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  • Rev. Joseph A. Bias

FEAR NOT! – Part 3

Updated: Oct 27, 2020

“Then Abram moved his tent, and went and dwelt by the terebinth trees of Mamre, which are in Hebron, and built an altar there to the LORD.” Genesis 13:18

Now after the families and the herdsmen of Abram and Lot we separated from one another and Abram was alone, just he and God, the Lord gave him a vision and the promise that his descendants were going to be as numerous as the stars in the heavens and as immeasurable as the dust of the earth. Then He told Him to rise, walk the land for God was giving all the land to him. And again the Word says,

“Then Abram moved his tent, and went and dwelt by the terebinth trees of Mamre, which are in Hebron, and built an altar there to the LORD.” Genesis 13:18

God said it, God told him to do it, and he got up and he did it, still strong in his faith and quick to respond to the will of God.

All was well, apparently for a while, but then Abram got caught in the middle of a civil war. Lot, his nephew and all his possessions, are taken captive by one of the warring kings. Abram strong in believing and trusting God pulled together 300 of his servants and went to war to rescue his brother’s son and in dong so to defeat the kings that had taken captive the kings and the people of Sodom and Gomorrah where Lot and his family lived. Later, when the king of Sodom tries to reward Abram for his victory, which they believe he won on their behalf, he refuses to take anything, not even a shoe latched from him, saying,

“But Abram said to the king of Sodom, “I have raised my hand to the LORD, God Most High, the Possessor of heaven and earth, that I will take nothing, from a thread to a sandal strap, and that I will not take anything that isyours, lest you should say, “I have made Abram rich’ “— Genesis 14:22-23

Instead, he marked the occasion by breaking bread and drinking wine as an act of worship and thanksgiving to God by the High Priest Melchesidec, who sealed the victory with these words.

“Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High. And he blessed him and said: “Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” And he gave him a tithe of all. - Genesis 14:18-20

Now this is worthy of mention. Abram didn’t go into this war with his 300 hundred servants thinking he, by his own strength and the skill and cunning of his plowman, sheep and goat-herders, carpenters and vine-dressers from his land, butchers bakers and oil lamp makers, would be capable of defeating the well trained, well equipped soldiers of the armies that had already overcome two kings and their cities and plundered all their goods.

No, not even for a moment did he think that. But he remembered the promises of God. First, in Genesis 12:1-3, God promises to make him a great nation, to bless him and make his name great, and that he would be a blessing and more. Then he remembered that God promised to give him all the land. This war was taking place essentially on his land, the land that God had promised to give him. So, before he went out to engage with the opposing forces he prayed and he made a covenant promise to God that if He would give him the victory over these great armies and deliver His nephew and his family and all his possessions from these rebellious kings that he, Abram, would not take a dime from them, not even a most insignificant thing as a single shoe latchet, but He would give all the glory to God.

That act was based on His faith in the promises of God. And so without thought of fear or hesitation he and his 300 crack cooks, shepherds and herdsmen went forth to war, confident in God for their victory. Well…maybe not all of them were confident, but Abram undoubtedly was.

So it was, that God gave him the victory and just at the point when he is offered the spoils of the war, but turned them down, the High Priest, the King of Salem appears before him with bread and wine to seal the victory and proclaim for all to hear that God alone had caused Abram to be victorious. This was an act of commemoration of the Covenant God made with Abram and would make for him when he changed his name from Abram to Abraham. [See Genesis 15-17:5]

So Abram responds by giving Melchisedec a tithe of all he possessed, not of the spoils of the war, but of all his personal holdings and possessions. Did you catch the contrast? The king of Sodom wanted to reward Abram with the spoils of the war for winning the victory for him, but not from anything he owned. But Abram refused it, knowing that it was God alone who had won the victory for him. So Abram rewarded God, so to speak, through Melchizedek, king of Salem, [Genesis 14:18] the Priest of God Most High by giving Him a tithe (a tenth) of all in worship and thanksgiving to God.

Part 4 next

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