Genesis 14 – Three Marks of an Honorable Person

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I’m going to invite you to Genesis. Chapter 14 is where we’re at together today. Genesis chapter 14. And if you’ve gone through Genesis with us, you’ve seen that the first 12 chapters rapidly cover a large quantity of human history, just really hitting some highlights of what God wants to focus on. And when you get to chapter 12. Chapter 12 suddenly starts to slow down the narrative of what’s taking place. As from chapter 12 to chapter 25, we focus on this identity of Abraham. And if you remember anything about the story of Abraham, it’s important to know Abraham was a pagan man and a pagan family living in a pagan land with a pagan name to worship a pagan god and God, by his grace called him out, gave him a promise, told him to go to a place he’s going to lead him. And God brought Abraham to the Promised Land. Abraham tells us in Hebrews 11, didn’t know where he was going. He by faith trusted in the Lord. God brought him to a promised land, and in that land told him he was going to multiply his family to the point that through his seed all nations of the earth would be blessed. And that is specifically through Jesus. But Abraham, by faith he stepped out. But what we discovered in chapter 13, he kind of hung his faith on that one event. He stepped out by faith one time and was like, okay, I did it.

And then the rest. He just trusted in himself. And I think that’s an important, important, important point for us to remember in regards to faith. Faith is not just simply an intellectual assent. Though faith does involve truth and knowledge. Faith is what you trust in. It’s not just simply knowing about something, but believing in something. It’s like after I prayed, I told you to sit down and you trusted that that seat was going to hold you. You literally put your faith in something, right? And the same is true in our relationship with God that we want to put our not just intellectually know about God, but depend on the Lord, trust in him. And as we walk with the Lord, what we discover is that God puts us in a place to not only live for his glory and intimacy of our relationship with him, but through that relationship with him gives us a privilege of blessing other relationships around us. And this is what you see in the story of Abraham, that finally, in Genesis 13, he realized Abraham got to the Promised Land. There was a famine. He panicked. He left God’s promises, went to Egypt, he gave his wife to Pharaoh. And God steps in and and brings his wife back to him and tells him, go back to the promised land. Abraham does it, tells us in 13 and he worships the Lord there.

And now Abraham is finding his identity in those promises. And in chapter 14 we start to see the reward of that, that Abraham becomes a person of influence, that people wanted to be around him. And through his life. God not only blessed his relationship with Abraham intimately, but he also blessed relationships around Abraham. The Abraham became a difference maker, and in chapter 14, we’re going to discover through the life of Abraham three marks of an honorable person. And this helps us understand in our own life how we can model the kind of faith of Abraham in order to bless others. And point number one in your notes is this surround yourself with who you want to become. Surround yourself with who you want to become. It’s kind of the old adage, show me who your friends are and I’ll show you who you are. What kind of person do you want to be? Make sure you surround yourself with those people that invest in you, towards that destiny in which God has called you upon. And this is exactly what Abraham does. And in Genesis chapter 14. But here’s the irony. We’re going to recognize Abraham doing it by not being a part of the first 12 verses of Genesis 14. If you remember how the story goes, Abraham, when he came back to the Promised Land for the second time, he tells to to his nephew, pick anywhere in the land you want to go, and I’m going to take the rest, right? And rather than choose somewhere in the Promised Land, he actually goes outside of the boundary of the Promised Land to the land of Sodom and Gomorrah, most believe is on the east side, southeast side of the Dead Sea, in the land of what would be modern day Jordan.

But lot goes and lives here. He’s on the boundary of the Promised Land, but not really in the Promised Land. And Abraham, he chooses to follow the path of the Lord, and by so doing, he’s not in the mess that’s described in the first 12 chapters. He’s setting his life up for for faithfulness in God in order to to bless others. While lot deals with this mess. And in Genesis chapter 14, verse one, this is how it starts to break out for us. And by the way, I’m going to read through this. You’re going to see a lot of names. And I went to public school in West Virginia, in Alabama. So I want to say it fast. And you’re going to pretend like I said it correct. All right. In the days of Amraphel, king of Shinar, Arioch, king of Ellasar, King Chedorlaomer, we’re going to call him King Cheddar from here on out. Okay? Of Elam and Tidal, King of goyim. These kings made war with Bera, king of Sodom. Bersha, king of Gomorrah. Like I know that name, right? Because I’ve watched Guardians of the Galaxy.

