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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Crushing the Enemy, Part I

Sunday is the second Sunday of Easter, and one of the scriptures from the Lectionary resource uses 1 John 2:2.  The Message says we have a priest-Friend in the presence of the Father: Jesus Christ...I was considering this word, priest, and the first time priest is mentioned, linked to something holy, as in God, was in Genesis 14. Melchezidek, King of Salem was priest of the High God. In this chapter it also talks about the exploits of Abram, before he had his name changed by God to Abraham. He defeats Kedorlaomer, King of Elam. This was no small feat. King Kedorlaomer was an oppressive King and also had an alliance with King Amraphel, Arioch and Elam and the Tidal King of Goiim. They fought the King of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, and Bela. But in the thirteenth year, all these that had been attacked, came together and revolted against their attackers. Again, King Kedorlaomer and all those kings allied with him, defeated Repaim, Zuzim, Emim, the Horites,the  Amelekites and the Amorites.

Enough of this! And it says the King of Sodom, King of Gomorrah, King of Admah, King of Zeboiim, and King of Bela marched out and drew battle against their enemies in the valley of Siddim - it was against the great oppressor, King Kedorlaomer and his allies: Tidal King of Goiim, Amraphel King of Shinar and Arioch King of Ellasar.

But an interesting thing happened. This Valley of Siddim was full of tar pits, and it says when the Kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, they fell into the tar pits. I wonder why they fled? And all the possessions of Sodom and Gomorrah, all their food and equipment was confiscated or captured by their victors, King Kedorlaomer and his allies.

Now, Abram found out about the fighting and plundering by King Kedorlaomer and his allies from a fugitive who came to Abram with news that his nephew, Lot was taken prisoner. I don't think Abram even considered a diplomatic meeting with the captors to reason with them about the importance of this man, Lot, to Abram. Instead, he counted up those that were born in his household and it was a total of 318 servants - men servants. The Kings of Sodom and Gomorrah with all of their men fled before the King Kedorlaomer and his allies, so, was it a large army of fighters? Even so, Abram got up with his 318 men and chased his captors all the way to Dan. Abram was settled in Hebron which is approximately 120 miles south of Dan. If the 318 men could walk 40 miles per day that would be 3 days to Dan. But how did these men eat, and how/where did they rest? Maybe this is ambitious to think they could travel this far in such a short time, but it is interesting to think about them traveling such a distance, and all the while wondering how they were going to go up against an enemy who was I'm assuming, much bigger than they were. They were coming up against groups of Kings and their Kingdoms.

But Abram was a smart warrior. He split his men into two groups and attacked under the cover of night, chasing their enemy all the way to Hobah, just north of Damascus - about 35 miles. They had traveled more than 150 miles, attacked their enemy and recovered all the plunder, along with his nephew Lot, and his possessions, including the women and people.

When Abram returned, Melchizadek, King of Salem, priest of The High God, blessed him and brought out bread and wine. Melchizadek recognized that God was with Abram. He was a mighty warrior. He conquered all the heathen kings as well as priestly kings. He was completely successful. Not one of Abram's men or allies was lost and the spoils and prisoners recaptured. Bible commentators have said great generals have adopted his tactics - Themistocles of Greece, having persuaded Athens to build a navy which went on to defeat Persia, Belisarius, a Byzantine general who led Imperial armies against Persia, N. Africa and the barbarian tribes encroaching upon Constantinople, Oliver Cromwell, who was convinced that he would be guided to carry out God's purpose, ended war with Portugal, Holland and defeated Spain with his Calvary known as 'ironsides', and even to our own generals, Stonewall, Jackson and Sherman.

Abram has quite a resume if you will an incredible track record, defeating the enemy. But I am constrained to think that there was something to this living in and for the Kingdom of God that is much more precious and stirring to God than the crushing of our enemies.


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