Title: Abram, the Military Leader
Text: Gen 14.1-24
– Abram is called to go and he goes solely on God’s Word (12.1-9)
– Abram runs into problems with a famine and takes matters into his own hands (12.10-20)
– Abram & Lot part ways in 13; they’re just too blessed; Lot chooses; God chooses for Abram
– The fallout of Lot’s choices now impact Abram in 14;
Transition: I’ve set up this passage into three sections:
- The Kings of the East
- The Response of Abram
- The Reception by the Two Kings
- The Kings of the East (14.1-12)
- Their Dominant Enemies (1-2)
i. Amraphel – Babylon or modern day Iraq
ii. Arioch – within Modern day Turkey
iii. Chedorlaomer – modern day Iran
iv. Tidal – within modern day Turkey
- Their Distinctive Identities (3-4)
i. Bera – Sodom (S. of D. S.)
ii. Birsah – Gomorrah (S. of D. S.)
iii. Shinab – Admah
iv. Shember – Zeboiim
v. X – Bela or Zoar
ill.: rd Hughes: pg 206;
- Their Defense (5-10)
i. The Defeat of powerful, large armies (5-7); rd Hughes; 206-207
- Maybe they thought distance would be their ally
- Maybe they thought all those other countries/rulers would wear them out before their enemies got to them.
- Maybe they thought too much and didn’t work enough?
- Whatever the reason, their defeat would soon come: rd v 8-10
ii. Their Defeat at the hands of their enemies (8-10)
– Bitumen pits or Asphalt pits – still exist today at the south end of the Dead Sea. The New Bible Dictionary states: During the intertestamental period the asphalt traffic from the Dead Sea was so important that this body of water was called the Asphalt Sea, and it entered into international politics. So common were these in Josephus’ Day, that he actually calls the Dead Sea, the Asphalt Sea or Lake Asphaltitus;
– Others fled to the hills or the hill country;
- Their Defeat (11-12); rd v 11
i. Spoils; ; rd v12;
ii. Lot; notice the verse reminds us of who he is (i.e.: the son of Abram’s brother); who was dwelling in Sodom; he’d left the countryside for the city; & his possessions; according to Ch 12, Lot was pretty wealthy
transition: Now we move to the 2nd part of this passage…
2. Abram’s Response (14.13-16)
- Abram receives a Message: from an ally; Abram’s family has been taken captive (13); 1st time the word Hebrew appears;
- Abram Pursues the Kings with 318 of his men (14); trained, born to his clan; loyalty born out of love, not slavery; to Dan 120 miles north; Jor/Dan – out of Dan; chased even farther;
- Abram’s military strategy: Divided up the troops; an invasion by night; pursuit of the kings and troops who fled to Hobah – North of Damascus; obvious victory from v 16 (15)
- Abram is Victorious: Abram returns with all of the people and possessions (16)
3. Two Kings Respond to Abram (14.17-24)
exp.: rd v 17; sounds like Chedorlaomer was the leader; the King’s Valley – a brief journey south of Jerusalem; Two Kings greet him; One of the previous 5 and another – a 10th King; King of Sodom (17) & King of Salem (18);
- The King of Salem (18-20); note those items with which we’re familiar
i. Name: Melchi Zedek (King of righteousness)
ii. Title: King of Salem (Shalom: Peace) – King of Peace
iii. Bread & Wine (images of the Lord’s Supper)
iv. King & Priest (David; Zerubabbel [Gov & priest]); Jesus)
- Abram (Gen 12.1-3)
- God, most High
vi. Tithe to this priest/king Melchizedek
2. The King of Sodom (17; 21-24); this is really too embarrassing! Why even open your mouth at this time? This reveals his true colors!
i. Give me people/you keep possessions (21)
ii. Abram rejects his offer/proclaims his trust solely in God.
- Lifted my hand – i.e.: swore and oath;
- To …
- God Most High
- Possessor of Heaven & Earth
- To not take
- Sandal strap
- Anything that is yours!
- So you can’t take credit
- All credit belongs to God
- My friends can take their fair share…
exp.: I wonder if God is giving these people time to respond to his grace? The king sees the response of Melchizedek, why doesn’t he instinctively consider what might be going on?
Observations & Implications:
- It is important to remain under the umbrella of authority.
- Lot’s foolishness affects Abram and his people
- God is at work in the world – are we watching and aware of His activity.
- Do we rely on God for our provision?