14 At the time when Amraphel was king of Shinar, 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.”
There are two major principles I want us to pull from this chapter:
- Preparation: Abram had men within his ranks whom were prepared and trained for this. Though we have not heard about Abram needing an army up until this point, he still had preparations made so that if he needed them they would be there. Often we look at God’s direction or our “spiritual walk” as something that’s completely hands off on our part. However, we see that the overwhelming percentage of times God does something miraculous with someone it is through their preparation. They may have their preparation changed (like Gideon when God dwindled his army down) but God used something man had prepared for His purpose. We shouldn’t come to God and ask Him to move and then just sit back and watch. God calls us to be good stewards of our time, resources, and thought life. This means we are to prepare, with guidance of the Spirit, so that when God needs us we have bene primed and are ready for whatever He wants. Now God could work His will even when men are not prepared, but He calls us to be good stewards of our gifts. When God is going to do something He usually gives man a small part to do to either prompt, or fulfill what God has desired. We are called to be active partners with God on His mission, not spectators.
- Distinction: Abram just did something multiple kingdoms couldn’t do… which is pretty radical in itself. When those kings saw it they wanted to have a connection with Abram, and in Abram’s eyes it was so that they could find some prestige or power in saying they supported him. Abram wanted to assure that the miraculous things that just happened, and would continue to occur, all pointed to God’s provision. Abram wanted to set a distinction between what he, these kings, or anyone else in the world could do versus what God can do.
How do we apply this? Well, you need to be prepared. You should be setting your life up in a way that God can use it. Don’t assume that He will just start bringing you things and using what He wants. He desires a prepared and ready vessel. So, start praying for guidance. Start praying for WHAT to prepare in your life. Pray for God to show you the areas you need to prepare so that you are a useful and ready vessel. Additionally, when God does something miraculous in your life assure that there are distinct lines drawn. Lines that show GOD is providing and guiding not your own intellect or that of others. Petition for your life to be setup so that when good things happen people respond with “Blessed be ____ by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth.20 And praise be to God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand.”
Lord help me to be prepared. Help me to setup areas of my life as useful resources for You to use me. Show me what to say so that when things happen in my life people see YOU shining in it. Keep me from being glorified in everything that I do. I pray that my life is like an angled mirror redirecting all praises towards You.
Many Christians take a hugely passive role in their lives. Or they are active in setting their life up and are doing it in a fashion that doesn’t prepare them or point to God’s glory. Be an example, actively doing things that will offer an area of your life for God to use. Motivate others to do things not because it will set them up for a “better future” but because it sets them up to be more useful for God.