Abraham: Following In The Footsteps Of Faith
ABRAM: A MAN OF INTEGRITY
Intro: There is a word in the English language that we hear used from time
to time. Yet, this is a word that we rarely see modeled in our day. That
word is the word "Integrity." It means the following: "possession of firm
principles: the quality of possessing and steadfastly adhering to high
moral principles or professional standards"
When a person is said to have integrity, we mean that they have high
moral standards. We mean that they operate in a way that causes them to
seek the right way first. This is the behavior that God would have all His
children exhibit all the time. One of the greatest things that can be said
about your life is that you are a person of integrity.
This is the behavior that is modeled by Abram in this passage. Genesis
14 is a glimpse inside the life of this great man of God. There are three
areas of his life that are dealt with in this passage. In each of these, Abram
demonstrates the fact that he is a man of integrity. Let's examine these
areas this evening so that we too may become people of integrity for the
glory of the Lord.
I. V. 1-16 ABRAM'S INTEGRITY IN WARFARE
A. V. 1-12 The Setting For His Warfare - This chapter tells us about
a brutal invasion by a confederation of powerful kings who occupied
the region that corresponds to Iraq and Iran in our day.
1. V. 1-11 Involved A Vicious Retaliation - Evidently, Sodom had
been a tributary of king Chedorlaomer for some 12 years, verse
4. After 12 years, they refused to pay their tribute money and
revolted. Chedorlaomer, along with his confederates, invaded
Canaan to deal with these rebellious people. This invasion
resulted in the sacking of Sodom and the capturing of Lot, along
with all his possessions. (Note: There is always some evil tyrant
like Chedorlaomer who wants to put you in bondage. If you
leave the things of the Lord like Lot did and walk off into the
world, you can count on forming evil habit and lusts that are
difficult to break, 1 Cor. 10:23; 1 Cor. 6:12. In fact, like Lot, you
won't get free unless the Lord intervenes!)
2. V. 12 Involved A Valid Reason - When Abram heard that Lot
was in trouble, he went to war. I gather that Abram is a man of
peace. This is the only time we see him at war in his life.
However, when there was a need, he went to battle! (Note: I just
want to remind you that we are all engaged in warfare this
evening, Eph. 6:12; 2 Cor. 10:3-5. Our battle is spiritual in
B. V. 14-15 The Success Of His Warfare - These verses tell us that
Abram waged war and won a decisive victory.
1. V. 14 Involved His Preparations For The Enemy - Abram
armed his men and prepared for the battle. (Note: God's
children need to be ready at all times for spiritual battle, Eph.
6:10-18. Our success in the spiritual battles of life hinges on
how well we prepare ourselves for the battles we face.)
2. V. 15 Involved His Pursuit Of The Enemy - We are at war all
the time, but there are times when we need to take the fight to
the enemy. When it is time to stand against evil. When it is time
to defend or rescue a brother. When it is time to stand in the
gap for another. Let us fight the good fight, 2 Tim. 4:7.)
(Note: May we always demonstrate great integrity in the battles we fight.
We do so by facing the enemy with out faith in the Lord and His power.
We do so by always being found on the side of right. We do so by not
shrinking from the battle for fear of the enemy. We do so by standing
when others run away!)
II. V. 18-20 ABRAM'S INTEGRITY IN WORSHIP
A. V. 18 The Facilitator Of His Worship - Abram had faith to make
war and he encounter a facilitator to help him in his worship of the
Lord. Notice some truths about this mysterious man named
1. Melchizedec's Position - He is called a "king". He is a ruler, a
man of great influence, wealth and power.
2. Melchizedec's Place - He is the "King of Salem". The word
"Salem" means "peace". It is an ancient name for the city of
Jerusalem. His name means "King of Righteousness".
3. Melchizedec's Provisions - When he comes, he brings bread
and wine. Both are products of the area and are given to the
weary patriarch to help him after the battle.
4. Melchizedec's Priesthood - He is also a priest of God. Abram
wasn't the only man around who knew who the Lord was. He
prays for Abram and pronounces a blessing on him and his life.
5. Melchizedec's Portrait - This mysterious man is one of the
earliest and clearest pictures of the Lord Jesus in the Bible. For
the sake of reference, let's look at another passage that deals
with Melchizedec in detail, Heb. 7:1-4; 15-17. Who was he?
