In Genesis 14, the king of Sodom and some other kings went out to war, to oppose an invading horde that was conquering the region.
They lost, so the conquering horde plundered the cities of the losing kings. Sodomwas plundered by the invaders: the riches (“goods”) of the town, and they hauled off the people to be their slaves.
As part of their plundering, they carried off Abraham’s nephew Lot, who lived some distance away from the cities in the valley.
Abraham gathered up his own army, drawing heavily on his employees and friends, and defeated the invading horde that had just conquered and plundered the valley.
I’ve read this story (1) a thousand times. This morning, some new thoughts crossed my mind.
was not part of the war, but he was taken in the plundering anyway. I’m feeling Father inviting me to look at the war going on around me: is it my war, or am I being plundered because of someone else’s war?
• Uncle Abraham wasn’t trying to rescue five kings and five cities. He was rescuing his nephew (2). It also happens that we experience breakthrough as a side-effect of someone else’s breakthrough. Those might be worth looking for, too.
• I observe that Abraham’s relationships based on relationship, rather than on gathering for warfare. (3) (They were “allies”; Hebrew: “Men of covenant.”) At least in this situation, the covenant relationship seemed to contribute to the victory in battle over what appeared to be superior forces.
• That happened to Lot a second time a few chapters later, but this time (thanks to Uncle Abraham’s prayers), the angels chased Lot
& his family out of the city before the city was destroyed. This time, Lot
was nearly destroyed by the consequences of someone else’s sins (4).
• When Sodom
were destroyed, that was “Because the outcry against [them] is great.” It was in direct response to somebody’s crying out over the city. (5) The things we say about a city will have great consequences. In this vein, I’m tired of folks cursing New York
DC and San Francisco
. Personally, I guard my mouth against even casually saying things that, if taken literally, would result in “stealing killing and destruction;” that’s someone else’s job and I WILL NOT help him. (5½)
• It was Abraham’s prayers for the people of Sodom
that spared Lot
& his family. I suspect that if he’d had the nerve to keep going, he could have averted the entire judgment, but that is only conjecture. Clearly God does look for people to cry for mercy. (6) It’s probably good to be one of the people that cry for mercy. God goes out of his way to find these folks.
(2) Genesis 14:14
(3) Genesis 14:13
(4) Genesis 19:15
(5) see also: https://bit.ly/2Tvx7hb
(5½) John 10:10
(6) Ge 18:23-33. See also Exodus 32:10-14; Ezekiel 22:30; Isaiah 59:16; Jeremiah 5:1; Psalm 106.23