But we’re not talking about green people here. Shinab, King of Admah. Qamber, King of Zeboiim and the King of Bala, that is Zoar and all that join these forces in the valley of Siddim, that is the salt sea. 12 years that have served and King Cheddar. But with the 13th year they rebelled. In the 14th year cheddar. The kings of who were with him came and defeated the Rephaim in Ashteroth Karnaim. The Zuzim and Ham and the Imam and Sheva and Kiriathaim. There you go. That’s not the end, by the way. Keeps going. Verse six. And the horites and all the hill country of Sierra as far as El Paran, on the border of the wilderness. Then they turn back and came to Mishpat. I have a theory about this. Like I read this, I’m like, what in the Star Trek is happening here? Like all these different names? I think this is where the Klingons came from. And then they returned back and came to Misspap, and they defeated all the country of the Amalekites and all the Amorites who were dwelling in the Hazon Tamar. Then the king of Sodom, the king of Gomorrah, the king of Admah, the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bila, the king of Zoar went out and they joined battle in the valley of Siddim with King Cheddar of Elam, title King of Goyim, Amraphel, King of Shinar and Arioch, king of Ellasar.

Four kings against five. Hold on, just come on. Verses. King Cheddar of Elam, tidal king of Goim. Amraphel, king of Shinar and Arioch, king of Ellasar. Four kings against five. Verse ten speaks to Merari here I’ll tell you what. Now the valley of Siddim was full of bitumen pits, which is tar pits. And as the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, they fell into them, and the rest fled to the hill country. I feel like as an 80s kid that verse is so important. Like I feel like I was over prepared for things that were never to be a reality as a kid in the 80s. Stop, drop and roll. You know, I thought I’d have been in way more fires between now and then. Or quicksand. You never know when you might step or tar pits, right? Like land before time. Tell me about tar pits. But in this passage, they actually have them. So there’s one person that I know encountered them. Verse 11. So the enemy took all the possessions of Sodom and Gomorrah and all their provisions and went their way. And look, finally, here comes Abraham. They also took lot. The sons of Abraham are Abraham’s brother, who was dwelling in Sodom and his possessions, and went their way right there. All right. So what just happened? Well, in these first 12 verses, he’s really setting the stage for for seeing how God by faith is working in the life of Abraham, for him to get to the position of being able to bless others.

And in these verses, it really starts to unfold for us the beauty of what happens. And here’s here’s how the story communicates these, these individuals, they’re talked about, these kings, these rulers. I don’t think their archeology has necessarily discovered where they’re from, but based on the way that their names are communicated here, it’s assumed they come from the region of Iraq and Iran. So you have four kings and the region of Iraq and Iran who came to the region of Jordan and Israel, really on the the border of Jordan and Israel, but on the Jordan side. And they came against five kings, and they defeated them, and they oppressed them for 12 years. And finally, in the 13th year, these five kings rebelled against these four kings in Iraq and Iran. So here it is, the first war in the Bible some 4000 years ago. And we’re still talking about battles in this region. Now. This is the cradle of civilization. So you would expect there have been multitudes of battles here, but nonetheless, this is how it’s playing out. So these five kings rebel against the four Kings in the 13th year and in the 14th year, these four kings from Iraq and Iran journey to to Jordan. And they fight against these kings.

And in fighting against these kings, they plunder their kingdoms and they take some slaves with them, including lot’s, Abraham’s nephew. And lot for us really becomes a symbol of of the difference between what happened in lot’s life and what happens in Abraham’s life. Abraham is a man that steps in faith. He certainly disobeyed the Lord in chapter 12. End of chapter 12. By 13 he reconciles in his relationship with the Lord. He dedicates his life to God again. He worships the Lord and he chooses to stay in the Promised Land. But lot, when given the opportunity to also stay in a different area of the Promised Land, chooses to go on the outside boundary of the Promised Land in what is in modern day Jordan, on the east side of the Dead Sea. And lot really represents some people in their understanding of their relationship with God. I get this sometimes as a pastor, people ask this question. It is not a healthy question, and I try to encourage the question to be a little bit different. But some people ask me how close to the boundary can I get where, you know, God’s not going to be mad at me, but I can still do what I want to do, right? People tend to treat their relationship with God like that. Sometimes they sort of look at it as like, this guy is God, is this angry, angry person in the sky with lightning bolts and he’s just waiting for you to mess up and he’ll let you get to the boundary.

