Day 50: The Way Of The Warrior - The Warrior's Journey®

Day 50: The Way Of The Warrior

. Photo by is licensed under CC By 2.0

The Way Of The Warrior

In Genesis 12:1, when the Lord first called Abram, he told him to leave his family. After some delay Abram finally obeyed, and they separated.  Lot’s vision 13:10 was selfish and limited, and he only wanted what benefited him.  Lot’s vision could not manage higher spiritual responsibility.  Though Lot was a believer: 2 Peter 2:7 ‘righteous Lot.’ He was a self-absorbed, a carnal believer.  Do not be like him.

Abram received more blessings from the Lord after separation from Lot (13:14), the Lord’s vision involved immense privilege and responsibility.  The gift of huge tracts of land, involved significant obligation and a far-reaching accountability.

In Genesis 13 Lot was separated from Abram, in chapter 14 Lot was separated from Sodom.  In 13 he chose to leave the land of blessing, in 14 he was taken away from his land of choosing.   Lot was an ignoble man, since he later moved back to Sodom, then volunteers his daughters for sexual molestation, (19:8). Lot later became drunk and sexually interacts with his two daughters, who gave birth to two sons (19:30ff). Their offspring the Moabites and Ammonites, were future enemies of Israel.  Lot had a moral avalanche and collapse.

Genesis 14 begins with severe testing.  Huge warfare broke out in Abram’s area, though he was not involved.  Many kings and kingdoms were embroiled in a confusing mix of alliances and broken treaties, failed diplomacy, reconciliation through conflict.  Whereas in Genesis 13, Abram and Lot settled differences through compromise and reconciliation 13:7-9; Genesis 14, there was rebellion and warfare.

Abram had no part in the treaties, nor diplomacy, but he will be involved in the fighting.  Warfare touched his life as a matter of circumstance.  However, Abram reacted, not with negotiation, but with armed conflict.  He does not get permission from allies, he did not consult with anyone, he became militant and proceeded to correct an injustice.  He was forceful with deadly intent to defeat the transgressors (14:15).

Lot was taken captive in the fighting. Abram was not bound to free Lot.  He could have let Lot’s choices be Lot’s consequences.  Abram, by grace allowed Lot to choose his domain, and Lot chose selfishly.  Abram now became focused to right a wrong, in rescuing him.

When Abram heard that his kinsman [Lot] had been taken captive, he led forth his trained men, born in his house, 318 of them, and went in pursuit as far as Dan. (Gen. 14:14).  Guess what?  Believers need not be pacifists.  When there are moral wrongs that cannot be addressed through peaceful means, then being a principled, moral wildcat is not unreason-able.  Ruthlessness can be a virtue.  Ask the Lord.

Read Exodus 14, where the Lord wiped out an entire Egyptian army.  Or read Ezekiel 38, 39, a future war that the Lord cleans up an invading enemy that attacks Israel.  The Bible is full of wars, battles, and conflicts that are morally justified, by a holy and sovereign God. Never think that the Lord is a softy.  It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Heb. 10:31).  Sometimes, the Lord uses mankind as his instruments to address evil.  The Lord has some hard edges.  Get used to it.

Gen 14:14 When Abram heard that his kinsman had been taken captive, he led forth his trained men, born in his house, three hundred and eighteen of them, and went in pursuit as far as Dan.  ‘Trained’ men = military assistance.  They were not shepherds, who could grab a spear and go fight.  These were individuals capable of miles of travel, and of keeping military cohesion and precision against imposing odds.  They used strategy and tactics.

The word for ‘trained servants’ in the Hebrew is hanakim. It appears nowhere else in the Old Testament. The King James translators did not quite know what to do with it. ‘Servants’ is a good translation, and ‘trained men’ is a good translation. Recently, linguists found the word used in some ancient Egyptian manuscripts where it meant hired, trained military men — mercenaries. Abram had men born in his entourage trained in military warfare. He had wealth with much property to protect.  He was not a pacifist. He was ready to defend his family and property.  Abram trained this fighting force.

In one verse, we’re told about the operation Abram unleashed against four armies. And he divided his forces against them by night, he and his servants, and defeated them and pursued them to Hobah, north of Damascus. (14:15).  Abram was not an armchair general, but made an appropriate, well thought-out plan to defeat a superior enemy through stealth, and surprise.  When a force controls their movement and ably functions in the dark, it provides an added dimension of lethality.  My comrades and I learned this in Vietnam.  We became adept at taking the night away from our enemy, by using it ourselves.

We are not given all the details of Abram’s armed combat, only that he ‘defeated’ then ‘pursued’ them to Damascus.  ‘Defeat’ means to beat, slay, kill.  Abram’s men thoroughly thrashed four armies!  ‘Pursued’ means to follow and harass, for 125 miles!  It was quite a ferocious beating that Abram and his men laid on these aggressors, who had plowed through all their opponents.  Abram’s men, were hard-core, and ruthless.  Alexander the Great would have had a hard time locking horns with these guys.

However, the focus of chapter 14 was not the war, nor Abram, nor Lot, but another king who does not even partake in the fighting.  He transcends the entire conflict, though geographically it goes on around him. Melchizedek king of Salem… (14:18)

The most quoted Psalm in the New Testament is the 110th.  This Psalm is the basis for New Testament book of Hebrews, and is about Melchizedek. Ironically Salem means peace. He was in the middle of conflict, yet he is at peace. This king receives no introduction, he just pops up in the narrative and has significant impact on people.

Melchizedek is a picture or type of a future king – Jesus Christ.  We’ll get a glimpse of the future by looking at him, and his attitudes and behaviors.  He is also an example how we moderns, should pattern our thinking and choices.  When the Bible introduces a character, there is always a story behind them for our benefit.

Abram, the man of God’s choosing becomes very thoughtful and respectful to him, unlike how he treated Pharaoh. Abram manipulated Pharaoh, even lying to him (12:11 – 16). Would he do the same with Melchizedek?  We’ll see.

By Nathan Werner

The Warrior’s Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father,

Please imbue me with the same kind of courage that you gave Abram in Genesis 14.  Do not let me settle for the kind of timidity he showed in Genesis 12, when he lied, and manipulated people. Give me a steely-eyed resolve like Jesus when he set his face like a flint: When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he [Jesus] set his face to go to Jerusalem. (Lk. 9:51).  Let my fight be a righteous fight, standing like David before Goliath.  Do not let antagonists frighten me.  Rather I want to be like fearless Daniel before he was thrown to the lion’s den (Daniel 6).  Let me be like Elisha when surrounded by the enemy, trusted in your protection (2 Kings 6).  I do not have that kind of courage in myself, I need your Spirit to infuse me with it: but the righteous are bold as a lion. (Prov. 28:1)

Then Father, help me teach others about your courage, about your presence, about your vision, that launches us to do things beyond our ability.  Let observers see you in me, and want that spirit of confidence in you, since it is a reality.  Let my family, my friends, my acquaintances value you and your boldness, because you let me live a life of forward leaning toward challenges.  Let others believe that we can be: in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. (Rom. 8:37).  We pray this for your glory and for our witness, in Jesus name.  Amen.

Let's Talk

100% Confidential | Warrior-to-warrior

We respond within 24 hours and can provide community support, resources, and referrals.