Austin, Illinois. Photo by Steve McIlrath, 2015
Intro. This is the next in the series of stories with Abram (Abraham) and his nephew Lot. These are real historical figures that lived and died. Moses recounts this history for the people of Israel and it is written down.
The big idea: By way of contrast, Moses sets before God’s people an exemplary character that will ultimately be fulfilled in Christ.
I. The setting. Vs 1-12
Lot lives now in Sodom since he chose this land over his uncle.
Lot lives among them at first but later in Genesis he is in with the Sodomites. It is a story of downward spiral for Lot and his live as he becomes more imbedded into the Sodomites culture of immorality and materialism. Ironically Lot picked this land to multiply his flock and have more stuff that he already has. He has been taken captive sometime after he parts company with his uncle Abraham. Now he has lost all his precious stuff and is held captive.
II. The solution to Lot’s problem. Vs 13-16.
Abraham and his 318 men go rescue people not livestock or stuff among a juggernaut size of an enemy who holds his nephew captive.
At great risk and great cost to himself he goes to rescue Lot. It is important to note from the text that Lot cannot rescue himself nor is he deserving to be rescued. Admit it: he is a punk. But he is the recipient of this generous rescue by Abraham.
We think we see ourselves as the hero of the stories as we read the Bible. We think we are more like Abraham who rescues. However, we are Lot. We have more in common with him than Abraham if we are honest. The Bible says we are dead in our sins with no ability to save ourselves.
Therefore, Abraham points us to Christ. While we were yet sinners, Christ died of us.
III. The first contrast: Abraham and Lot.
Look how often and where the words “possession” and “livestock” etc. are used. Lot is continually concerned about his stuff. He does not particularly care about the women in his clan but more about his stuff.
In contrast, Abraham beats the other armies and deserves their stuff as spoils of war but does not take it. Abraham is about rescuing a people not getting stuff like Lot does.
VI. The second contrast: King of Sodom and King of Salem.
The King of Sodom says “give me.” He needs a people that Abraham now freed and demands them – he need people to be subjects if he is to be a great king. Give me. These are selfish demands.
The King of Salem in contrast says “let’s worship the One who has really defeated the enemies here.” He issues a blessing.
We are all serving a king. Which king do you want to serve? Will you serve the one who has selfish demands or serve the One who bestows blessing?
V. The Priest-King who is greater than Father Abraham. Hebrews 4:14-5:10
Melchizadek is the King of Salem who was a priest of the most high God. After this battle it is to Melchizedek that Abraham gives a tithe from the victories and receives a blessing.
There are two ways that Melchizadek points to Christ:
A. The greater blesses the lesser and receives a tithe from him. 14:19-20
Why is Melchizadek greater than Abraham? Abraham gave him a tithe. We don’t tithe to God and say we are greater than him.
B. Both Priest and King. Vs 14:18.
The offices of priest and king could not be combined in the Old Testament. But here we have a unique priest-king in Melchizadek that prefigures Christ. Like Melchizadek, Christ is the king who is the priest, but not a priest in Aaron’s blood line but in the likeness of Melchizadek.
Notice who does not say a word when it is over: Lot. He gets his stuff back and there is no recorded thank you. Why is this? He is not even like the prodigal son who repents and returns to his father in the parable that Jesus speaks. No, Lot goes back to his stuff. The next time we see him he is at the gate of Sodom which signifies he is in a position of leadership and power in this wicked city that he returns to. He has not learned his lesson nor has he changed.
We do that like Lot. We see Christ rescuing us at great expense to himself and then return to the mire of our sin.
The writer of Hebrews says that king Melchizadek is both a king of righteousness and the king of peace. Melchizedek prefigured Christ. That is what we celebrate at the Lord’s Supper.
Like Melchizadek does in Genesis, Christ sets before us bread and wine – at great expense to himself Christ brings us ultimate righteousness and peace and blesses us whom he has rescued selfishly like Abraham did Lot.