We continue this week with our devotional series based on the book Climbing with Abraham by David Ramos. Two weeks ago we looked at how easy it is for us to get frustrated when it seems God's promises are not being kept. Abraham waited and trusted God for decades before seeing God's promises to him fulfilled.
Week 6: Read Genesis 14:11-17; 21-24
"The peace of Abraham's story has been disrupted by the invasion of foreign kings. Their paths wouldn't likely have crossed, except that one of the prisoners the kings took during their campaign was Lot. Abraham immediately rallied his small force. With God on his side, Abraham was victorious and two of the defending kings came to give their thanks: Melchizedek and the unnamed king of Sodom.
Melchizedek's reaction was unique, as we will see (next week). But the king of Sodom reacted in an even stranger way. He was short, almost annoyed at the fact that he had to thank Abraham for saving his people. Abraham must have sensed that this man was ill-fated and so refused to have any of his own wealth tainted by Sodom's spoils. Let's take a second to really see what Abraham was turning down. The force Abraham faced was likely multiple times larger than his own - in the thousands versus his own hundreds. [Given their incredible victory], therefore, each of Abraham's 318 men would have likely been set for life, each wealthy in his own right!
Yet Abraham chose a different path. With at least 318 fighting men behind him, Abraham was certainly not lacking. By this time, he was moderately wealthy. We can guess as to the exact reason why Abraham refused to take the spoils of war, which were rightfully his, but I suspect it had to do with Godly pride. God was the reason he had come so far and still had so many promises to look forward to. Abraham wanted to keep that truth pure. He wanted outsiders to see that God was the sole reason for his success.
Few of us will ever be faced with the temptation of great wealth, but what we will have to face is the integrity of our testimony. If outsiders were to look at our lives, would it be clear that we chose the decisions that honored God, even when they were the more difficult or less rewarding options? Do you choices show greater allegiance to God's glory, or our own?"
Takeaway from today's lesson: Abraham could've focused on the benefit to himself and his men or justified taking wealth from "evil" people to give to the "good." Instead, his focus was on God and God's desires for him. We can justify about anything if we want to, if our focus is on what we want. But sometimes choosing God's best requires us to give up our immediate good.
Prayer: God, remind me that you are my provider, the source of all that I have. I was made for your glory, not my own. Help me to make decisions that bring glory to you rather than myself. Amen.