A synopsis of Genesis chapter 14:
Genesis 14 – In this chapter, numerous kings are fighting and in the process Sodom and Gomorrah is overrun. When this happens, Lot (Abram’s nephew) is captured. When Abram hears of this he takes 318 servants and goes after him. He ends up rescuing Lot. Melchizedek king of Salem brings him bread and wine (which Abram gives back 10% of). The king of Sodom comes to Abram and says “give me the people and you take the goods”. But Abram refuses the “reward” replying with “with raised hand I have sworn an oath to the Lord, God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth, that I will accept nothing belonging to you, not even a thread or a strap of a sandal, so that you will never be able to say, ‘I made Abram rich.’ I will accept nothing but what my men have eaten and the share that belongs to the who went with me…”
There’s so much going on in this chapter it’s a little overwhelming. In the beginning of this chapter – all the kings are at war with each other. When Abram finds out Lot is captured, he rallies all the men he has and begins his rescue mission. Imagine setting off into a state on the other side of the US (not by car) to attempt to rescue someone. This in and of itself would take courage and faith for me. You have no idea what you are going to encounter or who you will encounter… how many of them there are… what they have for defending themselves… you are blind to what you are up against. For Abram, it was as if there were no choice in the matter. Once he reached the army he was chasing, and they fled, he still went after them. How often do we feel like there is army waiting to attack us and we run the other way? Abram had the Lord on his side and he knew it. Why don’t we? Why do we allow other people, situations, etc. to dictate our outcomes. We run like cowards instead of facing it like Abram. He faced it with faith.
When he returns from the “war”, he is met by two kings. He is congratulated and one of the kings says:
“Blessed be Abram by God Most High,
Creator of heaven and earth.
And blessed be God Most High,
who has defeated your enemies for you.”
God is acknowledged to be MOST HIGH and to have defeated the enemies. I think this is so important because someone outside of the situation directly relating to Abram, recognizes it was God who defeated the armies, not Abram. This is not a case of someone trying to give Abram the credit and Abram did not try to take credit. I think we fail at this a lot. How often we like to think something is being done because of us. We think it was because we sacrificed our hour to go serve at a food kitchen that something good happen. Or it was our Starbucks money that we sacrificed so that someone else could have food that day. Or a move of God happen because of our talent. Really, most examples are not even that giving. Especially on a larger scale… you sacrificed something huge – perhaps you gave a car away or you bought someone a house. How often we pat ourselves on the back and puff out our chests with pride silently screaming, “Look at me! Look what I did!”. But Abram did not. In fact, when he is offered to keep what he had gotten back (animals, goods, etc) he refuses. He tells them he won’t accept the “reward” because he doesn’t want them to be able to say “…we made Abram rich.” He wants only God to receive that glory. If someone offered you $500,000 as a reward for what you did – could you say no? I didn’t think so.
Abram shows us some true faith in this passage. It makes me question my own faith in some ways. I’m not as brave as Abram. Putting myself in his shoes, I would be an absolute coward. I would want to take the money. But part of staying consecrated to God is living by His standards and living by our faith with Him. We see in later chapters that Abram is in fact blessed for his actions. His deliberate living decisions. I guess the question bares asking:
Do you live deliberately? On purpose? With your decisions? With your reactions? Someone is always watching you know. Watching every move you make, how you do it, how you come to that decision. Abram’s men were watching every step he chose to take. He couldn’t do what he did saving Lot flying by the seat of his pants. He made calculated decisions on his plan of attack. We are setting examples to all those around us. Sometimes the loudest way is a silent one. (The loudest way of reaching someone is by silently living by example more times than not.)
Facing Faith Challenge: Decide if you live deliberately for God. If you do, how can you improve upon that? If you don’t, start finding out how God wants you to act and begin making decisions to implement them.