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Covenant Father 4: Saving Lot - Genesis 14

Genesis 14 gives the account of Abram’s rescue mission of his nephew Lot, a mission that brought him into conflict with the kings of the nations and established his name as one of the great ones in the land. By giving him this military victory, God shows the nations that His blessing rests on Abram.

The Background (vv.1-12): In the first 12 verses, we’re introduced to a bunch of local kings, rulers of city-states who have banded together to form rival alliances. In Genesis 14:4-7, we see that the Canaanite kings who have been serving Chederlaomer the Elamite king rebel against him, and so Chederlaomer and his allies set out to put down the rebellion, running roughshod over everyone that stands between them and the five Canaanite kings. In vv. 8-11, the king of Sodom leads his coalition against Chederlaomer in the valley of Siddim, but the five Canaanite kings lose the battle and are scattered. The four victorious kings plunder Sodom and Gomorrah, and head back home. But the all-important detail comes in verse 12: when they plunder Sodom, they carry off Lot and everything he has, since he had taken up residence in Sodom. That’s the background in a nutshell: Lot has gotten caught up in tribal warfare and taken captive.

The Battle (vv. 13-16): In v.13, word of Lot’s capture gets back to Abram, who is living in Hebron with his Canaanite allies. Despite the fact that he’s been poorly treated by Lot, Abram immediately springs into action to rescue him. After pursuing Chederlaomer’s army for nearly 100 miles, Abram divides his forces and attacks by night, routing the four kings and chasing them out of Canaan. We don’t get a description of the battle, just this quick statement of the results: Abram wins the military victory, and retrieves all the spoils of Sodom, as well as Lot and his possessions and the members of his household.

By giving Abram victory in battle, we see God keeping his promises. God curses Chederlaomer and the other kings, and blesses Abram and his allies. Abram has been established as a force to be reckoned with in Canaan; now he’s the defender of the land. It’s his by promise, now it has come under his protection. It won’t be his by possession for another few hundred years, but he’s already beginning to take dominion.

And here’s how Abram’s battle applies to you: what Abram did for Lot is what Jesus did for you. You separated from God through your sin, and the consequences of your folly keep catching up to you and hauling you off as a prisoner, but in spite of how you treated Him, in spite of how inconvenient it is to chase you all the way from heaven to earth, and in spite of the danger that cost Him His life, Jesus rises up as your kinsman-redeemer and comes to save you! Blessed be God Most High!

The Blessing (vv. 17-24): In v.17, after Abram returns back closer to home, he is met at the King’s Valley by not one, but two kings, as different as two kings could possibly be. First comes the King of Sodom, who crawls back out of the tar pits to meet him, and then, out of the blue, we meet Melchizedek, King of Salem, who brings out bread and wine for sustenance and celebration.

Melchizedek pronounces a blessing over Abram, in which he declares that the God who owns heaven and earth is the one who favored Abram with victory. Abram then honors God by giving him a tenth of everything. Then, just as quickly as he appeared, Melchizedek disappears, and the king of Sodom makes his move. Even though he was crushed in battle, and Abram did the rescuing, Sodom’s king acts as if he is Abram’s benefactor, rather than the other way around. Abram sees right through it, though, and proclaims his allegiance not to the king of Sodom, but to the Lord, God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth.

From Abram’s blessing in vv. 17-24, we learn to ask this question: “Whose blessing do you want?” The blessing of the king of righteousness, or the king of wickedness? This choice was given to Jesus, too, if you remember. Satan offered him all the kingdoms of the world for the price of His allegiance, and Jesus rejected that offer not because He didn’t want it, but because He trusted God to give it to Him, not Satan. Abram’s faith is a foreshadowing of Jesus’ faith, the faith that saves the world.

So ask yourself: as you go through this life, are you looking for worldly benefits or divine blessings? Who do you serve, God, or mammon? The devil wants to buy off the people of God and corrupt them, so you need to be ready for that test by discipling your heart and your family in faith, patience, and contentment.

And that’s why we are here today, and every Lord’s Day. In the world, our faith will be tested, and so here in worship, God comes to strengthen our faith by Word and Sacrament. As we hear of Abram’s faith, as we remember how God has rescued us, and as we eat and drink the bread and the wine that He sets before us, God meets us here in worship to renew us in His Covenant, and to bless us so that we might be a blessing to the world.

Posted on Wednesday, March 29, 2017 by CJ Bowen