Genesis 14:1-24 In The Valley of the Kings

I.  The RAID against the kings of the Jordan Valley. 1-12

A.  Geographical considerations: Fertile Crescent, Jordan Valley

B.  The political setting: Ancient Near East city-states 1-4

1.  The five eastern kings 1

1 And it came about in the days of Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of Goiim,

2.  The four western valley kings 2

2 that they made war with Bera king of Sodom, and with Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, and Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar).

  1. The Suzerain-vassal political system 3-4

3 All these came as allies to the valley of Siddim (that is, the Salt Sea). 4 Twelve years they had served Chedorlaomer, but the thirteenth year they rebelled.

C.  The strategy of the raiders: throw a noose around the valley, then tighten it… 5-9

  1. The destruction of the surrounding kingdoms 5-7

5 And in the fourteenth year Chedorlaomer and the kings that were with him, came and defeated the Rephaim in Ashteroth-karnaim and the Zuzim in Ham and the Emim in Shaveh-kiriathaim, 6 and the Horites in their Mount Seir, as far as El-paran, which is by the wilderness. 7 Then they turned back and came to En-mishpat (that is, Kadesh), and conquered all the country of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites, who lived in Hazazon-tamar.

  1. The battle against the five cities of the Jordan valley 8-9

8 And the king of Sodom and the king of Gomorrah and the king of Admah and the king of Zeboiim and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar) came out; and they arrayed for battle against them in the valley of Siddim, 9 against Chedorlaomer king of Elam and Tidal king of Goiim and Amraphel king of Shinar and Arioch king of Ellasar– four kings against five.

D.  The fall of Sodom and Gomorrah 10-12

1.  Their kings were both destroyed, some people escaped to the surrounding hill country 10

10 Now the valley of Siddim was full of tar pits; and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, and they fell into them. But those who survived fled to the hill country.

2.  The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were pillaged and their citizens enslaved, including Lot 11-12

11 Then they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah and all their food supply, and departed 12 And they also took Lot, Abram’s nephew, and his possessions and departed, for he was living in Sodom.

II.  The RESCUE of Lot 13-16

A.  Abram gathered a force and pursued the kings 13-14

13 Then a fugitive came and told Abram the Hebrew. Now he was living by the oaks of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol and brother of Aner, and these were allies with Abram. 14 And when Abram heard that his relative had been taken captive, he led out his trained men, born in his house, three hundred and eighteen, and went in pursuit as far as Dan.

1.  Abram attacked and defeated the invaders 15-16

15 And he divided his forces against them by night, he and his servants, and defeated them, and pursued them as far as Hobah, which is north of Damascus.

2.  Abram delivered the captives and retrieved the spoil 16

16 And he brought back all the goods, and also brought back his relative Lot with his possessions, and also the women, and the people.

III.  The REWARDS offered to Abram by two kings 17-24

A.  The king of Sodom 17, 21-24

  1. He was a new king—the former king having died 17

17 Then 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).

  1. The king of Sodom offered Abram all the goods, if he would leave all the people to the king 21

21 And the king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give the people to me and take the goods for yourself.” 

  1. Abram chose to depend on God alone, not the king of Sodom 22-24

22 And Abram said to the king of Sodom, “I have sworn to the LORD God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth, 23 that I will not take a thread or a sandal thong or anything that is yours, lest you should say, ‘I have made Abram rich.’ 24 “I will take nothing except what the young men have eaten, and the share of the men who went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their share.”

B.  Melchizedek, king of Salem 18-20

A.  Who he was 18

  1. His name = “King of Righteousness”
  2. His kingdom-city = Salem (peace)
  3. His priesthood = priest of the Most High God (El Elyon)

now he was a priest of God Most High.

  • El Elyon = God, God Most High = this is a descriptive name for God, identifying Him as being above and superior to any/all imaginable gods that anyone might come up with.  It is the name for the God of the Gentiles! (The demon-possessed (Gentile) man who lived in the graves = “What do we have to do with you, Jesus, Son of God Most High”?  The Philippian slave girl, “These men are bond-servants of the Most High God, who are proclaiming to you the way of salvation.”

