Sermon by Rev. Richard Jones
(Note: Partial recording due to technical problems.)
(For remainder of sermon, see transcript below.)
Sermon Series: The Story of Abraham
VICTORY OVER KINGS
Genesis, Chapter 14
INTRODUCTION TO WAR
Genesis 14:1-3 (ESV)
1 In the days of Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of Goiim,
2 these kings made war with Bera king of Sodom, Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar).
3 And all these joined forces in the Valley of Siddim (that is, the Salt Sea).
Genesis 14:4-7 (ESV)
4 Twelve years they had served Chedorlaomer, but in the thirteenth year they rebelled.
5 In the fourteenth year Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him came and defeated the Rephaim in Ashteroth-karnaim, the Zuzim in Ham, the Emim in Shaveh-kiriathaim,
6 and the Horites in their hill country of Seir as far as El-paran on the border of the wilderness.
7 Then they turned back and came to En-mishpat (that is, Kadesh) and defeated all the country of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites who were dwelling in Hazazon-tamar.
Genesis 14:8-12 (ESV)
8 Then the king of Sodom, the king of Gomorrah, the king of Admah, the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar) went out, and they joined battle in the Valley of Siddim
9 with Chedorlaomer king of Elam, Tidal king of Goiim, Amraphel king of Shinar, and Arioch king of Ellasar, four kings against five.
10 Now the Valley of Siddim was full of bitumen pits, and as the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, some fell into them, and the rest fled to the hill country.
11 So the enemy took all the possessions of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their provisions, and went their way.
12 They also took Lot, the son of Abram’s brother, who was dwelling in Sodom, and his possessions, and went their way.
RESCUE BY THE FEW
Genesis 14:13-16 (ESV)
13 Then one who had escaped came and told Abram the Hebrew, who was living by the oaks of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol and of Aner. These were allies of Abram.
14 When Abram heard that his kinsman had been taken captive, he led forth his trained men, born in his house, 318 of them, and went in pursuit as far as Dan.
15 And he divided his forces against them by night, he and his servants, and defeated them and pursued them to Hobah, north of Damascus.
16 Then he brought back all the possessions, and also brought back his kinsman Lot with his possessions, and the women and the people.
Psalm 144:1 (ESV)
1 Blessed be the LORD, my rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle;
Deuteronomy 20:1-4 (ESV)
1 “When you go out to war against your enemies, and see horses and chariots and an army larger than your own, you shall not be afraid of them, for the LORD your God is with you, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.
2 And when you draw near to the battle, the priest shall come forward and speak to the people
3 and shall say to them, ‘Hear, O Israel, today you are drawing near for battle against your enemies: let not your heart faint. Do not fear or panic or be in dread of them,
4 for the LORD your God is he who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory.’
“And the story turns again…”
TWO KINDS OF KINGS
Genesis 14:17-20 (ESV)
17 After his return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley).
18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. (He was priest of God Most High.)
19 And he blessed him and said, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth;
20 and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!” And Abram gave him a tenth of everything.
“The king of Sodom shows up again, and praises Abram.”
“Melchizedek appears. He is described as the Priest-King of Salem. He brings out refreshments for Abram and his troops. ‘Melchizedek’ means ‘king of righteousness’ and ‘Salem’ means ‘peace.’ He is a GOD WORSHIPER. Abram is not alone.”
“The writer of Hebrews uses this man to illustrate the Priesthood of Jesus: Voluntary Priesthood (no inheritance), a Righteous Priesthood (pure devotion to the true God, El Elyon), a Timeless Priesthood (no genealogy), and a Superior Priesthood (long before Aaron).”
“The Priest of God blessed Abram and praised God. This was the right acknowledgement of who had given the victory. And Abram responded to the blessing in a proper way.”
Genesis 14:20b (ESV)
20 And Abram gave him a tenth of everything.
“Abram honored God by honoring this Priest of God, his only opportunity.”
“This is the first mention of the Tithe in the Bible. Note that it is presented as a tribute from Abram. It was voluntary, and it was a tribute to recognize that it was God who gave the victory. Later in history, Abram’s grandson, Jacob, would promise God a tithe based upon the example of his grandfather.”
“I believe that the Bible describes the tithe in two ways. First there is what I call the MANDATE OF MOSES. That order from God was for two purposes, two reasons. First, it was commanded so as to teach the people to Fear the Lord. Secondly, it was the practical method of providing for the people who worked at the Tabernacle and later the Temple.”
“What I call the TRIBUTE OF ABRAHAM was not that much different. It was voluntary. But it was also to Honor the Lord. It is presented in the Bible as a principle. God inspired Abram to give that amount.”
“It is my belief that Christians are not under the mandate of Moses. We are not commanded to tithe as an obligation. It is not a requirement that we must do no matter what. However, the principle of tithing still applies. It is still the percentage which God ordained from the start. It is His choice, not our imagination. This is the percentage which honors God, because it is the percentage which He inspired Abraham to give, and which He commanded His Old Testament people to present. It is, and always has been, the right thing to do. The principle still applies.”
“God speaks in…
1 Samuel 2:30 (ESV)
30 …those who honor me I will honor, and those who despise me shall be lightly esteemed.
“That statement also applies to tithing. Those who honor God will be honored. It may be in a financial way, or it may be something else. But God will honor those who honor Him.”
“Now why should Christians tithe? For the same two reasons as before. First, just as before, it is the way to demonstrate God’s Lordship in the Christian’s life. In point of fact, 100% of what we have belongs to God. Secondly, it is still the practical method of financing God’s work in this world. The Gospel is free, but it takes money to get it to the people.”
“Let me make four quick observations about tithing, then I will move on with our story.
1. Set your heart to tithe.
2. Practice tithing and expect unexpected blessings.
3. Give beyond the tithe. The Jews did that.
4. Your tithe belongs to your local church.
Abram honored God in this way, and he is our example.”
“We conclude the story with what I call…
TURNED AWAY TREASURE
Genesis 14:21-24 (ESV)
21 And the king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me the persons, but take the goods for yourself.”
22 But Abram said to the king of Sodom, “I have lifted my hand to the LORD, God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth,
23 that I would not take a thread or a sandal strap or anything that is yours, lest you should say, ‘I have made Abram rich.’
24 I will take nothing but what the young men have eaten, and the share of the men who went with me. Let Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre take their share.”
“The king of Sodom said, ‘Let’s make a deal.’ It was the custom for the winner to take the spoils. But Abram said, ‘I will not take your stuff. I will not compromise!’ (Like taking money from pornography).”
“Abram would live by the blessing of the Lord not the bribery of the world. He had learned his lesson from Egypt. Yet he did not impose his personal convictions on others. He was an example, but only that. He had achieved his mission of freeing his family. The chapter closes with a victory from God. And that’s where we leave him in the story today. The story of Abraham, a man who was learning what it means to become a faithful follower of God Most High. Sometimes that even leads to VICTORY OVER KINGS.”