Summary: A narrative summary of the chapter that highlights some spiritual warfare as well as utilizes Abram's responsive faith an an example for the Church.
I was recently telling my Growth Group how blessed we are in that we live in a place where there are currently no major wars. There certainly are wars taking place in the world, but for most of us here in Batangas we are not affected. Presently there are wars taking place in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen, Eastern Europe, parts of Africa, and even the southern Philippines. Plus, there is the War on Terror, that is influenced by radical ideologies of Islam. At the time that I wrote this message there was a bombing in Baghdad that killed almost 300 people, a truck driven into a crowd of people in London that killed 5 and injured over 20, and here in Manila a terror cell was arrested that was planning an attack in the city. Then you’ve got the War on Drugs that has most of Mexico and Central America under siege, and has claimed the lives of thousands here in the Philippines (reports vary from 2,000 – 6,000). Several weeks ago, I was taking my daughter to school and coming towards us in Lipa was a SWAT vehicle that had its lights flashing and standing on the back rail was a policeman wearing tactical gear who was frantically waving at the cars to clear the way. As the vehicle passed I glanced into the mirror where I saw a SWAT team member lying in a puddle of his own blood. Another victim of the War on Drugs? Perhaps, or perhaps just another victim of senseless street crime.
Today we will be reflecting on Genesis chapter fourteen. Genesis 14 is the first recorded war found in the Bible. It would not have been the first war ever fought. This will be alluded to as we work our way through the text. But, before we get into the text I want to refresh our memories on what has been covered so far in our study of Genesis. As well, we want to build a platform - based on the context - that will help us understand the reason why the stories of chapter 14 are included in the Bible, the stories’ significance in history, and the examples that we as the Church gain from these stories. The Book of Genesis records the beginnings of our world establishing God as the creator. The Book also establishes the inception of the nation of Israel, a nation that was the focal point from the time after the flood on through its demise in 70 AD. Some schools of theology think that with its demise the nation’s significance has ceased, other schools of theology believe that Israel will have a revamped place in the future – to better understand my teachings you should know that I adhere to this latter theology.
Back in Genesis chapter nine God tells Noah and his descendants: “As for you, be fruitful and multiply; populate the earth abundantly and multiply in it” (Genesis 9:7). Yet mankind responded by coming together (rather than scattering outward) and attempted to make a monument for themselves in chapter eleven. One basic law that God applies when dealing with sinful man is that if their heart is controlled by the desire to commit sin, He will turn them over to that desire. Paul states it this way in Romans 1:24 — “Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, that their bodies might be dishonored among them.” Mankind chose not to worship God in Genesis 11 therefore He forcefully scattered them, by confusing their language, and turned the nations over to be ruled by divine beings (either angelic or demonic). Deuteronomy 32:8 teaches “When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, when He divided mankind, He fixed the borders of the peoples according to the number of the sons of God.” We see this take place in Genesis chapter eleven. But at the same time, we are told that God has separated for Himself one nation that He will govern through. This is found in the verse following Deuteronomy 32:8 — Deuteronomy 32:9 “But the LORD’s portion is His people, Jacob His allotted heritage.”
God began to establish His heritage in Genesis chapter twelve by calling Abram to be the father of the ‘People of Faith.’ Let’s review once more the promises God gave to Abram: Genesis 12:2–3 “I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.” “I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” Then in Genesis 12:7 God expands His promise by telling him: “To your offspring I will give this land.” Thus, the promises of God to Abram were threefold: