The Faith of Abraham-PART 4

Part 4: Be Ready to Resist the Temptation

The simple definition of temptation is the urge to do something that is wrong and unwise. We experience it as a desire to engage in a temporary pleasure, but this temporary pleasure will cause us to lose out on a long-term gain. As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, we understand that we’re on this earth for God’s purpose. He wants this to be an enjoyable experience, but we can’t get it twisted. Pleasure isn’t really enjoyment unless God has placed His stamp on it. Our endeavors and actions will not yield anything useful without His grace and approval. So, temptation is not from God. James 1:13(NLT) tells us, “And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else.” When we are tempted, we can be sure that it is satan that does it, and his mission is to keep us from the blessings God desires to give us.

In Genesis 12:2-3(NLT), God promised Abraham, “I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.” Abraham and his wife, Sarah, were in their senior years of life, and they were both way past the years of conceiving a child. Abraham’s seed was considered dead and so was Sarah’s womb, yet God delivered the promise to make Abraham a great nation. In order for a person to become a nation, they must have descendants. They must continue their legacy by having a son. Women do not have seed. So, a family’s bloodline can only continue through males. At the time when God made this promise to him, Abraham didn’t have a son.

Genesis 15:1-5 tells us, that Abraham had a vision a little later, and God spoke to him. Heavenly Father told Abraham that he shouldn’t be afraid, that He would protect Abraham and cause his rewards to be great. Abraham knew that this meant that he would need a son to carry forth his legacy, so he asked God in Genesis 15:2(NLT), “O Sovereign Lord, what good are all your blessings when I don’t even have a son? Since you’ve given me no children, Eliezer of Damascus, a servant in my household, will inherit all my wealth. 3 You have given me no descendants of my own, so one of my servants will be my heir.” Abraham and Sarah were not perfect, and we can clearly see this in their response to God’s promise. As amazing as God’s promise was, when Abraham heard it, he thought it was appropriate to mention what God hadn’t done, instead of receiving in faith what God was going to do. He went so far as to tell the Creator of the entire universe, “I heard what you said, Lord, but have you seen me lately? I’m old, and You didn’t give me a son when I was young. It’s kinda hard for me to envision what You’re telling me. So, I’m not going to push myself to see beyond the reality I know. I have a servant over here, and You’ll just have to make this promise work out with him.”

Abraham hadn’t quite caught the vision of God’s unlimited power. This is something God was committed to teach him. Many of us can understand Abraham’s attitude because we’ve been there ourselves. We’ve received God’s promise of a more than abundant life, and we’ve been praying for the desire of our hearts, but it hasn’t come to pass. We either try to force a fit, or some of us give up on it altogether.

The difference between Abraham and many of us is that we have nothing like his circumstances to contend with. Abraham didn’t have God’s Word in written convenient form. He couldn’t carry it around in his back pocket. And not only this, he didn’t have the example of Jesus Christ that he could follow, and he didn’t have the indwelling Holy Spirit either. Yet, when he received a directive from God, he got busy doing what God instructed him to do. How many of us living today can say we have this level of humility and loyalty to Heavenly Father?

We must be very cautious about temptation, because it’s one of the biggest tricks the devil plays against God’s people. It’s a dastardly evil trick used to swindle us out of the blessings God wants to give us, and many of us fall for it. If a person doesn’t believe in God’s faithfulness and if they don’t have faith that He will bless them, they will fall for the quick fixes and temporary pleasures. The example Abraham set shows us how to preserve ourselves spiritually and meet God’s expectations.

Lot was Abraham’s nephew. He was living in Sodom and Gomorrah and had been captured by victorious invaders. Genesis 14:14(NLT) says, “When Abram heard that his nephew Lot had been captured, he mobilized the 318 trained men who had been born into his household. Then he pursued Kedorlaomer’s army until he caught up with them at Dan.” The favor of God was with Abraham and his men. God defeated Abraham’s enemies and they prevailed against the armies of the four kings. Abraham rescued his nephew, Lot, retrieved Lot’s possessions, and recovered all the other goods that were stolen from Sodom and Gomorrah.

God blessed Abraham to be victorious, and He will do the same for us. He will guide and direct us to do the things that will cause us to be blessed, but there is a condition that must be met, and often we neglect it. Anything glorious deserves glory. Our God is glorious beyond the definition of the word. He deserves all glory and honor continually. 1Chronicles 16:29(NLT) says, “Give to the LORD the glory he deserves! Bring your offering and come into his presence. Worship the LORD in all his holy splendor.” Arrogance is the most dangerous and damming attitude and mindset to have. God’s Word tells us that the Lord strongly dislikes arrogance. It causes us to shut our mouths and rob God of praise, and this is a great shame that will be laid to our accounts on judgement day. We are very quick to take all the credit for the great things God has done and in so doing, we deny Him the glory He is due. Often this is the blessing blocker at the root of our hearts and souls, and it keeps us stagnant and unable to walk victoriously in Christ.

The temptation to give in to an arrogant attitude and mindset is easy to do, but it is self-punishment. Any time that we neglect or refuse to offer appropriate and earnest praise, adoration, and glory to God, we are harming ourselves. Gratitude to God demonstrated from the heart is a spiritual discipline that must be practiced continually. As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, we must pray that through his Spirit, our internal well of gratitude will swell to overflowing. This must be our prayer so that we will never attempt to withhold credit where credit is due. We cannot do anything without God, and our thankfulness to Him must be expressed in actionable ways.

The Kings of Sodom and Gomorrah were used by satan to tempt Abraham. They said to him in Genesis 14:21(NLT), “Give back my people who were captured. But you may keep for yourself all the goods you have recovered.” Many of us might have given this deal much consideration and thought to ourselves, “Umm, I’ve just conquered a bunch of mean, powerful guys, and I did a really good thing for my nephew, so I think I deserve this deal you’re presenting. I think it is a good reward for all my hard work.” We may think this is very practical and sensical, but in truth it would have been a dangerously sinful act of arrogance. The glory belonged to God, and it is entirely our responsibility to give Him the glory He deserves. The card the king of Sodom played was right out of the devil’s playbook. It was an evil trap, but Abraham would not fall for this temptation.

As a show of gratitude, Abraham took a tithe from the spoils of his conquest and presented it to the priest, Melchizedek. Abraham understood that God had given him the victory. He knew that actions and expressions of gratitude were in order, so he gave God a tithe. Many of us are living beneath our privilege because we will not do this. We will not see tithing as a way to express our gratitude and faith in God. Instead, we make a god out of our coins, and tightly hold to them as if they have the power to protect and bless us. This is idolatry to the core.

In Genesis 14:22-23(NLT) Abraham replied, “I solemnly swear to the LORD, God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth, that I will not take so much as a single thread or sandal thong from what belongs to you. Otherwise you might say, ‘I am the one who made Abram rich.’” Abraham’s heart was to make sure that only God could receive the glory for making him rich and for blessing him. He would not take even a single thread from the king of Sodom and keep it for himself. He wanted his life to be a representation of allegiance to a faithful, loving God, and he wanted people to know that God blesses those who trust and live for Him. Abraham has left us a great example of faith. We must not allow ourselves to be trapped by satan’s temptations of temporary pleasures and quick fixes. Instead, we must pray to be spiritually strong and humble, so that we are continuing actions that demonstrate our gratitude to God for His faithfulness, love, and power. ■

“The Faith of Abraham, Part 4: Be Ready to Resist the Temptation”, written by JMack,© 2021. All rights reserved. All praise and honor to God through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

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