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Posts Tagged ‘Sodom’

Genesis 14

21-24 “The king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me the captives; the goods you may keep.” But Abram replied to the king of Sodom: “I have sworn to the LORD, God Most High, the creator of heaven and earth, that I would not take so much as a thread or a sandal strap from anything that is yours, so that you cannot say, ‘I made Abram rich.’ Nothing for me except what my servants have consumed and the share that is due to the men who went with me—Aner, Eshcol and Mamre; let them take their share.”

Abram is offered a really great deal; but Abram doesn’t want to take more than he was entitled to, and wanted to make sure that no resentment would fester between them and become a source of conflict later.

I find that amazing, and reveals great wisdom on Abram’s part. A similar event occurs in Genesis 23 when Abraham wants to purchase burial ground from the Hittites and they implore him to take whatever he wants at no cost. As in this passage, he insists on paying full price in the presence of others so there will be no dispute, no question later. What if we all were as diligent – how many occasions of resentment would be avoided?

On the other hand, as much as we see Abram avoiding conflict over possessions, we also know that he didn’t refuse conflict when it involved the good of other people.  Abram acquired these “goods and captives” after going into battle to free his nephew, Lot, who had been caught in the middle of turf wars. Abram didn’t hesitate to gather a small army and go to free his nephew.

Something else is going through my mind as well to which I don’t have an answer, only things to ponder:

We learned in Gen 13:13 that: “… the inhabitants of Sodom were wicked, great sinners against the LORD.”

Yet where was Lot living when he was taken captive? Sodom. Why did he choose to live there? And is the fact that the inhabitants were so wicked, part of the reason Abram refused to take anything that might cause them to quarrel with him later?

There is certainly a balance in the choices we make – we are all sinners, we are called to go to sinners to be the hands and feet and body of Christ. But we also need to be wise and strive to be holy – literally “set apart.” I think that like Abram, we need to try to avoid situations that might cause us harm spiritually or that might create a stumbling block for others.

I recall a lecturer saying, “We are ‘in’ the world but not ‘of’ the world.”

Amen.

Dear God, please give me your Wisdom to recognize potential conflict and diffuse it before it can take root. And also give me your Wisdom to know when I should not be afraid to enter a conflict, even to go to battle to protect or to free others from the many forms of bondage and the wicked ways of this world. Women and children bought & sold … innocent babies shred to pieces and ripped from their mother’s wombs … people dying for lack of food and water as governments play politics and hold them in poverty.  We live in a wicked world; please protect us from becoming part of it in any measure but use us as Your hands and feet to reach the captives.  In Jesus’ name I pray.

 

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