But you can’t necessarily cross the boundary, because if you cross the boundary, then you’re in trouble. And that sort of represents that, right? He he, rather than just stay in the Promised Land as he had had opportunity to do, he decides to go right outside the boundary of the promised land, and the consequences for that are catastrophic for his family, because he goes into the land of Sodom and Gomorrah, which we’ll talk about in the days ahead. And his family was not prepared to honor the Lord in the region like that. And not only that, he has the disruption of his. Of this area being conquered. We have no idea how much time elapsed between chapter 13 and 14, but whatever has happened, this area has been conquered a lot. Finds himself in a position of oppression, and then he gets carried off into slavery. And this, this idea of this land and living in this promised land is symbolic of relationship. Enjoying relationship, specifically a relationship with God and choosing rather to live in that wants to live on the boundary, wants to toe the line. Even as parents, some of you, you know what it’s like sometimes when you’ve got that child that just likes to find the line right, and just and just step on that.

But we we often treat our relationship with God like that and it’s unhealthy. And let me just give you a little illustration to, to help us understand why. Could you imagine if if one day, if you’re not married or if you are married right before you got married, the person that was to marry you looks at you and says, okay, I know we’re about to make this commitment, but really, how much do I really have to be involved in our relationship for it to count as a marriage to you? Right? Like how how much of myself do I really have to offer? And how dedicated does my dedication really need to be? And if that’s the kind of question you have leading into your your marital vows before people, you would probably say, I don’t think at least I hope you say this is not going to work right. I don’t think you understand how marriage is supposed to work, right. As you go through your journey in life, you’re supposed to experience the intimacy and rejoice in that together, right? You’re to want to be in one another’s company and appreciate what God has provided for you in that relationship with one another. And if you’re just asking the question, well, how close to the boundary do I got to get right in order for you to be not mad at me, but still be okay? You know you’re completely missing the point of relationship and the same thing, same thing is true with your relationship with God.

And if you’re here this morning thinking, well, I just showed up to make God happy. Look, there’s nothing you’re going to do with yourself that’s going to impress God that he can’t do for himself. Already. God made you for a relationship with him, and you’re never going to live for your purpose until you’re connected to your creator because you didn’t make you. But in knowing God, you get to find the reason for your existence and you find out that you have worth and meaning and value because God made you in his image and therefore being in his image, you’re connected to relate to him. And not only did he make you in his image, he also remakes you in Christ because he gave his life for you. There’s no greater value that can be placed on you than that, so why not enjoy the relationship for which you were made in Christ? Why worry about where the boundary is when the goal of your life should simply be? How can I know Jesus more and honor him as I go through this journey of life? And so lot represents this, this unhealthy view, and we see the the consequence of that a lot, lot becomes that old adage, if you play stupid games, you win stupid prizes. And in this moment he’s certainly playing, playing the game.

But rather Abraham represents the opposite of that in these moments. He’s nurturing spiritual health in the Lord. And because of that, it then begins to share with us what unfolds from his life. So not only in these moments while while Lord is in this mess, Abraham is surrounding himself with a kind of person he wants to become. He’s surrounding himself with the kind of people that help invest in him towards the kind of person he wants to be. But point number two, Abraham, because of this, is able to stand for what is right. Even if risk is involved. Abraham now is going to step in and stand for what’s right, even if risk is is involved. Abraham in verse 13 is about to take a stand. But truth be told, Abraham is not just becoming a hero in the moment, right? There’s not. Oh no, there’s a battle. I better do something about this. Abraham has already been preparing his heart and his life in order to be able to step in, to be a blessing, because Abraham has nurtured his his life with, with properly what he needs to in order to best serve as needs arise because of his obedience to the Lord. Abraham’s life is not only flourishing relationship relationally with God, he’s also viewing this world with the eyes of God. How can I come along other people in situations of need, in order to help them? And so Abraham, he takes a stand for what’s right, even if the risk is involved.

