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Reason to Fear
Scripture: Genesis 14:1-15:6; Isaiah 9:6; Hebrews 9...
Track 6 of 11 in the Abraham series
Running time: 58 minutes
As we will see in Genesis 14, it wasn't long before the peaceful life Abraham experienced was interrupted. Forces outside his control changed his life and brought on fear and anxiety. He was afraid. What was it that turned this man of dynamic, decisive and courageous behavior into a feeble and fearful man What changed

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Mike Nobis Speaker: Mike Nobis
Sunday School Teacher, Former Elder at Madison Park Christian Church. Mike is President of JK Creative Printers & Mailing in Quincy, IL. He is married to Pam and has three children, Tom, Tyler and Jennifer. Mike has three grandchildren: Ryne, Ivy and Alicia.

View all sermons by this speaker.

Reasons to Fear?

You might not have ever experienced this before but have you ever been in a place in life when one day you looked around and realized that everything in your life seemed to be okay or going in the direction you had hoped for. There were no wars going on within your family, you felt healthy, money problems didn’t seem to be pressing down on you, your stress level was really low, there wasn’t a major crisis you were dealing with and everything seemed to be going in the direction you always wanted it to go? It was like finally getting to a place where you could actually enjoy living and felt good about the future. God is good and you are thankful for all the goodness he blessed you with. In fact, you felt really good about your relationship with God. You were close to Him and He seemed close to you.

Abraham experienced the same type of spiritual and emotional dynamics after he separated from Lot. Once the skeleton in the closet (Lot) was dealt with, Abraham’s life could move on in areas that were hindered by having Lot living with him. Lot stole the peace Abraham wanted by causing friction and not walking in step with what God wanted. Both grew to be very wealthy but when one partner lives a wealthy life with the wrong perspective, the partnership can be difficult. But once Lot moved into the Siddim Valley near Sodom, Abraham’s life changed and he could now focus on the relationship he had with God. Finally, life for Abraham was peaceful. The promise to him by God seemed to be coming true.

How long does a peaceful situation like Abraham’s last in life? How long does it last in your life?

I don’t know about you but my life seems to be a series of crisis following another crisis. To be honest, I can’t say I have a lot of crisis in my life; I do however always seem to move from one challenge to another. When I get one thing finished that causes me stress and anxiety, life seems to move into the next. Praise God, He pulls me through each and every one but my time of peaceful bliss usually is short lived.

True or False: Life can be habit forming.

Are you the kind of person who likes things predictable; you don’t like surprises and you don’t like change. Coming home to a house that has been rearranged is stressful to you? Or are you the type of person who likes life all mixed up; no day is to be like the next?

True or False: God brings men into deep waters not to drown them, but to cleanse them.

I am always intrigued by people who can’t get their head around the fact that bad things can and do happen to good people just like it does with evil people. There are those that think that once they become a Christian all forms of evil will stay away because God is protecting them. That is a false notion. In fact, it is a very dangerous notion. What is true is that God is with them and he does protect but the false part is their concept of God and how He protects. God protects the heart and spirit by stretching them and making them grow.

“I really do think that any deep crisis is an opportunity to make your life extraordinary in some way.” Martha Beck

“When written in Chinese, the word crisis is composed of two characters. One represents danger and the other represents opportunity.” President Kennedy

As we will see in Genesis 14, it wasn’t long before the peaceful life Abraham experienced was interrupted. Forces outside his control changed his life and brought on fear and anxiety. He was afraid. What was it that turned this man of dynamic, decisive and courageous behavior into a feeble and fearful man? What changed?

Genesis 15:1 After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.

So what happened to change Abraham’s sense of security? What does it take in our lives to shake our sense of security? What are the things in life that gives you meaning and purpose in life that when these things are doing okay, life seems to be going well? But when they are gone, life gets all shook up.

In order to understand this we have to go back and read Genesis 14. All of a sudden 4 warring kings swooped down and seized all the goods from Sodom and Gomorrah and all their food, then they went away. Along with that they also carried off Lot and his family and all their possessions. We are told in scripture that for 12 years the kings in Siddim were subject to King Kedorlaomer and in the 13th year, they decided to rebel. That might have been an important fact to know on Lot’s part before he decided to move into that valley. He was more focused on what he could gain by living there than the possible dangers. He soon found out the other side of the story.

What is fascinating to me in Genesis 14 is the courage Abraham had. Many get the sense that Abraham was a weak man from the incident in Egypt when he was fearful for his life and had Sarah lie and say they were brother and sister. Some picture Abraham as an old man, someone who was too old to have kids. But when we read about Abraham’s reaction to the news about Lot, a very different picture appears.

Genesis 14:11-16 The four kings seized all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah and all their food; then they went away. They also carried off Abram’s nephew Lot and his possessions, since he was living in Sodom. One who had escaped came and reported this to Abram the Hebrew. Now Abram was living near the great trees of Mamre the Amorite, a brother of Eshcol and Aner, all of whom were allied with Abram. When Abram heard that his relative had been taken captive, he called out the 318 trained men born in his household and went in pursuit as far as Dan. During the night Abram divided his men to attack them and he routed them, pursuing them as far as Hobah, north of Damascus. He recovered all the goods and brought back his relative Lot and his possessions, together with the women and the other people.

There is no hesitation in Abram's response to his finding out Lot had been taken captive. Abraham and Lot were family. Despite their earlier differences, Lot was like a son to Abraham. Thus, Abraham immediately musters every fighting man in his household. Scripture tells he mustered 318 fighting men, all of them trained in his own household.

