Bit of trivia first: Damascus is mentioned in this chapter. I think that’s pretty cool. Gives the bible a sense of geographical continuity. It always amazes me what can be happening on the same square metre of earth thousands of years later, it’s almost like a different world sometimes! Anyway…
I think this chapter is about Abraham being an honourable man. What I mean by this is that he had some really important decisions to make in this chapter. He decided to pursue and rescue Lot. He decided to decline any gifts from the king of Sodom.
These weren’t necessarily the logical decisions to make. Abraham had 318 trained men. He was up against the armies of five kings who had just won a battle in order to rescue Lot! I don’t know how big the kings’ armies were, but I’m picking it wasn’t great odds for Abraham.
It also wasn’t necessarily the logical decision to decline the gifts of the king of Sodom. These days we’d probably accept most gifts that come to us with the reasoning that they can be used for the benefit of God’s Kingdom. And I’m not saying that’s wrong. Abraham chose to decline the help of the king of Sodom so that his wealth could only be attributed to God. Abraham knew the power of testimony: what we are able to say that God has indisputably done for us. These are the stories that touch people’s hearts!