In Chapter 13, Abraham is returning from Egypt. His journey into Egypt was the result of a lapse of faith. It is interesting that those men who are used by God as classic examples of those who believed and trusted God, did have lapses to their faith. This encourages me, because I, also, have times when I have a lapse of faith and I do things, many times, that I later regret; because, I did them out of a lack of faith that God was going to work. God didn't keep to my time schedule. I gave God an opportunity, but He didn't come through to my time schedule; so, I thought well, I better help God out and I, like Abraham, suffered the consequences of my endeavor to help God to do His work. The lapses of faith always take their toll and Abraham did not come out of Egypt totally unscathed. It was in Egypt that Abraham picked up Hagar and Sarah took her for a servant girl. We know of the problems that later developed through Hagar and those problems continue to develop to the present day. A journey into Egypt, as a lapse of faith, always costs us in the end.
"And Abram went up out of Egypt, he, and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the south." (Gen.13:1). (The Hebrew for south here is Negev.) The Pharaoh had treated Abraham very well, for Sarah's sake, and they went from Egypt with much wealth. "And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold, And he went on his journeys from the south even to Bethel, unto the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai; Unto the place of the altar, which he had made there at the first; and there Abram called on the name of the LORD." (Gen.13:2-4). Abraham went back to the place where the Lord had last appeared to him and where he had built the altar unto the Lord.
Bethel means "the house of God," and it is a place where the early fathers, Abraham and Jacob, met with God. As we continue with Genesis, we will find that Jacob has an encounter with God at Bethel and later on God will tell Jacob to return to Bethel. Many times, there is a blessing in returning to that place where you first met God. Egypt had been a time of spiritual barrenness. That lack of faith that lead Abraham to turn to Egypt rather than depend on God to supply his necessities in the land, during the drought. It was not only a time of problems in a physical sense but, also, a time of spiritual dearth in Abraham's life and so he returns to Bethel and calls upon the Lord.
"And Lot also, which went with Abram, had flocks, and herds, and tents. And the land was not able to bear them, that they might dwell together; for their substance was great, so that they could not dwell together. And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram's cattle and the herdmen of Lot's cattle; and the Canaanites and the Perizzites dwelled then in the land, And Abram said unto Lot, let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren." (Gen.13:5-8). With the wealth that was amassed in Egypt, there is so much livestock that there are problems developing between Abraham and Lot.
Lot is a man of sight and Abraham is a man of faith. Abraham could see that which was invisible, Lot always looked at that which was visible. The sojourn in Egypt also took its toll on Lot. He got a taste of the fleshpots of Egypt, so he did not come away unscathed either. The problems that developed between them caused the necessity of a division. Sometimes we look at division as being bad. There are times when brethren get to the place where they can't dwell together anymore. There isn't enough space. I believe that God often uses division to accomplish His purpose and that we shouldn't look at it as always being evil.
The New Testament tells us of the conflict between Paul and Barnabas as they were getting ready to start their second missionary journey. The conflict was over the nephew of Barnabas, John Mark. He had gone on the first journey but had deserted them and gone home. It was Barnabas' desire to take Mark again, but Paul refused to take him. The contention was so great between them that Barnabas took Mark and headed for Cyprus and Paul took Silas and headed for Antioch. The net result was that God now had two missionary teams instead of one missionary team. The Gospel was spreading now twice as fast. They went out in different directions and God used that for the spreading of the Gospel.
Oftentimes there are church splits and that is not always bad. Many times God can use them, such as, when there is a need for a fellowship in a different community. The thing about division is that it should always be done in an amicable way. It's not good for the world to see strife within the church. We need to realize when division comes that it could be a good thing. If you have strong opinions about the way something should be, go out and start your own work. It's good that God raises up other ministries. God uses the church to give birth to many other fellowships. This can be for good if we are mature enough to see it as an opportunity for the church to grow and expand.
So, here Abraham and Lot come to a parting of the ways. It's an amicable parting and because they are living in the land of the heathen, it is not good that they should show strife among themselves. Abraham says, "Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me; if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left. And Lot lifted up his eyes and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar." (Gen.13:9-10). Remember! Lot was a man of sight and he saw the well watered plain. It may not have been as hot then as it is now in that area. It could possibly be, at this point so soon after the flood, that the salt concentration in the Dead Sea was not so deadly as it is now. Nothing live can exist in the Dead Sea today because of the accumulation of the salt deposits over the many years. The geology, still so fresh from the flood, could have caused the water to be flowing in and made it a lake of usable water. The land around the Dead Sea was extremely fertile and beautiful and gave rise to tremendous agriculture there in the Jordan Valley.
"Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east; and they separated themselves the one from the other." (Gen.13:11) Very magnanimous of Lot! "Well, I'll go down there Abraham." In reality, the honorable thing to do, Lot being the Nephew, was to defer the choice to Abraham; however, there was no indication of any animosity on Abraham's part that Lot chose the plain. Abraham was so committed to God that it didn't matter. Whatever way the Lord leads, I'll take what's left. That's real commitment.
"Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom." (Gen.13:12). Now here we find Lot pitching his tent towards Sodom and in chapter 14, we find him living in Sodom and by the time we get to chapter 19, we find Lot is one of the city officials in Sodom.
"But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly." (Gen.13:13) Oh, how the lust of our eyes gets us in trouble. Looking down and seeing the beautiful plain of Jordan, Lot pitched his tent toward this wicked, sinful city. First he moved towards it, then he moved into it and then he became a principal of Sodom. Sin is like leprosy. It is a continual gradual process of expansion. One little area in your life and it will grow and expand, corrupting as it grows.
Lot has left and at this point, Abraham is ready to fully obey the command that God first gave him in Ur of the Chaldees. What was that command? "Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee..." (Gen.12:1). Abraham first came to Haran with Terah, his father, and Lot, his nephew. When he left Haran he continued to take Lot with him and it is not until now that he separates from the family. Abraham didn't have any children of his own, so he sort of adopted Lot after Haran (who was his brother and Lot's father) died. There was a close tie between them and Abraham was reluctant to break that tie with Lot; but now through the circumstances, he's been brought to the place where he is almost forced to break the tie. I like this about God, if we're not willing to follow His command He'll make things so miserable that soon we are willing. God has a purpose and a plan for our lives and it's important that we follow. It's important that we realize that God's plan is the very best thing that could ever happen to us. Since God knows what is best for us and because He loves us; He is going to see that plan executed in our lives. You may rebel against it or disobey, but God will continue to work until there comes a willingness on your part and you say, "Hey! I can't go on any longer, Lot, you'd better split." You take whatever side you want, if you go to the left, I'll go to the right." And so there was the parting, but it's always painful when it comes. It's never pleasant to have this kind of a situation to deal with. It leaves its scar and is a painful process.
Now as Lot trots down the hill towards Jericho and then later to move on south to Sodom, I can imagine Abraham had a lump in his throat as he watched him go. He was probably feeling lonely and hurt and those are the hours, so often, when God is able to speak to our heart. "And the LORD said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward; For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever." (Gen.13:14-15). God now makes a covenant with Abraham concerning the land. The promise doesn't come until there is that complete obedience to God's command.
"And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth; so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered." (Gen.13:16). This is speaking in a figurative sense. The idea being that it can not be numbered. Some have estimated that there are a billion, billion grains of sand upon the earth and others have estimated that there are ten to the twenty-fifth power grains of sand. That many people stacked on top of one another would probably reach out to the Andromeda Galaxy. Because of the promise that there would be so many descendants that you would not be able to number them, when David decided to take a census of the children of Israel; it offended God. God said He was going to make it without number and David sought to number the people of Israel and brought the plague on Israel as a result of that census. Remember how the plague was stopped at the threshing floor of Ornan. Today the Orthodox Jews have a great compunction against numbering. If a case comes up that something has to be numbered, instead of saying, one, two, three; they will say, not one, not two, not three. In this way they are not really numbering.
"Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee." (Gen.13:17). The idea is the appropriation of it. God gave it and now He wants Abraham to claim it by faith. God gives us His promises but it's important that we then step out and appropriate the promises of God and claim them by faith. When Joshua came into the land some four hundred years later, God said, "Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you..." (Joshua 1:3). Everytime you step out and claim the promises of God, they are yours; but, they are not yours until appropriated by faith.
"Then Abram removed his tent, and came and dwelt in the plain of Mare, which is in Heron, and built there an altar unto the LORD." (Gen.13:18). Abraham came down the center of the land through what is called today the Jerusalem Mountains. From Bethel, on past Jerusalem down that mountain ridge through Heron and settled there by the Terebinth Trees of Mare.
"And it came to pass in the days of Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of nations; that these made war with Bera king of Sodom, and with Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king od Admah, and Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela, which is Zoar. All these were joined together in the vale of Siddim, which is the salt sea." (Gen.14:1-3). So, the kings from the Babylonian area made war with the kings of the Dead Sea area.
