When Abram heard that his nephew had been captured, he armed his 318 trained men, born in his own household, and pursued the four kings all the way to Dan. 15 He split up his men to attack them at night. He defeated them, pursuing them all the way to Hobah, which is north of Damascus. 16 He brought back everything they had, including women and soldiers. He also brought back his relative Lot and his possessions. – Genesis 14:14-16
My dad built a somewhat unusual looking swing set for us. It was two long pipes, cemented into the ground, sticking straight up into the air. Across the top was a heavy beam – smaller than a rail road tie. And from that beam were hung two chains. The seat for the swing was at the bottom. I don’t remember using it much as a swing. But I do remember playing Rescue-8 with my next door neighbor, rescuing my sister who was able to shiny up the pole to the top of the swing set!
Rescue-8 was a TV program about a group of firemen who had the assignment to rescue people from perilous situations. An elderly clock maker was trapped in the chime tower of a church and in danger of getting caught in the mechanism he was trying to repair. A girl was trapped in the sewer of a city. A woman and boy were trapped atop a Ferris wheel. All these people needed rescuing. And the Rescue-8 team was there to save the day.
Lot and his family needed rescuing. They had been taken captive by warring kings in the area. We’re not told any more than that. But we are told that Abram and his 318 trained men managed to rescue them and return them to their home – along with their possessions and those of Sodom and Gomorrah. Rescue-318!
I had never given it much thought, but now I wonder about life after rescue. Is it like the lottery winners who are flat broke within years of winning the lottery? Or is it more like the newly-discovered AGT winner who goes on to major recording contracts and a life of fame and fortune?
In the case of Sodom and Gomorrah, the sad answer will be revealed as the coming events unfold. They will be destroyed. For, as was already pointed out, “the men of Sodom were wicked, great sinners against the Lord” (Genesis 13:13). Lot, on the other hand is a mixed bag. Abram will manage to save him from the fiery destruction of Sodom, but Lot’s wife will meet a dramatic end.
In some cases, the rescue of sinners from the deceitful and destructive devices of the devil is equally dramatic. I’m thinking of the stories of drug addicts, prostitutes, and gang members whose lives and souls have been saved through the ministry of Jim Cymbala at the Brooklyn Tabernacle.
I recall the man who was living in his truck, estranged from his wife, and so strung out on drugs one Sunday that he didn’t know what to do with the host during the Lord’s Supper. He was rescued by the grace of God and even served as an elder for the church I served at the time. There are countless others, many of whom go on to live to the glory of God and as powerful testimony of the far-reaching grace of God. Sadly, however, some crash and burn. Their character proves not strong enough to handle the success and influence they are given.
But what about those of us whose rescue was not nearly as dramatic? What of the life-long Christians, the faithful followers who have no dramatic conversion experience? They, too, have been rescued. Many of those who read this blog are likely of that kind. What will be your legacy? Will you stay on the path of god’s grace or make shipwreck of your faith (cf. 1 Timothy 1:19).
So, I join St. Paul in praying…
…that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy;12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. 13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. – Colossians 1:9-14
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