Out of the Garden, part seventeen

We left off our study of Genesis looking at the moment when Abram and his nephew Lot parted ways. Lot chose to settle in a land that looked beautiful on the surface but had several issues beneath the surface. As we move into chapter 14, we see one of those issues manifesting, as war breaks out in the region. Lot unfortunately gets caught up in the situation, and he gets captured and everything he owns gets taken.

When I was preparing my notes for today’s bible blog, something came to mind as I read these verse. Don’t settle in a war zone. There wasn’t a war going on when Lot settled in the Jordan Valley region, but sometimes we catch a war zone between wars. A battlefield looks just like any other field the night before a battle. On Tuesday I told a story about taking a job promotion into a department that I knew had a reputation for being chaotic. We need to be smart about not taking up residence in war zones, even if those areas are between wars right now. This can include relationships and people, too.

That was just a little side thought I had that I wanted to share. Back to the story here, war broke out, and Lot’s been captured.

Genesis 14:13-14 But one of Lot’s men escaped and reported everything to Abram the Hebrew, who was living near the oak grove belonging to Mamre the Amorite. Mamre and his relatives, Eshcol and Aner, were Abram’s allies. 14 When Abram heard that his nephew Lot had been captured, he mobilized the 318 trained men who had been born into his household. Then he pursued Kedorlaomer’s army until he caught up with them at Dan.

I was really moved by this moment. Abram showed no hesitation whatsoever. When a member of the family has been taken captive, you move into action to help them. And I know that for most of us here in America, we’re likely not going to find ourselves in this type of a situation with a real war, but we see it spiritually all the time. I believe that there is no doubt that this verse also translates into spiritual situations. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen brothers and sisters in Christ “taken captive” by sin, pulled from their home in the faith and drawn into slavery to bad habits and dark influences. What do we do in those moments as their spiritual family? Sadly, if I’m just being real here, sometimes we gossip about those people. I work very hard not to be a part of that, and I work hard to shut it down if I hear it in my vicinity, but that’s what happens sometimes. Someone stops coming to church, or their light is visibly dimmer as they struggle with sin, and it becomes a subject of gossip. Other times, when our better nature is at the forefront, it becomes a rallying cry in prayer. We pray over the lost family member, asking God to help them and to guide them back “home” (to the church).

But I was convicted a little bit by Abram’s reaction. He didn’t sit around and grumble about how Lot’s bad decisions got him captured, and he didn’t even sit around and just pray about it. Abram gathered the fighters and he set off to rescue his captured family member. What does that look like when brought into this modern version of spiritual captivity that we’ve been discussing? It means actively trying to free the person. Reaching out to them, showing up where they are, encouraging them, speaking life into their situation, praying fervently over them, challenging them with the word of God to help them break free from whatever’s taken hold of them.

I love the Bible for a million reasons, but one of my top reasons is because it so beautifully displays for us the best practices for all avenues for life. It teaches us and guides us and acts as a blueprint for how to handle so many situations. And when our family members are taken captive, Abram shows us what to do about it. Everything else becomes secondary, our hearts should burn with the need to do all that we can to pull our family members back from the clutches of darkness.

We live in a time when it’s all too easy to fall into the temptations of sin and to give in to the ways of the world. Believers aren’t immune, and when a member of our spiritual family falls, we need to be racing to pick them back up. I want to know that if I ever take some wrong turns in life and fall captive to some sin or bad influence, my family of believers is going to come after me and do all they can to pull me back from the hands of the enemy. If I expect and hope for that to happen, I need to make sure that I’m doing the same for others.

Wanna know what happened with Abram as he went after Lot? If you remember, he took his men and caught up with the enemy. Then this happened.

Genesis 14:15-16 There he divided his men and attacked during the night. Kedorlaomer’s army fled, but Abram chased them as far as Hobah, north of Damascus. 16 Abram recovered all the goods that had been taken, and he brought back his nephew Lot with his possessions and all the women and other captives.

Abram’s willingness to rescue his nephew led to total victory, and not only did he free the one he set out to free, but he freed many others too. Don’t be surprised to see God work the same way in your own life. He loves to over-deliver the victory to His people!
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That’s it for this week! I love all of you and I hope you have a safe and relaxing weekend. As always, if you have prayer needs or just need to talk, my email is always open to you at freejenkins@gmail.com.

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