.
I read a quote this week that said: “Your faith ought to get in trouble at times. If everybody thinks you’re nuts, you may be. It’s OK if some think you are. You’re probably in trouble if no one thinks you are.”
What a fascinating chapter we have today, we’re going to see how again even in this passage from Genesis, it leads to the King that was born at Christmas, but first we start with:
I. The War (vv 1-12)
Lots of Kings here. Now these are not Kings of countries but of city states. Basically glorified mayors. But they did have much power and authority, and they did lead fairly large armies.
We see here in Genesis that there were two coalitions, one that was in power that had four Kings from the northeast including the head guy Chedorlaomer, and the other containing five kings from the south including the sinful cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.
The southern kings were tired of being ruled by the northern ones and decided to rebel and try to claim their freedom. Well let’s just say their lifestyle was not conducive to being great warriors and these five kings were soundly defeated by the four northern kings who actually circled the entire Dead Sea Jordan River area wiping out everything in their path.
They were enjoying their victories before coming up the west side of the Jordan which would have included Jerusalem, when Abram got word that they had taking Lot and his possessions.
By this time Abram was a friend of God, but Lot had become a friend of the world and when Sodom lost the war, Lot was condemned with the world. If we identify with the world than we need to expect to suffer what the world suffers.
God reminded Lot that he had no business living in Sodom. God disciplines out of his love for us, and if we don’t listen to him, he has to get our attention some other way that is usually more painful. Just like real life, if we don’t listen to our parents when we’re kids, what could have been a simple grounding, could end up being jail time or getting severely injured.
Then we see that Abram had superiority over these earthly kings who were not supported by God and were basically only interested in power and wealth. So with God on his side Abram becomes:
II. The Winner (vv 13-16)
Now Abram wasn’t a warrior, he wasn’t a king, and neither were his allies the Amorites. But nonetheless, Abram must have known that God had his hand in getting Lot out of Sodom and keeping him alive, so he decided he would faithfully lead a tiny army of mostly untrained men who were all from his household, and attack at night chasing these victorious experienced armies a hundred miles out of Abram’s territory, and bringing Lot with all his people and possessions home.
318 men, remember Gideon defeated 125,000 with only 300 men. This is similar and it’s obvious that God had won this battle, they never could have done it without the Lord’s intervention. Just another confirmation that in God’s plan size truly doesn’t matter.