Abram and his family get out of Egypt (barely), and now find there is both a conservation issue and a personal boundaries problem—the land cannot support both Abram and Lot’s herds and the herdsman are disputing.
So Lot gets first dibs and settles in the Jordan Valley, while Abram heads for Canaan. A new start with a
promising future is met by a war that involves just about every kingdom in the vicinity. Lot’s possessions become the plunder of an invading army and he and his people are carried off.
But someone escapes and tells Abram of his nephew’s capture. With 318 men, Abram attacks Chedorlaomer, defeats him, rescues Lot and his family, and restores his possessions. This in and of itself is an incredible story of God’s redeeming his people, making a way where there seems no way. They had only known hardship in their travels and Egypt was no picnic (though they became wealthy there). But now it seemed all would be well as they settled into life around the Jordan River. Just when Lot was able to relax, the armies came upon him and took everything. Abram, hearing of his distress, came quickly, routed the enemy, and restored Lot.
A wonderful story for boys at bedtime, but there is a lot going on here. Lot’s choice of Sodom (lush and fertile) over Canaan (the site of the first altar that Abram built to the Lord) is indicative of Lot’s struggle with choosing worldly security over seeking the Lord. Nonetheless, in the midst of his trouble, Abram comes to his rescue. He does not say, ‘Well, Lot got himself into this problem, let him get himself out.’ No, he immediately gathers his forces and not only rescues Lot, but also restores his fortunes. This is the same response God has for us: that though we were yet sinners, Christ died for us, the ungodly (Romans 5:8).
Following Lot’s rescue, Abram encounters Melchizedek. Any reader would serve themselves well to read more about this individual; there is no shortage of commentary about this remarkable personage. Suffice it to say, Melchizedek is a type of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is a king and a priest where mercy and truth have met one another (Hebrews 7:2), ‘righteousness and peace have kissed’ (Ps. 85:10). Melchizedek is a forerunner of the Lord; in him we have a glimpse of the redemption that is to come.
When God shows Abram the land of Canaan, God asks Abram to ‘Lift up your eyes and look…’ (Gen. 13:14). In only two other places does Genesis tell us that God asks Abram to lift his eyes. He does this in chapter 18 where Abram sees three men, one of which is the Lord, and finally, in chapter 22, verse 13, where Abram beholds the substitute ram in the thicket.
When Abram looks up and sees the land of Canaan and God promises that his descendants would be numbered like the dust—beyond number—God speaks of those who would be redeemed by the lamb. We are the heirs of Abraham who believe and it is reckoned unto us as righteousness, the righteousness of Christ, imputed to us from the cross of Calvary.