And here’s what’s important in Abraham’s decision. He’s not obligated to do this. Abraham could have been like, well, you know, I heard about the battle just across the borderline there. Tough break for those guys. Good thing it’s going so well for us. Guys. Let’s just keep being awesome, right? Abraham Abraham was not obligated to have to step across the boundary line and go do anything, but he does. And the reason he does is because of grace. And Abraham is demonstrating the growth in his own life. If you remember in chapter 12 what Abraham did, he left the promise of the land and leaving the promise of land, it spiraled down. He he eventually leaves his family, starting with his wife. He hands his wife to Pharaoh. God intervenes and shows grace. Abraham takes his wife back and goes back to the Promised Land, and he worships the Lord. And now here it is again. There is this battle against right on the border of of his promised land and now his family. Money has been taken captive. But rather than just simply set back, Abraham has prepared his life to make a difference. And so Abraham journeys. He takes this opportunity to to take a stand at risk to his own life. He could have easily been like, you know, my theology at this moment is to be a pacifist, right? I don’t want to take the hard road, and I believe in pacifism, but rather he stands up for what he knows is right in order to make a difference.

And in verse 13, this is what it says. Then one who had escaped came and told Abraham the Hebrew, who was living by the oaks of Mamre, the Amorite brother of Eshcol and of Annar, these were the allies of Abram or Abraham. Here’s what it’s saying in the beginning. Abraham is still at that place of worship. If you remember in chapter 13, he was worshiping at Mamri. He’s still there is recognizing this is where he’s found his identity in the Lord, and he’s standing for that. And it references Abraham as a Hebrew. This is the first time the word Hebrew is used in Scripture in reference to the to the Jewish people. The word Israel comes later with Jacob as he wrestles with God and the word Jew comes later with the tribe of Judah. Because Israel was taken into captivity in Assyria, and the only tribe remaining was Benjamin and Judah. Judah, being the largest tribe, becomes the Jewish people, which is how we refer to them today. But Abraham here, he’s referred to as a Jew or excuse me, as a Hebrew, but I want you to see what’s interesting about this passage, because here’s what they’re saying. This group of people have just been conquered and taken into captivity by another group of people.

One person gets away, one person is able to escape. And let me just say, if you’re in a situation where you’re in a bind and you needed help and your life was at risk, where would you go? Right? I mean, call the police, do something right. And the fact that this individual thought enough to run to Abraham speaks volumes to the influence and integrity of Abraham. In these moments, Abraham would have been seen by these people who lived outside the boundaries as as a person of strength and also a person of compassion. We have no idea how much time has elapsed between chapter 13 and 14, but whatever has elapsed has been enough for the precedent and influence of Abraham to be known as such a man of power and a man of care. And this is exactly why this person runs to Abraham, looking for solace and help. In verse 14 it says, When Abraham heard that his kinsmen had been taken captive, he led forth his trained men born in his house, 318 of them. And he went in pursuit. As far as Dan, what’s being said, I think in verse 14, might be the most important verse in all of the chapter in communicating the integrity of of who Abraham is, because it says Abraham led forth his trained men. And what it’s acknowledging is Abraham is is mobilizing an army of men, meaning Abraham didn’t sit on his hind quarters when he’s in the Promised Land, right? He wanted to set his life up for success.

So he was preparing his own people for anything that might happen to them in order to to help out in that time of need. And and when it says that Abraham, he’s he sends his people out in verse 14, or specifically he sends forth trained men in the Hebrew. It literally says it literally describes unsheathing, a weapon he had warriors prepared for battle. And Abraham draws out that weapon in order to pursue. He’s not making the same mistake again as he did in Egypt, but rather if his family has need. If the land is being threatened, Abraham’s going to do something about it. And so he he unsheathes this weapon by faith and pursues in what God has, has, has called him to. And in verse 14 it says that these individuals that he unsheathes were born in his house, 318 men. Now this term born in his house is an idiom. It doesn’t literally mean that everyone that went to battle was born in Abraham’s house. This is not just people that work for Abraham, and they had kids and those kids went to this battle. What it’s acknowledging is that people want to belong to Abraham’s house. In Abraham’s day, there were two ways to find your protection. There was no police to call.

