Introduction: Our goal this week is to grow in appreciation of God’s persevering promises. Everywhere Abram goes, God’s faithful promises – first given to him in Genesis 12:1-3 – pursue and protect him, leading Abram into grateful worship time and again.
Monday: read Genesis 13:14-14:9. In Genesis 12:1, God pledges to bless Abram with ‘a land’ far away from his idol-worshipping family in Mesopotamia. We see God confirm this gift of land in Genesis 13:14-18, where He comforts Abram after the departure of Lot by giving him a ‘tour’ of Canaan. Chapter 13 then closes with Abram gratefully worshipping at the altar he builds as his response to God’s gift of the Promised Land. Truly Abram learned by experience that his Lord was ‘God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth.’ (Genesis 14:19).
Pray and Meditate: Abram’s faith in God’s ownership of all things was strengthened at just the right time: just before facing in Genesis 14 the terrible violence of no less than nine kings waging world-war in order to claim God’s world as their own. The only security against those bent on violent conquest is knowledge of God’s sovereignty over all things. Take to heart these words from hymn # 108: ‘What’er my God ordains is right: here shall my stand be taken; though sorrow, need or death be mine, yet I am not forsaken. My Father’s care is round me there; He holds me that I shall not fall: and so to Him I leave it all.’ Leave all your fears today at the foot of God’s altar: if He spared not His own Son but put Him on the altar for your sins, will He not protect you from all the evil forces of this world?
Tuesday: read Genesis 14:1-9. We enter into what William Harrell calls a sad period of history in Genesis 14, because the warring kings of this chapter were originally brothers all descended from Noah’s three sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth. According to scholars, this conflict over land, wealth and dominion may have taken place a mere 400 years after the flood, which means that Shem, who lived to the age of 500 (Gen. 11:11), would have been alive to behold this violent rupture of Noah’s family.
Pray and Meditate: Let us pray unceasingly to be protected from the evil greed of this world which so often leads to conflict. Just as wealth and abundance of possessions separated Abram and Lot, so here in Genesis 14 forced tribute demanded for 12 years leads to rebellion and war when the king of Sodom and his allies rebel. The love of money is indeed the root of all kinds of evil. Pray for the contentment of Psalm 131.
Wednesday: read Genesis 14:10-20. God promised in Genesis 12:2-3 to make Abram a source and recipient of blessing, and proceeds to fulfill this promise in the rescue party which Abram leads in Gen. 14:14-16. Abram becomes a redeemer for the whole region as he rescues Lot and Lot’s fellow citizens of Sodom. He is in turn blessed by the priest of God Most High, Melchizedek (Gen. 14:19), and even proves to be a blessing to the priest himself, giving back a tenth of his wealth to Melchizedek in Genesis 14:20. In this way God’s words, ‘I will bless those who bless you’ are fulfilled in this mysterious meeting between Abram and the priest-king from Salem.
Pray and Meditate: We never know how far our works of faith will extend in bringing blessing and peace to others. Let us not be discouraged in our well-doing. Through the faith which Jesus gives us, ‘let us not grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.’ (Galatians 6:9) Think of Abram’s amazement as he sees God use him to bring peace again into Lot’s world!
Thursday: read Genesis 14:16-21. Abram’s victory over his nephew’s captors is glorious and total. He is able to retrieve all the loot, including his nephew. Could Abram have anticipated such an overwhelming route of his nephew’s captors? No wonder in Genesis 14:17 the King of Sodom comes out prepared to do homage to Abram, and even to offer him the best of the plunder in Genesis 14:21! An incredible victory!
Pray and Meditate: How do we handle the glory of success and the praise of men? God quickly brings Abram into a position of humility, protecting him from the smooth words of the Sodomite king by bringing one more glorious into Abram’s circle: Melchizedek. Here is one who is greater and Abram knows it – as his gift of his tithe proves. Normally Abram builds his own altars and leads worship for his clan. Yet here in Genesis 14:18-20, Abram bows the knee as a greater priest leads him in worship. Thank God that our high priest Jesus, like Melchizedek, has the power to turn our heads away from the tempting offers of this world and instead to humble worship. ‘Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full at His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of his glory and grace.’
Friday: read Genesis 14:18-24 and Hebrews 7:1-7. Worship climaxes in Genesis 14 with the blessing of Melchizedek on Abram. What was the immediate benefit of such blessing? The answer lies in the preserving power of Melchizedek’s blessing. Surely such blessing was meant to be a timely reminder for Abram that his welfare and survival were not tied to the earthly prosperity of human kings and powers. Fortified with this spiritual blessing, Abram was preserved from the lure of Sodom’s tainted wealth in Genesis 14:21-24.
Pray and Meditate: Melchizedek leaves no successors in the Bible record. His office was fulfilled in this one act of blessing Abram – an act all the more important for its one-time occurrence. In the same way, Melchizedek is compared to Jesus Christ our priest (Heb.7). Jesus also has no successors because his one-time sacrifice on the cross brings all the blessings which we need in order to say no to the tainted wealth of this world. Truly in Christ alone are hidden all the riches of grace and blessing which we need. Moreover, because He has risen from the dead, (Heb. 7:3), He is able to continue His ministry of blessing us forever. We shall never lack all we need with Christ coming to meet us and bless us in this world – always when we need Him most!