B.  He provided rest, refreshment, and blessing to Abram 18-20a

18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; 19 And he blessed him and said, “Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; 20 And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” And he gave him a tenth of all.

C.  Abram gave a tenth of the spoils to Melchizedek 20b

And he gave him a tenth of all.

Conclusion: When we come into the King’s Valley, which King will we serve?

  1. There is a King of a Dark Kingdom at work in the world today
  • Eph 2:2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.

A.  Though a defeated prince, he retains a measure of authority and power in this present system.

  • 1 John 5: 19 We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.

B.  He still tempts people to trust in his schemes and deals instead of God’s promises.

  • Luke 4:5 And he led Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. 6 And the devil said to Him, “I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. 7 “Therefore if You worship before me, it shall all be Yours.” 8 And Jesus answered and said to him, “It is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.'”

C.  In the end, he will be judged, and everything he offers will be lost and burned up.

  • 1 John 2:15 Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.

2.  There is the King of Peace who offers relief and reconciliation to all who simply trust Him, today and forever!

  • Psalm 110: 4 The LORD has sworn and will not change His mind, “Thou art a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek.”

A.  Jesus is the perfect High Priest, satisfying God’s righteous requirements for our sins, and then securing peace between us and God.

B.  Jesus is the perfect High Priest, blessing us with rest and spiritual nourishment; interceding on our behalf before the throne of God.

C.  Jesus is the perfect High Priest, interceding for us before the throne of God.

  • Melchizedek = King of Righteousness, King of Salem = King of Shalom, Peace
  • Bread and Wine = nourishment, fellowship = The Lord’s Table = spiritual nourishment and fellowship.

Much forgiveness, much love (Luke 7:36-50)

Introduction: Jesus was invited to dine at a Pharisee’s home 36

36 Now one of the Pharisees was requesting Him to dine with him. And He entered the Pharisee’s house, and reclined at the table.

  1. A woman entered and began to anoint His feet 37-38

37 And behold, there was a woman in the city who was a sinner; and when she learned that He was reclining at the table in the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster vial of perfume, 38 and standing behind Him at His feet, weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears, and kept wiping them with the hair of her head, and kissing His feet, and anointing them with the perfume.

  • Sinner = someone who 1) did not participate in the rituals and disciples of the faith (Jewish backsliders), 2) someone who was morally stained with certain vices or crimes (prostitutes, adulterers, tax-gathers, etc.)
  1. The Pharisee criticized the woman and Jesus 39

39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet He would know who and what sort of person this woman is who is touching Him, that she is a sinner.”

  1. Jesus addressed Simon’s criticism with an illustration of forgiveness 40-47

A.  A merciful moneylender forgave two debtors 40-42a

40 And Jesus answered and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he replied, “Say it, Teacher.” 41 “A certain moneylender had two debtors: one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 “When they were unable to repay, he graciously forgave them both.

B.  The debtor forgiven the greatest debt loved him the most 42b-43

Which of them therefore will love him more?” 43 Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” And He said to him, “You have judged correctly.”

C.  Jesus applied the illustration to Simon and the woman 44-47

1.  The water for His feet = common courtesy 44

44 And turning toward the woman, He said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has wet My feet with her tears, and wiped them with her hair.

2.  A kiss of greeting = congenial greeting 45

45 “You gave Me no kiss; but she, since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss My feet.

3.  Oil of anointing = blessing 46

46 “You did not anoint My head with oil, but she anointed My feet with perfume.

4.  Application: Forgiveness and Love 47

a.  Those forgiven of much, love much 47a

47 “For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much;

b.  Those forgiven little, love little 47b

but he who is forgiven little, loves little.”

  1. Jesus gave the woman forgiveness, assurance, and blessing 48-50

A.  Forgiveness 48-49

1.  He speaks of the forgiveness as an accomplished deed 48

48 And He said to her, “Your sins have been forgiven.”

2.  Forgiving sins is the most upsetting thing Jesus did 49

49 And those who were reclining at the table with Him began to say to themselves, “Who is this man who even forgives sins?”

