New2_Faith of Our Fathers_ABRAM–Pilgrimage, Our Journey With God
By Steven E. Daskal
Genesis 14:1-17 Abram again acts as a responsible and courageous leader towards Lot, despite their somewhat strained parting. Abram led out just over 300 men to engage the victorious armies of 4 kings [really city/tribe chieftains, but still probably substantially outnumbering Abraham’s little tribe]. The pursuit ranges over 100 miles — a considerable distance, even if all concerned were mounted.
Genesis 14:18-24 We see Abram as obedient, humble, & faithful in thanksgiving to the Lord. After his victory over the Aramean kings who had carried off Lot and his people, when Melkhizedek came out to him, he gave his tenth-part offering to God, and also claimed no part of the booty from the pagan kings, only the restoration of what was his prior to the attack. Why did Abram behave as if he were accountable to Melkhizedek? Why did Abram give such a substantial offering to him? It would seem that Melkhizedek was clearly a priest of the One God, and even though Abraham’s coalition partners were pagans, they were not astonished at what he did. [Read Psalm 110, esp v4]
Gen 15 The LORD’s promise reiterated for a 4th time (twice directly, once via Melkhizedek), now as a formal Near Eastern covenant, more explicitly defining both the land of promise and the people of promise. 15:6 “Abram believed the LORD, and He credited it to him as righteousness.” This is pivotal. It is repeated by Paul in Romans 4 and in the author of Hebrews in Hebrews 11.
Gen 16:1-6 Abram believes God’s promises, but still thinks he is obliged to do something himself. Working on that false premise, backed by Sumerian/Babylonian custom and law, Abram accepts Sarai’s traditional and well-intentioned but short-sighted and foolish offer. Abram rejected passivity in one sense, but like Adam with Eve, followed Sarai’s worldly suggestion, and then did not accept responsibility or lead courageously when friction arose between Sarai and Hagar, or between Ishmael and Isaac decades later.