There was no army to call upon, but rather two ways for protection. One, you live in a fortified city. You had a wall around your city. Two, you had a group of people that cooperated to work together in order to protect one another for their well being, for human flourishing. In Abraham’s case, this is exactly what they’ve done. Abraham became a man of such influence that people saw what Abraham was doing, and they said, we want to be a part of that, and we want to stand for what you stand for, to the point that we will live to protect this group of people for our sake and for everyone else’s well-being. And so there is a group of people committed to what Abraham has, has been called to, and they want to belong to his household. And Abraham became such a man of influence that others gather. And it tells us up to 318 people, 318 people go into this, this battle to fight against the forces that came. Against Sodom and Gomorrah, and no one knows how large they were. But they were four kings representing four kingdoms, and so we could rest assured, it’s definitely more than 318 people, perhaps thousands. So Abraham takes 318 people to battle against thousands. And Abraham is is successful. He even fights this battle in enemy territory and Abraham is successful. It reminds me of the old adage, it’s not about the size of the dog of the fight, but rather the size of the fight and the dog until you meet my dog.

And then that’s never true. But, but, but with Abraham, there is this discipline in their lives in order to, to to be effective in what they’re called to do. You don’t have to be large to make a difference. Just be effective. I think in terms of our church, like, I love it when if you’re new and you’re here, we’re glad you’re here and we hope you enjoy your time. And thank you for being here today. Right. But I can tell you, the success of our church is not measured by the size of our crowd, but the commitment of our core. The more people we have together on mission in Jesus understanding our identity for what Christ has called us to. The more successful we will be. Meaning, if you’re looking for a different church, and what I mean by that is if you’re looking for someone to just tickle your ears, please you with their words to to say your truth is your truth, and my truth is my truth. Just talk some kind of wokism bull to you. That’s not us. That’s not us. We want to be a church that lives on mission. Which I said in the beginning. We want to give ourselves away for the glory of the God to the benefit of others, which makes truth paramount to who we are.

It is our identity. It defines the the purpose of our existence. And we want to stand on that unashamedly. And at the same time, we want to do so compassionately. Because we understand it took the grace of God to get us to where we are, and it’s only by his grace we are who we are. It was Jesus who pursued us in our sin to help us understand who he is that we could live for, for his glory in this world. And so God has called his his church for for a purpose. And so our power is not based on the size of the crowd, but the commitment of the Corps. We are called to be a people of grit and gentleness. We are called to be a people of endurance and compassion, a people of strength and of grace. And I think that was modeled beautifully in the life of Jesus in Romans chapter or excuse me, revelation chapter five, verse five and six. It refers to Jesus as the lion of the tribe of Judah, and also as the lamb who was slain. I think what a beautiful picture of one who stood with great strength and also gave his life compassionately for others. And the same is true for us in the life that we live. We’re called to model both of those at different points in our life. To be a lion and a lamb, to stand up for what’s right and what’s true, at risk to ourselves, and also to do it compassionately for the people around us.

I understand in our culture not everyone understands biblical truth or who Christ is. People are trained in a thoughts of worldliness, and they might walk a path that’s contrary to God. And we’re not here just to throw stones at people, just to cast judgment at people. That’s that’s not what God calls us to do, to share the truth firmly, but in love. And so we are called in this world to, to really resemble both the lion and the lamb. The danger becomes when we reverse those roles. And there are people in this world that do that. There are there are men. If I could speak to you personally for a minute. There are men in this world that do that. They act like lions in the home, attacking the very people God calls them to protect, to act like a lamb, and then they act like a lamb in this world, bowing down to the things the world says. That’s not who God calls you to be, but the rest firm and truth in your identity of the Lord. And then be compassionate in serving the needs of people. He’ll make an apology for who you are in Christ. Jesus gave his life for that. But we want to do so in a gracious way, understanding how it’s the grace of God that set you and me free.

