In our ALL-IN series we are reading about the life of Abraham, whom God called to have a legacy; God made Abraham into a great nation that would bless the world. But in order to have the kind of legacy that honors God, Abraham needed to trust God, be used by God, and have the favor of God. Today we will learn how Abraham honored God with the hopes that his example will teach us to honor God today through our words, actions, or deeds, our possessions, and our generosity.
To honor: acknowledge high value and worth
Honor is shown by how we treat what we keep and what we give.
Honor the Lord with your possessions [what you keep], And with the firstfruits of all your increase [what you give]; So your barns will be filled with plenty, And your vats will overflow with new wine. Proverbs 3:9-10
Our desire is to be people who go beyond attending church.
If you honor God with what you have and with what you give, then you receive a blessing. (The blessing is not the reason for honoring God, but the result of honoring Him.)
Our desire is to be people who go beyond attending church – people who honor God all of the time with all that we have and all that we are: our bodies, clothing, homes, cars, etc.— as well as giving back to Him.
1. Honor means fulfilling God’s intended purpose with what we keep.
You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. 1 Corinthians 6:19b-20
Your body is not yours to be used for your own purposes. When you accept Christ as your Savior, you surrender your life to Him. God bought your life at a precious price! In this act of surrendering, you need to honor God with your life—using your mouth, your hands, your feet, your car, and indeed all of your possessions as God calls you.
2. Honor acknowledges God’s holiness with what we give.
You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created. Revelation 4:11
God is worthy. When you give to God in tithes and offerings, you honor Him as the Giver of all you have. You are returning to God a portion of all He has given you, acknowledging that He is worthy of all your praise.
3. Honor given results in honor received.
Therefore the Lord God of Israel says: ‘I said indeed that your house and the house of your father would walk before Me forever.’ But now the Lord says: ‘Far be it from Me; for those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me shall be lightly esteemed. 1 Samuel 2:30
God will honor you if you honor Him. Have you ever seen someone’s life blessed in public? It is likely that he or she is honoring God in private.
We can dishonor God by:
Misusing our possessions or what we keep
Refusing to acknowledge God’s holiness
Seeking honor from man over honor from God
In Genesis 14, Abraham’s nephew Lot was kidnapped and Abraham pursued him with his own security forces. Upon rescuing Lot, he was met by two kings, one earthly and one divine. Abraham chose to honor one and dishonor the other.
When Abram heard that his
relative had been taken captive, he called out the 318 trained men born in his
household and went in pursuit as far as Dan. During the night Abram divided his
men to attack them and he routed them, pursuing them as far as Hobah, north of
Damascus. He recovered all the goods and brought back his relative Lot and his
possessions, together with the women and the other people. After Abram returned from
defeating Kedorlaomer and the kings allied with him, the king of Sodom came out
to meet him in the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley). Then Melchizedek king of Salem
brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, and he blessed Abram, saying,
“Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. And praise be to God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand.”
Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything. 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, “With raised hand I have sworn an oath to the Lord, God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth, that I will accept nothing belonging to you, not even a thread or the strap of a sandal, so that you will never be able to say, ‘I made Abram rich.’ I will accept nothing but what my men have eaten and the share that belongs to the men who went with me—to Aner, Eshkol and Mamre. Let them have their share.” Genesis 14:14-24
The priest Melchizedek offered a blessing to Abraham and Abraham gave a tenth (tithe) of all his increase. This is the first mention of tithing in the Bible, pre-dating the Old Testament Law. When you tithe ten percent of all your income, you are giving God the first fruits of your increase; you are honoring Him as worthy, above the government, your bills, and your obligations, trusting that He is the Giver of everything you have and that He will make sure you have what you need.
But Abraham refuses the offer of goods from the King of Sodom. He wants nothing that will give credit to the earthly king, as he wants the whole experience to be in honor of the Lord.
For us, today’s challenge is to give out of honor and generosity, not out of duty. Offer God 100% of your heart and access to all that you have, that it may be used for His purposes.