Genesis 14:1-24 NIV

[1] … At the time when Amraphel was king of Shinar, a Arioch king of Ellasar, Kedorlaomer king of Elam and Tidal king of Goyim, [2] these kings went to war against Bera king of Sodom, Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, Shemeber king of Zeboyim, and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar). [3] All these latter kings joined forces in the Valley of Siddim (that is, the Dead Sea Valley ). [4] For twelve years they had been subject to Kedorlaomer, but in the thirteenth year they rebelled. [5] In the fourteenth year, Kedorlaomer and the kings allied with him went out and defeated the Rephaites in Ashteroth Karnaim, the Zuzites in Ham, the Emites in Shaveh Kiriathaim [6] and the Horites in the hill country of Seir, as far as El Paran near the desert. [7] Then they turned back and went to En Mishpat (that is, Kadesh), and they conquered the whole territory of the Amalekites, as well as the Amorites who were living in Hazezon Tamar. [8] Then the king of Sodom, the king of Gomorrah, the king of Admah, the king of Zeboyim and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar) marched out and drew up their battle lines in the Valley of Siddim [9] against Kedorlaomer king of Elam, Tidal king of Goyim, Amraphel king of Shinar and Arioch king of Ellasar---four kings against five. [10] Now the Valley of Siddim was full of tar pits, and when the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, some of the men fell into them and the rest fled to the hills. [11] The four kings seized all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah and all their food; then they went away. [12] They also carried off Abram's nephew Lot and his possessions, since he was living in Sodom. [13] A man who had escaped came and reported this to Abram the Hebrew. Now Abram was living near the great trees of Mamre the Amorite, a brother of Eshkol and Aner, all of whom were allied with Abram. [14] When Abram heard that his relative had been taken captive, he called out the 318 trained men born in his household and went in pursuit as far as Dan. [15] During the night Abram divided his men to attack them and he routed them, pursuing them as far as Hobah, north of Damascus. [16] He recovered all the goods and brought back his relative Lot and his possessions, together with the women and the other people. [17] After Abram returned from defeating Kedorlaomer and the kings allied with him, the king of Sodom came out to meet him in the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King's Valley). [18] Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, [19] and he blessed Abram, saying, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. [20] And praise be to God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand.” Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything. [21] The king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me the people and keep the goods for yourself.” [22] But Abram said to the king of Sodom, “With raised hand I have sworn an oath to the Lord, God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth, [23] that I will accept nothing belonging to you, not even a thread or the strap of a sandal, so that you will never be able to say, 'I made Abram rich.' [24] I will accept nothing but what my men have eaten and the share that belongs to the men who went with me—to Aner, Eshkol and Mamre. Let them have their share.” 



Have you noticed that there are some people in life who seem to attract trouble everywhere they go?  These are people who always seem to have fallen out with someone or constantly seem to be in some big mess.  And it's always someone else's fault.

Lot, Abram's nephew, strikes me as such a person.

In chapter 13 Lot and his companions are a source of strife: "...quarreling arose between Abram’s herders and Lot’s." (13:7)

Often ongoing contention and drama in a person's life are the result of a lack of wisdom and emotional intelligence.  They just don't get it.  I think this was the case with Lot.  When we left him in chapter 13, he had "...pitched his tents near Sodom." (V. 12)

However, when we come to the next chapter we read this: "....Lot....was living in Sodom." (V. 12)

There's an obvious lesson here.  If we choose to live anywhere close to sin and immorality, it will not be long before we become part of it.  I remember the late preacher Mike Yaconnelli telling a story about sheep in his home town that got lost.  He pointed out that they: "...nibbled their way to lostness."  I've been there.  One small compromise after another.  And one day we find ourselves further from God than we ever intended to be.

Lot's decision to live in Sodom has dire consequences.  Compromise generally does:

"The four kings seized all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah and all their food; then they went away. They also carried off Abram’s nephew Lot and his possessions, since he was living in Sodom." (Genesis 14:11-12)

Abram found out what has happened and acts with magnanimous, selfless courage.  He owed Lot nothing.  After all, Lot had made his bed and so could lie in it.   However, Abram calls together a small army, goes in search of those kidnapped, and rescues Lot and all the people of Sodom.

What a picture of Jesus.  We had made a choice to rebel and sin, to go our own way.  We found ourselves slaves to sin, unable to help ourselves become free.  So Jesus left the glory of heaven and went on a rescue mission, laying down his life to claim us back.  What a Saviour.

The passage ends with a story of these two mysterious kings, the king of Sodom and Melchizedek the King of Salem.  Without going into the complexities, one (the king of Sodom) represents worldliness while the other (Melchizedek) represents righteousness.     When Abram rejected the King of Sodom's offer and accepted the offering of the King of Salem, he was in effect saying: "You can keep the world, I choose righteousness."

This weekend you may well find yourself in places and positions where it would be so easy to compromise your faith.  It might seem like a small, insignificant issue, yet your conscience is unsettled.  Choose righteousness over easy gain, integrity over giving in to sinful desire.  Honestly, in the long run, you won't regret it.