Introduction= Exciting time to be studying Genesis, all the current events in Middle East, Egypt..esp chapt 14= within the last 90 years many of the cities mentioned in this war has been excavated. We have historical proof we are dealing with real places, real war, terrible destruction, many captives, and unbelievable yet successful rescue. Our study centers on the role played by one man- Abram. He is a man strangely aloof from the world, yet caring deeply for his own. When he finds out the situation, there is no hesitation in going to save Lot. After the battle, there is no hesitation in refusing to accept part of the spoils.
I. Abram rescues Lot Gen 14:1-16 (slide2)
A. Inevitable War Gen 14:1-12
B. Invaluable Friend Gen 14:13-16
II. Abram receives Blessing Gen 14:17-24
A. King of Salem Gen 14:18-20
B. King of Sodom Gen 14:17,21-24
1. Wealth from the plain of Jordan that attracted Lot also attracted foreign invaders. The text tells us that the original invasion of this territory 14 years previous to our story. For 12 years the people of this area paid tribute $ to Chedorlaomer (ked-aur-LAY-oh-mur) king of Elam (map slide 3).
Verse one=4 Kings from: Shinar= Babylon (Ur); Ellasar=Haran; Elam= Southwest Persia/Iran; Goiim=nations=Syria
Verse two=5 Kings from Sodom; Gomorrah; Admah; Zeboiim; Bela(Zoar)
No small battle
13th year, the kings of the plains rebelled, wanted their freedom. Chedorlaomer was considered the Napoleon of his age, mighty warrior, determined to conqueror and rule other nations. He heard of their revolt and was compelled to squash it and regain his power in the area. He forms a coalition w/3 other Eastern Kings v1 plans to ravage the whole country. Follow the map (slide 4) This is what most all scholars believe to be the route Transjordan Hwy; defeating their enemies as far as El Paran, then swing northwestward into the Negev highlands defeating the Amalekites, turn east defeating Amorites. One after another city falls to them, but the 5 Kings of the plains determine to join together to stand against them.
2. Battle v8-11 v8 Battle is in the Valley of Siddim = by Moses’ Day called the Salt Sea =Dead Sea today. Archeologists believe that during the centuries between Abram/Moses Dead Sea rose up submerging Sodom /other cities of the plain. But in Abram’s day this area, Valley of Siddim was full of slime pits, tar pits. As the Kings fled, some fell in them, others escaped to the hills, others were taken as prisoners along with their possessions.
3. Reason this battle is in Genesis =v12
Last time we saw Lot, just left Abram, living in the Valley of the Jordan, “pitched his tents” toward Sodom. Now “living in Sodom” Wonder as he was being carried off if he is any way regretted his decision to live in Sodom? Wonder if he asked “what am I doing here?”
Do you ever do that? I wish I hadn’t said that, I wish we’d never gone there. If only I hadn’t, I know you can’t go back, can’t change history, but I wonder when we’re going forward, making decisions, how deeply we think through our choices? We know our choices have consequences. We know when we make our choices w/o God’s direction we suffer our own consequences.
Picture yourself as Lot. Carried off by enemy warriors, captive, mistreated, little food, little water, probably a life of slavery ahead, maybe death. What would you be feeling/ thinking? Would it be: I deserve this, this is my fate, too bad, but here I am. Or would you be saying: Help, God save me, get us out of here, rescue me quick. I would!
We sing song “I called, you answered, you came to my rescue and I want to be where you are”= that’s grace, that’s God. Lot really needed some grace, need to be rescued.
I know there are times that real love means tough love, but it should never come with the “you deserve it” attitude, Instead, it should be I’m so sorry you’re in this hard place, I’m sorry these are the consequences, it breaks my heart.
Really enjoyed the discussion on the question “how do we decide when to rescue a family member?” First, that decision needs much prayer! Asking questions “Would helping continue enabling bad behavior? Do they want help? If you don’t would they die?” Remember: God wants to give wisdom when we seek Him,
James 1:5-6a - If you don't know what you're doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You'll get his help, and won't be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. (MSG)
God wants to help us determine what to do, He knows what’s best: when to rescue and when to allow the consequences to be fully experienced.
In this case, potentially life or death situation, there is a rescue, Lot has an invaluable friend in Abram.
Abram heard READ Gen 14:13. Abram, the Hebrew. First time this word is used in scripture. Root word = “passed over”. Septuagint (Greek translation of the Hebrew bible dates to 325BC used worldwide until the Vulgate =Latin translation in the 4thC) translates the Hebrew as “the passenger” The first application of this name is Gen 10:24,25 “Shelah was the father of Eber”, Eber was an ancestor of Abram. Abram is still living near Hebron (Gen 13:18), become friendly with his neighbors, Mamre, Eschol, Aner, his allies.
Abram has basically two choices, two options: 1. Isolate 2. Get involved.
1. isolate=He could have argued for staying out of the situation: They’ve passed me by, I’d better stay home and protect my family because they are my first responsibility, I’m not going to put my family in danger. Or, God allowed this to happen, I’m not going to interfere with what God wants to do with Lot. Or “One things sure, you reap what you sow”, Lot chose to live with those foolish people, he probably deserved getting captured. I don’t see where I need to get involved.
