Through the Whole Bible: Genesis 14
Through the Whole Bible for today takes us to Genesis 14 (Link) for a war. There's a sermon in my podcast history that addresses some of what happened here (LINK). I'll give you a recap: the story zooms out for a moment and gives the political happenings in the region.
In that time, the rulers of the cities around Sodom and Gomorrah had been paying tribute/taxes to the king of Elam. After twelve years of that, the taxpayers decided they were tired of it and quit. One does not, however, just quit paying taxes and get away with it. The king of Elam comes back to remind the others of the pecking order.
Lot, meanwhile, gets caught up in the middle of this. The text does not record that he fought, but he still gets taken as a prisoner by Chedorlaomer, King of Elam. (Yep. King Cheesy.) Abram hears and goes out to deliver his nephew from the king. And does so, successfully.
Here's a few takeaways from this chapter:
1. Those who do not carry a sword can still die on one. Or, in this case, be captured by the people with them. I understand a portion of pacifism, I see the value in nonviolent activism, but there comes a point at which the sword must be drawn. Lot did not fight for himself, apparently. So, Abram has to fight for him.
One might say that "God will fight for me" but realize that God uses people to accomplish His purposes many times. What people will He be calling on for you? If you expect to walk through life and never have to take sides or never participate in conflict, I think you'll be in trouble.
2. Pay your taxes. Don't pay more than you have to, but really, taxes alone are a pretty slight thing. Until those taxes are starving you, but that's another matter.
3. Here's the big thing I'm seeing today: fight to deliver your family. Abram goes out of his way, exerts maximum effort , to rescue Lot.
Not only does he rescue Lot, though. He also delivers all the rest of the people. Reading this story, I see God's grace in the rescue of everyone without a loss. It does not always work out that way: imagine if Lot had decided he preferred being the prisoner of King Cheesy? Maybe he wanted to leave Sodom and go to Elam. That's possible. It happens to many people these days: they are rescued from problems but don't want to leave those problems.
Still, though, Abram's actions would have saved some of the other people. While his main goal was Lot, he also provided freedom to the other captives. Rather than the dreaded "collateral damage" the battle provided "collateral repair."
Therefore, strive for what you think matters the most. You might be amazed at what you accomplish on the side.