Devotional: Genesis 14
Key Verse: “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
There’s a battle going on. Whether we choose to recognize it or not….there’s a battle. A hard fought battle. Not on the other side of the world. Not in a remote village. But here. Right here. For the souls of men, women, precious children. A battle that for too long now we’ve refused to engage in. For too long now we’ve said “maybe tomorrow. But not right now. Right now I’ve just got too much going on.”
What if Abram had said that? In response to the news of Lot taken captive by a coalition of 4 eastern kings. What if Abram had said, “You know I’ve just got a lot going on right now. I really don’t have time to go after Lot.” He could have. I have no doubt he was a busy man. But he didn’t. He went after him. He and the 318 trained men born in his household (Gen. 14:14) risked their lives to save Lot and the others who had been taken. Captured by enemy forces.
Made me wonder…what if Jesus had been too busy? You know holding the world together. Too busy to become like us. To come after us. To save us. Unable to save ourselves; unable to work our way into Heaven; we’d be destined for hell. Destined to spend eternity separated from God; enslaved to the enemy; enslaved to sin. But he wasn’t too busy was he? He came after us. And saved us.
Pictured here in Genesis 14 by Abram’s pursuit of Lot. Pictured here by Abram’s victory over strong enemy forces. The odds were stacked against him. High against him. This eastern coalition of kings appeared to be unstoppable. Fierce. Undaunted by the Rephaim and Emim said to be giants in Deuteronomy 2:10-11. This was no small battle and no small victory. Likely Abram gained much respect from the Canaanites for his win. Respect God certainly used to protect him as he sojourned in a land not yet his own.
But no enemy is too strong for our God. No enemy is even a threat. The LORD is never dismayed, so neither shall his people be. “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10). What’s more? “Victory belongs to the LORD” (Prov. 21:31b). He always wins. Always. I love that part! Rejoice soul; rejoice! The victory is always his. The key to victory then is to be on the LORD’s side. Because when you fight God’s battles…you will win!
But how often I wonder is the battle one of our own making? For our own ambitions; for our own glory; for our own prosperity. Oh the trouble we might keep ourselves from if the only battle we engaged in was the LORD’s. For righteousness. For truth. For salvation. For his glory and his glory alone.
So what are you fighting for? Your own glory or God’s? Your own ambitions or God’s? There is no middle ground. No neutrality. Jesus said “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters” (Matthew 12:30). Oh friends consider it. Are you gathering? Because the only other option is scattering. We’re in the middle of a great battle. A spiritual battle. Something so much bigger than ourselves. Bigger than we could ever understand. Fierce and mighty is the enemy. “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12).
But don’t fear. No don’t fear. Simply put on your armor. “In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Eph. 6:16-17). And fight the LORD’s battles! On his side. For his glory. Through prayer; by faith; with love; but truth; and strength; endurance; patience; and righteousness. Chase after those neighbors still enslaved to the enemy. Speak the hard truth when no one else will. Extinguish the flaming darts of the evil one. Engage in the battle, the LORD’s battle, not one of your own making.
There will be temptations. Many temptations. As indicated by the presence of the king of Sodom upon Abram’s return from battle. But there to meet him first. There to refresh him with bread and wine was another. “Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God. He is first, by translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then he is also king of Salem, that is, king of peace” (Hebrews 7:1a, 2b). Salem is Jerusalem. Thereby in Melchizedek we have at the very least a picture of Jesus – both priest and king (of righteousness and peace). The author of Hebrews goes on to say he is “without father or mother or genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God he continues a priest forever” (Hebrews 7:3).
Some scholars believe Melchizedek was a Christophany – an appearance of the pre-incarnate Christ. I have no doubt it could have been for the LORD appears to Abram other times. Specifically in Genesis 18 as a man. But God does not make that clear. The point is that Jesus is not only King but our high priest forever. And as high priest he lives to intercede for us before the Father. (Heb. 7:25; Rom. 8:34) He’s there, right there, always to refresh; strengthen; encourage; bless. He’s there, right there, always when temptation is in your face. He’s there; right there after a long day in the battle. After a major mess up or a time of sin – he’s still there. With bread and wine he’s waiting to reconcile; renew; or refresh.
Oh my soul. Fear not. For he is with me. He is there. Always there to strengthen me and uphold me with his righteous right hand. Fear not, soul, for you are on the LORD’s side. Put on your armor and be strong! For HE is with you.
Contemplate and Evaluate:
Are you on the LORD’s side? What battle are you fighting? His or one of your own making?
Where do you turn when you need strength, encouragement, and refreshment? To Christ or elsewhere?