Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, May 28th, 2024
the Week of Proper 3 / Ordinary 8
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Bible Commentaries
Genesis 14

Wells of Living Water CommentaryWells of Living Water

Verses 8-24

Abram Delivers Lot

Genesis 14:8-24

INTRODUCTORY WORDS

Let us bring before you the opening verses of Genesis fourteen.

We have before us a story of war and strife. The various kings of cities and nations in those days warred upon one another even as they war today.

Our Lord has said, that unto the end, wars are determined. Again, He has said, "There shall be wars and rumours of wars." The greatest war of all ages lies ahead. It is the battle of Armageddon.

It is only when Jesus Christ comes that peace will reign. He is the Prince of Peace. Under His authority nations will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruninghooks; they shall not learn war any more. The forty-sixth Psalm says: "The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: He uttered His voice, the earth melted." Then the Psalm adds, "He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; He breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; He burneth the chariot in the fire." Let those who desire a reign of peace, pray for the return of the Prince of Peace.

2. We have before us the Divine record of these warring kings. The Lord did not hesitate to write down both the names of the kings and the cities where they reigned. Some of these Old Testament characters were for centuries unknown to history. Because of this some doubted the integrity of the Word of God. In many cases, however, the archeologist's spade has dug up ancient stones upon which were inscribed name after name. These discoveries have verified the historicity of Scripture.

The Lord looked down from Heaven and watched the movements of men in olden days. He still observes all things which are done upon the earth. He, Himself, rules in the kingdoms of men, placing over them whomsoever He will.

3. We have before us a portraiture of the avarice of the human heart. Four kings fought against five. What was their objective? It was no more than the despoiling of the one that the other might become rich.

There is no spirit of mercy and no sense of pity to guide the course of battle. The conquering kings showed what they were after when they took all the goods and all of the victuals of the conquered and went their way.

How different is the spirit of our Master. He taught us to love our enemies, and to do good to those who hated us and who used us despitefully. We were to overcome evil with good.

It was toward the wicked that He manifested His love. He sought to save and not to destroy, to lift up and not to cast down. He was always ready to forgive and ready to save.

The judgments of the Lord are not only preceded by mercy, but are themselves pervaded with mercy. When the throne of God as described in Revelation four prepares for judgment, there was seen a rainbow, emerald in color round about the throne. In wrath, God remembers mercy. He has no pleasure in the death of the wicked.

I. THE DESPOILING OF LOT'S GOODS (Genesis 14:11-12 )

Lot had already become a citizen of Sodom when the opposing kings came down in battle against it. When the king of Sodom and his confederates went forth to fight, Lot went with them. When the king of Sodom and his confederates fell, Lot fell with them.

He who lays up his treasures upon earth is placing them where the moth and rust doth corrupt, and the thieves break through and steal. If we build with the world, we must suffer with the world.

As we write these words, we can almost see the judgments of the Great Tribulation falling, upon the earth. Then shall they who, Lot-like, have centered their affections upon earthly things suffer loss. The earth will reel to and fro like a drunkard. Commercialism will be doomed, the rich men of the earth will bewail themselves because in one moment their great riches have come to naught.

II. ABRAM TO THE RESCUE (Genesis 14:13-14 )

When Abram heard that Lot was taken captive, he gathered together his trained servants, and with two of his confederates, he went down to deliver him.

How often does this same thing happen! Here is a young man who has godly parents, but he, himself, throws away his life with riotous living. Then, when he is in trouble to whom does he go for help? To none other than to those whose love and counsel he had trodden under his feet. It is one thing to call Dad a pious grouch; it is another thing to plead for Dad to come and help him in his need. In the time of seeming success and of worldly advantage it is easy to forget to pray, but in the time of trouble and adversity, prayerless lips are sure to become pleading lips.

What would the Lots do if it were not for the Abrams? Lot lost his all by mixing and mingling with the Sodomites. Lot regained his all by the aid, not of Sodom, but of Abram. The devil and the world may easily deplete one's forces and despoil one's life, but he will never be able to restore him.

As Lot went back to his home that day he went with an assured knowledge of the superiority and supremacy of Abram. He must have realized that Abram's choice was far better than his own. That tent dwelling was after all superior to city dwelling.