B.  Assurance 50a

50 And He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you;

C.  Blessing 50b

go in peace.”

Conclusion:  Today, what keeps us from being “forgiven much” and “loving much”?

  1. We are too much like Simon the Pharisee: superficial understanding of our own sin, satisfied with superficial relationship with Jesus, more likely to point out the sin in others rather than see it in ourselves.
  2. We are not enough like the woman who lived in that city:  We don’t follow her example of trust in Jesus, of open acknowledgement of our sin and need for Him, and of unabashed worship and expressions of love for Him.
  3. We are like the women and men of that city who did NOT go to Simon’s house:  Either overwhelmed by our sins, or in denial of our sinfulness and need for a Savior.

What do you see when you lift up your eyes? (Genesis 13)

Introduction: Abram left Egypt and returned to the land of promise 1

1 So Abram went up from Egypt to the Negev, he and his wife and all that belonged to him; and Lot with him.

I.  Prosperity brought challenges to Abram and his nephew Lot 2-7

2 Now Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver and in gold. 3 And he went on his journeys from the Negev as far as Bethel, to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai, 4 to the place of the altar, which he had made there formerly; and there Abram called on the name of the LORD. 5 Now Lot, who went with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents. 6 And the land could not sustain them while dwelling together; for their possessions were so great that they were not able to remain together. 7 And there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram’s livestock and the herdsmen of Lot’s livestock. Now the Canaanite and the Perizzite were dwelling then in the land.

A.  The prosperity 2-5

1.  Abram’s prosperity and journeying 2-4

2.  Lot’s prosperity and growing independence 5

B.  The challenges 6-7

1.  Sustainability—the land could not support both their flocks

2.  Hostility—their herdsmen were quarreling

3.  Vulnerability—they were living amongst potential enemies

II.  To preserve peace, Abram proposed that he and Lot separate 8-13

8 Then Abram said to Lot, “Please let there be no strife between you and me, nor between my herdsmen and your herdsmen, for we are brothers. 9 “Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me: if to the left, then I will go to the right; or if to the right, then I will go to the left.” 10 And Lot lifted up his eyes and saw all the valley of the Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere– this was before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah– like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt as you go to Zoar. 11 So Lot chose for himself all the valley of the Jordan; and Lot journeyed eastward. Thus they separated from each other. 12 Abram settled in the land of Canaan, while Lot settled in the cities of the valley, and moved his tents as far as Sodom. 13 Now the men of Sodom were wicked exceedingly and sinners against the LORD.

A.  Abram gave first choice of the land to Lot. 8-9

B.  Lot settled in the fertile Jordan valley 10-13, 12b-13

Application:  Lot chose “for himself,” but he lost…his FELLOWSHIP with Abram…his FAITH…His FAMILY…wife, daughters, and daughters’ husbands.

You don’t have to go to Israel to stand on that mountain, looking out ahead and seeing all the things you want, and could be, and could have—at the cost of your faith…every time you are tempted to disregard God’s call on your life, or relegate His call to just another “part” of the whole picture, etc., you’re on that hill—and Lot is standing next to you…

But, God is gracious, and to follow Him is not a matter of hard, rote, obligation—but one of unbridled, generous opportunity.  And as you stand on that hill, lifting your eyes towards the opportunities laid out before you—you are standing next to Lot, but also, YOU ARE STANDING NEXT TO ABRAM!

B.  Abram settled in the land of Canaan 12a

12 Abram settled in the land of Canaan,

III.  “Now, lift up your eyes!”  God promised Abram land, and innumerable descents to live on that land–forever 14-17

14 And the LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, “Now lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward; 15 for all the land which you see, I will give it to you and to your descendants forever. 16 “And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if anyone can number the dust of the earth, then your descendants can also be numbered. 17 “Arise, walk about the land through its length and breadth; for I will give it to you.”

1.  The Land 14-15, 17

2.  Innumerable Descendants 16

IV.  Abram’s response to the promise of the Lord:  Obedience, and Intimacy with God 18

18 Then Abram moved his tent and came and dwelt by the oaks of Mamre, which are in Hebron, and there he built an altar to the LORD.

