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Paul J. Bucknell
Risk taking is not what many people want, especially when we are already living in an insecure situation. Abram, however, took that risk and we see it pay off handsomely!How would you have responded?
God brought a fugitive into Abram's life to open a door of opportunity of service.Most of us would have looked at this as just another part of the daily news, but something made Abram look at it completely differently. How would you have responded?
Verse 13 also informs us that Abram (his name was still not changed) lived next to some Amorites, which were allies with Abram.Notice that Abram lived out in the land as a shepherd rather than in a big city with its protection of a wall.
As an outsider, new to the area, he was quite vulnerable. There were also other foreign enemies that threatened his life.
Abram’s immediate response surprises us.
“And when Abram heard that his relative had been taken captive, he led out his trained men, born in his house, three hundred and eighteen, and went in pursuit as far as Dan” (Genesis 14:14).
Something seems odd, here, does it not? I don’t mean Abram’s concern for Lot. Lot was his nephew. We can identify with that. If Abram had the proper resources, we could understand that he would use those resources to help Lot out. The problem is that Abram did not have the resources. Please imagine with me, here.
These city-states were fighting each other. Finally, the five city-states of the south, including where Lot was, figured they were strong enough to win against the four kings from the north. The southern states lost the battle, however. They lost everything–their goods and people were killed or taken captive.
What did Abram’s resources look like? Genesis 14:14 clearly tells us down to every man what his resources were like–318 men. Fortunately, they were trained, but 318 men is nothing compared to the professional armies who went fighting numerous districts at great distance from them.
They were professionals and large in number. They just beat five kings and all their men. Abram’s men are about the same in number to a good day Sunday congregation! Do you see the incongruence of it all?
I would have counted up the number of men and used this figure to easily say, “We wish we could do more, but....” and end with a prayer for Lot and his family. Abram did not need an excuse. It was plain as day, he could not do anything.
Oddly, however, this is exactly the opposite to what he thought or did. Abram actually mobilized themselves and went after Lot pursuing the enemy all the way to the north of Israel even to north of Damascus.
“And he divided his forces against them by night, he and his servants, and defeated them, and pursued them as far as Hobah, which is north of Damascus. 16 And he brought back all the goods, and also brought back his relative Lot with his possessions, and also the women, and the people” (Genesis 14:15-16).
The report goes on in verse 15 describing how Abram executed his plan. Actually, none of this catches my attention after noting how he risked all for this nephew of his. It was a suicide mission. If he didn’t come back, his whole family would be left in utter ruin. ￼It is not like he had other family there in the land of Canaan to take care of them. He was an outsider!
There are a few details that are left out here at this point, probably to emphasize the craziness of Abraham’s scheme and the further contrast that he actually succeeded in defeating the armies, getting Lot and bringing back all the goods, the women and people.
This became no insignificant event and sets a wonderful picture of God’s love in action, later seen in Jesus Christ being sent to earth, stepping out of His easy environment to meet hostile challenges.
Next => A Picture of God’s love