Abraham Victory belongs to God
The victory belongs to God
Call to worship
Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the great deep. (Psalm 36:5-6)
Please be seated.
O God our Father,
Let your grace and blessing rest upon us in this quiet hour in which we have come apart for worship.
Bless us with a sense of your presence. Grant us peace of mind. Restore to us the serenity of outlook which helps us to face life’s problems undismayed. Deepen our faith that we may not fear. Give us the blessedness of your forgiveness. Make real to us Him who loved us and gave Himself for us.
This is our prayer in the Name of Jesus Christ, our Lord.
The Lord’s Prayer
Grace to you from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord
Hymn: “We praise You O Father” (Screen; Psalm Praise 8)
Scripture Reading 2Corinthians 12:1-10
Prayer of Adoration and Confession
Lord God, our Loving Heavenly Father, you are all good and the source of all that is good. Help us to see that whatever good we may experience in life, is all because of the goodness of you our God, who gives it and who, according to your wisdom, can take it away.
Help us to realise that true blessing is not to be measured by the quantity of good that we have received from you, but by our capacity to be able to see good in everything you do and to thank you for it.
There is no one good but you only. And yet in the works of your hands, in the mighty trees of the forest, in the pristine wilderness, in the noble and majestic creatures that you have made, we see your great goodness shining through.
We are near goodness when we are near to you. And to have been made by you, like you and for you, is an amazing thought.
How we long for you to be both the source and the goal of our life. How we desire more than anything else for our lives to be begun, continued and ended in you. For only as we live continually in your presence will any true and lasting good result.
We recognise that in times of peace and prosperity, you have been good to us.
We affirm that in times of trouble, you alone can support and comfort us. We know and are certain that when life comes to an end, your grace alone will be sufficient for us.
Help us to see how good your will is in all things, especially when it crosses our own. Teach us to accept it and to be pleased with it. Help us to understand that your will for us is also our greatest good. Help us to feel your goodness in: the warmth of a fire; in the enjoyment of food; in the pleasure of friendship; in every provision you make for us. Help us to see that your many gifts and provisions are but your hands and fingers taking hold of us and caring for us.
You are an inexhaustible fountain of goodness. We give ourselves to you out of love, for all we have or own is yours, our possessions, family, church, selves, to do with as you will, to honour yourself by us and all that is ours.
And if it be consistent with your will and the purpose of your grace, and the great goal of your glory and your Kingdom, then continue to pour out upon us, your servants, the blessings of your comfort and peace. But if not, then give us the grace to accept your wiser counsel and to seek after the good you have planned for us in hardship, or persecution, or pain. For you are a good God and we believe you when you say that you will work all things together for the good of those that love you and are called according to your purpose.
Gracious God, you take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, you desire that none should perish, you long that all should turn from their evil ways and live.
Have mercy upon us and forgive the sins of all who turn to you this day, forsaking the way of pride and bowing humbly before the cross of Christ, in whose name we pray, Amen.
Declaration of pardoning
Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. (Isaiah 1:18)
Hymn: “Father I thank You” (Screen, Scripture in Song
Offering and Dedication
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. (Psalm 51:17)
Hymn: “Lord make me an instrument” (Screen – Mission Praise)
Prayer for others
Scripture Reading Genesis 14:13-24
· Here we have the first war of the Bible:
· Seems as if it was a huge war.
It’s estimated that from 2 678 wars in the 12th century, the total increased to 13 835 in the first quarter of the 19th Century. Wilbur Smith estimated that up to the close of the 19th Century - 14 Billion people have died in wars of the human race.
Abram a soldier in God’s army
This war was between Chedoelamer and his followers and the kings of Sodom and Gamorra.
A list has been given: 4 Kings fought against 5 Kings.
