‘Hello, I'm Abram. Last time I told you how me and my wife Sara had left our hometown and come to live in this beautiful land of Canaan. (P) Yes, I'd made some pretty big mistakes along the way. I'd stopped trusting God when there was a famine. I'd thought I could deal with it myself by going down to Egypt. But that wasn’t what God’d wanted, and when I’d started to tell lies about Sara being my sister and not my wife, I’d almost lost her to King Pharaoh. It was only when God stepped in to help that I got Sara back - even then we were still all kicked out of Egypt - and I came back to Canaan like a dog with its tail between its legs!'
‘But I’d learnt from my mistake. I’d apologised to God and, although I didn't deserve it, He’d forgiven me. However, it wasn't long before I had to face another test. And this time I was determined to do the right thing and trust God.’
‘We were back in Canaan with my nephew Lot. The Lord had really looked after us, and He’d given us lots of animals, wealth and servants, but between us we had too many animals for the land to support. And this led to fights between our shepherds. I couldn't let it carry on - so I called Lot over for a chat.’
'Come on Lot,’ I said. ‘We need to talk about this. We can't allow this fighting to continue. - I think I have a solution.
‘We can't share the same land, as there’re too many animals, so my proposal is this. You choose where you’d like to go. If you choose to go to the right, then I'll go left. If you choose left, then I'll go right.'
‘Lot was a smart man, but he hadn't learnt from the mistakes Sara and I’d made. He didn't ask God where He wanted him to go! With his own thinking, and without talking to God, he made a decision that later - he was to bitterly regret. (P) Lot looked around and saw a beautiful river valley with more than enough pasture for all his animals, and decided to go there. - But unfortunately, in that river valley were some cities that were filled with people who were very wicked. Lot saw how evil the people were, and the way they behaved upset him. (P) At first he pitched his tents in the valley a little bit away from the evil cities. But as time went by, his tents moved closer and closer until the day came when Lot and his family actually ended up living in one of those wicked cities.’ (PAUSE)
‘After Lot had gone, God spoke to me again.’
GOD 'Abram, look around at this land. This is the land I'm going to give to you and your descendants forever. You will have so many descendants that, just like the grains of dust that cover the earth, no one will be able to count them. Take a walk through this land and see what I'm giving you.'
‘I did what God said, and moved to another area, but all the time I was thinking about that word - 'descendants'. God was promising us ‘descendants’ and yet here we were in our old age without any children at all! (P) But even so, I knew one thing for sure, if anyone’s able to keep their promises, it’s God. So I carried on trusting Him.’ (PAUSE)
‘However, all was not well with Lot. There were stories of war and rebellion. For 13 years the city where Lot lived had been ruled over by a foreign king, King Kedorlaomer. But the people of that city, along with four other cities, had rebelled against this king. Within a year Kedorlaomer and his allies came to put the rebellion down. The two armies met in the beautiful river valley, while Lot and those not involved in the fighting waited for news.’
‘But the news, when it came, made even the strongest man shake with fear. It’d been a rout! Kedorlaomer was far stronger than the rebellious army. The soldiers from Lot’s town and the other four towns were so badly beaten, they’d turned and run without even looking where they were going. The valley where they were fighting had lots of tar pits in it and, as the frightened soldiers ran for their lives, quite a few of them slipped to their deaths in the tar pits. The rest ran to the mountains and hid.’
‘Kedorlaomer and his army were overjoyed at their victory, and they marched to the cities that’d rebelled against them and took everything they could get their hands on. Food, clothes, animals, money, and people – if it could be moved, they took it. And then, loaded down with their bounty, they started on their long journey home.’
‘Lot had been in one of those cities. And as the army of Kedorlaomer came through, taking everything they could lay their hands on, they also took Lot and all his possessions with them. Lot was going to become a slave. And surely no one’d try and save him now, not after Kedorlaomer had shown how dangerous he was.’ (PAUSE)
‘A short while later, while I was sitting with a friend, I saw a scruffy little man running towards me. As I stood up to see what the man wanted, he ran right up to me, and after catching his breath, he spluttered out his news.’
‘Mr Abram sir. Your nephew, Mr Lot, he’s been captured! King Kedorlaomer came and ransacked the city and took everything, including Mr Lot.’ (P)
‘Well, I knew at once what I had to do. I had to trust God for help and go and rescue Lot. I called together all the men of my household, 318 in all, you know, including servants, shepherds and everybody. And I armed each one of them and set out after Kedorlaomer.’
‘Now, Kedorlaomer and his army couldn’t move very quickly with all the animals and treasure they’d stolen from the cities. So within just a few short days, I caught up with them in the north of Canaan.’ (P)
‘As I spied out the situation, it was obvious Kedorlaomer’s army was far too strong for my 318 men to attack during the day. So we waited until the darkest part of the night before we launched our attack.’
‘Kedorlaomer didn’t know what hit him. In the middle of the night - screaming warriors raced at him, sounding like thousands of fighting men. He and his army were terrified and ran for their lives with me and my men in hot pursuit. Then when we’d seen off Kedorlaomer once and for all, I recovered everything Kedorlaomer and his army had taken, the goods, the people and especially Lot and his possessions and set off back home.’ (PAUSE)
‘Now here’s an interesting thing. As I returned from our victory, a man named Melchizedek, who was the King of the city Salem, and also a priest of the Most High God, brought us some bread and wine. And Melchizedek blessed me in the name of God Most High and I gave him a tenth of all the goods I'd recovered.’
‘But as for the man in charge of the evil city Lot lived in, I wouldn’t accept anything from him. He offered to allow me to keep all the good I’d recovered from Kedorlaomer, but I refused. (P) You see, I want everyone to know that it’s God who looks after me, Abram, and that I don’t need help from anyone else, least of all such an evil man as him.’