【Bible Study】Genesis 14: God Made Abram’s Name Great

Pastor Samuel Sharing

Brother William Sharing

Bible Study: Genesis



Today we are going to study Genesis chapter 14. This is an interesting chapter. After Lot left his uncle, Abram, Lot moved to Sodom and was taken by the four kings. At the beginning of this chapter, it was the story of the four kings who defeated the five kings. Then, Abram defeated the four kings.
From this chapter, we can see Abram is very powerful. We see how powerful a person can be when he has God’s blessing. This chapter is not about Lot but is about Abram.

Few church members tried to find the main topic of this chapter, and I listed their guesses below.

  • God helps those who trust him.
  • God’s blessing is more important than wealth.
  • Abram is a faithful man and God helps him.
  • God will protect those with his blessing.
  • God’s blessing is everything.

Name represents a lot of things

I will say, the main topic of this chapter is, God made Abram’s name great. If we look at Chapter 12, God said,
>“I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.” (Genesis 12:2 NIV)

God made Abram’s name great. Your name represents a lot of things. When people heard the name of Abram, they said, “Wow! This guy is very powerful”. Abram leaded 318 trained men, who were born in his household. He got 318 people and trained them himself. These 318 people defeated the four kings, who defeated the five kings. At that time, everybody who heard the story about Abram, saw this man was so great. That’s how he got his name and how he became very famous in the region, from Damascus, Cannon, to Sodom. Everyone knew this guy, he made a name.

The brand name is very important

The brand name is very important. Later, I will tell you how Abram made the name out. If you want to make a name out, you need to know that the number one name came from fighting. If you are a really good martial arts master or you are a boxer, you defeated everyone and become the champion, then you made your name. Remember, the name is very important! If you want to establish a brand name, your name is very crucial. When you drink a can of Coca-Cola, do you ever worry about getting poisoned or if it is polluted? No! Because Coca-Cola already made the name out, and the Coca-Cola brand name is worth billions of dollars. So the name is very important.

But, why do we trust the name? Actually, we don't know why we trust the name. Coca-Cola is a good quality soft drink and has made a good reputation. There are a few other examples, like Swiss-made watches and Japanese cars, they got a good reputation. Abram, he made a name. Today, if you want to register a brand name called Abram, you will find that is very difficult, as it is probably already registered. Abram is a great name, and who made him great? That is God! God made his name great.

Different decision, different result

When you see an opportunity, whether you are daring or not, or you want to take the risk or not; your decision will result in a very different ending. You are the one who can decide to snap the opportunity or let the opportunity slip through.

Lot made a wrong decision

Lot made a wrong choice, it was a lousy choice. He looked at the land of Gomorrah. The soil is very rich there, and it can grow anything. The couple, Lot and his wife, pitched the tent near to Gomorrah. I will discuss his wife in the future chapter, I guess his wife is the mastermind of everything. They invested the property in Gomorrah. Then, Gomorrah became stronger and the king did not want to pay tax anymore. The king wanted to get free from the king of Kedorlaomer. After she refused to pay tax, king Kedorlaomer and the kings allied with him came to attack the king of Sodom. King Sodom allied with the other four kings, so altogether there are five kings. However, they were defeated. This was a very interesting story, the four kings defeated the five kings.

Life doesn't go by the number of kings. Even you have five kings, you can be defeated. Then, these four kings, king Kedorlaomer took all the possessions which belonged to the five kings. At the same time, he took away Abram’s nephew, Lot, Lot’s wife, his possessions, and all other women. If it was not Abram, who defeated king Kedorlaomer and took everything back, Lot and his wife would become a slave.

Abram made a great decision

One of Lot’s men who had escaped came and reported this to Abram the Hebrew. This is not a simple decision, but on that day, Abram made a great decision. He snapped and caught this opportunity. This was an opportunity to make his name great. It was not that he made his name great, but God made his name great. This was the opportunity, but at the same time, it was a tough decision. Who are you? You only have 318 men. How can you attack the four kings? With only 318 men, and you want to defeat the four kings? Oh my God! Did you ever think that you may not able to return home? It might be a total loss. There are many risks. If you calculate the risk, what do you do? Abram made a great decision. He took the chance and fought.

Can you imagine a person who has a lot of fear? Can you imagine a person who evaluates the risk carefully? Can you imagine a very calculative person and think about this unfilial child, Lot? Why should I rescue him? This child did not even feel grateful for my effort, and he was a very selfish guy, and his wife was even worse. He got no destiny, and together with his wife, they were just trying to accumulate wealth on the earth. Then, who am I? I'm Abram. Why should I rescue him?

Deep in Abram’s heart, he might have asked: “Why should I rescue Lot?” Most likely, Abram did a “hazard and risk assessment”: is the chance of losing my life high or low, or can I afford the loss from this action of rescue. What is in the mind of this great man named Abram? He would have thought: I have God’s blessing; I rely on my Almighty Lord to fight the enemies, and never rely on my capability and resources; It is my Almighty God who will grant victory to me; what I need to do is to fight a good fight, and God will render defeat and humiliation for the enemies.