At first it looks as if the description of this war has nothing to do with the story of God’s unfolding covenant of grace with his servant Abraham. We could almost ask, “What is the significance of a war between four kings on one hand and five on the other, while the exact boundaries of their territories and the impact of this conflict is not mentioned anywhere else in the Scriptures?” Why do we need to read about a conflict centered upon kings that had no significance in the outworking of world events at all?
And lets be honest, we cannot even try to choose sides, for both sides were bad. Chedeolaomer was conqueror. We know what came from Sodom and Gomorra.
The significance lies in the role Abram would play because of Lot. Here is Lot, caught up in the whole thing. You will be known by your friends!
Notice: It was not Lots choice to be dragged into
this, but he was. Chedeolaomer and his “bundle” started a conquering voyage.· Impressive one might say. ·They defeated 8 nations and cities, before slaying Bersa, king of Sodom and his four allies. Now that’s impressive! They made one mistake though! They took Lot with them.
They also took Lot, Abram’s brother’s son who dwelt in Sodom. And something of what we are assured of in John 10:28 come true before our eyes.
And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of my hand.
One of the men broke loose and came to Abram.·.
Then one who had escaped came and told Abram the Hebrew.
God’s power displayed in the weakness of his elect
Look at Abram’s reaction: he armed his three hundred and eighteen trained servants who were born in his own house.
Have you noticed?· He didn’t say, “Oh, Lord they are so powerful or they are so mighty I won’t make it”.·I Mean this was an impressive army he was against. ·They were sweeping the land. ·They had the numbers!
But God is not looking at the numbers or power of people.
He is looking for humble trust, availability and willingness.
Listen! He uses the weak to put shame on the mighty.
But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; I Cor 1:27
We read of the thorn in the flesh of the apostle Paul tonight. What exactly this thorn was, we are not sure. But twice in this chapter the apostle brings home the idea that we need to be humble before God. We need to be weak before God so He can work out his plan of redemption in this world. The Lord revealed Himself to the apostle:
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)
Let’s look at a similar situation: ·Look at Gideon in Judges 6 and 7. ·Same thing! The Midianite multitudes came against them.· An angel appeared to Gideon and called him a mighty man of valor!· For he is the one who will free the nation.
What was the reaction of Gideon?
So he said to Him, "O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house." Judg 6:15.
He was the weakest! God used him with just 300 men to slain the mighty Midianites.
The four men with leprosy
Here is how God do it:· Go with me to II Kings 7:6. ·We’ve got four men with leprosy. ·Remember the weakest. ·Castaways in this case for that’s what happened to them
·The mighty Syrians have taken the Samaria hostage. ·These four leper men decided to go to the Syrian camp to die or to get food.· When they came there they found the camp empty. ·How was this possible?
For God again used the least and weakest (in man”s eyes) to bring the victory!
For the Lord had caused the army of the Syrians to hear the noise of chariots and the noise of horses--the noise of a great army; so they said to one another, "Look, the king of Israel has hired against us the kings of the Hittites and the kings of the Egyptians to attack us!"
Is it possible that God used these men’s footsteps and it sounded like an army!
Abram sought 318 men and slaine chedeolamers forces15. He divided his forces against them by night, and he and his servants. Attacked them and pursued them as far as Hobah, which is north of Damascus.
So he brought back all the goods, and also brought back his brother Lot and his goods, as well as the women and the people.
The soldiers mocked Him. The Pharisees despised Him. The people ridiculed Him: Save Yourself!
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (1 Corinthians 1:18)
But we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength. (1 Corinthians 1:23-25)
Here right in the beginning of the Bible, where the first war is recorded, God included his church – not in impressive numbers – to bring about victory to have His plan of redemption unfolding. Here we learn the important lesson: not by power or by might, but by My Spirit!
God’s not looking at how big our church is; how strong you are; how influential or rich you are. He’s looking at your availability and willingness to in faith answer to the call to defend the honour of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Hymn No 461: “Soldiers of Christ”
The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”’ (Numbers 6:24-26)