Book of Genesis
A. After they separated one from another, Abram surely thought he was through with Lot. However, as Abram is learning that we reap exactly what we sow, Lot has not learned this lesson. He will get his chance in ch. 19.
B. We find in this chapter that Lot continues to be a problem for Abram. Not only did he tag along when Abram left Ur, there were problems with their herdsmen concerning grazing and water rights. After their separation Lot settled right in the midst of a battlefield and is caught in the ensuing war between the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah and the king from the surrounding countries. Lot and his goods were taken as spoils of war. Abram heard of his plight and rallies his servants to pursue and free the whole Lot of them.
C. This chapter records the first war in the Bible. The last great battle can be found in Revelation 19:11‑21.
A. His Courage (14:1‑16).
1. Nine nations were involved in this war. It began when five kings, located in the Dead Sea area, revolted against Ched‑or‑Laorner King of Elam, and his three allies. The Dead Sea Confederation, which included Sodom, was wiped out during a pitched battle. Lot, who had moved into the wicked city, was taken captive along with thousands of others. God would scarcely have bothered to record this pagan dog fight between nine heathen cities were it not for these four little words, "and they took Lot!" Lot still belonged to God. He didn't act like it, he didn't look, talk, dress, or walk like it, but God knows his own: (See 2Tim 2:19; 2Pet 2:7).
2. This short chapter is filled with little information about these kings, other than their names and what country they were from, that made war with the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah. We know there were nine of them. It would almost seem that Bera and Birsha were brothers, perhaps twins, if one based that assumption on their names.
3. Amraphel, v. 1, is commonly identified as Hammurabi, most famous of early Babylonian kings by some bible scholars. Hammurabi is famous for his “Code of Law.”
4. The invaders were four kings, two of them no less than kings of Shinar and Elam (that is, Chaldea and Persia), yet probably not the sovereign princes of those great kingdoms in their own persons, but either officers under them, or rather the heads and leaders of some colonies which came out of hose great nations, and settled themselves near Sodom, but retained the names of the countries from which they had their origin. The invaded were the kings of five cities that lay near together in the plain of Jordan, namely, Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, and Zoar. Four of them are named, but not the fifth, he king of Zoar or Bela, either because he was much more mean and inconsiderable or because he was much more wicked and inglorious than the rest, and worthy to be forgotten. The occasion of this war was the revolt of the five kings from under the government of Chedorlaomer. Twelve years they served him. Small joy they had of their fruitful land, while thus they were tributaries to a foreign power, and could not call what they had their own.
5. The Sodomites were the posterity of Canaan whom Noah had pronounced a servant to Shem, from whom Elam descended; thus soon did that prophecy begin to be fulfilled. In the thirteenth year, beginning to be weary of their subjection, they rebelled, denied their tribute, and attempted to shake off the yoke and retrieve their ancient liberties. In the fourteenth year, after some pause and preparation, Chedorlaomer, in conjunction with his allies, set himself to chastise and reduce the rebels, and, since he could not have it otherwise, to fetch his tribute from them on the point of his sword. (from Matthew Henry's Commentary)
6. Lot Is Captured, v. 12.
a. Abram had just avoided family problems with Lot and now here comes problems from outside sources concerning none other than Lot. Lot and all his goods are taken as spoils of wars by the kings. Because of Lots association with the people of Sodom and Gomorrah, he was assumed to be one of them. Therefore he was treated as an enemy.
b. All we must do is look at Lot and learn a lot. What is the lesson here for Christians? We need to separate ourselves from the things of the world, 2 Cor 6:17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.
7. Abram To The Rescue, v. 14-16. Abraham learned of this and immediately armed his 318 trained servants for battle. We learn a number of things about Abraham's character from this single action.
a. He was a man of sympathy. He could have said, "It serves him right;" or, `He had it coming to him;" but he didn't. Abram was fulfilling the truth that would later be written in Matthew 7:1 and Galatians 6:1.
b. He was prepared. Abram kept in shape
1) Spiritually – fully trusting the Lord to help him
2) Sociall – being and already able leader in both his home, and in his business
3) Mentally – he was not lazy mentally, but very astute
4) and physically.
5) God often cannot use a Christian, not because he is unclean, but because he is unprepared. The Bible has much to say about preparation. (See 2 Chron. 12:14; 19:3; 27:6; Mt. 3:3; Lk. 12:47; 2 Tim. 2:2 L)
8. After a forced night march, Abraham caught up with them just north of Damascus and defeated them after a sudden surprise attack
a. What is remarkable about Lot is how he refused to leave the fertile plains of Jordan after his deliverance. Consider his dilemma for a moment while captive, and let us see if we can understand why he went right back to Sodom and Gomorrah after Abram rescued him.
b. All of Lots family and goods were taken by the conquering kings, v. 12, 16. For what does he need to go back into Sodom and Gomorrah? His capture, his release, all his goods stolen and returned, his family kidnapped and return without him having to pay any ransom should be warning enough. Get out! Alas! What is wrong with Lot? He is definitely slow-witted. Let us recapture the events in his life thus far:
1) He left Ur without being told by God.
2) He was made rich because of God blessing Abram through little effort from himself.
3) He survived the famine and came out of Egypt.
4) He is blessed with more animals than he and Abram can herd in one place.
5) His household had a quarrel with the man responsible for his blessings.
6) He is given the choice of directions to depart unto.
7) He chose the watered plains of Jordan among the cities of sin.
8) He is caught in the middle of a war.
9) He is captured along with all his family and possession.
10) Every thing he had was stolen and he was helpless to get them back.
