Honesty uprightness and integrity should be the mark of a believer’s life whether in secular or the Lord’s business. The continuation of the narrative gives the indication that Abram lived in the land in comparative peace and security for some years until that calm was severely broken.
HISTORICAL BACKGROUND (The Genesis Record pp 311-316) “The calm was broken, and broken severely, as a great northeastern confederation of kings swept through the land, devastating everything in their path. The confederacy consisted of the kings of Shinar (Babylonia), Ellasar (the leading tribe in southern Babylonia), Elam (the original kingdom of Persia), and Goiim (translated “nations”, but probably a tribe of northeastern Babylonia). This confederacy had come earlier into the region and had placed the local kings under tribute. These included the five city-states of the Jordanian plain and southern Dead Sea area: Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboim, and Zoar. After the cities of the plain had been under tribute for twelve years, “in the thirteenth year they rebelled” (v4). The result of this ill-considered rebellion was that it precipitated Chedorlaomer’s destructive invasion. Apparently, he not only directed his bitterness against the Jordanian cities, but against all others in the region. After thus routing all who might stand in their way ….. Chedorlaomer’s armies then gathered up all the possessions of the vanquished cities, including the women and children and servants, as well as many captured soldiers, and headed north again. Unfortunately, they also took Lot and his family. In spite of his carnality, Lot was a “righteous man” ; so God would not allow Lot to be carried off by Chedorlaomer”.
After hearing of the fate of his nephew, Abram gathers his trained servants and went in pursuit, routing them and “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 comes to meet Abram and to express his gratitude says to Abram “Give me the people and keep the goods for yourself”, . It would have been very much Abram’s right to accept this offer, but this would have set a precedence for Abram and he preferred to please God rather than the king of Sodom; “that I will accept nothing belonging to you, not even a thread or the thong of a sandal, so that you will never be able to say, ‘I made Abram rich.'”
Abram knew that the people he lived among in the land were an ungodly people, and especially the people of Sodom. Accepting the king’s offer would have made Abram a partner with the ungodly. Thus for us as believers the lesson to be learned is that there are legitimate situations and things that this world’s system, our jobs and other individuals, have to offer us; but we must be careful of the precedence that we set for ourselves in accepting; we must consider the source very carefully . We must be able to lift the helpless from the filth and grime of the gutters of life without getting ourselves dirty.
The tough experiences of Egypt were now influencing Abram’s decisions; no longer was he going to be made rich by gifts received from idolaters. He was now fully aware that he did not need to be rich in this world’s goods.
May we as believers learn the same lesson.