In Genesis 14, after Lot settled in Sodom, there was a battle between four kings and five kings. The kings of Sodom and Gomorrah were defeated and fled, and Lot, along with his family and possessions, were taken captive and brought northward. Upon hearing this, Abram led 318 of his trained men and pursued after them as far as Damascus, which is 330 km away from the land of Canaan. Abram and his men defeated the armies, brought back Lot, his possessions, and all the women and people, and met Melchizedek, king of Salem, who brought out bread and wine and blessed him.
Below are some message notes (in italics) from Brother Titus’s speaking regarding this chapter, and some personal reflections.
Let me ask you: was it worth it to rescue Lot or not? I question if the whole thing was worth it. Why? Because Lot eventually had relations with his two daughters and begot two tribes that really persecuted the Israelites [the Moabites & the Ammonites]. If Abram didn’t rescue Lot, there would be no issue, right?
Abram might respond and say, “We’re not God. We do what is proper, and we let the issue come out by God Himself.” Brothers, you don’t predict the future. You just exercise according to principle. This is a big principle: We never know! You spend all your time rescuing, recovering a brother, but he comes back and becomes a troublemaker in the church life – how would you judge the end result? The end result is in the hand of God. We’re not God. In the end, God is responsible. We have all the reasons not to do things for people, but brothers, you’ve got to learn something very peculiar: even though Lot caused more trouble, God actually admired Abram’s fighting! The king of Salem came in to bless Abram and what he did because he fought for his brother.
This scene in Genesis 14 marks the end of what brother Titus calls the second stage of Abram’s life. He had gone through many experiences of embarrassment, shame, and weakness, and yet was growing closer and closer to the Lord and learning to trust Him to be his everything.
In this story, we see the principle of “fighting for your brothers no matter what” on display. There were many reasons Abram could give to excuse himself from going after Lot. Lot had just disregarded him. He had taken everything Abram had given to him for granted; perhaps this would teach him a lesson. More than that, there was no way he could rescue Lot because he would be facing off against multiple kings. Think about how many of his own people he could lose! He would be risking his own life, and could leave Sarai a widow, which he couldn’t bear to do after how he had treated her poorly in Egypt in the past already. The list goes on.
And our lists are often the same. That brother isn’t open to the Lord. He doesn’t even like me, and I don’t like him. He has too many problems. He lives too far away. He may just cause even more problems in the church life. Will he even appreciate me if I help him?
Yet none of these things mattered to Abram. The moment he heard that Lot was in danger, he gathered his men and pursued after them. What an attitude! What a heart! He didn’t count the cost or consider the repercussions; he just saw that his kinsman was in danger and fought to bring him back.
As I was going through these sections of Brother Titus’s speaking, I was reminded of 1 John 4:20-21, which say “If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.” Abram had a love that ran deep for his nephew Lot, to the point that he was willing to risk everything in order to save him. He was willing to fight for his kinsman no matter the cost, and because of that he received the bread, wine, and blessing from Melchizedek.
In the same way, I begin to consider my Christian life and how real my love is for God and for my brothers in the Lord. Though I may have many of my own excuses or reasons, I’m inspired to have a simple heart like Abram to fight for my brothers, no matter who they are or the circumstances. They are a brother, beloved in God’s eyes, and also should be beloved in my eyes.
… if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.
… not that we have loved God but that He loved us…