11) Now it is all given back to him, and what does he do?
12) Went right back in for more. Pr 26:11, 2Pet 2:4-8, 22.
c. Does this sound familiar? Thus far it has not cost him any thing. However, in just a few short years it will cost him blood. These warning sent to him from God were ignored. As it was 100% true with Lot, so is it 100% true with us also. Once we get into the world or involved with some particular sin, God tries to bring us back through acts of repentance of our accord prompted by the preaching of the word. If we ignore the warnings that God sends our way, sooner or later we will pay the price with blood. We might pay the price with our blood, or we might be responsible for shedding the blood of another. Regardless, we will pay.
d. This was true with King David, Joab, the entire nation of Israel, any nation that turns it backs to God and with any one that does it on an individual basis. Lot is going to pay the price by loosing everything he owns. His herds, flocks, houses, sons-in-law, his wife, and his pride, are burned up in ch. 19. He falls even lower and fathers his own grandchildren, Gal 6:7-8.
B. His Communion (14:17‑24).
1. As Abram returned from defeating Ched‑or‑Laomer, he was met by Melchizedek
a. What his name means:
1) the King of Salem (Jerusalem)
2) King of righteousness
b. Who was also a priest of God. Not the priest of a god, but THE God.
c. Who was this mysterious king‑priest?
1) Here we are introduced to a man that has baffled the best minds that ever turned a bible page. Melchizedek defies sound explanation.
2) There are three main theories as to his identity:
a) That he was Shem. This is the Hebrew tradition. If so, he would have been the world's oldest living person at the time. Shem died at the age of 600.
b) That he was Christ himself. This is referred to by theologians as a Christophany (a pre‑Bethlehem Old Testament appearance of the Saviour). Those who advocate this theory offer Hebrews 7:1‑4 to support their claim.
“…Many Christian writers have thought that this was an appearance of the Son of God himself, our Lord Jesus, known to Abram, at this time, by this name, as afterwards, Hagar called him by another name, <Gen 16:13>. He appeared to him as a righteous king, owning a righteous cause, and giving peace. It is difficult to imagine that any mere man should be said to be without father, without mother, and without descent, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, <Heb. 7:3>. It is witnessed of Melchizedek that he liveth, and that he abideth a priest continually (v. 3,8); nay (v. 13-14), the apostle makes him of whom these things are spoken to be our Lord who sprang out of Judah. It is likewise difficult to think that any mere man should, at this time, be greater than Abram in the things of God, that Christ should be a priest after the order of any mere man, and that any human priesthood should so far excel that of Aaron as it is certain that Melchizedek's did.” Matthew Henry Commentary.
c) That he was simply the first mentioned king of Jerusalem. Melchizedek literally means "King of Righteousness;" and Salem is an early name for Jerusalem. Melchizedek is mentioned again in Psalm 110. (In the New Testament, he is found in Heb. 5:6‑10; 7:1‑22
3) Melchizedek: A type of Christ, Ps. 110, Heb. 5: 6, 6:20, 7:1-4, 10, 11, 15, 17, 21.
4) We know he was Priest-King of Salem. Jerusalem was at that time known as Salem. Salem means peace, so we know that he was a king of peace from the city of peace. We know that Jesus is the Prince of Peace.
5) If Christ and Melchizedek are compared the following things are manifested:
a) Each was a priest; but neither was from the tribe of Levi.
b) Both were superior to Abram.
c) The beginnings and endings of each are unknown.
6) In order for one to qualify for the office of high priest under the Law of Moses, they must be a descendant of Aaron. Christ’s lineage was from Judah, not Levi. Melchizedek lineage is unknown.
a) Both are also kings of Jerusalem.
b) Abram paid him tithes 14:10.
2. Melchizedek brought him bread and wine and blessed him. This is the first mention of bread and wine together in the Bible, and depicts the future work of Christ on the cross.
3. The word priest first appears in the Bible at this time. (See 14:18)
4. After Melchizedek had blessed him, Abram gave him tithes of all he had Heb 7:2. Here is the first mention of the word tithes found in the bible. It is noteworthy that it is found in context with a man, Abraham, who is a type of God the Father and with The King of Peace, Melchizedek, who was a type of Christ. Abram gave a tithe to the Priest-king. Furthermore, the tithe was given before the Law of Moses, during the Law of Moses, and there has not been one law written to negate this command since the age of Grace came into power. We may surely and scripturally conclude it is biblical to tithe.. Some believe the practice of tithing (giving one's money to God) was only to be done by the nation Israel under the Law and therefore is not for us now. But this is not the case. Abram tithed long before Israel became a nation, and some 400 years before the Law was given.
5. When we come to the New Testament, we are told that not just a tenth, but everything the Christian has belongs to God. (See 1 Cor. 6:19, 20.)
a. We know that Abram paid him a tithe,
b. This includes his time (Eph. 5:16; Ps. 90:12)
c. His talents (Rom. 12.6; 1 Cor. 7:7; 2 Tim. 1:6)
d. And his treasures (1 Cor. 16:1, 2; 2 Cor. 9:7).
6. Abram refused the materialistic offer of the ungodly Bera, who was King of Sodom (14:21). Bera wanted him to split the loot from the war. Why?
a. Perhaps he learned his lesson from gaining his wealth while in Egypt.
b. He knew that the Lord was behind him and made it know that he is there to serve the Most High God, 1 Pet 4:11.
c. Abram’s testimony was at stake
d. Bera’s boasting was at stake
e. Sodom’s sin was at stake – Abram wanted nothing that was tainted with Sodom’s sinfulness (Jude 1:22,23)