The one that got away

But one of Lot’s men escaped and reported everything to Abram the Hebrew, who was living near the oak grove belonging to Mamre the Amorite. Mamre and his relatives, Eshcol and Aner, were Abram’s allies.

14 When Abram heard that his nephew Lot had been captured, he mobilized the 318 trained men who had been born into his household. Then he pursued Kedorlaomer’s army until he caught up with them at Dan.15 There he divided his men and attacked during the night. Kedorlaomer’s army fled, but Abram chased them as far as Hobah, north of Damascus.16 Abram recovered all the goods that had been taken, and he brought back his nephew Lot with his possessions and all the women and other captives. – Genesis 14:13-16

Dogwood Blossoms | Smoky Mountain National Park | April 2021

I’m much more of a fisherman than a catcher-man. My sons took me on a fishing charter for my 60th birthday. I was the only one who caught a fish, but it was an ugly fish. I think that was actually its name! It was ugly. Recent forays into the fishing world have seen me casting, reeling, and coming up empty. Our neighbors have more luck. We have a pond in our neighborhood with fish, and my down-the-street neighbor caught two nice largemouth bass just the other night. I can’t even brag about the one that got away. 

In the events surrounding Lot’s captivity and rescue, the one that got away is key. Although the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were taken captive, and some of their kings apparently fell into tar pits in the nearby area, one got away. And he came and told Abram about the routing, and Lot’s calamity. He was key to the turn of events in this episode. Without his escape the story would not unfold as it did. 

The one who got away may be the one worker in the office who survived the pink slip deluge, and was able to warn others that it was coming. She may be the one who managed to alert her friends to a proposed change in the school’s policies so that they could offer their input. He may be the police informant who manages to infiltrate the drug cartel and gets out at the last moment before the big arrest is made. The one who got away may play a larger part of redemption than we would first imagine. 

I’m thinking of the persecuted church in China, Iran, India, or North Korea. How many have been the one who got away from the arrests and managed to keep the faith alive because they were not taken? How many lives were saved because a plot was revealed. How many were rescued because one girl got away from her Boko Haram captors and alerted others to their peril?

The Bible warns us of the devil’s schemes “so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs” (2 Corinthians 2:11). It’s interesting to me that this particular quote centers on the necessity of forgiveness between brother and sister in Christ. For the greatest damage and gravest danger satan poses relates to our wholeness in our relationships with God and others. If there is a lack of forgiveness, the whole message of Jesus Christ, and the fullness of Jesus’ reign is thwarted. His scheme is to destroy relationships, undermine the grace of God, and rob us of the forgiveness of sins.

It is vital that followers of Jesus would be like Abram and his fighting men. When there is a rift in the Body of Christ, we who hear of it – from the one who has managed to escape the maelstrom of the devil’s schemes – must bring our resources to bear. That will mean freeing those who are being held captive from forgiveness with the message of Jesus’ mercy and grace. That will means doing what we can to restore the erring brother or sister gently. That will mean using others in the battle against Satan and his ways – never the brother or sister who is caught in Satan’s grip. It means reminding people that God forgives the repentant sinner. It means rejoicing when one sinner repents. It means recognizing false piety for what it is: a ruse and smokescreen for one’s own sin and shortcomings.

Maybe you’ve gotten away from some scheme of Satan. Perhaps you’ve recognized his ultimate play to steel, kill, and destroy. You’ve determined that the path you were following was leading nowhere good. If that’s the case, watch for others who might be heading down that pathway. For the one who gets away from Satan’s wiles is of vital importance to the reign and rule of Jesus. 

Jesus is the One, ultimately, who got away from the devil’s schemes. Of him is said, “For we must never forget that he rescued us from the power of darkness, and re- established us in the kingdom of his beloved Son, that is, in the kingdom of light” (Colossians 1:13). 

Click here or on the podcast player below to listen to an audio version of this blog post. 

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