Greetings, everybody, and welcome to Friday’s edition if EDiBS! God’s peace to each of you in Christ, and thanks for being here today as we take some time to open God’s Word together. If you’ve been studying along with us over the past several weeks, then you know we’re in the Old Testament book of Genesis right now, and in this session we’ll be continuing our time in Genesis 14. Let’s pray as we go to the Scriptures.
Lord God, as we thank you for this day and this time together to be in your Word, we ask that you would cause it, by your gracious Spirit, to penetrate our lives and do that which you desire it to do within us. We place ourselves before you with humble, yet eager anticipation, because we know what a great privilege it is to open the Scriptures and learn of you and from you. Bless this time, we pray in Christ’s holy name. Amen.
As we get started today, with Lot having been carried away as a captive of Kedorlaomer with no way to escape and no one to whom he can turn for help, it would seem that he’s come to the end of the road. Thankfully, however, things are not always what they seem! Our focus this session: A most impressive rescue.
13One who had escaped came and reported this to Abram the Hebrew. Now Abram was living near the great trees of Mamre the Amorite, a brother of Eshcol and Aner, all of whom were allied with Abram. 14When Abram heard that his relative had been taken captive, he called out the 318 trained men born in his household and went in pursuit as far as Dan. 15During the night Abram divided his men to attack them and he routed them, pursuing them as far as Hobah, north of Damascus. 16He recovered all the goods and brought back his relative Lot and his possessions, together with the women and the other people.
For some reason, over the past week or so my YouTube feed has been flooded with those “animals in the wild” type videos, especially videos from African safaris where crocodiles attack gazelles at the watering hole or leopards go after baby wildebeests. As you might imagine, things hardly ever go well for the gazelles or wildebeests, but every once in a while the tables get turned. One video this week showed a croc grabbing hold of a baby zebra’s leg and trying to pull it into the water, when all of the sudden a huge hippo lunges into the scene and violently stomps the croc, which enables the zebra to scamper away. In another video, a clan of hyenas begins to surround a young water buffalo, but just when they start to move in for the kill, a whole group of adult water buffalos charge, coming in so fast and furious that several of the hyenas end up being trampled to death.
The most amazing scenes for me, though, are when animals very small in stature but very fierce in disposition take on their enemies and come out the victors. The best example I can give of that is a video where an adult lioness gets into a honey badger den and has a cub by the throat. All at once in a blur of speed, the momma badger — all of about two and a half feet long and a foot tall — appears from the left side of the screen and hits that lioness with such force that it literally lifts her into the air and flips her over, at which point the momma badger next attacks the intruder with her teeth and claws. Not only does she end up rescuing her cub, but she does severe damage to the lioness in the process. Thanks solely to her courage and her commitment, her family stays intact and lives to see another day.
I bring up those heart-stopping, action-packed animal videos today for what at this point is probably an obvious reason: as we come to God’s Word here in Genesis 14 and find ourselves looking in on what can only be called a hopeless situation for Lot, suddenly, out of nowhere, comes Abram to rescue his nephew. It’s a bold and daring attempt for sure. Abram’s got a contingent of just 318 men, and they’re pursuing the armies of four kings. Not only that, but when night falls he actually divides up those 318 men into smaller units still in order to commence a comprehensive attack. You’d think he’d have no chance. You’d think it’s curtains for Lot. You’d think that Abram and his ragtag band of fighting men would end up being devoured by their much stronger opponents. Instead, they hit the armies of Kedorlaomer, Amraphel, Arioch, and Tidal so hard that it’s a total rout. Not only do they decidedly defeat them, they also go home having achieved their objective: Lot is rescued, and not just Lot, but all of his possessions and all of his people too. They’re all brought out safely, and thanks solely to his courage and his commitment, Abram’s family stays intact and lives to see another day.
Or…is it solely due to Abram’s courage and commitment? His sense of duty and loyalty to Lot is certainly laudable, and so is his bravery. Those things aren’t in question, and indeed, we can commend Abram for his actions. But is it possible that it’s something else? Is it possible that more is going on here than what is immediately discernible? How did Abram accomplish what he accomplished here with only 318 men against several kings and their armies…led, you’ll remember, by Kedorlaomer, who was a king known to be fierce and mighty in battle?
When we were together last time, we ended our session by saying that with Lot’s predicament, the only thing that could save him would be a miracle. That assessment was, in actuality, a correct one…and we’ve seen it come to pass in today’s passage. As we wrap things up for the day, there’s a clear answer to the question of how Abram has pulled off this stunning feat, and it has little to do with his valor or the skill of his fighting men, great though those things are. When we come back together next time, we’ll see that answer in black and white as we continue forward in the chapter…and as we do that, we’ll be opening up to a fascinating and faith-building section of the Scriptures that many people never take the time to explore — but I promise, it’s a real “wow” moment in the study of this book! I hope you’ll plan to join us!
Blessings to each of you in our Lord Jesus for a great weekend, everyone. Stay safe, be encouraged by your standing in Christ, and do take time to rest and be renewed. God-willing, I’ll see you again come Monday as we return to our time in God’s Word. Until then, the joy of the Lord be your strength!