Pray today for God’s help, encouragement and protection for all persecuted Christians around the world.
Read Genesis 14:1-24
 At the time when Amraphel was king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Kedorlaomer king of Elam and Tidal king of Goyim,  these kings went to war against Bera king of Sodom, Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, Shemeber king of Zeboyim, and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar).  All these latter kings joined forces in the Valley of Siddim (that is, the Dead Sea Valley).  For twelve years they had been subject to Kedorlaomer, but in the thirteenth year they rebelled.  In the fourteenth year, Kedorlaomer and the kings allied with him went out and defeated the Rephaites in Ashteroth Karnaim, the Zuzites in Ham, the Emites in Shaveh Kiriathaim  and the Horites in the hill country of Seir, as far as El Paran near the desert.  Then they turned back and went to En Mishpat (that is, Kadesh), and they conquered the whole territory of the Amalekites, as well as the Amorites who were living in Hazezon Tamar.  Then the king of Sodom, the king of Gomorrah, the king of Admah, the king of Zeboyim and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar) marched out and drew up their battle lines in the Valley of Siddim  against Kedorlaomer king of Elam, Tidal king of Goyim, Amraphel king of Shinar and Arioch king of Ellasar-four kings against five.  Now the Valley of Siddim was full of tar pits, and when the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, some of the men fell into them and the rest fled to the hills.  The four kings seized all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah and all their food; then they went away.  They also carried off Abram’s nephew Lot and his possessions, since he was living in Sodom.  A man who had escaped came and reported this to Abram the Hebrew. Now Abram was living near the great trees of Mamre the Amorite, a brother of Eshkol and Aner, all of whom were allied with Abram.  When Abram heard that his relative had been taken captive, he called out the 318 trained men born in his household and went in pursuit as far as Dan.  During the night Abram divided his men to attack them and he routed them, pursuing them as far as Hobah, north of Damascus.  He recovered all the goods and brought back his relative Lot and his possessions, together with the women and the other people.  After Abram returned from defeating Kedorlaomer and the kings allied with him, the king of Sodom came out to meet him in the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley).  Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High,  and he blessed Abram, saying, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth.  And praise be to God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand.” Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.  The king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me the people and keep the goods for yourself.”  But Abram said to the king of Sodom, “With raised hand I have sworn an oath to the LORD, God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth,  that I will accept nothing belonging to you, not even a thread or the strap of a sandal, so that you will never be able to say, ‘I made Abram rich.’  I will accept nothing but what my men have eaten and the share that belongs to the men who went with me-to Aner, Eshkol and Mamre. Let them have their share.” Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhy wouldn't Abram accept goods from the king of Sodom?
Wealth and affluence do not guarantee a trouble-free life. Lot is now in the middle of a war zone and is captured. When he hears of Lot’s situation, Abram decides to intervene and rescue him. By contrast, Cain, having murdered Abel, responds “Am I my brother’s keeper?” when God asks where his brother Abel is. The unspoken answer is a resounding “yes!” Abram lives out this responsibility that we humans have towards one another. It would have been so easy for Abram to say, “Lot made his choice; he has to live with the consequences. It’s none of my business.” Many of us live in cultures that promote the individual rather than the community. The Bible challenges us to care deeply for one another. How might you express responsibility towards someone else today? The enigmatic figure of the priest and king Melchizedek is the mystery man in this chapter. He is referred to in Psalm 110 and Hebrews 7, with the Lord Jesus being likened to him. Kings and priests came from two different tribes so Melchizedek foreshadows the uniqueness of Christ in being both priest and king. Spanning thousands of years, the Bible story has strong threads running right through it.
What responsibility do you have to be “your brother’s keeper”? To whom? How are you fulfilling that responsibility?
Father God, show me to whom I should be a brother and how You would have me be their “keeper.”
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