And this is what Abraham is doing in this moment. He’s stepping in as an example of what it means to be a man who’s found his identity in the Lord. And in so doing, being able to bless others in their need. And we see this play out practically. And we you think about this passage, here’s what’s happening. There’s a war. People come in to this land, they’re fighting a battle and they’re taking they’re taking innocent lives with them as slaves into captivity. And where else are we seeing that today? It’s right on the border of Israel again. And and there is an opportunity. God’s people have or you can have or anyone to to make sure that something like that doesn’t happen again to rescue the innocent and prevent further destruction. In fact, the theologians refer to that as a just war, and I don’t have time to dive into all of that. But if you grab the paper notes this morning, there’s a QR code that talks about the ideas of a just war. But to stand up for what’s right, even at risk to yourself, or maybe in our own culture, what it looks like to stand up for injustice? I said in the beginning, all lives are made in the image of God. It’s sacred. And so we want to honor life. It doesn’t matter young or old.

It doesn’t matter where you come from. Every life made in the image of God and can be recreated in Christ. And therefore we are to honor life. You know, I’ve said to us before, the most dangerous place for for a person to exist in America today is in the womb of a mother, and everyone is made in the image of God. Honoring that image becomes important. God’s got places for you to take a stand, even at risk to yourself. We’re not here to malign people. We’re not here to to, to to attack people. We’re here to promote the goodness of who God is and the image of God in everybody, and that we can be remade in him. One character I love in history is a man by the name of Elijah Lovejoy. Elijah Lovejoy was. He was a minister and a teacher. And one day he witnessed a lynching. He gave up both careers, started a newspaper and became the editor of it. And he used it as a platform to speak against slavery as he used his life for that purpose. People came against him with threat after threat even attacked him. They destroyed his printing press and Elijah Lovejoy would not stop. In fact, they tried to call him to compromise. And and he said this if by compromise is meant that I should cease from my duty, I cannot make it. I fear God more than I fear men.

Crush me if you will, but I shall die at my post. Four days later, at the age of 35, he was killed by a mob. No one in that mob was ever convicted. In fact, no one on that mob ever stood trial. One person in that mob even became the mayor of Alton, Illinois. People that stood with Elijah Lovejoy were put on trial, but no one that stood against him went on trial. But Elijah Lovejoy had made a friend and his friend that day that he died, was aware of his death, and his friend had just become elected as a legislature in Illinois. And his friend’s name was Abraham Lincoln. When you stand for what’s right, you never know the impact your life will have on someone else. But even if it doesn’t impact lives the way you want it to, to choose to honor God rather than the things of this world. That’s what God calls us to in him. Abraham was the kind of person that took a stand even at risk to himself. And point number three. Oh, by the way, I should tell you in Dan and Damascus it says in verse 14, he he started the battle in Dan that carried to Damascus. It’s saying Abraham went with his men a hundred miles for this battle, and the battle continued for another 50 miles. And then after the battle was complete, Abraham collects the possessions and he comes back.

And then he teaches us how, in point number three, handle all relationships with integrity as a person of wisdom, a person that is honorable. He handles all his relationships with integrity. This is this is godly relationships and ungodly relationships. Abraham teaches us how to do that. The first is through a godly relationship and it comes to this guy named Melchizedek. It says after he returned from the defeat of King Cheddar and the kings who were with him, the King of Sodom went out to meet him at the valley of Sheba. And Melchizedek, the king of Salem, brought out bread and wine, and he blessed him and said, blessed be Abraham by God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth, and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand. And Abraham gave him a 10th of everything. Let me just say a few things here real quick. Abraham is a is a godly representative, but most people, well, Melchizedek is a man of mystery. In fact, I refer to him as the original dosages guy, the most interesting man in the world. There’s not a lot that’s known about Melchizedek because he’s such a mysterious figure. If you want to read about him, I think the best passage of Scripture is Hebrews chapter five to Hebrews chapter seven. But Melchizedek represents something. This person that really emerged out of an abyss and he’s he’s the king Melchizedek, which is a king of righteousness.

