Appearances can be deceiving. How can a Christian know the difference between what God has provided as a blessing and what Satan has placed as a trap? Are you confident in your ability to tell the difference? Genesis 14 provides us an example of faithful discernment. The King of Sodom made Abram an offer that was hard to refuse, yet would have brought ruin. Abram rejected it with God’s help. How did he do it and how can we avoid Satan’s traps?
- First, Pray! Pray! Pray! God’s provision is discerned through prayer. How can we make any decision without consulting God? Why would we want to make decisions without consulting our loving Heavenly Father? James wrote, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him” (James 1:5). Let us always begin with prayer.
- Second, examine the messenger’s character. God’s provision comes from God’s people. It is unclear how familiar Abram was with the King of Sodom, but he must have known that he was not a righteous man. We were told that “the men of Sodom were wicked, great sinners against the Lord” (Gen 13:13). Contrast him with Melchizedek (King of Righteousness), the King of Salem (Peace), priest of God Most High. While both men approached Abram with counsel, he forsook the unrighteous and heeded the righteous. Consider the character of the one who counsels you.
- Third, test their offer against Scripture. God’s provision aligns with God’s promises. Appearances can be deceiving; therefore, you must know God’s Word and be able to judge all plans and offers with it. Melchizedek blessed Abram for his sacrificial acts and reminded Abram that the victory belonged to God. Melchizedek’s words affirmed God’s covenant promises to Abram so Abram responded in faith by giving him “a tenth of everything.” The King of Sodom saw that Abram gave Melchizedek a tenth of everything and devised a plan to ensnare Abram. The King of Sodom said, “Give me the people, but take the possessions for yourself.” As we shall see in the next point, Abram knew that this offer did not align with God’s promises so he rejected it.
- Fourth, beware of unintended consequences. God’s provision brings blessing. What is wrong with keeping the King of Sodom’s possessions? The problem is that the King of Sodom wanted to use these possessions to ensnare Abram into his debt and thus bring him ruin. He wanted to be able to say, “I made Abram rich.” Abram did not want anyone but God to enrich him. Abram wanted God’s promises not Sodom’s possessions. Abram said, “I have lifted my hand to the Lord…that I would not take…anything that is yours.” Abram discerned that the King of Sodom’s plan did not align with God’s promises but would prove a distraction.
- Finally, Pray! Pray! Pray! God’s provision is discerned through prayer. Depend on God.
Abram was able to avoid Sodom’s sinister suggestion because he knew God’s plan for his life and he relied on God’s wisdom. God wants us to discern the difference between a trap and a blessing. Examine your recent decisions; are they the result of prayerful discernment or the result of your desires? Appearances can be deceiving and it is hard so entrust yourself to God.