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.
I love Abram’s example here in Genesis 14:13-14. These two verses are filled with rich wisdom from our Lord. In this post I’ll share about Abram’s example in three specific areas, riches, readiness, and rescue.
I find it amazing that Abram had 318 trained men born in his household. This is an indication of Abram’s tremendous wealth. These were those born in his household and trained for war. How many weren’t born in his household? How many men weren’t trained for war? How many women were a part of Abram’s household? How many children? I work for a Fire Department that employs just 80 people and our budget is around 12 million per year. Today the company Twitter Inc. has 300 employees and it’s worth an estimated 1 billion dollars. I don’t know what Abram’s net worth was but there’s no doubt that God put it way up there. How our culture admonishes us to chase after material things. Yet the key to prosperity, perhaps counter-intuitively, is modeled here for us by Abram. Abram is a great example of living life God’s way for he lived to …seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things were added unto Abram. (Matthew 6:33)
I also find it interesting that Abram, the father of faith, had plans and preparations to the extent that he had trained 318 men for war. I’m often approached by young men who want to establish themselves in a career as a firefighter.
“Pray for me, that such and such fire department will hire me,” they say. That’s a great request and I do pray for friends to be hired. But I often think that those young men should also be praying for God to bless their preparation and their education.
Faith doesn’t absolve us of our responsibility to prepare.
It’s our job to plan. It’s our job to prepare. And it’s also our job to be completely flexible to change the plan when the Holy Spirit directs us to. Dwight Eisenhower who planned the D-Day invasion, the largest invasion of its kind in history, once said:
Plans are nothing; planning is everything.
Finally we see here an opportunity presented to Abram. An opportunity to demonstrate Abram’s God given love for his nephew Lot. It might have been easy for Abram to say, “Well he made some questionable decisions. He decided to hang with the wrong crowd over there in Sodom and Gomorrah. He’s made his own bed and now he has to lie in it.” But instead, Abram seized the opportunity and, against staggering odds, pursued the forces that captured Lot until he was able to rescue him.
One of the biggest mistakes I ever made in my life occurred a number of years ago when a nephew of mine came down with appendicitis. He was in his early 20’s living out an adventure in Mexico at the time. The hospital refused to perform the surgery until he came up with the $3,000 for the operation. He asked for my help but in my heart I questioned whether or not the need was real. I felt that he had made some questionable decisions and I wondered if I would be truly helping if I sent the money. Now of course there are instances when someone is caught up in alcohol or drug abuse or gambling or some other addiction when it’s completely counter productive to help. But in this instance enabling wasn’t a factor. The need for an appendectomy was real. I blew it. Fortunately his older brother was able to send him the money and it turned out well.
Are you someone’s uncle? Someone’s youth sports coach? Someone’s supervisor? Someone’s father or mother? Be sensitive to the Holy Spirit as opportunities are presented. When the time comes, when you have the power to help someone close to you, seek the Lord then seize the opportunity!
When I was studying to lead my unit in the war, we were required to read an ancient story about a Chinese general named Wu Chi. One of Wu Chi’s soldiers was suffering from an abscess — Wu Chi himself cared for the wound even sucking out the infection. The soldier’s mother, hearing this, wailed and lamented. Somebody asked her, ‘Why do you cry? Your son is only a common soldier, and yet the commander-in-chief himself has sucked the poison from his sore.’ The woman responded, ‘Many years ago Lord Wu performed a similar service for my husband, who never left him afterwards… And now that he has done the same for my son, he too will follow Wu I know not where.’
As told by the Chaplain in Traveler and the Chaplain
Seize opportunities to help those close to you, in Jesus name, that they might be drawn to Him.