OVERCOMING THE TEMPTATION OF EARTHLY SUBSTANCE
Abraham’s victory regulated and restituted the whole situation and rearranged the entire environment. The four kings had defeated the five kings and had captured everything. The whole situation had been turned upside down. Abraham’s victory changed this situation altogether, turning it right side up. He turned the unjust environment into a just one and made the whole situation peaceful. As a result, there was the king of righteousness and the king of peace. Abraham’s victory stopped all the fighting and strife and brought in genuine peace.
The king of Sodom could humbly, honestly, and truthfully say to Abraham, “You have gained the victory. Everything that you brought back must be yours. You take it. All I want is my people.” If you and I had been Abraham, we probably would have said, “That is right and fair. I rescued your people and recovered everything that you lost. It is good that you have the people and that everything else be mine.” But the environment that was rearranged by Abraham’s victory was not at all like this. It was pure. Abraham said to the king of Sodom, “I will not take from a thread even to a shoe latchet,” and “I will not take anything that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich” (14:23). Abraham seemed to be saying, “If I take a thread from you, you will be able to say that you have made me rich. But I want to give a full testimony to the whole universe that my riches do not come from you. My riches come from the Possessor of heaven and earth, from my Most High God.” How pure this was! There in that situation we see righteousness and peace.
Consider the scene in Genesis 14 after Abraham had slaughtered the kings. Abraham had brought back everything, and the kings came out to meet him. Melchisedec, the priest of the Most High God, was there, granting Abraham the blessing and receiving tithes from him. All of the people were watching, wondering to whom the things would go. Even the people who had been captured and brought back by Abraham wondered whose people they would be from then on. Then Abraham said, “I have lifted up mine hand unto the Lord, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth.” Abraham said that he would not take anything. All the people received a full settlement. In that situation there was righteousness and peace. In a sense, it was like the millennial kingdom, full of righteousness and peace (Isa. 32:1, 16-18; Psa. 72:2-3, 7).
Abraham was fair, saying to the king of Sodom that he would take nothing “save only that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men which went with me, Aner, Eschol, and Mamre; let them take their portion” (14:24). Abraham said that his fighters and confederates should have their portion but that he would give his portion to the king of Sodom. What a man he was! He had slaughtered four kings and now he was dealing with another one, the king of Sodom. He was over all of them. We Christians need to be this kind of person today. We must be higher than the earthly kings and presidents. There is only one who is above us—our Melchisedec.
In Genesis 14 we see that Abraham was very high. Can you believe that one who was so high could have been so low as to plan to sacrifice his wife for his living? Can you believe that the one who would sell his wife in Egypt could be so high as to be above all the kings? When Abraham was willing to sell his wife, he was in the lowest hell, but when he dealt with the kings, he was in the highest heaven. We all may be like Abraham in both respects. We may be mean, planning to sell our wives, or, by the Lord’s grace, we may be higher than the kings.
Abraham’s victory and his being higher than the kings were absolutely due to the intercession behind the scene. Behind the earthly scene, something was going on in heaven that determined the entire situation. We all need to see this.
(Abraham—Called by God, Chapter 7, by Witness Lee)