Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Abram's Worthy Allies

"The king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me the people and keep the goods for yourself” (Genesis 14:21).

Genesis 14 tells the story of the war of the four kings against the five. We are told that for twelve years the kings of the five cities in the Jordan Circle (now under the Dead Sea) were vassals of Kedorlaomer, an Elamite descendent of Shem (Genesis 10:22). From a study of the Genesis 10–11 backgrounds of Kedorlaomer and his associates, we see the beginning of the fulfillment of Noah’s curse that the Canaanites would serve the Shemites, the Japhethites, and the other Hamites.

In the thirteenth year the kings of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, and Bela rebelled, and Kedorlaomer moved in to stop the revolt. Evidently, the five kings of the Jordan Circle dominated all of Canaan, because Kedorlaomer thoroughly trounced all the various tribes in the whole land. The details of these battles (Genesis 14:5–11) do not seem relevant until we realize that these are all the same people and the same locations that Israel would encounter when they would come to conquer the land centuries later. Israel would be afraid of these people, forgetting that Shemites had always been victorious over Canaanites.

Kedorlaomer made a strategic error: he took Lot prisoner. Upon hearing this Abram, the true possessor of the land gathered a small army and pursued Kedorlaomer. He defeated Kedorlaomer and brought Lot back home.

Abram met two kings upon his return. The one king, the wicked king of Sodom, was grateful to Abram and wanted to buy his favor by offering him all the spoils of the war. He wanted powerful Abram on his side, but Abram refused to make an alliance with him and took nothing from him except a tithe for the other king.

The other king was Melchizedek, of whom we shall have more to say tomorrow. This man also offered a covenant with Abram, bringing him bread and wine as signs and seals of it. He was a faithful Gentile (Noahic) believer and blessed the God of Abram using the Gentile name for God: God Most High, Creator of Heaven and Earth. Abram gladly allied with this great man and paid him tithes of all the spoil. It was in His priestly lineage that Jesus is portrayed in the book of Hebrews.

If Abram only allied with fellow believers, does that challenge you in your allegiances: personal, business or recreational? Just how closely should we be tied to non-believers? Consider your associations and speak with other believers about this important subject. Strive to deepen those relationships with others in the body of Christ.