THE FAMILY MAN
Today, we’ll look at two passages that show what kind of man Abraham was. We saw yesterday that he was a man whose faith was in God, and a man who was obedient to God. Today we’ll get an idea of how he treated other people… specifically, his family.
In Abraham’s back story (Genesis 11:27-32) we see how he came to look after his nephew Lot as his own son. At the time, he and Sarah did not have any children, and it seems that they adopted Lot and his family as their own.
In the first passage, both Abraham and Lot have become quite wealthy, and are discovering that they need some space between each camp so they can continue to flourish. Take note of how Abraham handles the situation and keeps the peace.
In the second passage, Lot and his family have settled near the city of Sodom. Suddenly, they find themselves caught up in the middle of a war and are even taken captive. Take note of how Abraham responds when he finds out what has happened to his nephew.
Lot, who was traveling with Abram, had also become very wealthy with flocks of sheep and goats, herds of cattle, and many tents. 6 But the land could not support both Abram and Lot with all their flocks and herds living so close together. 7 So disputes broke out between the herdsmen of Abram and Lot. (At that time Canaanites and Perizzites were also living in the land.)
8 Finally Abram said to Lot, “Let’s not allow this conflict to come between us or our herdsmen. After all, we are close relatives! 9 The whole countryside is open to you. Take your choice of any section of the land you want, and we will separate. If you want the land to the left, then I’ll take the land on the right. If you prefer the land on the right, then I’ll go to the left.”
10 Lot took a long look at the fertile plains of the Jordan Valley in the direction of Zoar. The whole area was well watered everywhere, like the garden of the Lord or the beautiful land of Egypt. (This was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) 11 Lot chose for himself the whole Jordan Valley to the east of them. He went there with his flocks and servants and parted company with his uncle Abram. 12 So Abram settled in the land of Canaan, and Lot moved his tents to a place near Sodom and settled among the cities of the plain. 13 But the people of this area were extremely wicked and constantly sinned against the Lord.
Then the rebel kings of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, and Bela (also called Zoar) prepared for battle in the valley of the Dead Sea. 9 They fought against King Kedorlaomer of Elam, King Tidal of Goiim, King Amraphel of Babylonia, and King Arioch of Ellasar—four kings against five. 10 As it happened, the valley of the Dead Sea was filled with tar pits. And as the army of the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, some fell into the tar pits, while the rest escaped into the mountains. 11 The victorious invaders then plundered Sodom and Gomorrah and headed for home, taking with them all the spoils of war and the food supplies. 12 They also captured Lot—Abram’s nephew who lived in Sodom—and carried off everything he owned.
13 But one of Lot’s men escaped and reported everything to Abram the Hebrew, who was living near the oak grove belonging to Mamre the Amorite. Mamre and his relatives, Eshcol and Aner, were Abram’s allies.
14 When Abram heard that his nephew Lot had been captured, he mobilized the 318 trained men who had been born into his household. Then he pursued Kedorlaomer’s army until he caught up with them at Dan. 15 There he divided his men and attacked during the night. Kedorlaomer’s army fled, but Abram chased them as far as Hobah, north of Damascus. 16 Abram recovered all the goods that had been taken, and he brought back his nephew Lot with his possessions and all the women and other captives.
17 After Abram returned from his victory over Kedorlaomer and all his allies, the king of Sodom went out to meet him in the valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley).
“Blessed be Abram by God Most High,
Creator of heaven and earth.
who has defeated your enemies for you.”
Then Abram gave Melchizedek a tenth of all the goods he had recovered.
22 Abram replied to the king of Sodom, “I solemnly swear to the Lord, God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth, 23 that I will not take so much as a single thread or sandal thong from what belongs to you. Otherwise you might say, ‘I am the one who made Abram rich.’ 24 I will accept only what my young warriors have already eaten, and I request that you give a fair share of the goods to my allies—Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre.”
Questions to Think About
What impression do you get about Lot from these stories?
What do these stories tell us about what kind of man Abraham was?
Did you know…
in Genesis 14:17-20 we meet a strange character named Melchizedek. (To find out just how different he was, check out Hebrews 7:1-3.) Mel was the king of Salem. Over the centuries, the city of Salem was built up, destroyed in battles, and rebuilt. Salem was rebuilt several times and its ownership changed hands several times, too. In fact, Salem eventually became known as Jerusalem, the capitol of Israel. Kings David and Solomon reigned there, and God’s Temple was also built there.