Genesis 14

Genesis 14 – 23 Nov 2014

In Gen 13, we saw how Abraham’s faith influenced the way he dealt with material matters.

Abraham was the one to whom God promised the land of Canaan. 

So he had every right to decide where he would dwell. 

But he exercised self-denial. 

And he let Lot choose where he would like to dwell instead. 

And we saw that Lot chose to live near the city of Sodom. 

Why did Lot choose Sodom? 

Because the place was prosperous & well endowed – Gen 13v10 

It was the “happening” place. 

Lot was already a rich man. 

He could leverage on the economic prospects in Sodom & further increase his wealth. 

What’s more, the place was exciting. 

It was appealing to the flesh. 

There’s never going to be a dull moment. 

There was only one problem. 

Gen 13v13 tells us that “…. the men of Sodom were exceedingly wicked and sinful against the LORD”. 

This morning we shall meditate on Gen 14. 

And I want you to take home 2 key points in the form of questions as follows: 

1) What was the consequence of Lot’s choice? 

2) What was the secret to Abraham’s victory over temptations? 

1) What was the consequence of Lot’s choice? 

The answer: Lot & his family almost lost their lives, if not for the grace of God. 

I want you to know that Lot is a believer, ie. a Christian. 

For it says in 2 Peter 2v7-8: 

7 and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked  

8 (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds)—  

Psa 32 tells us that a man is righteous when his sins are forgiven him. 

And Lot was described as a righteous man in 2Pet 2v7&8. 

He was clearly covetousness in his conduct. 

But God declared righteous because Jesus paid for his sins on the cross. 

Please be clear that this is God’s grace that should never be taken for granted. 

Who knows if Lot could have been more blessed if he was more obedient to God? 

Dear believers, could you be denying yourself of greater blessings because you could be walking much closer to God? 

Lot was also described as one who dwelt amongst the wicked. 

And his soul was “tormented” day-by-day “seeing and hearing the lawless deeds of the wicked”. 

Why did this happen? 

Because Lot chose to live in Sodom. 

Here was a believer who made a choice of where he would spend his life. 

Unfortunately he chose to be in constant contact with “…people who were exceedingly wicked & sinful”. 

And what is the consequence of Lot’s choice? 

He & his family almost lost their lives, if not for the grace of God. 

Gen 14v1-12 described a war that took place in the Jordan valley. 

This was where Sodom was located. 

This was where Lot & his family chose to live. 

There were a total of 9 kingdoms in the Jordan valley. 

And these 9 kingdoms banded into 2 different groups of 5 & 4 to fight against each other. 

The names of their kings are very difficult to pronounce. 

So let me just summarise for you what actually happened. 

Amongst the group of 5 kings who lost the war were the kings of Sodom & Gomorrah. 

And so the kings of Sodom & Gomorrah fled for their lives. 

And their enemies took away all their possessions. 

And we are told in v12 that they also captured Lot, his family & his possessions. 

We saw earlier that Lot was a man who was rich in possessions. 

But suddenly, he has now become a prisoner of war. 

He lost everything, including his family & his possessions. 

He chose to live in Sodom for economic benefits & a glamorous life. 

But all that remained for him now was a fearful expectation. 

Remember what 1 Tim 6:10 tells us? 

“For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” 

I am sure Lot had many sorrows on his heart at that point in time. 

What will happen to his family? 

What will happen to his own life? 

He probably regretted his choice of dwelling in Sodom. 

Doesn’t this happen to us very often? 

We make choices without consideration of their spiritual implications. 

And we are driven to God in prayer only because our difficult circumstances make us do so. 

Dear Christians, it is highly possible that you can be lured by material riches. 

You can be tempted to take a path that leads towards a sorrowful life ahead – just like Lot! 

Many of you are youths and young adults with a promising future ahead of you. 

You are ambitious; you want a big pay package; you want a high social standing. 

Here’s my exhortation to you: remember Lot! 

Never let material matters be your motivation when making decisions in your life. 

Remember what Jesus has promised His people in Matt 6:33! 

Seek ye first the kingdom of God & His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you. 

Jesus promised his people that “…all these things will be added unto you..” when you seek first His kingdom & righteousness. 

Jesus even laid down His life for His people in order that they can receive His blessing of eternal life. 

If He would even do that, surely He would provide everything you need in this life on earth! 

So may the word of God here make you wise to resist the deception of material riches. 

Some of you may say: yes, I want to resist the temptations! 

But the lure of the world is just so strong! 

And we are exposed to it every day of our lives. 

How do we resist it, you may ask? 

That brings us to our second question for today. 

