Summary: Genesis verse-by-verse
Last week we saw how there was a difference in the way that Abram and Lot approached life. Abram was a man who lived for others. Lot was a man who lived for himself. That theme will continue through tonight’s passage as we’re going to see Abram act very selflessly while dealing with the selfish people of the day.
Have you ever felt moved to help someone who really didn’t deserve your help? You know, “You got yourself into that mess, so you get yourself out of it!” That’s a real temptation isn’t it? “Maybe they’ll learn this time!” And you know, sometimes people need to learn the hard way. But sometimes they need help from us even if they don’t deserve it. Lot’s gotten himself in a mess here, and even though he probably didn’t deserve Abram’s help, help is what he got.
Now chapter fourteen of the book of Genesis records typical events of the day – warring between neighboring tribes and nations. And usually that warring was because of simple greed. Somebody wanted someone else’s land or someone else’s stuff so they fought over it. But that kind of greed will eventually do you in some day. And that’s the first thing we see here.
I. Greed takes you captive
Now at first glance this passage can be a little difficult to follow. But basically what’s going on is the four kings of the East were in control of the five kings of the Jordan valley for twelve years. On the thirteenth year the five kings of the Jordan valley were tired of being under their rule so they rebelled.
[Read Genesis 14:1-9.]
So these five kings of the Jordan valley wanted to large and in charge and decided to war against the kings of the East who they lived in submission to. But their rebellion didn’t work and they were defeated and even taken captive by the four Eastern kings.
[Read Genesis 14:10-12.]
Have you ever heard the phrase, “Your eyes are bigger than your stomach.” My Dad used to tell me that when I was a kid and we’d go to Luby’s cafeteria. There was so much good food there that I would load up my tray but not be able to finish it all.
That’s what’s going on here. These five kings thought they could take the four kings and rule the entire region. But the plan backfired, they were defeated, and now instead of just living under their political authority now they had been utterly defeated, plundered and captured. And their greed is what caused it all.
And not only were these kingdoms taken captive, but Lot had gotten caught up in it since he lived there in Sodom. Now the last time we saw Lot he moved towards Sodom and lived in the cities of the valley. Despite the wickedness of the people, he moved there because of the rich land that would help grow his business. Over the years he moved into the actual city of Sodom and was consequently taken captive like all the other Sodomites. Talk about being in the wrong place at the wrong time. But you know what, Lot brought this upon himself.
II Peter says that Lot was a man of faith when it refers to him as a righteous man.
[Read II Peter 2:7-8.]
So if Lot was a man of faith who was tormented by the sinfulness all around him, why didn’t he just leave? Why did he choose to stay there? Why did he choose to raise his family there? Why didn’t he move somewhere else? Because that was where the money was. Greed and selfishness was Lot’s downfall and it took him captive.
How often do we see greed as the downfall of people today:
- World leaders and dictators that want more and more but eventually loose it all. Napoleon, Hitler, Saddam Hussein
- Corporations that cheat and steal to get all they can but eventually loose it all. World Com., Enron
- Politicians who loose it all because get caught illegally making millions of dollars because of the power of their office.
- And millions and missions of people today who are slaves to their credit card bills because they wanted what they wanted when they wanted it.
Greed can take you captive and never let you go. As Lot sat there a captive of the
Eastern kings he had only himself to blame. But thank goodness Lot had an uncle that cared about him. Thanks goodness Abram had some love for his nephew. Because you know what love does?
II. Love makes you active
Listen to how Abram comes in and saves the day for his nephew.
[Read Genesis 14:13-16.]
Abram comes in like Mighty Mouse and saves the day! Abram is allied with two other groups of people in his area and under his leadership they go and defeat the much larger armies of the Eastern nations. Not only do they utterly defeat them, but they liberate all who had been taken captive in the battle along with all of their good that had been plundered.