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Saturday, July 20th, 2024
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Commentaries
Genesis 14

The Church Pulpit CommentaryChurch Pulpit Commentary

Verse 23

SOME ELEMENTS OF A GODLY LIFE

‘I will not take anything that is thine.’

Genesis 14:23

Looking closely at the narrative, we cannot fail to see in it some essential features and most beautiful aspects of the life of a child of God.

I. Sympathy.—Abraham showed no resentment, but with utter unselfishness he at once desires and determines to set out to the rescue of Lot.

II. Decision.—We generally associate godliness with the passive rather than the active virtues, but in view of Hebrews 11 we must not forget the two sides of the Christian life. In Genesis 13. Abraham is seen manifesting the passive virtues of unselfishness, humility, and willingness to yield his rights. In chapter 14, however, there is all the decision and initiative of the brave and fearless man. Courage is as real a Christian virtue as humility.

III. Capability.—Abraham’s strategy and skill show that he was ‘a man of parts.’ There is no necessary connection between godliness and incapacity. The Christian man should neither be a coward nor an incapable. The Spirit of God who equipped Bezaleel is able to give inventiveness, and intellectual and executive ability.

IV. The Explanation of these Elements.—It is all summed up in ‘faith in God.’ ‘By faith Abraham’ was enabled to feel and show this sympathy, for the simple reason that God was all in all to him, and he could in the true sense afford to be tender-hearted and unselfish. ‘By faith Abraham’ possessed and manifested decision, because he was in constant touch with the Source of all power, and was strong in his God to attempt and do great things. ‘By faith Abraham’ was enabled to cultivate and reveal his capacity as a man of affairs because God is the God of all grace, and provides grace sufficient to all His servants for every emergency, and even when the believer’s life commences with only a partial capability in certain directions, it is wonderful how grace can cultivate this faculty and enable the man to do wonders for God. Faith thus purifies and instructs the mind, softens and stirs the heart, and strengthens and controls the will. ‘This is the victory … our faith.’

—Rev. W. H. Griffith-Thomas, d.d.

Illustration

‘His conception of Jehovah was of immense assistance to Abraham in the hour of trial. “I have lift up my hand,” he said, “to God Most High, the Possessor of Heaven and Earth.” What bribe could tempt a man who had all things in God? If the Possessor of Heaven and Earth is yours, and you are His, you are well provided. You do not need the water that “the beasts would cough at,” when you have “a river flowing past your feet.” This is the best way to meet the attractions of the world: get so much of the opposite from God, that you have no taste for the shams and shows of time.’

Bibliographical Information
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Genesis 14". The Church Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cpc/genesis-14.html. 1876.
 
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