2) What was the secret to Abraham’s victory over temptations? 

Our answer: he delighted himself in the greater treasures found only in Jesus Christ. 

Abraham faced 2 different temptations in Gen 14. 

A) The first was the temptation of inaction in a situation that required decisive actions (v13). 

B) The second was the temptation of a windfall of immense riches (v21). 

Let’s first understand the nature of these temptations. 

And then we will look at how Abraham overcame them. 

A) First, the Temptation of inaction in a situation that required decisive actions 

James 4:17 says “…. to him who knows to do good & does not do it, to him it is sin”. 

Someone who was captured with Lot managed to escape. 

And he came to Abraham & told him that Lot had been captured. 

Where was Abraham at that time & what was he doing? 

He was dwelling peacefully by the terebinth trees of Mamre. 

That was where God had earlier appeared to him. 

That was where God assured him of his promised inheritance. 

You can say that he was in kind of a semi-retired mode, just waiting for that day of inheritance to come to pass. 

And it was so easy to do that because he was already about 85years old at that time.  

And here comes a man telling him that Lot had been captured. 

So what do you think would be going through Abraham’s mind when he heard this? 

“I have already done my part for Lot!” 

“I have already denied myself!” 

“Surely you are not expecting me to go and rescue him?” 

“Come on, I am an old man – 85yrs old.” 

Perhaps Abraham may even have fatalistic thoughts about this matter:  

“Well, God has His plans, what will happen to Lot will eventually happen”. 

No! That was not how Abraham responded to the situation. 

In v14, he armed his 318 trained servants & set out to rescue Lot. 

He pursued Lot’s captors to as far as the city of Dan. 

Do you know where Dan is located? 

The north-most point in the land of Canaan. 

That’s about the distance between Singapore & KL that Abraham travelled. 

And he had no trains, no planes, no helicopters – perhaps just horses & camels. 

And v15 says he did his attack at night! 

Those who have served NS in the army – you know how tough it is to do a night attack! 

Where did this 85yr old man find his energy from? 

How did he overcome the temptation to do nothing & let things happen as it were? 

What was his motivation in doing what he did? 

B) The second temptation that Abraham encountered is the temptation of a windfall of immense riches. 

And this temptation was even more difficult to overcome because it came in the face of great success. 

Gen 14 tells us that Abraham won the war against the 4 kings. 

I honestly cannot visualise how he did it. 

And his manoeuvre was described by only 1 verse in the bible – v15. 

He was greatly out-numbered & very disadvantaged. 

He & his servants would be tired by the journey they travelled even before they actually fought. 

So v20 reminds us that it was God “..who delivered the enemies into Abraham’s hand”. 

Remember what it says in Prov 21:31? 

“The horse is prepared for the day of battle, But deliverance is of the Lord.” 

So with God’s blessings, Abraham brought back all the goods that the enemies captured – v16. 

He also brought back Lot and all his family & possessions. 

And as he returned in victory, v17 tells us that 2 kings came to greet him. 

One of them was the king of Sodom.  

He appeared grateful to Abraham for rescuing his people.  

And he offered to Abraham all the possessions of Sodom that he recovered – v21.  

Here was an opportunity for Abraham to be an overnight billionaire.  

He fought hard & he had won the war. 

Anyone will agree that he deserved the reward! 

If you were in his shoes, would you take it? 

But this offer was from an ungodly king who was exceedingly sinful in God’s eyes. 

What was Abraham’s response? 

V 22 – “I have raised my hand to the LORD, God Most High – the Possessor of heaven & earth…” 

In other words, I have met with God who owns even these things that you are offering to me, Mr King of Sodom. 

V23“… I will take nothing from a thread to a sandal strap, and I will not take anything that is yours, lest you should say, ‘I have made Abraham rich” 

In other words, if I will be rich, it’s not going to come from any source that God is not pleased with.  

Indirectly, Abraham is also telling the King of Sodom that he will not be associated with him & his sinfulness at all. 

Why was Abraham so fearless? 

How did he overcome this great temptation to be an overnight Billionaire? 

His mind was occupied by the greater treasures found only in Jesus Christ. 

Please listen to this carefully now because it may not be easy to understand. 

Earlier in v18, Abraham met Melchizedek – the King of Salem.  

Who is Melchizedek & what is his background?  

Who was his father & what became of him thereafter?  

The bible gave no record of the beginning or end of Melchizedek.  

We are only told that he was both a Priest & King of Salem at the same time – v18.  

Salem is the ancient name of the city of Jerusalem – where Jesus was eventually crucified. 

Heb 7 tells us that Melchizedek was a foreshadow of Jesus Christ.

