|Vol. 16 No. 10 October 2014||
Ernest S. Underwood
The armistice had been signed; the shooting and killing had ended; it was time to go home. My name appeared on the roster to be on the ship in the harbor. After five days of being poked here and prodded there, and opening and saying, “Ah,” to everyone who had on a lab coat, we finally boarded ship. At about four o’clock in the afternoon the anchor was hauled in, the ship’s horn let out a long blast, the screws began to turn, and we began to move out of the Inchon harbor and into the Yellow Sea. We were going home!
The Bible has much to say about man’s eternal destiny. If man is living faithfully, his eternal home will be heaven. Interestingly enough, nowhere is hell ever referred to as a place of life and happiness, but rather of death, pain, eternal torment and destruction. Jesus spoke of heaven “in My Father’s house” as a place of mansions. In the Revelation John pictured it as a place of immense beauty, a place where there is no pain, sorrow or sickness. He pictured it as a place where there will be no need of the sun because God Himself will be the Light.
There is an old Negro spiritual that states, “Everybody talking about it, ain’t gonna be going there – heaven, heaven.” How true those words. The Scriptures tell us that only those who do the will of God will be there. All others will be doomed to eternal destruction. To which one are you headed right now?
Abram’s nephew was in a lot of trouble. In roughly 2084 B.C., the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah, where Lot lived, had been overtaken by a group of warlike kings. They sacked Sodom, captured Lot and his household, and then fled north. In Abram’s era, most cities had their own kings. Wars and rivalries among kings were common during this time. A conquered city paid tribute to the victorious king.
In Genesis 14:1-24, we see that Chedorlaomer was apparently quite a powerful king. Nothing really is known about him except what we read in the Bible. Five cities including Sodom had paid tribute to him for over twelve years. The five cities of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim and Bela (Zoar) formed an alliance and rebelled by withholding tribute. Chedorlaomer reacted swiftly and conquered them all. When he defeated Sodom, he captured Lot, his family and his possessions. Abram, with only 318 men, chased Chedorlaomer’s army and attacked it near Damascus. With God’s help, he gave chase and rescued Lot, his family and their possessions.
What happened after that was even more incredible. Melchizedek, the King of Salem (Jerusalem), visited Abram to congratulate him and pronounce a blessing on him in the name of “God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth” (Genesis 14:19).
This was unheard of. In those days, people invoked the names of Baal and other false local deities. So, what was so remarkable about this? Abram, who was just learning to trust in the God who created the universe would be visited by a ruler who shared his faith in the one true God.
Often, we feel that all round us are people who have no idea about the God of the Bible. They may talk about religion or faith, but genuine trust in the Creator of the universe seems to be the exception. This should never stop us.
Abram was surrounded by people who didn’t know the Lord, yet he “kept on keeping on.” We have to do the same. We must, especially during those times when we feel like we are all alone. To be out of step with the world and its pollution, you have to walk with God.