And he is the priest of Salem, which is Salem, is short for Jerusalem. He’s the priest of peace. And most people look at Melchizedek and think he is a type of Christ, if not a pre-incarnate Christ. And the reason is because of the combination of two titles that he carries, King and priest. And the only place you really see that other than a Melchizedek is in Jesus, who is both king and priest. And so people think this is like a pre-incarnate appearance of Christ to Abraham, which happened to Moses and and Jacob. And you see this in the patriarchs of the Old Testament. And so most thing this is a pre-incarnate picture of Christ. And other than Melchizedek, Jesus is the only one who meets the qualifications of what it means to hold the Melchizedek priesthood. In fact, in Hebrews chapter seven, it describes that and it’s important for Jesus to hold a priesthood because Jesus is our high priest. It tells us in Hebrews, for to the Lord we need access to God. Jesus becomes your way of access to relationship with the Lord. And so Jesus is our our High Priest, our representative. Jesus could not be of Jewish priesthood because he wasn’t born of a Levite. Levite. He was born of the tribe of Judah. He wasn’t from Aaron, and so he couldn’t belong to the Jewish priesthood.

He wasn’t born in the right family. So in this passage, it reminds us he’s of the Melchizedek Priesthood, and Jesus is the only one that can hold this position. Because in Hebrews chapter seven verse three, look at this. He is without father or mother or genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God. He continues a priest forever. The Melchizedek priesthood was intended to be forever. Aaronic priesthood. When you died, your priesthood was over Melchizedek priesthood to last forever. The reason it lasts forever is because the person that holds that position has neither beginning of days or end of life. The person is eternal. He doesn’t have a mom or dad. Right? And so this is what it’s saying to you. There’s not a person on planet Earth that can hold the position of the Melchizedek Priesthood. Why? Because you all have a mom and daddy, right? Everyone came from somewhere and you’re not eternal. You may live for eternity from this point on, but you’re not eternal because you had a beginning of your days. Jesus does not. That’s why he can hold this position and likeness to that. None of us can hold the Aaronic Priesthood position, because you’re not a Levite from the tribe of Aaron. And number 16 it says, no outsider who is not a descendant of Aaron should draw near to burn incense before God. This is to do the duties of a priest, lest he become like Cora and his company.

So here’s what it’s saying to us in this chapter. Genesis 14, you see Abraham paying homage or worship through Melchizedek. And what it’s acknowledging is, while Judaism is important and God set up a system of worship because Abraham bows to Melchizedek, it’s saying to us that all of Judaism really in that way bows to Melchizedek as a superior priest. And Jesus now becomes our representative in that. And because of what Jesus has done as our high Priest, you now have access to God. Every once in a while, I could ask the question, by what authority do you do what you do? And my answer is Jesus’s. I’m going to make up some position. I can’t hold the tribe of Aaron. No one can. I can’t hold the tribe. No one here can anyway. And I can’t hold the tribe of of Melchizedek. No one on planet Earth can. And so for me to to have a relationship with the Lord, it’s got to come through another high priest, that is Jesus. And so in Matthew 28, it tells you, Jesus says, all authority in heaven and earth has been given to me. And then he looks to his people. And says, now go make disciples of all nations. You’ve been given all authority. And then first Peter chapter two, verse nine, it tells you you are a royal priest because of Christ, meaning you belong to a king, and now you have access to the Lord.

That’s what priest represents, access to God. It doesn’t matter if you’re male or female in Christ. Everyone is a priest. It means everyone has access to the Lord. And so in Hebrews 414 to 16 it says, you come boldly to the throne of grace, not because of what you do, but because of what Jesus has done for you. And so Abraham, he handles these relationships with integrity. He comes to Melchizedek and he honors that. And then it goes on and it tells us about this king called Sodom. And the king of Sodom said to Abraham, give me the person, but take the goods for yourself. But Abraham said to the king of Sodom, I have lifted my hand to the Lord God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth, that I would not take a thread or a sandal strap or anything that is yours. Lest you should say, I have made Abraham rich, 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 Mamri take their share. So here’s what Abraham is saying. Abraham was completely justified in taking what he wanted because he he got the plunder. He got it all back, but he chooses not to. And the reason why is because he didn’t want to be obligated to anyone, especially the king of Sodom who was an evil king.

