In last week’s story, Chedorlaomer, King of Elam had captured the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.
In last week’s story, Chedorlaomer, King of Elam had captured the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Abram’s nephew Lot and his family who had been living in Sodom were among the prisoners carried away.
Following the battle in which Lot was captured, a messenger escaped and brought word to Abram of what had happened. Immediately, Abram began planning Lot’s rescue. He formed alliance with three of his friends, Mamre, Eschol, and Aner. Abram’s friends gathered their forces, and Abram mustered an army made up of 318 of his best trained men.
Their plan was simple. They would march up the Jordan River valley and catch the armies of Chedorlaomer off guard.
As was the custom with armies of that day, when the pagan invaders had withdrawn to a place they considered safe, they made camp for several days and indulged in a time of carousing and reveling in celebration of their victory.
It was at such a time and place that Abram and his allies found them, and during the night, Abram divided their forces and surrounded the drunken camp. Upon signal, Abram’s forces sprang upon the surprised army of Chedorlaomer and routed them in a great victory.
Even though the battle was won, Abram never let up. Abram pursued the enemy, the Bible says, as far as Hobah, north of Damascus. Hobah means "hidden," and therefore signifies a complete victory, even to the point of the enemy hiding himself to escape. In other words, Abram kept on pursuing the forces against him until they were demoralized. He pressed on through until he won a great and tremendous victory, until the victory was complete.
We need to remember that Lot had made some selfish choices. He had chosen the best land for himself. Then, he had chosen to move to the wicked city of Sodom in order to take advantage of all of its “modern” allures. His choices had led to isolating himself and his family from the protection of family and friends. In the end, his selfish choices led to them being captured by the enemy.
Abram, however, never gave up on Lot. In verse 16 of Genesis 14 we see the extent of the victory Abram won, “Then he brought back all the goods, and also brought back his kinsman Lot with his goods, and the women and the people.”
This story is symbolic of life in the spirit. Like Abram, we too must always persist in the battle against selfishness. Through studying the Word of God and through prayer we must persist in following where God is leading us.
This story also teaches us that we do not lead our lives in isolated seclusion. We are members one of another. We need each other. In difficult circumstances like this, one person can often be the means of deliverance to someone who is weaker, like Abram delivered Lot.
We are told in James 5: 16, “Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective.” We all need a community of faith where we can support and encourage one another. That is the lesson of Lot and Abram.
(The Rev. Al Henager is pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Heber Springs, Arkansas. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.)