The synopsis is as follows. The king of Shinar [Babylon] and three other kings, make war against the five kings of Canaan. The four defeat the five, and invade Canaan, taking loot and captives, including Lot, Abram's nephew. Abram rallies his own forces, 318 home-grown heroes and chases after and defeats the four kings and reclaims his captive nephew. On his return from the plunder he meets two kings, one of the defeated five — the king of Sodom, and a tenth king previously and subsequently unmentioned — the king of Salem. He refuses to accept any reward from the king of Sodom, and gives a tithe (a tenth of all he had) to the King of Salem who was also a priest of God.
There's so much here. We often think of Abraham the man of faith who believed God for his son and heir, but here we see that even before this event he was still a mighty man of faith.
- Boldness — Even though the combined might of five kingdoms had not stopped the invaders. Abraham did not hesitate to take them on with just the members of his household. This is the same spirit of bold faith that enabled David to stand against Goliath. Victory comes from the Lord, not from might or numbers.
- Victory — Notice that although the story ends with a mighty and miraculous victory it begins with calamity. Lot, Abram nephew is captured. Being bold and faith-filled men of God does not mean that nothing bad will ever happen to us or our families. But if we are bold men of faith we will not let such calamity be the end of the story, but it will provoke us to press in to receive a greater victory from the Lord.
- Integrity — Abram did not want to be associated in any way with the king of Sodom. He recognised the corruption there and wanted no part of it. He could have easily decided pragmatically that his enemy's enemy was his friend, but he made no such compromise.
- Recognition — Here we have the first recorded account of the principle of tithing. Abram recognised two important things when he tithed. First, all he had came from God, as his source of provision who gave him the means to get the wealth. Second, that the king and priest that he met represented God to him and so could receive what he gave to God.
Such men of faith are blessed by the Lord.
"Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. And blessed be God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand." (Ge 14:19b-20a)