"Twelve years they served Chedorlaomer, and in the thirteenth year they rebelled." (Gen.14:4). This is the first mention of the number thirteen, in the Bible, and it is interesting that it is mentioned in the act of rebellion. Thirteen becomes the number of rebellion in the scriptures; also, it is the number of Satan. The numeric value of the names for Satan in both Greek and Hebrew are always divisible by thirteen. That is why the number thirteen is used so much in the realm of spiritism today. If you've ever been through the Winchester Rifle House up in San Jose' thirteen is used as a very significant number. Everything is done in measurements of thirteen, as, it was owned by a spiritist; who claimed that the spirits gave the directions for the building of that house.
"And in the fourteenth year came Chedorlaomer, and the kings that were with him, and smote the Rephaims in Ashteroth Karnaim, and the Zuzims in Ham, and the Emims in Shaveh Kiriathaim, And the Horites in their mount Seir, unto Elparan, which is by the wilderness. And they returned, and came to Enmishpat, which is Kadesh, and smote all the country of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites, that dwelt in Hazezon-tamar. And there went out the king of Sodom, and the king of Gomorrah, and the king of Admah, and the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (the same is Zoar;) and they joined battle with them in the vale of Siddim; With Chedorlaomer the king of Elam, and with Tidal king of nations, and Amraphel king of Shinar, and Arioch king of Ellasar; four kings with five. And the vale of Siddim was full of slime pits; and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, and fell there; and they that remained fled to the mountain. And they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their victuals, and went their way. And they took Lot, Abram's brother's son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed. And there came one that had escaped, and told Abram the Hebrew; for he dwelt in the plain of Mare the Ammorite, brother of Eshcol, and brother of Aner; and these were confederate with Abram." (Gen.14:5-13). These four kings had a very powerful army and they came down conquering many cities. They went down into the Negev area and back up to Kadesh. Finally they came to the king of Sodom and the kings from the Jordan Valley and there they were joined together in battle in the vale of Siddim.
"And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan." (Gen.14:14). When the messenger came to Abraham and told him that Lot had been taken hostage by these kings, the Canaanite kings joined together with Abraham and his servants to go after them. You can get an idea of the vastness of the wealth of Abraham, when he is able to arm three hundred and eighteen servants who had been born in his house and trained for battle. When you consider that they had wives and children, you realize that Abraham had a little village all his own in just his own servants. The scripture says he was very rich and so many servants were needed to take care of his goods. God had blessed Abraham and he was extremely prosperous.
Abraham armed his servants and pursued them to Dan, which is approximately one hundred and twenty miles. "And he divided himself against them, he and his servants, by night, and smote them, and pursued them unto Hobah, which is on the left hand of Damascus." (Gen.14:15). From Dan to Damascus is another fifty or sixty miles.
"And he brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people." (Gen.14:16). Abraham recaptured Lot and all the people and also all the goods which were taken. I am certain that Abraham was outnumbered and that it was as miraculous as Gideon putting the Midianites to flight. The fact that these kings were able to conquer the five kings that had federated together and took all the other cities show what a powerful army they had. There was an element of surprise there, but I don't think you can discount the miraculous. I believe Abraham recognized the hand of God in it.
"And the king of Sodom went out to meet him after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer, and of the kings that were with him, at the valley of Shaveh, which is the king's dale. And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine; and he was the priest of the most high God. And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth; and blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all." (Gen.14:17-20). This person, Melchizedek, is one of the mysterious persons of the Old Testament. His name is significant as it means "King of Righteousness." We are told also that he is the king of Salem or "peace." Salem is thought, by most scholars, to be Jerusalem and this is the first mention of Jerusalem within the scriptures. Now, if, it is, indeed, Jerusalem, then he is living in a Jebusite city, but whether or not he was a Jebusite; we don't know. There are some Bible scholars who suggest that this was Shem, one of the sons of Noah, who was still alive at this time. Actually if the chronology charts in the Bible are correct, Abraham actually died before Shem. I, personally, do not believe it is Shem; because, in Hebrews we are told that Melchizedek is without genealogy and Shem had a genealogy.
