Wednesday 14 October, 2015

Genesis 14:1-16

14 Amraphel was the king of Babylon. Arioch was the king of Ellasar. Kedorlaomer was the king of Elam. And Tidal was the king of Goyim. 2 They went to war against five other kings. They were Bera king of Sodom, Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, Shemeber king of Zeboyim, and the king of Bela. Bela was also called Zoar. 3 These five kings all gathered their armies together in the Valley of Siddim. It was also called the valley of the Dead Sea. 4 For 12 years Kedorlaomer had ruled over them. But in the 13th year they opposed him. 5 So in the 14th year, Kedorlaomer and the kings who helped him went to war. They won the battle against the Rephaites in Ashteroth Karnaim. They also won the battle against the Zuzites in Ham and the Emites in Shaveh Kiriathaim. 6 They did the same thing to the Horites in the hill country of Seir. They marched all the way to El Paran near the desert. 7 Then they turned back and went to En Mishpat. En Mishpat was also called Kadesh. They took over the whole territory of the Amalekites. They also won the battle against the Amorites who were living in Hazezon Tamar. 8 Then the kings of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboyim and Bela marched out. Bela was also called Zoar. They lined up their armies for battle in the Valley of Siddim. 9 They got ready to fight against Kedorlaomer king of Elam, Tidal king of Goyim, Amraphel king of Babylonia, and Arioch king of Ellasar. There were four kings against five. 10 The Valley of Siddim was full of tar pits. The kings of Sodom and Gomorrah ran away from the battle. Some of their men fell into the pits, but the rest escaped to the hills. 11 The four kings took all the things that belonged to Sodom and Gomorrah. They also took all their food and then left. 12 They carried away Abram’s nephew Lot and the things he owned. Lot was living in Sodom at that time. 13 A man escaped and came to report everything to Abram. Abram was a Hebrew. He was living near the large trees of Mamre the Amorite. Mamre was a brother of Eshkol and Aner. All of them helped Abram. 14 Abram heard that Lot had been captured. So he called out his 318 trained men. All of them were sons of his servants. Abram and his men chased their enemies as far as Dan. 15 During the night Abram separated his men into groups. They attacked their enemies and drove them away. They chased them north of Damascus as far as Hobah. 16 Abram took back everything the kings had taken. He brought back his nephew Lot and the things Lot owned. He also brought back the women and the other people.

Lot was clearly in the wrong place.

We know enough about Sodom to know that it was an astonishingly evil place. Surely Lot could see that these were not people he should be joining. Yet there he is. There’s no record he took part in their rebellion (against King Kedorlaomer or against God), but he’s caught up in the consequences just the same. And the King of Sodom is no protection.

(Note to self: Be careful who I make part of my life. Don’t even tag along with evil.)

I would understand if Abram had said “You chose selfishly and foolishly. Now you have to live with the consequences.” But he doesn’t hesitate to set off to rescue him. It doesn’t say he sought God about it. It seems he just did it because it was the right thing. But it’s very clear that 319 men only defeat the armies of five powerful and victorious kings with a lot of help from God. God rescues Lot as much as Abram does.

(Note to self: No need to ask God if I should do what I already know is the right thing. But don’t do it on my own.)

It astonishes me that after being rescued from the foolishness of his life in Sodom, Lot goes straight back. The foolishness of people!

It also astonishes me that God rescues him again (Genesis 19). The faithfulness and grace of God!

Father, I’m astonished by your faithfulness and your grace in rescuing me even when I’m foolish and make bad choices. Thank you for rescuing me from sin. Protect me from the foolishness of going back to it.

Written by David Cornell

4 replies
  1. Andrew Mellor says:

    Thanks David, some great thoughts there. Thank you Lord for your faithfulness, thank you for righteous companions.

  2. Justin Ware says:

    Abram’s demonstration of his love for Lot here is quite impressive to me. His nephew who he had recently been feuding with ends up in a very messy situation. Rather than leaving Lot to face the natural consequences of his actions, Abram rescues not only Lot, but also all the this of value that were raided from Sodom and Gomorrah.

    The other thing that amazes me in this passage is the level of historical detail. My understanding is that each of the nation’s described here can actually be traced back to a time in history. How great that we don’t just have a historical account of the beginnings of a nation but personal narrative of how people lived in those times as well as how Abram had an evident concience and principles, well before morality and legality were established in a societal framework as we understand it today.

    Lord, thank you that your love and grace is evident in Abram and provides for me an example of how to respond when someone i know is in difficulty. Help me to have a heart for the lost and those who make bad decisions.

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