A.  He stayed in the land he’d been promised 18a

B.  He dwelt in Hebron (pitched his tent) 18b

C.  He built an altar to the LORD 18c

Application: If we could identify a couple of aspects of Abram’s faith that could be transferred to our lives today, we might see that he was recognized by a SIGN, and that he treasured a great SECRET, both of which comprised his life of faith.

The SIGN of Abram’s faith is the tent; the visible, physical result of his choice to leave a life of predictability in Ur, and to live his life as a type of wanderer in the land promised to him.  Abram sunk very shallow roots into the culture around him, leaving only a family burial cave and a life lived focused on the promise that the Lord gave him of a future that far surpassed any of the “green pastures” that could be gained by simply leaving the place where the Lord had led him in pursuit of wealth, prosperity, and a predictable life.  This is a sign of obedience.  Do you sink the roots of your life into the present life of this culture, or into the life of the kingdom that is coming?

The SECRET of Abram’s life is the altar; the place where he met with, and worshiped the Lord God.  At the altar, Abram offered sacrifices of praise and reconciliation for sin.  It was a place of worship, reconciliation, and celebration, and while Abram’s altar was a public, outdoor place–it represented the deep, private, central dynamic of his growing, intimate relationship with God. Believers today do not worship at altars, for with the final, perfect sacrifice of our Lord Jesus on the alter of God, named Golgotha, 2,000 ago–we now are forever reconciled to God, and instead offer to him our very lives as thank offerings for the marvelous blessing of salvation He has once for all give us!  This is the secret of intimacy with God. Do you worship at such an altar?

 

 

 

Leaving God Out (Genesis 12:10-13:4)

Big Idea: When we go off-track in life, the way back always leads to a restored relationship with God.

I.  We get off-track with God as we… 10

1.  Lose our confidence in the promises of God 10

10 Now there was a famine in the land; so Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was severe in the land.

2.  Lose our courage in the face of our fears 11-13

11 It came about when he came near to Egypt, that he said to Sarai his wife, “See now, I know that you are a beautiful woman; 12 and when the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife’; and they will kill me, but they will let you live.” 13 “Please say that you are my sister so that it may go well with me because of you, and that I may live on account of you.”

  3.  Lose our credibility in the eyes of the surrounding culture 14-16

14 It came about when Abram came into Egypt, the Egyptians saw that the woman was very beautiful. 15 Pharaoh’s officials saw her and praised her to Pharaoh; and the woman was taken into Pharaoh’s house.  16 Therefore he treated Abram well for her sake; and gave him sheep and oxen and donkeys and male and female servants and female donkeys and camels.

II.  God brings us back on-track with Him by… 12:17-13:4

1.  Revealing our failure and sin 12:17-20

17 But the LORD struck Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram’s wife. 18 Then Pharaoh called Abram and said, “What is this you have done to me? Why did you not tell me that she was your wife? 19 “Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her for my wife? Now then, here is your wife, take her and go.” 20 Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him; and they escorted him away, with his wife and all that belonged to him. 

2.  Rescuing us from a place of shame and loss 13:1-3

13:1 So Abram went up from Egypt to the Negev, he and his wife and all that belonged to him, and Lot with him. 2 Now Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver and in gold. 3 He went on his journeys from the Negev as far as Bethel, to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai,

3.  Restoring us to a life of trust, worship, and witness 4

4 to the place of the altar which he had made there formerly; and there Abram called on the name of the LORD.

Conclusion: How has God made it possible for everyone to live in a right relationship with Him?

  1. He has revealed our failure
  • “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”
  • “We all, like sheep, have gone astray.  Each of us has turned to his own way.”
  1. He has rescued us from the punishment owed for our sins
  • “But God demonstrates His love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
  • “For Christ died for sinners, to bring you to God.”
  • “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” 
  1. He has restored us to a life of trust, worship, and witness to His grace.
  • “I have been crucified with Christ—and I no longer live but Christ lives in me.  The life I live I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
  • (1 Pet 2)  9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.