My thoughts (Steve Adams):
Abram was flying high! He engineered a stunning military victory by which he rescued his nephew Lot. As a result, the priest Melchizedek blessed him with bread and wine in the name of “God Most High.” Then he got an offer that was too good to refuse. The King of Gomorrah, one of the countries he had just defeated, offered him all the goods he had won in the war — all the spoils. The old saying applies here, right? “To the victor goes the spoils.” As Abba and Meryl Streep sing, “The Winner Takes It All.”
But no! Abram didn’t have to think for a second to refuse the seductive offer. Reason? He had made a vow, a pledge, a commitment to “God Most High,” the creator of heavens and earth. And that’s a vow he wasn’t going to break. Abram had a good reason. He didn’t want to become rich from the King of Sodom. It was one of those situations that looks SO GOOD at first, but simply wouldn’t have been right spiritually, and would have produced consequences for Abram down the road — consequences which would have interfered with his calling from God.
Sometimes, like Abram, we get offers that appeal so strongly to our desires. Abram could have been made rich by keeping all the spoils of victory. But, it just wasn’t the right thing to do. It reminds me of when I was cleaning an elderly couple’s house, one of whom had Alzheimer’s. (the other could only walk with lots of assistance). I found four twenty dollar bills in coat pockets, stacks of mail and newspapers.
They would have never known if I had kept it, but I decided to call their son and tell him about it. It was satisfying and fulfilling to make that call — much better than having an extra hundred dollars! Unfortunately, at other times in my life I’ve settled for something that was pleasurable but not right, taking the moral low-road. Through it all, God teaches us as every step of the way.
We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the suggestions on the How to Pray page.