Now the king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me the persons, and take the goods for yourself.” But Abram said to the king of Sodom, “I have raised my hand to the Lord, God Most High, the Possessor of heaven and earth, that I will take nothing, from a thread to a sandal strap, and that I will not take anything that is yours, lest you should say, ‘I have made Abram rich.’” (Genesis 14:21-20)
By making this statement, Abraham was indicating that the recent victory was the LORD’s and not his own. True, he assembled the fighting force and led them against the enemy but he acknowledged that the Almighty was the One who gave him the victory over the adversary. Consequently, Abraham acknowledged that the wealth and spoil didn’t belong to him. This position is indicative of an attribute that all of Abraham’s children were to emulate. Later, Moses warned God’s people against thinking that it is our own ability and power that makes us wealthy.
“Then you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth.’ And you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth.” – Deuteronomy 8:17-18
All that we possess — whether riches or talent — isn’t really ours; its on loan to use for God’s purposes. We are “His workmanship,” Paul says, and all that is bestowed upon us is to be appropriated for the “good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10). When we realize this and when we demonstrate that we can be trusted with what God blesses us with, it is likely that He will allow more to come into our hands.
There is great wisdom to be learned through Abraham’s example. His decision not to exploit his success for personal gain demonstrates that he was truly a servant of the Almighty. We, also, must exhibit this noble quality and exhibit the genuine humility that inspires others to live according to a higher standard of conduct. Furthermore, because Abraham refused to take anything from the king of Sodom, in the end, no man would be able to claim credit for Abraham’s success and prosperity. That honor was reserved for God alone. He should be the One who receives glory for any success we may achieve. And so, let us recall the words of Solomon:
“In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:6)
Blessings and Shalom,