If you’ve ever watched The Godfather, then you’re familiar with the concept of you don’t mess with family. Chances are, you don’t even need to have seen the movie to have this line evoke strong emotions. We have a deep connectedness toward our families, and we will often go to great lengths to keep them with us. Sometimes, we need help. Our desire is not enough to win. We need the Lord for true victory.
- Think of a time when you felt called to battle for the Lord or your family. How did you respond?
READ THE WORD: GENESIS 14:1-16 (ESV)
14:1 In the days of Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of Goiim, 2 these kings made war with Bera king of Sodom, Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar). 3 And all these joined forces in the Valley of Siddim (that is, the Salt Sea). 4 Twelve years they had served Chedorlaomer, but in the thirteenth year they rebelled. 5 In the fourteenth year Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him came and defeated the Rephaim in Ashteroth-karnaim, the Zuzim in Ham, the Emim in Shaveh-kiriathaim, 6 and the Horites in their hill country of Seir as far as El-paran on the border of the wilderness. 7 Then they turned back and came to En-mishpat (that is, Kadesh) and defeated all the country of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites who were dwelling in Hazazon-tamar.
8 Then the king of Sodom, the king of Gomorrah, the king of Admah, the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar) went out, and they joined battle in the Valley of Siddim 9 with Chedorlaomer king of Elam, Tidal king of Goiim, Amraphel king of Shinar, and Arioch king of Ellasar, four kings against five. 10 Now the Valley of Siddim was full of bitumen pits, and as the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, some fell into them, and the rest fled to the hill country. 11 So the enemy took all the possessions of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their provisions, and went their way. 12 They also took Lot, the son of Abram’s brother, who was dwelling in Sodom, and his possessions, and went their way.
13 Then one who had escaped came and told Abram the Hebrew, who was living by the oaksof Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol and of Aner. These were allies of Abram. 14 When Abram heard that his kinsman had been taken captive, he led forth his trained men, born in his house, 318 of them, and went in pursuit as far as Dan. 15And he divided his forces against them by night, he and his servants, and defeated them and pursued them to Hobah, north of Damascus. 16 Then he brought back all the possessions, and also brought back his kinsman Lot with his possessions, and the women and the people.
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- The first few verses set up the scene of a civil war that occupied the entire land. The rebel group was defeated and ran. The Chedorlaomer group chased them into the country. Who and what did Chedorlaomer’s army take into their possession (vss. 11-12)?
- There were four armies under Chedorlaomer’s command. How many men did Abram take (vss. 13-14)? What does this say about his faith in God?
- Describe the victory Abram and his household obtained (vss. 15-16). Do you think others knew this story? What does this victory say about Abram and his God?
- Think of a time in your life when a family member was in a desperate situation. Did you respond by lifting up their needs in prayer and trusting God, or did you try to fix the situation in your own strength?
RESPOND TO GOD
Abram could not help but be a part of this war. After hearing about his kinsman, he acted quickly. God gave him a huge victory in his quest. The small numbers, the lack of preparation, the general with little wartime experience—all of these things did not factor into the battle. But God did, and he made all the difference.
- Pray that when people or circumstances affect the family of God, you will be quick to respond and trust God to work.
- Spend time with God, asking him to show where your faith needs to be on the ready.