Faithlife Sermons

Genesis 14

Genesis  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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What do you see?
Too often, we modern folk ask Genesis to answer modern questions, like how old is this water-covered ball that spins at 1000 mph in space while orbiting a nuclear-powered fireball?
But Genesis wasn’t written to us. It was written for us, but not to us. It was written to people asking ancient questions. What are those ancient questions?
The phrase “These are the generations of...” as an introduction is used 11 times in Genesis.
Before the Patriarchs: The need for a family of God
2:4 Heaven and earth
5:1 Adam’s line
6:9 Noah
10:1 Shem, Ham, and Japheth
11:10 Shem
The Patriarchs in the Promised Land: Establishing the family of God
11:27 Terah
25:12 Ishmael
25:19 Isaac
36:1 Esau
36:9 Esau
The Patriarchs in Egypt: Incubation for the Covenant People
37:2 Jacob
As we look, let’s ask ourselves . . . is this how we would tell this story?
Chapter 1: God arranges the furniture
Chapter 2: God puts the man in the garden and creates woman—man was incomplete without her
Chapter 3: Woman is “deceived”, both are disobedient. They experience adolescence. The serpent and the ground are cursed, but the man and the woman are not. God is merciful. God provides for his children as they leave the garden. The man names his wife “Eve”.
Chapter 4: God disapproves of Cain’s offering. Cain is emotional and has bad attitude. Cain kills Abel. Abel’s “blood cries out to me from the ground”. Cain is cursed and cannot work the land. Cain descendents develop culture, murder, and polygamy.
Chapter 5: The descendents of Seth (image of Adam) live a long time and died, except Enoch. Lamech thinks Noah will save him from the curse on the ground.
Chapter 6: Mankind multiplies and becomes corrupt (violent). God decrees a wet judgement. God warns Noah (“Rest”) and instructions on how to build and Ark.
Chapter 7: Entering the Ark and the Flood comes.
Chapter 8: God Remembered Noah
Chapter 9: A New Covenant
Chapter 10: The Table of Nations (map).
Remember that we are still answering ancient questions. “Why am I like this?”
Why am I a “Hebrew” since I don’t live in Hebron? Why is it promised?
This story (Genesis) is particularly about Israel. Our non-Israel questions won’t always get answered.
The Big Shift in Genesis
Genesis chapters 1-11 are “pre-history”. We aren’t going to get a satisfactory answer on dates and places.
Genesis chapters 12-50 are “history”. While difficult, we can begin to get good answers on dates and places. We don’t where Eden or Havilah were, but we do know a lot about Egypt, Hebron, the Negev desert, and most of the places in chapters 12-50. We know about things tribes like the Kenites, Perizzites, Amorites, Canaanites, and Jebusites. Well, I don’t personally know much, but you can get a book and read about the archeology and languages of these tribes.
Abraham conquered Abimelech’s men and captured Beersheba in the Negev desert. We know exactly where Beersheba is and the wells have been in constant use since ancient times. There is a McDonald's near the main one that Abraham probably used. Jacob’s Well is a big tourist site in Nablus, West Bank. It’s Palestinian Authority, so there’s no McDonald’s, unfortunately.
Genesis chapters 1-11 tells a story about God’s blessing and mankind’s rebellion. Over and over, God gives a blessing (like “be fruitful and multiply”) and mankind rebels (murder is the opposite of multiplying).
Most creation stories are focused on the particular tribe telling the story. But God’s creation is to fill the world. Chapters 1-11 are the story of how the world began to be filled.
In chapter 12 we switch to the tribe, the Hebrews, and the first man to live in Hebron… Abraham. God created a lot of families in chapters 1-11.
But now he is going to save the whole world from their rebellion through one family, Abraham’s.
The blessings of chapters 1-11 become promises in chapters 12-50. God blessed the first family to be fruitful and multiply, and they failed. Now in chapter 12, God promises to bless “all the peoples on earth” through Abraham’s family. God commands the Hebrews to bless all peoples in Exodus 19, but they fail. So at Christmas, God came to do it himself.
Chapters 12-50 show God overcoming obstacles to his promise. Infertility, deception, murder, slavery, etc. look like they will derail the promise of God to Abraham. *Spoiler* They don’t. God provides the means to overcome and keeps his promises.
Galatians 3:8 CSB
Now the Scripture saw in advance that God would justify the Gentiles by faith and proclaimed the gospel ahead of time to Abraham, saying, All the nations will be blessed through you.

The LORD said to Abram:

Go from your land,

your relatives,

and your father’s house

to the land that I will show you.

2 I will make you into a great nation,

I will bless you,

I will make your name great,

and you will be a blessing.

