READ THE EXPANDED TEXT: Genesis 14:1-17
Lot and his family were living in the Valley of Siddim when Chederlaomer King of Elam and a coalition of Mesopotamian kings attacked the cities of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim and Zoar:
GENESIS 14:13-16 (emphasis added)
“Then one who had escaped came and told Abram the Hebrew, for he dwelt by the terebinth trees of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol and brother of Aner; and they were allies with Abram.
Now when Abram heard that his brother (kinsman) was taken captive, he armed his three hundred and eighteen trained servants who were born in his own house, and went in pursuit as far as Dan.
He divided his forces against them by night, and he and his servants attacked them and pursued them as far as Hobah, which is north of Damascus. So he brought back all the goods, and also brought back his brother Lot and his goods, as well as the women and the people.”
For 12 years, the cities in the Valley of Siddim had been forced to pay tribute to Chederlaomer and his coalition. A year before, the communities began a revolt by refusing to pay the mandatory tax. Now the Mesopotamian coalition had come to collect. Attempting a defense, local armies fled leaving the cities open to plunder and the inhabitants vulnerable. Abram’s nephew Lot and his family were among the captives.
The armies of the Mesopotamian kings had swept down across the wilderness of modern day Jordan to the Gulf of Aqaba pillaging as they went. Returning northward, they attacked the communities in the Jordan River plain.
When Lot and his family were taken captive, Abram quickly assembled a veritable fighting force from the servants born in his household numbering 318 men strong. Not willing to use his 80 plus years as an excuse to sit on the sidelines, he took charge of the operation and followed the offending armies in hot pursuit.
Abram’s forces approached and ambushed the invading armies almost a hundred miles north of Sodom, near Dan. Not satisfied to defeat the enemy’s fighting force in a strategically impressive night attack, Abram chased the rest of the army another hundred miles to Hobah near Damascus in order to retrieve the plunder taken from the cities of the plain.
In addition to rescuing Lot and his family, Abram returned victorious with all the goods and people taken by the four Mesopotamian kings.
God gave Abram an impressive victory and used the incident to further promote him. Had Lot not been a resident of the plain near Sodom, it is unlikely Abram would have been drawn into the conflict.
Yet, as a result of the confrontation with the kings of Mesopotamia, Abram would be recognized not only as a prince in the environs of Canaan, but also as a formidable force among the surrounding nations. Just as God promised, He gave Abram a name of renown among the nations (Gen. 12:3).
This incident teaches an important principle. Genuine faith is not synonymous with pious inactivity; genuine faith is vibrant and active. Abram acted quickly to affect deliverance in spite of Lot’s choice of residence.
Like all men of faith, Abram did not sit idly when he had resources available to help. Abram made the right choice to deliver Lot and his family from the enemy; and, God blessed him with an astounding victory.
Image: Abram Chases the Enemies Who Captured His Nephew, c. 1613. By Antonio Tempesta (1555–1630) [PD-US, PD-Art], via Wikimedia – Enhancement: MKM Portfolios
© Charles E. McCracken 2016, devotional comments only. Repost/Reprint with permission from the author. Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.charles-e-mccracken-ministries.org
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