Have sympathy and become blessing to other people

One thing Christians should think about: will there be a victory without a battle? The answer is no. When Abram heard that his brother’s son Lot was taken captive, if Abram never fought back to rescue his nephew Lot, apparently Abram would have a bad name among those people who were aquatinted with Abram. It is very likely that people who knew about Abram might have said: this old man who is rich and is capable of rescuing his nephew, but he’s reluctant to help or he may not be willing to help his only nephew at all; what a cold-blooded uncle Abram is; Abram is a coward and would not dare to confront the kings who took Lot, etc.

What would you think of Abram if he never decided to fight against enemies and rescue Lot? Will you think Abram is more or less an old rich man who lacks sympathy towards a close relative? If someone lacks sympathy towards family members, how would they become blessings to other people or other nations?

Abram would recall what God had promised him in Genesis Chapter 12. Abram trusted in God and he also believed that he is God’s chosen man to bring blessing to the world. He knew that he would never lose his life in this war, as Almighty God is with him all the time. Furthermore, this is a great opportunity that God will make his name great. Now Abram decided to fight a good fight.

Being a responsible person and relying on our Lord

>“When Abram heard that his relative had been taken captive, he called out the 318 trained men born in his household and went in pursuit as far as Dan. During the night Abram divided his men to attack them and he routed them, pursuing them as far as Hobah, north of Damascus. He recovered all the goods and brought back his relative Lot and his possessions, together with the women and the other people.” (Genesis 14:14-16 NIV)

Abram won the battle. He defeated the four kings who had formed a coalition. Hence, Abram became the number one in the area reigned by those four kings. People living in those areas all heard about the name of Abram. From this battle, the result is well-aligned with what God had promised Abram in Genesis 12. God had made Abram’s name great, at least in the area where Abram lived and in the area during the reigns of those four kings.

Some people might ask: “will there be some people who are truculent and want to irritate Abram and even want to start a fight with Abram?” Yes, it is possible, as ferocious people are everywhere. But Abram is a wise man. He knows what is important, and what is not important. He is not a savage type of person. He is the man who trusts in the Lord and walks with God. Abram is a wise and diligent man. He knows his duties and he knew what he needed to do. 318 trained men born in his household tells us that Abram was not only a wealthy slaveholder but also a diligent and smart manager. When there is a need, he can raise 318 fighting men as an army. Have you ever thought about what if Abram never trained his men born in his household? Would he be able to defeat four kings? The chance will be slim. Then people often think Abram relied on his own well-trained men to defeat four kings and did not rely on God.

One thing I want to point out is relying on God does not mean we act irresponsibly, foolishly. If you developed an attitude of being passive and finishing every duty lousily in your life, I would say that is not the way to trust in the Lord.Abram had faith in God, hence he knew what his responsibilities are and what kind of person he needed to be: lazy versus diligent, responsible versus irresponsible, mercy versus cold-blooded, etc.

God made Abram's name great

From the description of this chapter, we can see that Abram was not only a good mentor who trains people well, but also a person who knows how to develop good relationships with locals.

“After Abram returned from defeating Kedorlaomer and the kings allied with him, the king of Sodom came out to meet him in the Valley of Shaveh.” (Genesis 14:17 NIV)

Apparently, if Abram was someone who never knows how to build healthy connections with people, he would never have allies to get involved in the war. Do you think those kings who allied with Abram worship our Lord? No, they worshiped idols. Today, have you encountered Christians saying that they don’t want to deal with non-Christians, or they don’t want to have anything to do with non-Christians? Building a healthy relationship with other people is not much to do with what type of God they follow. As wise people, we should know that we have to learn how to interact with different types of people.

Abram always has faith in our Lord, and he did what he needed to finish, such as training his men, interacting with local people and kings. He always had mercy on Lot and got involved in the battle to rescue him. Consequently, our Lord rendered Abram a big victory.

What happened after Abram defeated those four kings? Melchizedek king of Salem presented. Melchizedek who was the priest of God Most Hight even brought out bread and wine, and he blessed Abram in front of everyone.

'Blessed be Abram by God Most High,
Creator of heaven and earth.
And praise be to God Most High,
who delivered your enemies into your hand.’(Genesis 14:19-20 NIV)

With these few sentences, Abram’s name was spread all over the place and everybody knew him. Now, Abram, the name was made even greater, even greater.

Build a good name when you are young

After you read these, do you care about your name? Do you want to build a good name or good credit for yourself? ? Some young people that I know of, don’t care about their names. Therefore, they don’t care about their responsibilities. As young people, we need to be careful. Once a bad name has been made, it may bring bad consequences to you. It will be wise to make a good name for yourself, commonly we call this “a good record”. If your name is a thief or a lazy bum, I don’t think it is good for you. Therefore, we would better build a good name, such as a diligent young man, an honest person, etc. Are you a good co-worker? Do you do your due diligence to be a good student? I think God will bless those people who are diligently building their names and care about their names. And then God will use these people to make a great announcement and use these people as a golden vessel to bless others. God will deliver enemies into your hands.

