April 1, 2021 — Abram’s Little Army

You may not picture yourself as a soldier, but every Christian is in the heat of the battle. But look! There’s our Commander!

In Genesis 14, four marauding kings had brought their armies down from the north and had plundered the cities of the plain, including Lot and his family from Sodom. Only one man had escaped. At that time there were many city-states in the region, with standing armies, but to none of them did the escapee turn for help. Why? It seems he realized that this was a job for God—the true God. And so he went to Abram at Mamre. The patriarch was wealthy, and we read he had “three hundred and eighteen trained servants” (v 14) in his employ. That’s a very large household—but a very small army! A victory over these four substantial armies would definitely put it in the miracle category. So with his armed posse, Abram headed north. We read they “went in pursuit as far as Dan.” Dan was the current name of the ancient city of Laish, where today, amazingly, you can see the still-standing brick gate of the city that dates to Abram’s time. The northernmost town in Canaan, it sits on the southern flank of the snow-capped Mount Hermon. Traveling through the night over rough terrain, and fording several rivers, they then cut through the mountains and caught the armies and their captives sleeping. Using a pincer movement, we read, “He divided his forces against them by night, and he and his servants attacked them and pursued them as far as Hobah, which is north of Damascus” (v 15). Amazing! From Hebron to the Syrian capital is a 160-mile journey one way. That’s a lot of ups and downs on a donkey or camel. So how did it turn out? Total victory! All the goods and all the people were safely restored. So in our daily struggles, how good it is to recall the words of Romans 8:31, “If God is for us, who can be against us?”