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Daily manna from the Torah by Dr Ketriel Blad

Lech Lechah 3-5

Go for you

Genesis 14:21 – 15:6

But Abram said to the king of Sodom, "I have lifted my hand to the LORD, God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth, that I would not take a thread or a sandal strap or anything that is yours, lest you should say, 'I have made Abram rich.'

Gen. 14:22-23 ESV

Is there anything more important than material benefits?

With his personal army of 318 soldiers, Avraham had defeated the most powerful kings of his time. With the Eternal's help, he had recovered both the war prisoners, Lot included, and the goods of the five cities that were attacked. The king of Sedom – Sodom – offered our father all the goods that were recovered in the war, but Avraham refused adamantly to receive them.

Why was it so important to Avraham avinu not to receive anything from the king of Sedom? Wasn't this a great opportunity to increase his riches?

For others, this offer would have been a good thing and many would have considered it a blessing from the Eternal. But Avraham didn't think so. To him, it was more important to have a good name than good riches. To him, it was more important not to be manipulated by men than getting benefits from them.

These things that seem not to have a great importance are essential for those who want to be approved by the Eternal.

Avraham didn't love money. The love of money is the root of all evil. Avraham loved the One who possessed heaven and earth and that's why He could trust Avraham with so many riches because He knew he would not turn the riches into a false god. Money is a good servant but a bad lord. If we do anything just for the money we are then slaves and idolaters because greediness is a form of idolatry. Avraham had cleansed his heart from greediness and idolatry.

But in this case the point wasn't greediness. The point was what the king of Sedom could say about our father. Avraham knew that there was wickedness in the king of Sedom and his fellow countrymen. He knew that his tongue could do great harm. He knew that his intentions were't clean and that he could manipulate the truth so that Avraham's name could be stained.  "A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold." (Prov. 22:1 ESV) Avraham had the suspicion that the king of Sedom was going to say that he had made Avraham rich, and boast about it, at the expense of a righteous man. "If it werent for me, Avraham wouldn't be as important. I made him rich." These assumptions would be very harmful for our father’s name. Besides, it would harm the Eternal's name too, which is even worse. The Eternal was the one who prospered our father, not anyone else. Praise and gratitude for his riches should only be directed to the Owner of heaven and earth, not to a wicked king.

Dear disciple of Yeshua: Don't say "yes" to all offers that seem blessings. Think twice before receiving money from anyone. Maybe there are personal interests and opportunities of manipulation behind those offers, especially if they come from a mundane person like the king of Sedom. Keep your name and the Eternal’s, whom you represent, unblemished. It's better to lose a good payment rather than a good name. The generous one prospers.

May the Eternal help us to be good stewards of His name,


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