About this time war broke out in the region. King Amraphel of Babylonia, King Arioch of Ellasar, King Kedorlaomer of Elam, and King Tidal of Goiim 2 fought against King Bera of Sodom, King Birsha of Gomorrah, King Shinab of Admah, King Shemeber of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (also called Zoar).
3 This second group of kings joined forces in Siddim Valley (that is, the valley of the Dead Sea). 4 For twelve years they had been subject to King Kedorlaomer, but in the thirteenth year they rebelled against him.
5 One year later Kedorlaomer and his allies arrived and defeated the Rephaites at Ashteroth-karnaim, the Zuzites at Ham, the Emites at Shaveh-kiriathaim, 6 and the Horites at Mount Seir, as far as El-paran at the edge of the wilderness. 7 Then they turned back and came to En-mishpat (now called Kadesh) and conquered all the territory of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites living in Hazazon-tamar.
8 Then the rebel kings of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, and Bela (also called Zoar) prepared for battle in the valley of the Dead Sea. 9 They fought against King Kedorlaomer of Elam, King Tidal of Goiim, King Amraphel of Babylonia, and King Arioch of Ellasar—four kings against five. 10 As it happened, the valley of the Dead Sea was filled with tar pits. And as the army of the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, some fell into the tar pits, while the rest escaped into the mountains. 11 The victorious invaders then plundered Sodom and Gomorrah and headed for home, taking with them all the spoils of war and the food supplies. 12 They also captured Lot—Abram’s nephew who lived in Sodom—and carried off everything he owned.
13 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 14:1-16
Suellen has a bigger heart than I do. She would always take the phone calls. And no matter what the situation, the need, the person, she would listen. And she would take their needs to heart. I must admit, I was more often skeptical. If ever she expressed reservations, I would know…it is a scam.
Thank God there are Suellens in the world. Otherwise we would all be poorer for it. Too often we want to dismiss the needy. We too easily look the other way when we stop by the homeless person at the intersection. It’s much easier to ignore the needy, dismiss the panhandler, forget the captive. Easier, but such an approach is not the way of the reign and rule of God.
When Abram hears of Lot’s misfortune he sets out to rescue him. True, Lot is a relative. True they had been through some challenging times, and have a shared story together. But Abram had given Lot the choice of which land he would occupy. Lot had chosen that place near Sodom and Gomorrah. It could well be a case of you’ve made your bed, now lay in it. Abram, however, doesn’t go down that path. Instead he chooses to muster his resources and rescue his nephew.
What do you do when you see someone in need? The choices are several…
- Ignore them. Don’t let their pain get to you.
- Blame them. It’s their own fault. They’ve made their bed…
- Pile on. Make it worse for them since they’ve obviously done something wrong.
- Come to their rescue. This is the kingdom choice. This is how God works.
God is a God of redemption, and whenever we move toward someone in need, and bring them to safety, we are reflecting his character. We are joining him on his mission. For God is the original rescuer.
This is one way to consider Jesus’ death. He took it all in: all our sins, all our sorrows, all our rebellion, all our pain, all our self-destructive decisions, all our waywardness. He took all these into his heart. He didn’t turn away. He embraced all of our pain, and it killed him. He did that because he loves us. He did that to redeem and rescue us from sin, death, and the devil’s destructive powers.
Abram is reflecting God’s character when he comes to Lot’s aid. He is not only, therefore, the father of faith, but a foreshadowing of The Redeemer, our Lord Jesus Christ.
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