III. ABRAM'S CONQUEST (Genesis 14:15 )

1. Abram's new role. Abram was not a fighter, he was a dweller in tents and a cattle and sheep raiser. However, Abram was a man who could fight. He went down against the foe with skill, dividing his forces and attacking from more than one front. The success of the delivery was not so much the numbers as the suddenness and surprise of the attack.

2. Does the Christian have a conflict? Yes, Satan, as a roaring lion, goeth about seeking whom he may devour. He will do what he can against us by direct, or by indirect attack. If he cannot reach us personally, he will seek to war against some one related to us by ties of blood.

We are all called into conflict against the world, the flesh, and the devil. Our chief enemy, however, is the devil and his principalities and powers in Heavenly places.

The weapons of our warfare are, thank God, mighty to the pulling down of strongholds, God hath not left His children a prey to every onslaught of the evil one. He has panoplied us with an invincible armor against all outside attacks, and has given us with all a sword for aggressive warfare which is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword of earth.

3. We are sure of victory if we follow with the Lord. No one of us would for a moment doubt that God gave skill to Abram and his men; also to the men confederate with Abram.

It is God, also, who teaches our hand to war. Alone we could not, by any means, meet so great a foe. Satan is no mean enemy. He hath been a great conqueror through the centuries. However, he has never conquered the Lord, nor any who go forth in the Name of the Lord and clothed with His power. Thank God, our Christ's victory is ours! We are more than conquerors through Him who loves us. One thing we must watch, always watch, that is, the necessity of keeping in the place of victory,

IV. ABRAM'S RESTORATION (Genesis 14:16 )

1. Abram not alone overthrew the kings' confederate against Lot, but he brought back both the people and the goods. Here was a conquest carried to its rightful climax. To have overcome the foe would have been of little while if he had not thereby been able to deliver Lot, and save his goods. This Abram did full well.

2. Jesus Christ is not only the Victor over the devil, but He is the Deliverer and Restorer of saints. The much-loved twenty-third Psalm speaks along this line. The metaphor is changed. Instead of a warrior, the Lord is described under the role of a Shepherd. The Shepherd not only meets the wolf, and destroys it, but He "restoreth my soul."

Christ comes to set the captive free. He is the Deliverer of those who all their lifetime have been subjects of bondage. He opens the prison bars, sets the prisoner free, and then gives back unto him all of his former possessions.

3. We too, with our Lord and with Abram should lend ourselves to rescuing saints who have fallen captive to Satan's wiles. He who is content to be saved, himself, while thousands around him are perishing unsought and unloved is an ingrate.

Why should Abram have troubled himself to go down and risk his all? Was he not comfortably housed in his tent? He might have argued that it was not his fault that Lot got into trouble. He might have said, "What is the king of Sodom to me?" But no, down to the rescue he went.

Christ might have stayed in Heaven where Cherubim and Seraphim ever sounded His praise, but no, He came down to seek and to save the lost.

God give us this rescuing spirit, this spirit that sends us forth for our own who wander, and for all of the wanderers everywhere. All the world must be our goal, every creature our purpose.

V. MELCHIZEDEK'S GREETING (Genesis 14:18-20 )

1. The King of Peace meets the returning warrior. Melchizedek was a king-priest. In this Scripture we have the Bible's first mention of this most unusual character. One thing cheers us, that is, to note that with Abram there were others among men who loved and served the Lord.

Melchizedek holds a unique relationship to our Lord. He hardly comes on the scene until he passes off again. In Psalms 110:1-7 Melchizedek is once more thrust before us under the striking words: "Thou art a Priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek."

Once more Melchizedek passes from view. We watch for him as we read the Bible, but he seems entirely lost to sight. The Old Testament Prophets never once refer to him. The Bible from Psalms 110:1-7 through Malachi never says one word about Melchizedek. Christ never mentioned him. The Epistles of Paul leave him unnoticed, until once more all unexpected the message of Melchizedek comes into the Book of Hebrews, and Christ is once more declared a Priest after the order of Melchizedek. This mighty man, this King, this Priest, this type of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, this mighty man of peace, met Abram.

