Chapter 14 of Genesis introduces us to the first man versus man war in the pages of the Bible. It occurred as a result of a subjugated people rebelling against those who had invaded them. Although to all intents and purposes it appears to have been a relatively small local affair it nevertheless involved 10 kings – a group of four and a group of five and in the ensuing uprising and its aftermath Lot, Abram’s nephew, who was living in Sodom, was taken with all his possessions.
Abram, hearing of this from one who escaped from the fighting, called out the 318 trained men who were born in his household and was able to defeat Kedorlaomer king of Elam and those who allied themselves with him and rescue Lot with his household and possessions.
On his return he is met by Melchizedek, king of Salem who blesses him and receives tithes from him.
This is one of those chapters which one is tempted to pass over as it is difficult to say the least but I want to suggest three things to take from it for our instruction and encouragement.
- Abram’s care and concern for his family. Lot had selected Sodom as his chosen place to set up home, possibly ignoring its reputation wickedness while Abram had trusted God who made the great additional promises we saw yesterday. In spite of this Abram’s compassion went out to his kinsfolk and he was prepared to risk taking on their captors secure in the knowledge that he was the recipient of God’s great promises. v.13-16
- The appearance of Melchizedek. There has been much speculation as to exactly who was this enigmatic king. He does not appear again in the book of Genesis and is mentioned just twice more in the pages of scripture (Psalm 110 and Hebrews in chapters 5,6 and 7). There is no space here to explore this man in any detail but rather to note that in some way he is linked with Jesus our great High Priest. v.18-20
- Abram relied wholly on God (at this stage) for the fulfilment of his great promises and therefore declined any share in the spoil from the battle in which he had fought alongside the king of Sodom and his allies. v.22-24
How do these instruct and encourage us? Three questions.
How do I care for those around me who are in need?
Where does Jesus interact with my daily living?
Am I wholly committed to God and his promises to me?