Thorns among the Barbs

Thoughts on my journey to heaven

Lessons from Genesis – Abram

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Yes, I am slowly reading through the bible, and I have been ruminating on a passage that is such a stark contrast to the character of my generation. 

In Chapter 14 we learn a lot about Abraham’s character.  Here are a few lessons I gleaned:

Remain Loyal to family, no matter what:  In previous chapters we saw how Abram was traveling with his brother’s son, Lot.  At one point Lot and Abram found it difficult to live together, and seperated.  Lot chose the land including Sodom and Gommorrah, and Abram turned to the Plains of Mamre.  But in time Lot became a prize of war, being carried off by enemies who conquored Sodom.  When Lot learned of this he immediately mobilized his forces and routed the enemy, liberated Lot and returned eveything safely to Sodom.   I can’t help but wonder what I might have done.  Lot acted much like a spoiled child who wanted it all, but had a propensity for getting into trouble.  Would I have taken my resources, and rescued him at my own expense?  I have to be honest and say I don;t know what I would have done.  Have I rescued someone at great cost to myself – yes.  Was the outcome as favorable -no.

Abram lived at peace/made alliances of those around him:  It is a small and almost obscure note in the chapter:

for he dwelt in the plain of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol, and brother of Aner: and these [were] confederate with Abram.

Amorites were descendants of Ham and Caanan, and may also be described as Caananites.  They were a different people from the group Abram came from, but Abram shows us he was living at peace having formed an alliance with them.    In a modern interpretation of this passage, I live with people who are not christian – do I live at peace with them, and have I formed friendships with them?  Abram had to have some influence on these people – does my life impact those around me?

Abram was decisive in his actions:  When he heard the news of Lot’s captivity he immediately took steps to remedy the situation:

  1. He heard the news
  2. He armed his servants, the ones born in his house
  3. They pursued the army holding Lot captive
  4. They destroyed the army
  5. They liberated Lot, his family and posessions
  6. They returned everything, goods and people to Sodom
  7. Abram praised God and accepted only what his men ate as reward.

Application – when I hear news that requires action am I willing to have a plan?  Is my plan comprehensive?  Have I planned for the end result?

Abram was a God honoring man:  After the battle and victory to liberate Lot, Abram was met by Melchizadek , a priest of the most high, where Abram gave him a tithe of thanksgiving for the victory back to God.  Abram took time to worship God, and allow the priest to bless him.  Melchizadek is always thought of as a type of Christ, or a representation of Christ in the Old Testament.  Abram receives the blessing and was called “Blessed [be] Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth”.  Melchizadek acknowleged the relationship Abram had with God, and that it was strong. 

Abram would not accept anything that would raise question:  After rescuing Lot, and returning all of the people and posessions to Sodom he is offered all of the goods he returned to Sodom as a prize for his labor, a spoil for the victory.  But, he refuses.  Here is what he said:

“And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth,That I will not [take] from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that [is] thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich:Save only that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men which went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion.”  (Genesis 14:22-24)

According to the rules of the day, Abram was due a reward for his efforts, and all of the goods was an appropriate gift to be made, but Abram was wise.  He understood that thes goods were the property of the people he liberated.  And Abram was wealthy himself.  He did not want to leave any option for accusation or slander.   He just wanted to care for the men he took with him to the battle, and then it was only what they ate.  What a contrast in terms from the world we live in where greed prevails, and the rippled effects of corporate and financial malfesence has touched just about every household of our nation, and much of the world.  I want to live my life determined to never seek profit at the misfortune of others.  I want to one day know that when God looks back through my life that I was given opportunities, but chose the way that honored HIM more, and gave no foothold for question or accusation. 

Lord please give me your wisdom to remain loyal to family, give sacrificially, expecting nothing in return, and may you guard my thoughts that I never allow greed or deception to corrupt my character.  Amen

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Written by Barbara Bloom

January 13, 2009 at 1:13 PM

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