Melchizedek brought bread and wine to Abraham and the Bible mentions that he was a priest of God most high. This is the first mention of a priest in the Bible. Later on God will establish a priesthood in the tribe of Levi. The idea of a priest comes from, first of all, the consciousness and the purity of God and of the sinfulness of man. God is absolutely pure and man is tainted by sin. There is no way that man can touch an absolutely pure God, in fellowship, without tainting Him. It would be necessary to have a mediator or go between. Before there was an established priesthood, we read that there was a man named Job, who went through some great difficulties. His friends told him to get right with God and live. Job knew that God exists as he could see the universe that God created, but he couldn't see God. Job said when he looked for God, he couldn't find him. He felt that he was very insignificant and not worthy to plead his case with God and justify himself. Job's friends had concluded that his problems stemmed from his own sinfulness and Job was attesting to his innocence. Job said, "For He is not a man, as I am, that I should answer Him, and we should come together in judgment, Neither is there any daysman betwixt us, that might lay his hand upon us both." (Job 9:32-33). No priest, no mediator, no go between and Job recognized that the gulf between man and God was to great without a mediator. Job was looking at the vastness of God compared to the smallness of man.
As the Psalmist said, "What is man, that thou art mindful of him?" (Psa.8:4a). He who weighs the oceans in the palm of his hand; He who meted out the heavens with the span of his hand; God is so vast, who is man that He should even think of him. As we understand it today, with our best telescopes, the heavens are twelve billion light years in radius. As our telescopes improve, the size of the universe increases. How big is the universe? How big is God? How big is your God?
People, who have a buddy-buddy, chummy, the man upstairs or my pal, etc., idea of God; have the wrong concept of Him. If all the infinitude of God could only be comprehended. It is necessary to understand it, in order to see myself in the proper light. Man, who exalts himself; man, who is lifted up in pride and walks around in haughtiness; is a man who has not yet comprehended the infinitude of God. When I see the heavens, who am I that God should be mindful of me?
Thus the idea of the need for a priest arose. The ministry of the priest was two fold. It was his duty coming before God to represent the people as they could not come before God. They would bring their offerings to the priest, who, in turn, would bring their offerings before God for the people. Then he would come out to the people and as he spoke to them, he represented God. The people could not deal directly with God. They had to deal through a mediator, who was the priest.
Melchizedek was the first mention of a priest and was the priest of God most high or El Elyon. He was recognized by Abraham as such. In the Bible, we are always being shown Abraham and his faith and what was wrought by the result of his faith. He is given to us as an example of one who believed God and inherited the promises because of his faith. And yet this man, Abraham, recognized the superiority of Melchizedek and offered to him tithes and received from him a blessing. In Hebrews it tells us that the lesser is always blessed by the greater. The fact that Abraham received the blessing from Melchizedek is an indication of the superiority of Melchizedek over Abraham. Thus the superiority of the priesthood of Melchizedek over that which was yet to come from Abraham's seed through the tribe of Levi. He gave a tenth of all that he had to Melchizedek and, in a sense, Levi, who was not yet born, was paying tribute to him also.
Now, we know nothing of Melchizedek, as far as his background or family is concerned. He suddenly appears to Abraham. He is the King of Righteousness and the King of Peace. He offers to Abraham bread and wine and Abraham gives him a tenth of all that he has and receives from him a blessing and then Melchizedek is disappears from the scene. We do not hear anything more of Melchizedek for a thousand years. Suddenly in Psalm 110, as God is talking about the future reign of the Messiah, the Psalmist declares, "The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek." Again we don't hear of Melchizedek for another thousand years. In the Book of Hebrews, the writer is writing to Jews, who are finding it difficult to leave the cultural practices of Judaism and to simply believe in Jesus Christ for their righteousness and that sacrifice of Christ for their sins. Those Jews were being drawn back into the worship of the temple and back into the whole sacrificial system. They still felt the need of a priest, so the author of Hebrews tells them that they have a great High Priest and that he is superior to the Levitical priesthood. The priests of the Levitical Order had to sacrifice for their own sins before they could go before God with the sacrifices of the people. The fact that they had to go continually year after year showed that it wasn't a lasting sacrifice; but, this great High Priest, that we have, has offered Himself once for all and has entered in, not to the Holy of Holies made with hands, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us. According to the Psalmist, "The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool." So Jesus is our great High Priest, not of the tribe of Levi from which the priests were to come; but, from the tribe of Judah, from which the kings were to come. He is our great High Priest after the superior order of Melchizedek.
We are told in the New Testament that there is one God and one mediator between God and man, the man, Christ Jesus. So Jesus actually abolished the priesthood. It is interesting to me today that in Orthodox Judaism, they do not have any priests. They're going to attempt to reestablish the priesthood as they rebuild their temple, but it won't last long; because, there is no longer any need for a priesthood. Job said there was no daysman, but now there is a mediator laying his hand on both God and man. Jesus brings me into touch with God. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life; and no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6). It is interesting the two names ascribed to Jesus in the Kingdom Age, the King of Righteousness and the King of Peace were here, in Genesis, ascribed to Melchizedek. The scripture says that righteousness and peace have kissed each other. Where? In Christ. He is the King of Righteousness and the King of Peace and He is our Great High Priest after the Order of Melchizedek.
