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The Righteous Shall Live by Faith
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“Now it came about after these things, that God tested Abraham, and said to him, ‘Abraham!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ And He said, ‘Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah; and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.’ ...
       
 
  
 

Goodness (13) Abraham’s Goodness (1)

Manmin News   No. 737
1286
February 19, 2023


“So Abram said to Lot, ‘Please let there be no strife between you and me, nor between my herdsmen and your herdsmen, for we are brothers. Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me; if to the left, then I will go to the right; or if to the right, then I will go to the left.” (Genesis 13:8-9)


Abraham trusted God and obeyed Him saying only ‘Yes’ and ‘Amen’. When He told him to “Go forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father’s house, to the land which I will show you,” he left all he had behind and obeyed the Word though he did not know where to go. Even when God told him to offer his only son, Isaac, as a burnt offering, he obeyed promptly. He put complete trust in God who is goodness itself and can revive the dead.
For Abraham possessed such God-pleasing faith, he could be recognized by God as ‘the father of faith’, ‘the fountain of blessing’, and ‘the friend of God. Then, how could Abraham be recognized and loved by God like this?


1. Abraham was gentle and willing to yield

The term ‘gentleness’ when applied to the heart is the ability to give everything we have because our heart is filled with the truth and we are set free by the truth. ‘Willingness to yield’ comes from the good and beautiful heart and it causes us to like both of the two only choices in the truth; furthermore, it allows to make the choice of what is more pleasing to God between the two. One who is gentle and willing to yield expresses himself with good words from his mouth and good and beautiful deeds in his actions.
What kinds of deeds did Abraham show in his gentleness and willingness to yield? A representative illustration is shown when Abraham gave his nephew Lot the priority to choose the better land. Lot had stayed with Abraham since Abraham left his own country according to the will of God. So, when God gave Abraham blessings, Lot enjoyed the blessing together with Abraham because he was with Abraham. But when their possessions increased, they could no longer live together. Water and pasture were not adequate for both of them to raise large numbers of animals. That’s why their shepherds quarreled from time to time. Abraham made the following suggestions to his nephew.
Genesis 13:8-9 reads, “So Abram said to Lot, ‘Please let there be no strife between you and me, nor between my herdsmen and your herdsmen, for we are brothers. Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me; if to the left, then I will go to the right; or if to the right, then I will go to the left.’” He gave up the priority that he could have taken as an uncle and he gave it to his nephew, Lot. In the end, Lot chose the fertile land and left for the land.
What would you have done if you had been in Lot’s shoes? Would you have taken advantage of the situation and chosen the better as Lot did? Or would you have given the priority back to your uncle? If Lot had known the duty of men and realized the grace from Abraham, he could not have done as he did. He should have let Abraham take the fertile land even by choosing the infertile land first.
However, Lot did not refuse to receive the offer at all, but chose the fertile land. It tells us what kind of heart vessel he had. Yet, Abraham did not feel sorry and had no ill feelings. This is because he had gentleness that could give everything that he had time and time again, and because he was so willing to yield that he could have chosen either of two and he was ready to choose what is more acceptable to God. He would have preferred to give the right he could enjoy to a little child because he served others from his heart. Even if the child had asked for more, he would readily have given it to him.
Then, let’s check gentleness in us. Let’s suppose we have ten of anything and someone asks us for some. How many could we give him? It will differ according to the greatness of one’s heart. Abraham would have given the ten all if somebody asked for all ten. The gentleness of Abraham in which he could give everything he had is spiritual goodness God accepts.


2. Abraham was unselfish, upright, and faithful

Abraham had a good and big heart, and he was always honest and faithful. He never failed to do anything perfectly before God because he was exact and thorough in anything. He was humble such that he considered himself as nothing in the sight of God but he fully believed he could do all things in the name of God. That’s why he could walk in an upright and truthful manner even when he met with hardships, and it led to a blessing.
When Lot and his household were involved in a war and had been taken away as captives, Abram (later named Abraham) went forward victoriously into the war, rescued them from the enemy, and brought a victory to the king of Sodom. The king wanted to give Abram the spoils of war. But Abram said in Genesis 14:23, “That I will not take a thread or a sandal thong or anything that is yours…” He actually had the right to take some of the plunder, but he never tried to take anything through selfish desire or personal benefits. He flatly rejected to receive it for fear that the king would say the spoils that he had given had made Abram rich in the future.
If we want to receive blessings from God, we have to be honest like Abraham was. If we follow our own desires and seek for personal benefit as we see fit for us, we cannot receive blessings from God. Proverbs 28:10 reads, “He who leads the upright astray in an evil way will himself fall into his own pit, but the blameless will inherit good.” Moreover, even if nobody leads us into the path of evil, we can be tempted, deceived and fall into traps to the extent that we are greedy.
Another example is here; Abraham was loved and recognized by God through an incident when he bought a burial site for his wife, Sarah. What kinds of words and deeds did he show? In Genesis 23, when the Hittites told Abraham they would give him a tomb for nothing to bury his wife, he refused the offer on the spot and paid the proper price for the cave in the field of Machpelah. It proves that he had no selfish desire but was so honest and upright that he would not receive what is not proper.
Abraham bought the burial site and made it his possession because he had wisdom of goodness. Although they said they would give something for nothing at first, later they would change their minds and later tell him to give the land back. He removed the root of any future problems that could happen. Genesis 21 describes another example. One day servants of Abimelech seized the well that belonged to Abraham. Abraham did not try to figure out who caused the trouble nor ask for the compensation, but he rather made the right to possess the well clear by giving Abimelech seven ewe lambs. Although it was clear that Abimelech was wrong, Abraham first followed the way of peace, and he also made everything clear so that quarrels would never happen again.
If Abraham had only rebuked Abimelech for his wrongdoing, Abimelech would have been forced to draw back rather than to repent from the bottom of his heart and true peace would not have resulted. If Abimelech later met with another difficulty, he would have seized the well violently again. So, Abraham paid the price for the well to Abimelech who was the one who should have compensated Abraham for the loss. Through this, Abimelech surrendered himself to Abraham from his heart and never took a well from then on.
As stated above, Abraham did everything in a perfect and exact manner out of the wisdom of goodness. He dealt with every matter being at peace with everyone without any root that could have caused a problem. If we receive such wisdom of goodness, we will not be hindered or be interfered with in enlarging the kingdom of God, but accomplish it more quickly. We will be able to change even someone who has wronged us into our helper.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, I pray in the name of the Lord that you long for this goodness more eagerly; become willing to yield anything to others; walk in the upright way without any selfish desire; and gain God’s love and recognition.


 

 

 
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