Abram had become a well respected tribal chieftain, or king. Scripture tells us that his neighbors came and also helped Abraham retrieve his nephew Lot.

Genesis 14:14 describes how Abram and his party pursued the invading army all the way to Dan. Dan was approximately 125 miles north of Mamre. It would seem logical that a force of such size would be easy to track through a country. Burnt villages and fields surely dotted the landscape.

At Dan, north of the Sea of Galilee, Abram divided his forces, and by night attacked the enemy. The enemy was completely taken by surprise. Scripture tells of Abram's army destroying the Northeastern Alliance, and pursuing them as far north as "Hobah, which is on the left hand of Damascus". Damascus is approximately 50 miles north of Dan, thus, Abram had journeyed a total of approximately 175 miles in pursuit of Lot.

In spite of all the things Lot did to Abraham, what does this battle and rescue of Lot say about Abraham and his love for Lot? After an ordeal like the one Lot and his family went through, what would you expect Lot’s family to learn for the experience? What would you learn?

Genesis 14:17-24 After Abram returned from defeating Kedorlaomer and the kings allied with him, the king of Sodom came out to meet him in the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley). Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, and he blessed Abram, saying, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. And blessed be God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand.” Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything. The king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me the people and keep the goods for yourself.” But Abram said to the king of Sodom, “I have raised my hand to the LORD, God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth, and have taken an oath that I will accept nothing belonging to you, not even a thread or the thong of a sandal, so that you will never be able to say, ‘I made Abram rich.’ I will accept nothing but what my men have eaten and the share that belongs to the men who went with me—to Aner, Eshcol and Mamre. Let them have their share.”

If you were the king of Sodom, what would you expect from Abraham who just delivered the people back to you when you offered him all the spoils? According to scripture, why did Abraham refuse to take any of the spoils from the battle? What testimony was he trying to display? Do you think his allies were impressed? Was Lot impressed?

We are introduced to an interesting man in scripture, Melchizedek king of Salem. He is a very mysterious person. When Abraham met him returning from battle, Abraham was greeted by Him giving God praise. The God of Melchizedek was the same as the God of Abraham. It is here we are introduced to an very important principle that is part of the foundation of the New Testament and the plan of salvation. Melchizedek is unlike any other king in the area. He was a king priest. He is the king of Salem (peace). Only one other has a title similar to this.

Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Whoever Melchizedek was, he was someone Abraham recognized as deserving honor and respect. Abraham gave a tenth of all the spoils to him. Abraham subjected himself to this king priest of the most high.

Here is an interesting question to think about; under Jewish law, who alone could make sacrifices on behalf of the people to God? A priest from the linage of Aaron, Levite.

Hebrews 9:11-14 Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.

If true, then how was Jesus able to make the one true sacrifice, once and for all if he was from the tribe of Judah, not from Levi?

Hebrews 7 gives the most details concerning the identity of the Priest/King.

Hebrews 7:1-3 "This Melchizedek was the king of Salem and priest of God Most High. He met Abraham returning from the defeat of the kings and blessed him. First, his name means 'king of righteousness'; then also, 'king of Salem' means 'king of peace'. Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, like the Son of God he remains a priest forever."

When you read what Paul wrote about Melchizedek, who does he resemble in real life?

But here is the kicker to the whole issue of Melchizedek and his relationship to Jesus. Why did the Jews need to leave the law and their priests and follow Jesus, the great high priest? Why was there a need for a new priest to come not from Aaron, but from Melchizedek?

Hebrews 7:11-13; 15-17 If perfection could have been attained through the Levitical priesthood, for on the basis of it the law was given to the people, why was there still a need for another priest to come-one in the order of Melchizedek, not in the order of Aaron?. For when there is a change of priesthood, there is also a change of the law. He of whom these things are said belonged to a different tribe, and no one from that tribe has ever served at the altar." "And what we have said is even more clear if another priest like Melchizedek appears, one who has become a priest not on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life. For it is declared, 'You are priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek'.

I don’t know what it was like for Abraham that night when he got home with Sarah but life was now different for him. As he lay in bed there were several things on is mind that didn’t put his heart at rest. At this point, what would keep Abraham up at night? He just ran off the bullies in the neighborhood and left them bloodied up. He met an amazing person, Melchizedek and he made a very good choice not to accept anything from the king of Sodom. He had to be feeling pretty good but instead, we find him afraid. Why would this be?

God made a very important promise to Abraham. He promised that through him God would make a great and mighty nation. His security was at risk when the four kings came and took Lot and his family. Abraham knew that he was vulnerable but God helped him through the crisis. But a greater crisis was at hand. He and Sarah had no way of having a child, someone to carry on their linage…to claim the ultimate promise of God. How could God make his people a great and might nation if he and Sarah couldn’t have kids?

Genesis 15:1-6 After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.” But Abram said, “O Sovereign LORD, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit£ my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.” Then the word of the LORD came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir.” He took him outside and said, “Look up at the heavens and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.

There is an interesting phrase in this passage I find very important. “He took him outside”. I am learning something that is really important in my work with Teen Reach, unless a young person can see the bigger picture, it is hard for that person to have hope and see beyond themselves. Abraham was inside his tent. He could only see the ceiling in his tent. But God took him outside the tent where Abraham could see much farther and see more possibilities. How many people are limited in their life because they are in their tent and have never been shown a greater picture or sky? They only know what they see and their ceiling is very low blocking out all the possibilities. God introduced to Abraham the greater possibilities and realities and Abraham believed.