Abram’s reputation has a nuclear effect

Now, who dares to fight? Apparently, Abram dared to fight against enemies, but probably not many people even dare to think about fighting against him. When the other four kings were defeated, they went back to their place. Are they going to train up the army again then come back to attack Abram? Probably yes! But every time they thought about Abram, they would know God will deliver the enemy to his hand, why am I going to fight with him? What am I going to do to defeat him? This is a great man. When people heard of the name of Abram, their hearts melted.

It sounds like nuclear power. If you irritate the person in control, he will just launch the missile with nuclear power, everything goes up. This weapon is not to be used but only to make people fear being launched one day. Therefore, don't irritate this person, don't come to attack him.

Therefore, such a nuclear power effect of a magic is his name- Abram! He had a great reputation and was very well-known in the region. The reputation might have also spread to his hometown Harran, his father was proud of his son. A lot of people knew he had built up his reputation and it was way more famous than you and I would have ever imagined.

Some people may be aware that it’s the first time they hear this interpretation, but it's a little bit different from the Chinese version. This is because I have grown wiser and wiser at understanding. The reason why I talk about God made Abram's name great is because the last paragraph is also aligned with this topic.

God made Abram rich

It came to the time when he took everything back. The king of Sodom and the king of Gomorrah, who fled and were not caught by the four kings, came to meet Abram because they heard the news that Abram took back all the wealth.

The king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me the people and keep the goods for yourself.” (Genesis 14:21 NIV)

But Abram cared about his name more than the wealth. So had said to the king of Sodom:

“With raised hand I have sworn an oath to the LORD, God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth, that I will accept nothing belonging to you, not even a thread or the strap of a sandal, so that you will never be able to say, ‘I made Abram rich.’ I will accept nothing." (Genesis 14:22-24 NIV)

Can you see the character of Abram? What a powerful man. He built up a name of not being a greedy person who was looking at wealth. He’d rather not take anything from them. He did not want the others to accuse him of building the fortune based upon what he took from those people.

Actually , the king of Sodom and the king of Gomorrah never wanted to leave a thing to Abram. It is probably just because Abram defeated the four kings and took back all their possessions. By rules, the winner would take it all. Therefore, Abram was supposed to take all of the wealth but he did not. He made it crystal clear that he would not even take a thread or a strap of a sandal. It was God who made him rich.

We need to build a good reputation

A lot of people say: I trust the Lord. However, when it comes down to the bottom of things, they trust the money. Do you really have trust in the Lord? Do you know that the Lord will make your name great? Money is trivial compared to names. When you have a good name, money becomes small. A lot of people do not understand how important the name is.

While we are young, we'd better be very careful about your name. If you are a stingy person, as well as very calculating and greedy, you will not give people a good impression of you, your relationship with people will become worthless.

Just as when we were in school, our classmates will know what kind of people we are. We either have a great reputation or a lousy one. This is not because of what we have done but what is in our heart. What is in your heart plays a crucial role. If you trust the Lord in your heart, He will make your name great, you will have a better image in your region, in the place of people around you, like Abram.

This is the story that God is trying to make Abram's name great and no one dares to attack Abram in the future. Not many people dare to come to attack because of the protection from Almighty God.At that time, everyone knew him and no one could ever defeat him as he got the blessing from Almighty God, the Most High, the creator of Heaven and Earth, and God is with him.

318 men could take down four kings, they must be extremely powerful. This is not because of the people, it's God's protection and no one dared to challenge Abram.

Being a person who gives

That's how he survived in that piece of land. As that region was probably full of violence, he could be under attack at any second, his wife might be taken away in broad daylight. Do you think Abram's son Isaac and grandson Jacob had protection from other places? No! The protection came from Almighty God.

Those who bless them will be blessed, those who curse them will be cursed, whoever comes to attack will be attacked. This is how powerful God's blessing is.

What do you want to do when facing such a situation that the nephew Lot was taken away? Abram made a good choice to go and rescue his nephew regardless of whether Lot was grateful or not. It was none of his concern. He spent a lot of effort training his people day in day out, at the age of 70 or 80, he trained with his people and was ready for any challenges coming up in his life. That's why he was a very powerful man.

Will you be tempted when you see a lot of valuable things that you completely forget about your reputation? When you deal with the people around you, I would like to encourage all of you to have such a kind heart - sympathy. Sympathize the people who live in misery, even if they are selfish. Do you want to give? Then give them grace, like the great man Abram.

Thank you for spending time with me! I would like to encourage all of you to learn from the great man Abram. He is the example of having trust in the Lord. He did not depend on his own wisdom, his own understanding but he put everything in God's hands, and God made his path straight.

God bless!

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