3 I will bless those who bless you,

I will curse anyone who treats you with contempt,

and all the peoples on earth

will be blessed through you.,

2 Peter 2:7–9 CSB
and if he rescued righteous Lot, distressed by the depraved behavior of the immoral (for as that righteous man lived among them day by day, his righteous soul was tormented by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)—then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment,
The word “Hebrew” might be derived from the name “Eber”, the son of Shem in Chapter 10.
Or, it could be derived from the place-name, “Hebron”.
Or, they both could be derived from “Eber”.
Or, it could be derived from “Hebri”, a Caananite word for refugee. But...
“Hebri” could be a corruption of “Hebrew”, because the “Hebrews” were “Hebri”.
Creator of Heaven and Earth
This title for God, said by Melchizedek and repeated by Abram, only occurs these two times in this chapter in the whole Bible. Because it is part of the Apostle’s Creed, we might expect it to be more frequent.
“Maker of heaven and earth” occurs in Psalm 115:15. God as “Creator” or “Maker” is much more frequent, but without the paired “heaven and earth”.
Do you have any relatives who have lived a very long time?
Would you be the good twin or the evil twin?
Do you ever feel like a background character in someone else’s story?
Is it hard to get out of your parents’ shadow?
Does God make mistakes?
Do you have a flood story?
How do you deal with unusual requests?
What if I told you it really was aliens in Genesis 6?
Have you ever had to live in a small space?
Would you ever go on Fear Factor?
When did you completely lose your patience?
When does God’s judgement feel real?
You haven’t heard the rest of the story. Is God going to save Noah?
Should God still be doing occasional floods?
Has God ever closed a door to keep you safe?
How did it feel when you were no longer lost?
Why were ancient peoples scared of eclipses?
Why do we have rules or laws? Do they do any good?
Are there natural laws that we take for granted?
How do you normally respond to good news?
Why is incest between adults such a taboo? How does it damage a family?
For what reasons would a parent disown or even curse their children or grandchildren?
Do some criminals deserve to get caught?
Is knowledge dangerous?
Would you live in a house that your kids built?
How do we talk about arrogance or conceit in our stories?
What do you do when the restaurant won’t split the check?
How does it feel to move far away?
Have you ever had a mission that was… um… impossible?
When you tell people about yourself, are there years that you skip over?
How does it feel to realize you’ve made a huge mistake?
Should you distance yourself from family feuds?
Are you nostalgic for your hometown?
What is life like for civilians in war?
What’s your dollar amount for helping your neighbor?
Have you ever found a believer in an unexpected place?
Have you ever been thankful to God at just the right time?

14 In those days King Amraphel of Shinar, King Arioch of Ellasar, King Chedorlaomer of Elam, and King Tidal of Goiim 2 waged war against King Bera of Sodom, King Birsha of Gomorrah, King Shinab of Admah, and King Shemeber of Zeboiim, as well as the king of Bela (that is, Zoar). 3 All of these came as allies to the Siddim Valley (that is, the Dead Sea).

They were subject to Chedorlaomer for twelve years, but in the thirteenth year they rebelled. 5 In the fourteenth year Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him came and defeated the Rephaim in Ashteroth-karnaim, the Zuzim in Ham, the Emim in Shaveh-kiriathaim, 6 and the Horites in the mountains of Seir, as far as El-paran by the wilderness. 7 Then they came back to invade En-mishpat (that is, Kadesh), and they defeated the whole territory of the Amalekites, as well as the Amorites who lived in Hazazon-tamar.

Then the king of Sodom, the king of Gomorrah, the king of Admah, the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar) went out and lined up for battle in the Siddim Valley 9 against King Chedorlaomer of Elam, King Tidal of Goiim, King Amraphel of Shinar, and King Arioch of Ellasar—four kings against five. 10 Now the Siddim Valley contained many asphalt pits, and as the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, some fell into them, but the rest fled to the mountains.

One of the survivors came and told Abram the Hebrew, who lived near the oaks belonging to Mamre the Amorite, the brother of Eshcol and the brother of Aner. They were bound by a treaty with Abram. 14 When Abram heard that his relative had been taken prisoner, he assembled his 318 trained men, born in his household, and they went in pursuit as far as Dan. 15 And he and his servants deployed against them by night, defeated them, and pursued them as far as Hobah to the north of Damascus. 16 He brought back all the goods and also his relative Lot and his goods, as well as the women and the other people.

After Abram returned from defeating Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom went out to meet him in the Shaveh Valley (that is, the King’s Valley). 18 Melchizedek, king of Salem,, brought out bread and wine; he was a priest to God Most High. 19 He blessed him and said:

Abram is blessed by God Most High,

Creator of heaven and earth,

20 and blessed be God Most High

who has handed over your enemies to you.

And Abram gave him a tenth of everything.

Then the king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me the people, but take the possessions for yourself.”

22 But Abram said to the king of Sodom, “I have raised my hand in an oath to the LORD, God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth, 23 that I will not take a thread or sandal strap or anything that belongs to you, so you can never say, ‘I made Abram rich.’ 24 I will take nothing except what the servants have eaten. But as for the share of the men who came with me—Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre—they can take their share.”

Genesis 12–50 Application Overview

In Genesis 13, we see God’s promises in action. The promises were reiterated in Gen 12 and Gen 13, but now God’s specific promise to “bless those who bless [Abram]” and curse those who mistreat Abram comes to the fore as battle rages (Gen 12:3). Against all odds, Abram sets out to reclaim a kinsman and boldly trusts Yahweh to protect him and help him right the wrong done to his family. Abram’s encounter with Melchizedek only reinforces his faith that Yahweh gave him this triumph, and his tithe to the priest of El Elyon serves as a practical testimony to Abram’s humble acknowledgement of his small, undeserved part in God’s larger plan.

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