(Re-posted from Comfort-Cafe.net, March 2018)
Now Abram was living near the great trees of Mamre the Amorite . . . When Abram heard that his relative [Lot] 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 . . . He recovered all the goods and brought back his relative Lot and his possessions, together with the women and the other people…..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 . . . ” (Genesis 14:13-16, 21-24)
There is a lesson here we often overlook because this is the story where Abram pays a tenth tithe to Melchizedek, a type of Christ. However, I want us to notice something more down to earth. Genesis tells us that “the men of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the Lord” (13:13). Abram’s refusal to take the plunder kept him from an alliance with a wicked leader and prevented a potentially compromised walk with God. For one, he most certainly would have been obligated to fight in the king’s future wars if called upon.
Choose Alliances Wisely
Abram’s story brings to mind the New Testament warning, “Do not be unequally yoked.” It wasn’t that Abram did not have allies—Mamre the Amorite, Eshkol, and Aner helped him in this battle. However, he wisely refused an alliance with wickedness.
How does this story apply to us? It’s good to take inventory and ask, “In what ways might I be tempted to obligate myself and compromise my walk with Christ?” What about an outstanding performance at work where the rewards offered would compromise your integrity if accepted? Borrowing money from family or friends also has the potential to place you in an obligated position, sometimes in subtle ways. Accepting invitations to events or accepting services where reciprocation is expected is another area to consider.
Moral of the Story
If Abram were here to advise us I think he would say, Be your own man. Avoid attachments that tempt compromise so that you remain free to always put God first.
Lord, “let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles . . . ” (Hebrews 12:1). Amen.