Summary: The story of Abram and the rescue of Lot. Mountiantop faith: 1. A deep love and commitment to others. 2. A deep love and commitment to God and the people of the place where God has called you. Both bring righteousness and peace to the world. Righteousness
INTRODUCTION (ACTING AND VOLUNTEERS)
Today our series called The Journey comes to an end. I hope leaning about Abram’s journey to become a man of faith has been helpful to you. We end this series on a high note. Abram is worshiping God in the mountains of Israel at Bethel (which is Hebrew for God’s House.) He is on the mountain top in his faith, a least right now
So, what does faith in God look like when we’ve reached a mountaintop? What difference does this kind of faith make? And how does it compare to worldly faith or the things this world trusts? Today we look at Genesis 14 and Abram’s Journey to king Melchizedek to find out.
The first part of this passage is a bit confusing when we read it. I have been dreading trying to explain it. So, I figured I would use a few props and a two people to help me explain what is going on.
Can I get two volunteers? I am going to represent the 4 powerful kings from the East or Mesopotamia, so I will take the big shield and large spear, because my alliance is powerful. You are going to represent the 5 not so powerful kings from the Jordan valley. You get the small shield and little sword. And you are going to represent Abrams tiny army of shepherds. You don’t get any shields or any weapons! You trust God!
In verse 1-3 we read that 4 Eastern Kings of Mesopotamia fought the 5 Kings of the Jordan Valley. The 4 Eastern Kings won and they oppressed or subjugated the 5 Kings and their people who lived in the Jordan Valley. Basically this means that these 5 Kings had to give money or tribute or pay taxes to these 4 Kings to rule these cities. So they oppressed their people to pay these kings and keep themselves rich. These 5 Kings did this for 12 years.
Then we read in verse 4 that after 13 years these 5 kings in the Jordan valley rebelled against the 4 Eastern Kings. (This means they probably quit sending money to them). So in the 14th year the 4 kings amass a large army and ransacked the cities of the Jordan Valley to get the money these kings were not paying them (The Green Line on the Map) The 5 kings of the Jordan valley saw this coming, so they got their army together and fight the 4 Eastern kings. The 5 Kings of the Jordan Valley lose big time, and the 4 Eastern Kings take off with the wealth and food of these cities. They also kidnap many of the people in order to make them their slaves.
Verse 12 tells us that Abram’s nephew Lot is one those who are kidnapped, so Abram gets his 318 trained men together, has his alliance do the same, then goes off after this huge Army. Abram has NO FEAR!! He and his little band of shepherds develop a strategy to divide their forces and sneak attack after dark. They WIN, and chase the 4 Kings and their large army out of the area recovering all people, wealth and property these 4 Kings stole.
Ok give these volunteers a hand. This is the context for the portion of Scripture we are going to look at today. Please turn to Genesis 14. I will begin reading with verse 18 and end with Genesis 15:1.
"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. ….The king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me the people and keep the goods for yourself.” But Abram said to the king of Sodom, “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.” After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.”"
Again, Abram is having a mountain top experience when it comes to his faith. His faith is strong!! In the passage I just read, Abram is continuing on his Journey of Faith. He is walking toward Melchizedek and his kingdom of righteousness and peace, and does not get sidetracked by the worldly king of Sodom. As Abram continues to journey towards Melchizedek three things have become characteristic of his life of faith: 1. He loves others, 2. He Loves God, and as a result 3. He brings righteousness and peace to the world.