Summary: When our possessions control us
A. INTRODUCTION: POSSESSING OUR POSSESSIONS – GENESIS 21:22-34
1. Why does God give us possessions?
a. To serve Him.
b. To care for our needs.
c. To worship or please the Father.
d. For our enjoyment.
e. To make life easier.
2. When our possessions control us.
b. We get our identity from them.
c. We give into lust.
d. We use them for immoral purposes.
e. We use them against others.
3. It’s alright to possess possessions, don’t let them possess you.
B. ABIMELECH TESTS ABRAHAM
“About that time, Abimelech, a wealthy nomadic land owner, came to see Abraham, and brought Phicol who was his war lord. Abimelech said, ‘Abraham, I see that God blesses you. Because I have allowed you to live on my land, swear to me you won’t turn against me or my children.’ Abraham replied, ‘I will swear it.’ Then Abraham said, ‘My servants dug a well but your servants violently took it away.’ Abimelech replied, ‘This is the first I have heard about it and I don’t know who did it. Why didn’t you say something before this?’ Abraham gave cattle to Abimelech and they made a treaty. Then Abraham set seven lambs off to themselves. Abimelech said, ‘What are these for?’ Abraham said, ‘These are my gift to you as a public recognition that I dug these wells’” (Gen. 21:22-30, Amplified).
1. Abimelech is a title, not a personal name. Could be the same leader (Gen. 20:1-10).
2. Brought along his war lord to exercise muscle. “The chief captain of his host” (21:22).
3. Abimelech has both fear and respect. “God helps you in all you do” (Gen. 21:22, NLT).
4. Abimelech has allowed Abraham to live on his land.
5. Abimelech is afraid Abraham will get big and turn against him. “Swear that you will be loyal to me” (21:23, NLT).
6. Pledged loyalty to the Philistines. “To the land wherein thou hast sojourned” (21:29). “Abraham sojourned in the land of the Philistines many days” (21:34).
7. Abraham used the land of others for God’s purpose. “By faith, he sojourned in the land of promise, as in the foreign country, living in tents” (Heb. 11:9).
a. This world is not our permanent home.
b. Our tent (house) symbolizes temporary living.
c. Use our possessions for God’s glory.
d. People should recognize God is “with us.”
8. Abraham stood up for his rights. “Abraham complained . . . about the well” (21:24, NLT).
9. The right to property and possessions is biblical. “Thou shalt not steal” (Ex. 20:15). “Thou shalt not covet” (Ex. 20:17).
10. The issue of the well. “Abraham complained about a well . . . violently taken” (21:24, NLT). We should protect our rights.
11. In dealing with disagreements. Put everything on the table.
12. Bend over backwards to be fair. “Seven additional ewe lambs” (21:28, NLT).
13. Forgive others without rubbing it in their faces.
14. Stick up for your possessions. “That they may be a witness to me” (21:30).
15. Named well Beersheba, well of the oath.
C. SETTLING IN WITH YOUR POSSESSIONS
“After hearing an oath, Abimelech and Phicol went back to their homes. Abraham planted Tamarisk trees and worshiped the eternal Lord and lived among the Philistines” (Gen. 21:31-34, Amplified).
1. Let your neighbors go home.
2. Worshiping the Lord is more important than place or possessions.
3. A grove of trees.
a. Reminder of the occasion.
b. Rest and refreshment from travels.
c. Bigger than your life.
4. El Olam, i.e., the Everlasting God.
a. He is both everlasting and God over everlasting things.
b. Olam means an indefinite time, i.e., “From everlasting to everlasting Thou art God” (Ps. 90:2).
c. Olam also means hidden. The idea God keeps things secret or hidden from us, i.e., mystery. “God did not reveal it to previous generations, but now He has revealed it by the Holy Spirit” (Eph. 3:3, NLT).
5. Look for geographic places of prayer and worship. “Called there on the name of the Lord” (21:33). Also called atmospheric worship.
6. Worship is giving the worthship to God that He deserves.
If you have never really accepted Jesus as your personal Savior, would you do it right now? Do not delay or put it off. If you would like to receive Christ by faith, pray this simple prayer in your heart:
Dear Lord, I acknowledge that I am a sinner. I believe Jesus died for my sins on the cross, and rose again the third day. I repent of my sins. By faith I receive the Lord Jesus as my Savior. You promised to save me, and I believe You, because You are God and cannot lie. I believe right now that the Lord Jesus is my personal Savior, and that all my sins are forgiven through His precious blood. I thank You, dear Lord, for saving me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.