This is not what we read…
2. Gen 14:14 READ. “he called out his trained men” Lot had been foolish, but he was “flesh and blood” and who among us hasn’t made a mistake? Most likely his life was at stake, as well as his wife and children. Abram prepared to go to battle, already trained his men to fight, ready, 318 plus his allies MAP
Quickly he covered 120 miles from Hebron to Dan to intercept the enemy. Commentators feel they probably could not have walked, too slow, mules would not have made the trip, possible they rode camels. When he got to Dan, made a surprise night attack, dividing his troops to appear to have greater numbers than they did. After the attack, he pursued the shaken and fleeing enemy to Hobath, north of Damascus. Then they circled back, collecting all the goods, all the people, including Lot, came home.
Abram took a great risk and rescued Lot, invaluable friend, we all want friends like Abram, who care deeply for us, there when we need them- but also we all need to be friends like Abram to others. Good definition of an invaluable friend=:
Abram gave up any bitterness or resentment he might have felt toward Lot, he refused to stand off and let Lot suffer the consequences of this capture, instead he gave his all, his time, his energy, his money, potentially his very life for Lot, invaluable friend.
Are you this kind of person? Are you an invaluable friend to anyone? When you hear someone is hurting, in trouble, do you get involved or isolate, hoping someone else will take care of the situation. I know we need God’s wisdom and direction in our helping others, but if God asks you to risk something, give up something to help another person, would you? Be prepared to help others in life’s battles like Abram
Time of great success is often the signal for great temptation to follow. Abram in returning from the battle would face all the temptations of success that comes after winning big. He has a new, growing reputation among the people in this area, jubilant to be released, he is the local hero.
King of Sodom who was hiding in the hills heard about Abram, went out to meet him in the King’s Valley READ Gen 14:17. However before they meet, the King of Salem appears.
Melchizedek. Meet him briefly here, next time=1,000yrs later Ps 110:4 Messianic psalm, “You, Messiah, are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek” we wait another 1,000yrs writer of Hebrews speaks of him again, this time further comparisons with Jesus the Messiah.
Who was he? Name= “King of Righteousness” was the King of Salem=peace
Ancient Jewish interpreters thought he was Shem (Gen 11) lived 600 yrs possible still living same time as Abram. Early church father Origin thought he was an angel. Ambrose =pre-incarnate Jesus Christ, MOST probable that he was a “type of Christ”= Heb 7:3=”like the Son of God” handout, chart comparing the two. His identity = “remains an enigma” we just don’t know exactly who he was.
Meeting- Melchizedek brought out bread/wine to refresh and strengthen these weary
Warriors. Hard to overlook the symbolism here= very elements of communion. Bread= symbol of life, John 6:50= he is the bread of life. Wine is symbol of joy (Ps 104:15) I Cor 11:24-26 we are to eat bread and drink the wine in remembrance of Christ’s life and death for us- for believers taking communion is one of the most intimate times of fellowship with God. Melchizedek comes to physically and spiritually strengthen Abram, turning his thoughts toward God. READ Gen 14:19,20.
Melchizedek challenges Abram to give all the glory to the one God, God Most High =El ELYON, one sovereign God, who was creator of all the universe.
He tells him: This has to be a “God thing” you overcame all odds, miracle win.
Abram’s reaction v20b is he responds as a faithful, humble, servant, presents a
Tithe, tenth of all. Interesting looking back with 21st century eyes, the first time we hear of the tithe is 500 years before Moses and the Law. Some Christians don’t tithe because they say we aren’t under law anymore but grace= Abram wasn’t under the law, it wasn’t even given yet, he was under grace-he gave a tenth. In giving the tithe he not only acknowledges Melchizedek as minister of God, but he also gives glory to God for his success.
Text seems to infer these events are happening back to back, as Abram is giving to King of Salem, the King of Sodom arrives. Sodom lost everything to Eastern Kings who then lost them to Abram. Now he wants them back READ Gen 14:21. Deal, I’ll take people, u=stuff.
Real temptation to Abram. New reputation as a mighty warrior, if he gave back the people (captives)=merciful, kept the goods=he would be rich. See his answer READ Gen 14:22-24. Abram knew that if he kept even a small part of the possessions from Sodom, he would never be able to say his sole dependence was on God. Later he might hear, “Oh yeah I know Abram’s rich, prosperous, has land, but remember he took all the spoils from that battle years ago” Abram said “I lifted my hand, I made an oath to God I wouldn’t take profit, nothing from this victory”
Two different Kings with two different perspectives on Abram’s success. King Melchizedek reminds Abram, God did this for you, all glory goes to him. King Sodom tempts him to take the spoils and compromise his oath. Abram who had eaten bread and wine with Melchizedek was strong in the strength of the Lord and kept his oath and refused the spoils.
I’m reminded of athletes who are interviewed after a “win”- some say, I give God all the credit, thank Him for helping me, field goal and then a point to the sky. Heard people criticize=does God care who wins? Don’t know, but when an athlete thanks God for giving him the strength, ability, he’s acknowledging God and expressing gratitude. It’s easy for us, here in a bible study to be verbal in our thanks to God, but it takes boldness to publicly say I couldn’t have made it, done it, I wouldn’t have this success without God’s help. Is it hard for you? At work? At your children’s school? In your neighborhood?
Abram gave God the glory for his success. But he did not force his standards on others
READ Gen 14:24
Choice of following God is voluntary. We cannot force that decision on another, cannot make someone walk in faith. Individual choice. Those who have walked longer with the Lord should not force or expect younger Christians to live by standards they haven’t attained or experienced or have been taught. Years earlier, Abram himself didn’t take this public stand when he was in Egypt. Bible tells us it's the Holy Spirit's job to guide and teach us in truth. We need to be concerned with our own commitment, our own example to others, pray God will use us to affect other’s lives.
Are you ready to rescue others if God calls? Will you be faithful in giving God the glory when you have successes?