He is a wicked king. And so Abraham wanted him himself to always be in a position where he’s free to worship the Lord, as God had called him to, not obligated to anyone else. And so when the king of Sodom comes around Abraham, he worked and he served for a need, but then he distanced himself from this king in order to truly worship his God for us. Let me just tell you, orcs in our culture, I’ll give it to you personally, from me, from from just some experiences I get usually every year, every every year I usually get a couple of phone calls, let’s say, from just the community abroad. And typically one a couple questions. One, can I help the community abroad in this way? And so somebody will lay something out like this year someone asked if we get flooding from all the snow, will you call on your church and and ask them to come help? Because if we need help, we need to call on everyone that we can to help stop the flooding. So sure, sure, I’ll do that. You know, for the good of everyone, we want to be involved in this for human flourishing. Yes. We participate. Life matters and we want to honor life. We’ll do that just like Abraham, right? This land was attacked. People taken into slavery. Abraham goes after him for the well being of the people.

He does that. It’s honorable. But then the other question I often get is can we usually around Christmas, can we can we combine multiple religious groups for worship? Like, do you want to get together on your holiday, which is intended to honor Christ with other religious groups that don’t believe in that Jesus and and worship together? And my answer is always the same. No, absolutely not. I don’t want to. And the reason I don’t want to is because what we stand for is so sacred. I don’t want to muddy the waters. It defines who we are and what we are about. Now look, we’re going to have a worship service and anyone else is welcome to come be a part of that. But what we’re going to talk about is Jesus, right? I don’t want to kumbaya and hold hands to the demise of what we’re about as God’s people. We want to stand for that truth. It doesn’t mean I don’t like people. It doesn’t mean I don’t care about people. I love people and I love people enough to stand for what we stand for, because it defines why we care about people. I don’t want to convolute the message of Christ. It becomes the pinnacle for which defines what we do in this world and why people matter to begin with. Sure, I appreciate people around me and yes, I love them and I want the best for them.

But that doesn’t mean I have to compromise on what we stand for as God’s people. And this is exactly what Abraham does. He comes to Sodom. He said, your people are hurting. We just want to help, and he helps. And then Sodom says, let’s hold hands together forever. And he says, I don’t think so, right? Because you represent something I don’t want to stand for. I want to be free to worship the Lord wherever I go. And I want to use my life to bless as God gives me the opportunity to bless. So here’s the question what brings a man to offer so much? And expect nothing in return but to give things to God. The answer for Abraham is he was walking in his identity in the Lord through covenant love. In the past, Abraham found his identity in the things around him. That’s why he ran away at a famine. He found his identity. What other people thought about him. That’s why he gave his wife away to Pharaoh. But then he realized where that got him, and he gave his life to the Lord and decided to follow after him. Abraham became a man that simply lived his life by one question what pleases the Lord? And in answering that question, then Abraham was able to determine where his steps would go. He wanted to be free to serve and not obligated to others.

You can never get get to this place that Abraham is in without contentment in who you are in Christ, fully surrendering, trusting in the Lord who will not disappoint, but through that relationship with the Lord, you then have the opportunity to bless. Ct Studd was a. He was a popular cricket player. Apparently in his day they liked to dress like the milkman when they played cricket. But he was a popular cricket player and he heard a message from Hudson Taylor, the great missionary Hudson Taylor from China, and he dedicated his life to the Lord. And in so doing he went and served in India, China and Africa, proclaiming the truth of who Christ was. And he reminded his life. This famous quote from him says this only one life twill soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last. Because I hope you see through a life of Abraham a life dedicated to Christ. He didn’t live perfect from this point, but in a life dedicated to Christ. The difference he was able to make, not because he found his identity in other places or other people, but rather he knew who he was because of what the Lord would do for him and had done for him. Guys, the same is true for you. Covenant love shapes who you are, and it’s in that relationship that God gives you the opportunity to bless others.