INTRODUCTION: In this life of struggles and troubles, some will live life better with difficulty than without.
How does this make sense? By realizing that in times of difficulty and trouble, the believer tends to constantly rely on
and pray to God while those without trouble or dependency soon forget God because they're not in need--it's human nature.
Sometimes the greater danger lies in victory: when you win, do you take the glory and riches from your peers who
recognize "your" achievement or do you remember to give glory/credit to He who made your victory possible--God?
June 8th, 2003, Sunday Morning
"Temptation in Victory"
When you win, do you accept the glory from your friends or do you give the credit to God?
OPENING: Genesis 14
ROLE MODEL for this story: Abram (later renamed by God as Abraham) of the Old Testament, father of the Jewish nation Israel.
While a man of true faith and obedience who God promised to make his seed into a great, nation
(Israel--from then to this day)--Genesis 12:1-2,
Abraham still endured trials and hardships just as non-believers.
- Genesis 12:1-3: God tells Abraham He's about to make Abraham a great nation and God will bless those who
bless Abraham and curse those who curse Abraham; doesn't that sound like an easy life?
- Genesis 12:1-12: Near Abraham, war erupted because one group of nations (composed of five kings),
after twelve years of serving another, Chedorloamer of what is modern-day-Iraq, simply rebelled.
The battlefield was four kings (nations) vs. five with the start of the campaign from Chedorloamer (and his three ally kings)
home of what is modern-day-Baghdad
- At war's end, Abraham's nephew, Lot, was taken away captive
- Genesis 13:7-12: Lot freely chose what land to live on solely for its appearance and Lot chose
to live by Sodom and Gomorrah (before it was destroyed); and just as two losers of the war were the kings of Sodom
and Gomorrah (Genesis 14:10), their spoils and people were taken away captive--to include Lot
- KEY POINT OF THIS INTRO: Just because life may be going well with you; regardless if you're
a true believer, obedient to God; and even if you live peacefully in your home each day, you are not exempt from the troubles of this world, outside
Times of trouble and peril are the ideal times to define, refine and test a person's character.
- John 17:14-15: Jesus' prayer in the garden of Gethsemane, before he was taken to be crucified,
prayed that His disciples would not have an easy, painless life but that they would survive and endure to prove themselves
to others that others (non-believers) may believe
Genesis 12:4 and Hebrews 11:8: (Example of where Old Testament and New Testament scripture match)
God told Abraham to "get up and go" but without telling Abraham where he was going and Abraham responded by gathering his
life and wife and went, even though he didn't know where his final destination was--this is how much trust he had in God
Yet while Abraham was obedient and life was going well, life changed for Abraham when his nephew Lot was taken
and Abraham had to respond to whether he would conform and actively deal with the situation (because once Lot reached his
place of captivity, there was no getting him back) or avoiding it in hopes it would "go away" or bypass him
LITTLE KNOWN FACT: Abraham was not only the father of Israel and obedient to
God but was a brilliant military strategist!
- Genesis 14:14: Notice Abraham responds by pursuing after the winning army with his "armed"
and "trained servants" which indicates Abraham was a man to prepare for a storm before it hit (vs. dealing with
new situations the moment they occur)
- Genesis 14:15-16: Conducting the first recorded "night attacks," Abraham divided his men, attacked
In the end, Abraham and his 318 men chased one of the largest Mesopotamian armies ever 80 miles through
Damascus, toward modern-day-Iraq (the final destination), to attack, win and return 220 miles with their spoils and Abraham's nephew, Lot
- ANALYSIS OF WHY ABRAHAM WON: What made Abraham great was that he not only knew/obeyed God's Word and prepared/trained himself
and his men for the unexpected but Abraham risked responding to the situation, not knowing the outcome or if he'd return to
- Why did Abraham win? Yes--he was a brilliant military strategist; yes--he prepared/trained his troops for the
forthcoming "storm" but all that mattered was God being with him to give Abraham the victory--it's the only logical
explanation for Abraham's 318 men defeating one of the largest Mesopotamian armies ever
- This is synonymous with military personnel: it's not common for the majority of people to plan ahead for their
children getting into trouble, family members dying and short-notice deploying ... but by doing so and responding to difficult
situations is what will make you great
- The American people didn't want "9/11" to happen but we all must realize no matter how close or far you are
from disaster, nobody is exempt from evil forces
- Difficulties and disasters in life cannot be prevented if God wants them to come to pass. Therefore, instead
of working on prevention measures to events out of your control, prepare yourself to either do nothing or positively respond
to the situation (and perhaps win, like Abraham did)
Now the final test: with men coming to recognize Abraham (not God) for the victory, how does Abraham respond?
- The temptation lies in accepting the glory and flattering of man -- the beginning of forgetting
God and realizing what was done was you, alone
- Genesis 14:17-24: The new king of Sodom champions Abraham's achievement and offers to let Abraham
keep all the spoils except the people. ABRAHAM's RESPONSE: Not only does Abraham recognize God giving him the victory,
he tithes 10% of the spoils and returns everything to the king except his nephew Lot and some food!
- Abraham didn't want to keep the king's treasures so he can be a testimony to the world that
he relies solely on God to get through life and is not dependent upon the riches of man
There may be times in your life when God will remove all outside help from you and give you a difficult situation in which
you can fold and forget or have the faith to call upon God for help, rely on Him for victory and give Him the credit for the
This week, some of you will have another mundane, quiet week of work and family. For others, your entire life
and world may change overnight. Will you crumble or meet the challenge and succeed?
2 Timothy 4:6-8: Paul, one of the greatest Christian persecutors-turned-faithful
(Acts 9:1-18) didn't let his past demoralize his future mission to spread the Gospel throughout the land to
mainly enemies of the Church. He saw the danger coming, prepared himself, had faith in God, never folded and declared
before his death that he "fought a good fight" and "kept the faith". Because of this, Paul (and any other
believer to his day) will literally receive a "crown of righteousness" from God at this world's end
Abraham prepared himself for the challenge, acted against it, won, and closed it out by giving God the glory for
the win. For a continued life of great victory, you do the same.