Abram, Blessed by God
Let’s talk about the man named Abram, who is known as “the father of the faithful”. Do you remember when Abram went out and rescued his nephew Lot, after he was captured by a band of four kings and their men, who made war with five other kings, and went through the whole country side, looting their cities, and taking the people captive? These kings were evidently after the same thing people are still after; Power and wealth.
The bible says that he had become very rich. It says in Genesis 13, verse 2; “And Abram had become extremely wealthy in livestock, and silver and gold.” And back in chapter 12, and verse 16, the scripture says; “.. and Abram acquired sheep and cattle, male and female donkeys, menservants and maidservants, and camels.” So Abram didn’t only possess a lot of livestock, and silver and gold, but he also had come to possess many servants. And so as far how well the Lord had blessed Abram, he was kind of like a king; Although he didn’t act like one.
And so I find it interesting, that those four kings, and all their men, who went all through the land raiding other cities, and overtaking other kings, and taking all their possessions, didn’t seem to pay any attention to Abram, and all the wealth that he had, and try to overtake him, and take all of HIS wealth, and HIS manservants and HIS maidservants?
What actually happened though, was after Abram learned that Lot had been taken captive, HE went after those four kings, and he defeated them! And he took back all that they had stolen, at least all that they had stolen from Sodom, and he rescued his nephew Lot, and many others who were taken captive as well.
How was Abram able to do all this? Was he and his men simply stronger than all those kings and their men? Was Abram simply smarter, when it came to his plan of attack? Listen to Genesis 14, verses 14 thru 16; “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. And he divided his forces against them by night, he and his servants, and defeated them, and pursued them to Hobah, north of Damascus. Then he brought back all the possessions, and also brought back his kinsman Lot with his possessions, and the women and the people.”
So Abram had 318 “trained men” to fight with him. But how many men did those four kings have between them? Wouldn’t they have had a lot more than 318 men? The bible really doesn’t tell us, but even without telling us how many men Abram defeated, I know, and I think YOU know, that it really wouldn’t have mattered how many men they had to fight. They could have fought thousands; But Abram wasn’t about to be defeated was he? No! And why wasn’t he going to be defeated? Abram was going to be victorious for one big reason; Because God was with him! And when God is for us, who is against us? Well, it doesn’t matter who is against us, or how many may be against us. Because when God is on our side, we WILL be victorious!
How did Abram really go out and defeat those four marauding kings and all their men? I believe he did it through faith. By faith n God, that God would indeed sustain him, and give him victory! God didn’t call Abram, to leave his home country, and to come to the country that he was in, only to be defeated by some godless kings! How did David, the young shepherd boy, defeat Goliath? He did it by faith. And his faith, gave him confidence and certainty.
Listen to what David said to Goliath, when the two met for battle, Goliath for the Philistines, and David for Israel; Goliath had been taunting the army of Israel for over 40 days, and when he saw young David come out to fight him, here’s what Goliath said, in 1 Kings 17, verse 44; He said.. “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the sky and the beasts of the field.”
But David had FAITH! And so here’s what David said to Goliath, in verses 45 & 46; “You come to me with a sword and with a spear, and with a javelin, but I come to you, in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day, the LORD will deliver you into MY hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day, to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know, that there is a God in Israel. And all those assembled here will know, that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; For the battle is the LORD’s, and He will give all of you into our hands.”
Pretty bold language from a mere shepherd boy. But why was he so bold? And why could he BE so bold? It was because he had FAITH in God! And his faith gave him assurance, and conviction, and confidence, and certainty, that he would be victorious!
Have you ever needed some certainty in your life? Have you ever needed some assurance? How do we defeat whatever it is that plagues us in our lives? How do we face the giants, that defy us and taunt us? We do it by faith in God. And our faith gives us certainty, it gives us confidence, that we WILL overcome our enemies; Whether they be physical enemies, or spiritual enemies, or any kind of enemies. Nothing can defeat us, IF we put our entire trust and faith in God. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!” (Philippians 4:13)
(I’ve asked Doug to lead us in a prayer, about being confident in God? Maybe that will help us all. So then Doug, would you do that please?)
If you would care to turn in your bibles to Hebrews chapter 11, we can read some verses there, that talk about what various people, including Abram, did, “by faith”. Let’s read Hebrews 11, verse 1, as an introduction to what faith is. If any of us is is going to try to emulate these people that we’re going to read about, and do something by faith, we first need to know what faith is. So then here’s God’s description of faith.. “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
If you feel assured about something, then you don’t have any doubt about it, do you? No. And if you have conviction that something is so, then you certainty about it. Again, there’s no doubt, but rather, certainty. So then, what is faith in God, and in God’s word? Faith is having zero doubt, and 100% certainty; About God’s being, and about every word that He has spoken, or revealed. Every word, every fact, every truth, every promise, every warning, every admonition, everything concerning God. Zero doubt, total certainty. That’s faith.
No let’s read about some people who had faith in God. And keep in mind, that verse 2 tells us, “For by it, (by faith) the men of old gained approval.” Do we want to gain approval from God? If we do, then we need to ACT, by faith. We need to “live” by faith, right? The apostle Paul wrote in Galatians 2, verse 20; “And the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith, in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Paul had no doubt, about the power of Jesus, or the love of Jesus. He was certain, that he had put his trust in the right place, and in the right One.
Christianity is really a life of certainty. You know, these past few weeks in morning bible class, we’ve been studying about dealing with stress, and with guilt, and with forgiveness. And even though we’re Christians, we still deal with these things, and can have problems with these things. But you know what Paul said was a part of living this life by faith in Jesus Christ? Well, he wrote in Philippians 1, verse 6; “Being confident of this, (in other words, being certain) that He who began a good work in you, will carry it on to completion, until the day of Christ Jesus.” Confidence, certainty; That’s faith in God!
Now back to Hebrews 11, and I’ll read beginning with verse 3; “By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. By faith, Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks.”
“By faith Enoch was taken up, so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken, he was commended, as having pleased God. And without faith, it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God, must believe that he exists, and that he rewards those who seek Him.” (But with faith, we’ll be commended)
“By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear, constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.” You know, so many people think that righteousness is something that is “imputed” to us, because Jesus was righteous. But that’s absolutely not the case! Righteous is “imputed” to us, by faith that obeys God. And in no other way. “The righteousness that comes by faith”.
“By faith, Abraham obeyed, when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he dwelt in the promised land, as a stranger in a foreign country. He lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise.” And I might add here, that by faith, he rescued Lot and defeated those marauding kings!
And I’m going to jump to verses 13 thru 16 here; I wish we had time to read the entire chapter, but we don’t quite have the time. And so these will be our last verses; “All these people died in faith, without having received the things they were promised. (These people were promised an inheritance in heaven. They were promised a home in God’s Country!)
So.. “All these people died in faith, without having received the things they were promised. However, they saw them and welcomed them from afar. And they acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. (they saw their eternal inheritance laid up above) “Now, those who say such things, (those who say that they’re strangers and exiles on this earth) show that they are seeking a country of their own. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. (Such as was the case with Abram. He wasn’t looking to go back where he came from. He was looking to go forward, and to go on to his true home!)
“But as it is, they desired a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared for them a city.”
And that same city is prepared for us. And we’ll all enter that city together. Abraham and all those others haven’t enter it yet. Two more verses I suppose would be appropriate; Verses 39 & 40 tell us; “These were all commended for their faith, yet they did not receive what was promised, because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us, they would not be made perfect.” We’re all in this together, and we’ll all receive our inheritance together. “Thanks be to God!”