Melchizedek brought out bread and wine to Abraham. Jesus gave to his disciples the bread after He had broken it and said, "Take, eat; this is my body. And He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament; which is shed for many for the remission of sins." (Matt.26:26b-28). He gave to His disciples the bread and the wine as Melchizedek gave to Abraham the bread and the wine.
Then Melchizedek blessed Abraham and the title he used of God is the Possessor of Heaven and Earth. When Jesus reigns He will possess the heaven and the earth. In the second Psalm, God speaking says, "Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession." He blesses Abraham and then he blesses God and that is all we hear of Melchizedek until Psalm 110. As far as we know there were only two priests of the Order of Melchizedek, Jesus and Melchizedek. Melchizedek could have been a Theophany, one of the appearances of Christ before His birth. As Jesus was talking to the Pharisees and they were claiming Abraham for their father, he said, "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do..." (John 8:44a). "Verily, verily, I say unto you, if a man keep my saying, he shall never see death. Then said the Jews unto him,...Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, if a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death. Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead; whom makest thou thyself? Jesus answered, ...Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day; and he saw it, and was glad. Then said the Jews unto Him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? (John 8:51-57). When did Abraham see Him? Perhaps in the form of Melchizedek or perhaps when Abraham was interceding for the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah; but, there is a possibility that Melchizedek is none other than Jesus Christ, a Theophany.
"And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself." (Gen.14:21). Take the spoils Abraham and give me back by people. "And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth." (Gen.14:22) Now here Abraham has picked up on the title that Melchizedek blessed God with. Abraham says he has sworn an oath before God. "That I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich." (Gen.14:23) Abraham has taken this vow before God not to take any of the spoils from these kings that he had helped. Perhaps he learned that those riches that he had received from Egypt hadn't brought him much happiness, but only a lot of problems between Lot and himself. He gladly deferred to Lot to let him take what he wanted when they parted and now he is turning down this opportunity of increasing his wealth and his riches, but he refuses the offer. He didn't want any man to take credit for what God had done and was going to do in his life. I think this is a very important lesson and position that we should all take. God wants to work in our lives, but He wants to work, in such a way, that only He can receive the glory for what He has done. That is why God, so often, lets things get so bleak or impossible before he works. It becomes completely impossible and there is no way out and then God makes a way and all you can do is say, "WOW! When you know it had to be God, then God gets all the glory.
When God works, He wants the glory for his work. Years ago, when we were in the small chapel and needed to expand quickly as the patio was filled and people were still standing, the present Calvary Chapel property came on the market for sale. It was suggested that this property be purchased and with my tremendous faith, I thought that eleven acres would be much too much and that we could do with five acres. Where would we get the money? I had no faith for this thing at all. At that time a man came to me from Fresno and offered to give us over a million dollars. He had invested some money several years ago. He had put it in a portfolio and it had increased so much, he was afraid of it and wanted to give it away. I said, "I better pray about that," and the man looked at me quizzically, but I went home and prayed. God spoke to me and said, "I am doing a work and I'm going to do a work that will cause people to marvel at what I have done. If you will trust in me, I will take care of the finances completely. If you take this man's money, then it will always be said that a very wealthy man came along and endowed them with a lot of funds and so after all they had all of those "bucks" to work with and anybody with that much money could have built something. God said He wanted the glory for His work and not to take the man's money. It was a hard thing to do. The property was needed quickly and it needed to be developed. When I told the man I couldn't take his money and the reason, he understood. God has blessed in building the church, improving the property and Calvary doesn't owe a penny. It is all to the glory of God and only He can get the credit for what He has done. The Radio Station and Radio Ministry Expansion is all of what God has done. It is so exciting to see God work.
And then Abraham said, "Save only that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men which went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mare; let them take their portion." (Gen.14:24). And so Abraham said not to charge the young men for their food and to give the Canaanites, who went with him, their portion. You can make them rich, but you're not going to give anything to me. So as a result of Abraham learning his lesson, we find that God meets with him again and enters into a further covenant.
Blessed be God Most High, who has blessed us beyond measure in sending his Son, granting redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our sins; choosing us and calling us and filling us with His Spirit and sealing us with the Spirit of promise, making us his heirs forever.