Monday, September 07, 2009


I remember many sleepless nights, fretting over our children’s choice of friends. From toddler play time in the church nursery until they become adults in the workplace – our children’s associations form and shape the people they become. Perhaps the most important decision of a person’s life is his/her spouse, but as all married folks can attest, we don’t just marry a person. We marry a family. Yep, with that blushing bride or dashing groom come the in-laws…or the out-laws, depending on your particular circumstance. Imagine this scene. 1984, a young and bold Roy Andrews calls his grandfather in southern Indiana, an elderly and conservative WWII vet, to announce his impending marriage. “Pa, guess what? I’m getting married. Her name is Mesu Cooley.” Now, if you had fought against Japanese soldiers in WWII and lived a relatively secluded life in the hills of southern Indiana, would the name Mesu Cooley be of concern to you? Pa’s response? “She’s American, ain’t she?” You see, Pa was worried about his grandson’s associations. By the time the picture at the left was taken (two+ years later), I can assure you his first grandchild calmed any fears he might have had in the beginning.

Now, when my mother named me, she didn't for one moment consider Roy’s grandfather’s opinion. In fact, when my mother chose Maralasu as my legal name, she had no idea that my toddler pronunciation “Mesu” would be the nickname by which I’d become known. I’m guessing she also never imagined the crossed-eyed glances of substitute teachers, when they tried to pronounce my given name. When my mom chose my unique and intricate name, she did it because she loved me enough to give me something beautiful. We make choices everyday that unwittingly affect life down-the-road…sometimes wise, sometimes not so wise. Lot’s choice – not so wise. Abram – very wise.

Gen. 14:1-12 – “At this time Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Kedorlaomer king of Elam and Tidal king of Goiim went to war against Bera king of Sodom, Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar). All these latter kings joined forces in the Valley of Siddim (the Salt Sea). For twelve years they had been subject to Kedorlaomer, but in the thirteenth year they rebelled. In the fourteenth year, Kedorlaomer and the kings allied with him went out and defeated the Rephaites in Ashteroth Karnaim, the Zuzites in Ham, the Emites in Shaveh Kiriathaim and the Horites in the hill country of Seir, as far as El Paran near the desert. Then they turned back and went to En Mishpat (that is, Kadesh), and they conquered the whole territory of the Amalekites, as well as the Amorites who were living in Hazazon Tamar. Then the king of Sodom, the king of Gomorrah, the king of Admah, the king of Zeboiim and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar) marched out and drew up their battle lines in the Valley of Siddim against Kedorlaomer king of Elam, Tidal king of Goiim, Amraphel king of Shinar and Arioch king of Ellasar--four kings against five. Now the Valley of Siddim was full of tar pits, and when the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, some of the men fell into them and the rest fled to the hills. The four kings seized all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah and all their food; then they went away. They also carried off Abram's nephew Lot and his possessions, since he was living in Sodom.” (emphasis added)
  • When Lot chose the beautiful green valley and bustling city life of Sodom, he didn’t check out the lease, didn’t check for liens on his deed. Sodom had been straining under the tyranny of Old King K for twelve years, and Lot got caught in the shackles of someone else’s fight.

Gen. 14:13-16 – “One who had escaped came and reported this to Abram the Hebrew. Now Abram was living near the great trees of Mamre the Amorite, a brother of Eshcol and Aner, all of whom were allied with Abram. When Abram heard that his relative had been taken captive, he called out the 318 trained men born in his household and went in pursuit as far as Dan. During the night Abram divided his men to attack them and he routed them, pursuing them as far as Hobah, north of Damascus. He recovered all the goods and brought back his relative Lot and his possessions, together with the women and the other people.”

  • Abram’s alliances had been built on integrity and trust. So much so that even when the odds were stacked against them (318 men of Ab’s household against King K’s five king-alliance and their armies), his friends supported him and became a part of the Lord’s victory.

Gen. 14:17-24 – “After Abram returned from defeating Kedorlaomer and the kings allied with him, the king of Sodom came out to meet him in the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley).

Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, and he blessed Abram, saying, ‘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.’ Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.

The king of Sodom said to Abram, ‘Give me the people and keep the goods for yourself.’ But Abram said to the king of Sodom, ‘I have raised my hand to the LORD, God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth, and have taken an oath that I will accept nothing belonging to you, not even a thread or the thong of a sandal, so that you will never be able to say, “I made Abram rich.” I will accept nothing but what my men have eaten and the share that belongs to the men who went with me--to Aner, Eshcol and Mamre. Let them have their share.’”

  • Two kings came out to greet Abram after his victory. Melchizedek praised God and blessed Abram, and Abram offered a tithe to God’s representative on earth – a spiritual commitment, a bond uniting them not only with wealth but at heart. The king of Sodom met Abram with a demand and a bribe – a promise of wealth with a lifetime of strings. Thankfully, with godly insight, Abram cut him off.

Lord, I feel like I need hind-sight, near-sight and far-sight. It’s no wonder I walk into walls with all the directions I need to consider! Only by Your Spirit can I avoid some of the pitfalls and cut some of the strings. Help me to walk wisely in Your ways, listening for Your voice rather than jumping at the first sparkly thing that offers quick joy. Give me Your wisdom, Lord.

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