Genesis: The Beginning
Abram and Lot 1-15-16
READ: Genesis Chapters 13 & 14
Yesterday, we read about how Abram was called by God, given a promise, and then had to face the difficulties of life that came against the LORD’s promise; these difficulties forced Abram, Sarai, Lot, with their “stuff” to start a new beginning in Egypt. Today. we will see the LORD’s goodness in action and the power of choice, again.
The land of Negev is the desert south of Palestine. Abram and his household travel through Negev and on toward Bethel; this is the place where Abram worshiped the LORD before and built an altar. Perhaps Abram desires to make a new commitment to Yahweh after the deception in Egypt; rededicate his life to the LORD God. By this time, the journey is a major life beginning as Abram is very rich in livestock, silver, and gold; hauling everything around and keeping track of it is a big job. If that is not enough, Lot (the nephew and closest descendant who is traveling with Abram) is a wealthy man, too; he’s hauling along much of the world’s goods because he is traveling with the blessing of Abram. (NOTE: Egypt is revealed throughout biblical history—beginning with Abram—as both a place of refuge, as well as a place to leave!)
Conflict comes to the leaders of the herds of Abram and Lot; not enough grazing space. Conflict and blessing can not occupy the same space. What will family do to resolve this conflict? Clearly, Abram grows in his character from the experience he had in Egypt (to trust the LORD God’s goodness on his behalf), because he decides to offer Lot the first choice of land as they separate.
Lot looks at the whole area from a purely human standpoint; the plains of the Jordan Valley are fertile like a ready made garden so he chooses to occupy that land and moves close to Sodom. Abram settles in the land of Canaan. God challenges Abram’s spiritual vision by saying, “Look as far as you can in every direction—north and south, east and west. I am giving all this land, as far as you can see, to you and your descendants as a permanent possession.” (NOTE: Wait a minute…Abram’s descendant is Lot, right? And, he just headed down the road to do his own thing!) The LORD God continues, “I will give you so many descendants that, like the dust of the earth, they cannot be counted!” God sees something Abram does not; but even though Abram can’t see or understand what God has said he is learning there’s power when God is involved…so, Abram trusts and worships.
War breaks out over the land; lust for power and influence. Four powerful kings from the east join efforts and attack five lesser kings from Palestine. Lot’s land of Sodom is in the middle of the battle zone; Lot becomes a prisoner of war and loses everything he owns. This conquering army takes women and other captives along as the spoils of war.
Abram gets this news and he responds with help on behalf of Lot. Abram has many trained men—318 with military inclination—who are devoted to his leadership. These men—with Abram leading them—head out, find Kedorlaomer’s army who has taken Lot, and recover Lot and all his goods (plus releases the other captives).
The king of Sodom, as well as Melchizedek the king of Salem (translates Jerusalem) who is also the priest of God Most High meets up with Abram. Melchizedek brings bread and wine to Abram’s army, as well as blesses Abram for stepping out in faith—knowing God was with Him to bring righteousness to un unrighteous situation. The name Melchizedek is translated using two words “king” and “righteous.” (Open your eyes here because Jesus is the Great High Priest after the order of Melchizedek). Abram offers a tithe to Melchizedek (1/10th of everything he gains from recovering these spoils as a way to affirm Melchizedek’s kingship) in the honor of God Most High who causes him to be victorious. As well, Abram releases the captives to the king of Sodom and returns all the spoils that belong to that king. Here we see Abram knows God is his Source of blessing…not this human king.
We can taste the blessing of God as descendants of Abraham if we are willing to recognize Him as our Source. Look ahead today and see…the LORD is Good and walking with you!