Term 1 – Week 8
Big Idea – God keeps the promises to Abram through the rescue of Lot
- Trust in the promises of God through Jesus our priest!
- Belief – God does keep his promises, and Jesus is like the priest Melchizedek who confirms God’s blessing!
- Behaviour – Trust in the promises that we have in Jesus!
We have seen the significant moment when Abram is given the covenant by the LORD. Abram is childless, homeless and largely destitute, but is promised a great PEOPLE, a single PLACE, and eternal BLESSING. We remember that these promises find their fulfilment in the coming of Christ, through whom all Christians inherit these promises and find their completion in the new heavens and the new earth.
Abram believed these promises from God, and they were credited to him as righteousness. By faith he travelled out and followed the direction of God to the land God would give his descendants. Lot, his nephew, separates and settles near the wicked land of Sodom. God reasserts his promise to Abram in 13:14-18, showing him the land of Canaan as the land God will grant to Abram, and reiterating his promise of a nation to be born through this one man. But we haven’t seen God’s promises find any practical fulfilment, until we get to chapter 14.
Chapter 14 sees reality hit. We step back from the single narrative of Abram and are introduced to the geopolitical tensions of the time. Nations are warring and danger looms. The king of Sodom joins together with 4 local kings (Team 5 Kings) and leads a battle against another 4 kings (Team 4 Kings – including the King of Babylon). Team 4 Kings won the day, wicked Sodom was defeated and all their stuff was taken. But 14:12 then zooms back to the story of Abram – Lot was also captured and taken away. Abram’s family is in jeopardy, God’s promises are under threat! The question we must ask as the story of Abram gets going is: Will God keep his promises? This is the question that is raised in Genesis over and over again as the nation of Israel begins and grows. What will happen to Abram’s family, his people? How will Abram secure his place? Can he be certain of God’s blessing?
14:13-16 Abram finds out about Lot and gathers his forces. Abram pursues and defeats Team 4 Kings in a night time raid, rescuing Lot and recovering all the possessions of both Lot and Sodom. Lot is now safe. Abram won an amazing victory. Even though Abram is still childless, his victory shows us that because of God’s promises, Abram’s PEOPLE are secure – God is protecting them.
However, the focus is not on the battle, but its consequences. So that is where we will focus our attention. In 14:17, the King of (wicked) Sodom comes to meet Abram. This nomad farmer, Abram, is respected among the Kings. This is quite a rise for the nomad farmer! Abram is now both protected (by God) and respected (by Kings). Abram’s PLACE is secure.
Next we get this strange encounter with the King of Salem. Melchizedek is the king of Salem, but also described as a priest of God Most High. This is a curious position to hold considering the Israelite priestly system has not yet been established through the Law of Moses in Exodus-Deuteronomy. But God has clearly revealed his name to this king and given him a special role to speak God’s words. Melchizedek brought out bread and wine (and our minds begin to whir), before proclaiming blessing upon Abram. Melchizedek clearly proclaims that Abram’s victory is a sign that God, the one creator of heaven and earth, has blessed him. Through Melchizedek we know that Abram’s BLESSING is secure.
So Abram’s PEOPLE, PLACE & BLESSING are secure.
But will Abram compromise and try to get the blessing by dodgy dealing with wicked people? The King of Sodom has just seen Melchizedek proclaim that Abram is blessed by God Most High. He has also just seen Abram defeat Team 4 Kings single-handedly and bring back all Sodom’s stolen people and possessions. So the King of Sodom says to Abram: keep all the goods which you recovered, just give me back the people Team 4 Kings took. (Is he trying to say thank you? Or buy Abram’s loyalty?) But in verse 22-24, Abram insists that he will not accept riches from this wicked King and will simply leave with what he started with. He doesn’t compromise with the evil King, but trusts that God, not men, will bless him and give him what he has promised.
The three overarching promises that God has made to Abram are confirmed and find their first small fulfilment in this chapter. When Abram rescues Lot, God is keeping his promises: protecting his people, securing his place, and confirming his blessing. This is an encouragement to all who trust in God’s covenant promises. Just as we await these same three promises to Abraham be fully realised for us when Jesus returns, we see here a visual reminder that God keeps his promises. Hebrews 7 looks back to these events and notes the role of the priest Melchizedek, a priest from outside the traditional Israelite community. With the promise of Psalm 110 that is directed to God’s King, the writer of Hebrews declares Jesus as the fulfilment of all the promises. He is the priest, not in the line of Levitical priests, but the one who is king and priest, in the order of Melchizedek. Jesus is the confirmation, as Melchizedek was for Abram, that our blessing is secure through the victory God has won. We know that just like Abram our blessings are secure. God does keep his promises.
‘If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise‘
God’s People in God’s Place – Awesome Cutlery – YouTube
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