In what ways were Melchizedek a foreshadow of Jesus Christ? 

Firstly, the bible provides no record of the beginning or end of Melchizedek. 

In a similar fashion, Jesus is the Alpha & the Omega. 

He is from eternity to eternity, without beginning or end.  

Secondly, an earthly priest like Melchizedek represented man on earth before God. 

Far better than that, Jesus is our great High Priest. 

He gave His own life for the salvation of believers who put their faith in Him. 

He represents believers before God in the eternal throne where God dwells. 

Thirdly, Melchizedek is the earthly king of Salem. 

Melchizedek is the only person in the bible who holds 2 anointed offices (priest & king) at the same time. 

Far better than that, Jesus is King of His eternal Kingdom forever & forever. 

And Jesus Christ is the only person in the universe who is Prophet, Priest & King all at the same time. 

Abraham is now beginning to understand the progressive revelation of God’s promises to Him. 

He still does not have the full picture. 

But he knows that one greater than Melchizedek will come as God has promised. 

And he is having a taste of the heavenly realities of Jesus Christ foreshadowed by Melchizedek. 

This God who appeared to him is real. 

And he is determined to know Him. 

And he is determined to do what pleases Him. 

He is finding great joy in discovering “…the depths of the riches both of the wisdom & knowledge of God” Rom 11:33. 

And he will not let anything on earth come in the way of his faith in this God. 

Do you remember what Jesus said in Matt 13:44? 

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field…” 

What does the man who has found it do? 

He covers it and “in his joy goes & sells all that he has & buys that field”. 

Abraham has found that treasure. 

And this treasure is far superior to the hardship he has to endure in order to rescue Lot. 

And this treasure is far superior to the riches offered to him by the king of Sodom. 

Jesus continued to tell us in Matt 13:45 that “the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls…” 

What did the merchant do when he found that one pearl of great value? 

He “…. sold all that he had & bought that pearl.” 

Abraham has found that pearl. 

And his joy in that pearl surpassed the attraction of the tremendous offer by the King of Sodom. 

Nothing in this world can be compared to the joy he has discovered in that pearl he found! 

And that is how he overcame those temptations. 

Some of you may be struggling with all kinds of different temptations. 

Some of you may be wondering why you keep falling into sin. 

The bible tells us in James 4:7 “…resist the devil and he will flee from you.” 

But you can’t stop there. 

Because James 4:8 continues to say “Draw near to God & He will draw near to you..” 

You do not can’t just put off the old man with his deeds. 

You need to actively “put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him.” – Col 3:10 

Some people put off the old man and they replace it with their hobbies – football, computer games, photography, etc. 

But these things can eventually become idols and a new form of “drunkedness” that takes control of you. 

My friends, there is only one way of overcoming temptations in this life here on earth. 

It is when you have a superior satisfaction in God through Jesus Christ.   

We keep falling because Christ has so little appeal & delight to us. 

Don’t say that “this type of spiritual talk is just not for me”. 

What steps have you taken to awaken your affection for Jesus? 

You were created to treasure Christ with all your heart!   

If you have little affection for Jesus, of course fleshly pleasures will win your heart! 

Have you ever prayed like the Psalmist in Psa 90:14 – “Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice & be glad all our days”. 

You have to fill your mind with the goodness & pleasures of God! 

It is when you are absorbed by “..the depth of the riches both of the wisdom & knowledge of God..” – Rom 11:33 

Then & only then, the pleasures & deception of sin will fade into the shadow.  

And you will not have any interest to entertain them at all. 

When that happens, even if all riches & pleasures in the world are offered to you, you will say to Satan like Jesus did in Luk 4: “You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only shall you serve”. 

Let me quickly summarise what I have covered today: 

We asked 2 questions: 

1) What was the consequence of Lot’s choice of dwelling in Sodom? 

The answer: Lot & his family almost lost their lives, if not for the grace of God. 

Lot was a believer but he chose to live amongst the wicked for the sake of economic gain. 

The result was painful but thankfully, God was gracious to preserve him & his family. 

The lesson for us is never to let material matters be our motivation when making decisions in your life. 

Remember that Jesus has promised to provide for His people. 

And remember what happened to Lot! 

2) What was the secret to Abraham’s victory over temptations? 

He delighted himself in the greater treasures found only in Jesus Christ. 

If you have not discovered the treasure like Abraham did, talk to me later so that I can help you. 

If you are struggling with a particular sin and need help to overcome it, please also talk to me so that we can help you. 

May God be praised & Jesus exalted amongst us. 

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By Grace through Faith…..Eph 2:8-9

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