Read Genesis 14
Abram Rescues Lot
1 At the time when Amraphel was king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Kedorlaomer king of Elam and Tidal king of Goyim, 2 these kings went to war against Bera king of Sodom, Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, Shemeber king of Zeboyim, and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar). 3 All these latter kings joined forces in the Valley of Siddim (that is, the Dead Sea Valley). 4 For twelve years they had been subject to Kedorlaomer, but in the thirteenth year they rebelled.
5 In the fourteenth year, Kedorlaomer and the kings allied with him went out and defeated the Rephaites in Ashteroth Karnaim, the Zuzites in Ham, the Emites in Shaveh Kiriathaim 6 and the Horites in the hill country of Seir, as far as El Paran near the desert. 7 Then they turned back and went to En Mishpat (that is, Kadesh), and they conquered the whole territory of the Amalekites, as well as the Amorites who were living in Hazezon Tamar.
8 Then the king of Sodom, the king of Gomorrah, the king of Admah, the king of Zeboyim and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar) marched out and drew up their battle lines in the Valley of Siddim 9 against Kedorlaomer king of Elam, Tidal king of Goyim, Amraphel king of Shinar and Arioch king of Ellasar—four kings against five. 10 Now the Valley of Siddim was full of tar pits, and when the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, some of the men fell into them and the rest fled to the hills. 11 The four kings seized all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah and all their food; then they went away. 12 They also carried off Abram’s nephew Lot and his possessions, since he was living in Sodom.
13 A man who had escaped came and reported this to Abram the Hebrew. Now Abram was living near the great trees of Mamre the Amorite, a brother of Eshkol and Aner, all of whom were allied with Abram. 14 When Abram heard that his relative had been taken captive, he called out the 318 trained men born in his household and went in pursuit as far as Dan.15 During the night Abram divided his men to attack them and he routed them, pursuing them as far as Hobah, north of Damascus. 16 He recovered all the goods and brought back his relative Lot and his possessions, together with the women and the other people.
17 After Abram returned from defeating Kedorlaomer and the kings allied with him, the king of Sodom came out to meet him in the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley).
18 Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, 19 and he blessed Abram, saying,
“Blessed be Abram by God Most High,
Creator of heaven and earth.
20 And praise be to God Most High,
who delivered your enemies into your hand.”
Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.
21 The king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me the people and keep the goods for yourself.”
22 But Abram said to the king of Sodom, “With raised hand I have sworn an oath to the Lord, God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth, 23 that I will accept nothing belonging to you, not even a thread or the strap of a sandal, so that you will never be able to say, ‘I made Abram rich.’ 24 I will accept nothing but what my men have eaten and the share that belongs to the men who went with me—to Aner, Eshkol and Mamre. Let them have their share.”
What we see in today’s story is a divine reminder. Our human nature is that of puffed up pride and self importance; we want to receive credit for a job well done. In this chapter, Abram rushes into enemy territory, risking his life in order to win back the people of Sodom, who’ve been captured. At the end of the chapter, we see him returning back with every single person and possession that the enemy had stolen. As he arrived back into Sodom, Abram was greeted like a hero and savior. He had just brought husbands back to wives, returned fathers back to children, and restored stolen property and possessions to victims. The gratitude and praise would’ve been overwhelming. Abram saw the King of Sodom heading toward him cheering and saying, “job well done.” It would’ve been tempting for him to feel pride and honor and self-importance. But yet, before he can relish in the praise he receives, Melchizedek, a priest of God Most High, randomly (or divinely) arrives on the scene. Instead of praising Abram for what he’s done, he praises God for the deliverance of the people of Sodom and awards the victory to God.
After that timely reminder, Melchizadek leaves Abram with the King of Sodom, who tries to bless Abram with the spoils of victory. Abram surprisingly turns down the reward because Melchizedek had just reminded him of what God had called him to in Genesis 12:2-3, when He said, “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing…and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” Abram remembered that he was blessed by God in order to be a blessing to those around him. God was clearly with him, meaning that the victory belonged to God, not Abram. And the reason God gave Abram the victory was to bless others.
The same is true with Christ-followers today. As we follow God and walk through life with Him, we experience the blessing of His presence, Emmanuel–God with us. As He blesses us with His presence, we are called to bring that blessing to those around us. We are called to leave people better than we find them. Just like Abram, we are called to be a part of the rescue that God is up to in their lives. That’s why we’re blessed… so we can be a blessing and, ultimately, bring the blessing of God to those around us.
In chapter 13, Lot chose the land of Sodom because it looked nicer than the land God had for Abram, but it’s been full of nothing but destruction, war and sin ever since. When have you made the mistake of following what looked better on the outside versus what God has asked you to do?
What does it look like for you to be a blessing to those around you today
Through Abram’s rescue of the people of Sodom, we see a foreshadowing of what God has done for us. How can you see yourself in the story today? Spend time thanking God that He didn’t leave you desperate and alone in your sin but pursued you and won you back.
Did You Know?
In this chapter, Melchizedek is a foreshadowing of Jesus. Melchizedek, like Jesus, is a Priest and King. His name means “king of righteousness” and Salem, the place where he is king (the future Jerusalem), means “peace.” He is literally a priest and the king of righteousness and peace who worshipped God with bread and wine–sound familiar?