I think it’s safe to say that we all have or will face difficult decisions at some point. More often than not, when difficult decisions arise, we must face the consequences of those decisions in some way or another. As we prepare to end another year, we can look back and see a number of decisions that we made and the consequences that were left in their wake. In Genesis 14 Abram faced a decision that could have drastically altered his wealth, tribe, and future.
From previous chapters of Genesis, we know that Lot, Abram’s nephew, settled near the Jordan River because it had a wealth of resources. However, because of those resources, it attracted other people and kings as well. Abram got word that his nephew had been taken captive by four Asian kings, who likely sought control of the river for trade purposes and power. In response to this news, Abram gathered 318 of his trained men, and he left on a mission to find his people. He did just that. He and his men attacked during the night, and “he brought back all the goods and also his relative Lot and his goods, as well as the women and the other people [that were taken]” (Genesis 14:16).
When the group returned, Abram met the Kings of Sodom and Salem in the Valley of Shaveh (King’s Valley). There he was blessed by the king of Salem, Melchizedek. When Melchizedek blessed Abram, he offered praise saying that God Most High handed Abram’s enemies over to him. He gave glory to God for the victory.
Afterwards, the king of Sodom offered all the possessions they had retrieved from the battle to Abram, but he declined. “...Abram said to the king of Sodom, ‘I have raised my hand in an oath to Yahweh, God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth, 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” (Genesis 14:22-23).
How tempting must that have been for Abram? These possessions likely included objects as well as livestock. Taking the recaptured possessions would have made him even more wealthy than he already was, yet, he declined. He chose to take the route that would offer more glory to God. He chose to put his own desires, wants, or needs behind him, and he chose to trust that God would continue to provide.
He trusted that God’s promise in Genesis 12: “...I will make you into a great nation, I will bless you, I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, I will curse those who treat you with contempt, and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you” (12:1-3) would stand true. Abram stood content.
Are we standing content with where we are in terms of materialistic things? Christmas is right around the corner, and we can make decisions that align with contentment or that grab for more that we’ll have to pay for later. As a culture, we paganize much of Christmas. I’m guilty of it too. But the only thing that can truly make us content is knowing where our hope comes from. Our hope doesn’t come from the latest tech gadget or newest piece of clothing. Our hope comes from a Savior, born of a virgin. Our hope comes from Immanuel, God is with us. Our hope comes from the Living Well that never runs dry. Our hope comes from Jesus.
“Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. According to His great mercy, He has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3).
He is our hope, our contentment, and our place of peace.
As we approach this Christmas, my prayer is that we all find contentment in Jesus, our one true God, who offers us the eternal gift of life. “For we are saved by grace through faith, that is not from ourselves; It is God’s gift” (Ephesians 2:8).