October 22, Sunday

The AMI QT Devotionals from October 16-22 are provided by Pastor Shan Gian, who serves as the Fenway site pastor of Symphony Church in Boston. Shan, a graduate of University of Pennsylvania and Gordon Conwell Seminary (M.Div.), is married to Jenny; and they are the proud parents of their first baby Tyler.

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“To the victor goes the…”

Genesis 14:21-24

And the king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me the persons, but take the goods for yourself.”22 But Abram said to the king of Sodom, “I have lifted my hand to the Lord, God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth, 23 that I would not take a thread or a sandal strap or anything that is yours, lest you should say, ‘I have made Abram rich.’ 24 I will take nothing but what the young men have eaten, and the share of the men who went with me. Let Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre take their share.”

In Genesis 14, Abram proved himself to be a hero. He learned that his nephew Lot had been kidnapped by the armies of an alliance of kings, so he gathered a relatively small force of men, pursued his enemies and defeated them, thus rescuing his nephew and saving the day. Abram was a hero. But it didn’t even end there. Not only did he achieve this great military victory, Abram also proved himself to be pious by tithing and giving a tenth of all of the plunder and spoils his small army had amassed. Abram had had a good day; he had accomplished so much.

When the king of Sodom says to Abram that he can “take the goods for yourself,” he’s basically saying “to the victor go the spoils,” that since Abram won, he gets to reap all of the benefits. Abram, though, does something that I’m sure would have been surprising to the king of Sodom and anyone else who was there; he refuses to take any of it.

If you think about it, there would have been nothing really wrong about taking all of the goods—Abram had earned it and he had every right to it because of his accomplishments. But Abram willingly surrendered his right to the spoils of war, because he knew this victory was not about him but about the glory of God.

In our society, it feels like everything is about our rights, what we deserve, what we have earned. We feel like we have the right to do whatever we want because we have worked hard. We feel entitled to having nice things because of our achievements. And we even think we deserve a break because of the good Christian things we have already done. In the example of Abram, though, we see someone who doesn’t seek the accolades or the benefits of his achievements, because he did not want anyone to think that his wealth or success was about anyone other than the God Most High. If he had taken the plunder, he or others could have thought that his success in life was about Abram’s abilities or another king’s generosity—and for him, that would compromise the glory due to God.

In a culture that is always craving recognition or glory, we must vigilantly seek to give no one else glory besides God Himself. We can be tempted or deluded to think that we are where we are because of what we have done, but like Abram, let us decide to surrender our rights to recognition and glory in order to give God glory, for He is the one who has made us rich and blessed us with His presence and glory.

Prayer: Jesus, to You be all glory and honor and praise. I pray that my life will be a reflection not of my own successes or victories, but of Your ultimate victory on the cross. On your Lord’s day, may You be glorified in my life. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Acts 14

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