There have been many ideas concerning him identity down
through the centuries. The most popular are that he was Job,
Shem, Enoch returned to earth, and angel or Jesus Himself.
(Note: Not Shem - Father known, Heb. 7:3. Although he was
still alive at this time. He died some 40 years after Abraham.
Not an angel - called a man - Heb. 7:4. Not Jesus, based on Heb. 7:3; 15.) Most likely, Melchizedec was just a godly man
who knew the true and living God. He was a man. He was born
and he died like a man, but the Old Testament is silent
concerning the details of his life. Why? So that he might be seen
as a more clear type of Jesus Christ.) (Note: The picture he
paints of Jesus. An eternal priest, Heb. 7:3; Heb. 7:25. No
beginning or end. Presenting bread and wine. These picture the
sacrifice of the Lord Jesus, Who said that the bread represented
His broken body and the wine His shed blood, Luke 22:19-20.
He was a king, Jesus is a king. He was a priest, Jesus is a
priest. He was name king of Righteousness. Jesus is absolutely
righteous. He was king of peace. Jesus is the Prince of Peace, Isa. 9:6.)
B. V. 19-20a The Fruit Of His Worship - He was blessed for his
faithfulness to the Lord. Note the phrase "Abram OF the most high
God." Abram is known for his relationship to the Lord and is
blessed as a result. (Note: There is no greater commentary on your
life or mine than for someone to say, "They are a Christian!" When
we give our lives to Him in obedience and worship, He is honored,
we are blessed and the world is given His light. Such is the fruit of
a life of consistent obedience and worship before the Lord.)
C. V. 20b The Faithfulness Of His Worship - Abram the Lord's grace
in his life by tithing back to the work of the Lord. You will notice that
Abram tithed while he was still a Gentile. He had not yet been
circumcised and was not yet a Jew. (Note: The tithe is a means of
honoring God for His blessings upon your life. Tithing is an
expression of Worship, 2 Cor. 9:7, a test of obedience, 1 Cor. 16:2;
Mal. 3:8-9, and an opportunity for the Lord to bless your life further,
Luke 6:38; Mal. 3:10; 2 Cor. 9:6. Abram honored the Lord in all
things. That is all He asks of us this evening!)
(Note: Your integrity in the arena of the worship and acknowledgment
of the Lord says much about the condition of your heart and life. Those
who love Him will worship Him with their time, their tithe and their
talents. What are you doing to worship and honor the Lord God?)
III. V. 17, 21-24 ABRAM'S INTEGRITY IN WEALTH
(Ill. When Abram won this great military victory, he also took possession
of the spoils of all the defeated cities. This would have represented a
tremendous amount of wealth. Let's observe how Abram deals with the
A. V. 21 The Temptation He Endured - The king of Sodom offers to
allow Abram to keep all the goods he has won. Surely this must
have been a great temptation. (Note: I think we humans are more
tempted in the area of money than we are in any other area. We all
search for ways to be sure that we come out on top when all the
coins are counted. We cheat on taxes. Cut corners everywhere we
can. We will drive ten miles to save 2 cents on a gallon of gas.
Raise the devil if we are shortchanged, but keep it quiet when we
are overpaid. In fact, if you will let me have a look at your
checkbook register, I will tell you what is number one in your life!
Your stewardship of your money says much about you!)
B. V. 22-24 The Testimony He Exhibited - Abram's response is
classic! He refuses to take a dime from the king of Sodom. He
would rather trust the Lord to take care of him that to feel like he
owed any man anything. He did not want this wicked king to get his
kooks into him! (Note: There are some folks who will do anything for
a dollar! May we determine that we will not succumb to the
temptation to make a dishonest dollar. If we will exercise integrity
in our handling of our resources, we can rest assured that the Lord
will look after the needs we may have in this life, Phil. 4:14-19. The
Philippians had contributed to the work of th Apostle and could rest
in the assurance that God would take care of them should a need
arise! By the way, verse 19 is not a blanket promise!)
Conc: The three areas of life that we have examined this evening are all
vitally important! Can you say with a clear heart that you are walking in
absolute integrity in the areas of you Warfare, your Worship and your
Wealth. God help us to search our hearts and deal with any problems we
may find there.