2. Melchizedek blesses Abram. As Melchizedek came forth he brought forth bread and wine. Abram had returned from a hard conflict, and the king of Salem gave him food by which he might renew his strength. This was the ministry of the angels in Gethsemane as they strengthened our Lord. It is our Lord's method, always, with us.

Melchizedek blessed Abram for his relationship to the Most High God. And what a blessed relationship that is! No greater joy can come to any of us than to be on intimate terms with God and Heaven. Melchizedek said, "God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand." This was an inside view of Abram's victory, it was neither Abram's resources nor his masterful strategy that brought him the victory, it was God. Would that we were all ready to give God the glory.

VI. ABRAM'S PAYMENT OF TITHES (Genesis 14:20 , l.c.)

1. Abram's tithe was his recognition of God's blessing. Abram knew that what Melchizedek had said of God having delivered his enemies into his hands was true. Was it not right, as an act of gratitude to God, that Abram should give his tithe?

We who receive from the Lord our all should not hesitate to give back unto the Lord His due. A tithe may seem much, and yet a tithe, or tenth, is the Old Testament requirement as a minimum offering.

Beside this, God has said that when we bring our tithe into His storehouse, He will open us the windows of Heaven to pour us out a blessing, such as we will not have room to receive.

2. Abram's tithe was his recognition of Melchizedek's Priesthood. This is a very important consideration in our gifts. If we would count our money as given unto the Lord, we must give it unto men who are truly representatives of the Lord. In these days of apostasy, there are many wolves wearing sheep's clothing. To support these men with our money is to support the enemies of Christ, who are going about seeking to undo everything that is vital to the faith.

Money given to God's servants is money given to Him. However, money given to many causes which are under the patronage of modernistic societies is money wasted.

There is a little verse which says that Christ paid tithes to Melchizedek in Abram, because at that time He was, potentially, in the loins of Abram. This is a suggestion that not only do we who are God's servants pay tithes, but that He is paying them through us. This is doubly true inasmuch as all that we have is His.

VII. ABRAM'S VOW (Genesis 15:21 )

1. The pledge of the king of Sodom. Sodom's king said unto Abram, "Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself." Some of us might have felt had we been in Abram's stead that this offer from the king of Sodom was God's reciprocation because of our gift to Melchizedek. There is no doubt but that the king of Sodom made his proposition in all sincerity. He realized that Abram had rescued him and his people from the tyranny of his foe. He was perfectly willing for Abram to take the spoil. Let us observe then our second consideration.

2. Abram's response and vow. Abram said to the king of Sodom, "I have lift up mine hand unto the Lord, the Most High God, the Possessor of Heaven and earth, that I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine."

Lot had even sought to enrich himself by trafficking in Sodom. Abram was unwilling to receive anything from the Sodomites as a reward. Some may criticise this action on Abram's part. We believe it was well-pleasing unto God. Abram gave as his reason for refusal, "Lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich," The patriarch realized fully that it was God and not the king of Sodom who enriched him. He must have felt that money received from the king of Sodom could have had neither God's sanction nor His blessing.

It was this same spirit that guided Elisha when he refused to take any of the gifts which Naaman had brought unto him. We would that all churches and all saints would stop forever the continual pull upon the world for money with which to further the Lord's Word and work.

AN ILLUSTRATION

Abram sought rather to deal with God than to be favored by a worldly king. Chas H. Spurgeon says:

"' To rule a kingdom is a nobler design than to play with children for pins or nuts.' What, then, is the folly of the worldling's choice when he prefers to be contending among men for earthly toys, instead of seeking those things which are above! How great the degradation of professing Christians when their minds are taken up with fashionable trivialities instead of living alone to glorify their God, and acting as those whom Jesus has made to be kings and priests! Who cares for pebbles when jewels glitter before him? Who would choose toys and rattles when the wealth of the Indies is offered him? Let us be no longer children or fools, but act as men who have put away childish things."

Bibliographical Information
Neighbour, Robert E. "Wells of Living Water Commentary on Genesis 14". "Living Water". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lwc/genesis-14.html.
 
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