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 or sandal, so that you will never be able to say I made Abram rich.”
When Abram tells the king of Sodom, “I have raised my hand to the LORD, God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth,” he is telling him that God is his leader and he is God’s servant. He makes a declaration that he will not be obligated to anyone but the Lord. Raising one’s hand in ancient times was a standard oath taking practice. Abram would only take an oath with His God. Had Abram taken the goods that the king of Sodom offered him, this Canaanite king might later have claimed the right of kingship over Abram.
Abraham knew all that he had came from God and that all of his successes were because of God’s faithfulness. He did not wish to take any rewards but only to honor His God. The king of Sodom was a Canaanite king who might have been seeking a way to have Abram’s allegiance.
We must declare that all we have and all we are comes from our God Most High and be willing to submit to His authority alone. Our allegiance to God is constantly being challenged by the pull of the world. Prestige, power, and influence all strain our dependency on God. James writes: Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly light… (James 1:17) James tells the Jewish Christians that they must not be deceived into thinking that the gifts that we have and the successes we have come from our own hand. Abram understood this and refused to accept anything from the Canaanite king.
Satan sought to have Jesus bow down to him and tempted Him in the wilderness with power: Again the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of this world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.” (Matthew 4:8-10)
Satan still works to get believers to worship anything but Jesus. He lures us with money, with self-interest, preying on our weaknesses and tempting us with worldly things. But like Abram, we must say “no thank you” to the goods he promises. If we fall into his trap, our allegiance to God Most High is compromised.
Every good gift is from You. Thank you for all that You have given me. Protect me from the evil one who tempts me with the things of this world. Help me to be like Abram and raise my hand to God alone.
In Jesus’ name, Amen