*An audio version of today's devotional is available on Leading The Way's MY Devotional podcast.

Abraham, with his small band of 318 trained men from his household, had just defeated the four kings led by Kedorlaomer and their armies—armies that had routed five local kings, capturing all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah and even taking hostages, including Abraham’s nephew Lot. With his victory, Abraham rescued Lot and others, recovering the spoils of war that had been claimed by the invaders. The Lord was on his side, and it was truly a remarkable victory. At 85 years old, Abraham had done what five local kings and their forces could not.

Read Genesis 15:1. The king of Sodom, one of the kings who had just had his fortunes returned by the brave action of Abraham, was extremely grateful. He told Abraham, "Give me the people and keep the goods for yourself" (Genesis 14:21). But Abraham, though he could have justified accepting such a monumental gift, knew it was going to be God who blessed him and not some earthly king. And so, in faith, he kindly refused the generous offer (vv. 22-24).

That's when fear crept into Abraham's heart. And Satan tried to take advantage. He is always on the lookout for opportunities to turn us away from God and toward anything else. One of the times when we really are vulnerable to sin is the moment after a flush of victory and success. Why? We are not only exhilarated and surprised but also filled with a mixture of pride and fear—and the devil knows it.

That's why God, who knew what was taking place inside His servant, could say, "Do not be afraid" (Genesis 15:1). Abraham had just stepped down from the pinnacle of victory, and he was about to plunge into depression when the gracious hand of God grabbed him mid-fall. God knows our needs before we do, and He ministers to His children accordingly.

God told Abraham, "I am your shield" (Genesis 15:1). In the ancient Near East, people were short and shields were large, so they offered total protection. God was saying, "Abraham, I have you completely covered.” God will do the same for you and me today. But like Abraham, we need to trust Him just as completely.

Prayer: Lord, thank You for the example of Your faithfulness found in Your relationship with Abraham. Help me trust in You and remember that You are my shield and my fortress as You were for Abraham. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness” (Genesis 15:6).

Learn more in Dr. Michael Youssef’s sermon Counting Stars in an Empty Sky, Part 5: LISTEN NOW | WATCH NOW

Check out more from Dr. Michael Youssef, here!

About The Author

Dr. Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Even before he was born, it is clear that God had a vision for Michael Youssef. His mother was in poor health when she became pregnant with Michael, and because his life was in danger at the time of birth, the doctor recommended terminating the pregnancy. An abortion was scheduled. But God intervened and sent the family pastor to reassure them that God was involved in this pregnancy. He told them not to be afraid and that the child would be "born to serve the Lord." Michael's parents accepted the pastor's message as a message from God and obeyed. His mother gave birth, and lived to see him give his life to the Lord at the age of sixteen.

Believing that God had called him out of Egypt, Michael sought an exit visa in a time in which no university student was allowed to have a passport or leave the country. God intervened again, and miraculously he managed to acquire a visa. He immigrated to Australia, where he studied at Moore Theological College in Sydney, was ordained as a pastor, and met Elizabeth who became his wife.

The Youssefs came to America in 1977, and in 1978 Michael received a master's degree in theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in California. Then he earned a doctorate in social anthropology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Michael served nearly ten years in the Haggai Institute, traveling around the world more than 32 times, teaching courses in evangelism and leadership. He rose to the position of Managing Director at the age of 31 years. The family settled in Atlanta, and in 1984, Michael became a citizen of the United States, making his dream of many years come true.

He founded The Church of The Apostles in 1987 with fewer than 40 adults with the mission of "Equipping the Saints and Searching for the Lost". The church has since grown to be a congregation of over 3,000 people today. This church has driven the international ministry of Leading the Way. While it is heard by millions at home and abroad, behind every message preached through radio waves, is the heart of a pastor, willing to nurture and care for these people. Clearly God has uniquely equipped Dr. Youssef to speak to a global audience. The path he has taken has given him an understanding and firm grasp of the Scriptures that transcend cultures. He preaches, teaches and calls with a sincere, based on the authority of the inerrant, inspired Word of God. With his personal knowledge of the Holy Land, its history and culture, Dr. Michael Youssef transmits life to listeners all over the world.

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