Posted by: everynation | January 25, 2010

Lessons in the Life of Abram: Trained Men

by Jim Laffoon

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.       Genesis 14:14-16

For over thirteen years, the armies of King Kedorlaomer had been invincible.  Now, after they defeated the combined armies of five different kings, it seemed that Kedorlaomer would continue to reign supreme.  This, however, was not to be the case.

Out of the darkness, Abram’s small raiding party struck the sleeping army like a thunderbolt.  Although he had two small allied forces with him, the bulk of Abram’s strike force was made up of 318 men.  As Kedorlaomer’s causalities mounted, chaos and pandemonium began to break out in his camp.

With the rout rapidly turning into a massacre, the panicked soldiers fled for their lives into the darkness.

How could a small war party led by 318 servants rout one of the finest professional armies in the Middle East?

First, according to verse 14, all of Abram’s men were trained.  Far from being simple, browbeaten servants, every one of them had been trained from his youth in the art of war.  Through years of warfare with nomadic brigands, Abram’s men had become a highly effective fighting force.

Second, every one of Abram’s servants had been born into his family. The men who went to war that night were not mercenaries; they were virtually part of Abram’s household.  They had all seen his grief when his beloved Lot had left him, and at this moment, as they relentlessly charged through the night, their hearts were intent on rescuing the nephew of their beloved master.

What does this heroic tale have to do with you and me?  Even as the servants of Abram (Abraham) were born into his “natural” family, God desires to raise up churches whose members realize they are born into a “spiritual” family.

In Ephesians 2: 19, we find that every Christian is a member of God’s household (or family).  You didn’t just join a club when you were saved; you were supernaturally born again into the family of God.  This is only the beginning, however.  Just as a large natural family is made of many smaller family units, so it is with the Kingdom of God.

Whether it is an entire denomination, a movement (group) of churches, or an individual local church, the Holy Spirit will also uniquely join you to a specific family of believers.  This joining is crucial, because it gives you the security and camaraderie you need to successfully walk with God.

Remember, He promises to place the lonely in families (Psalms 67:6)

Abram’s servants were also placed into his army.  It is clear in Scripture that every Christian, too, is called to a life of spiritual conflict, and is therefore a member of God’s army.

In Ephesians 6:10-18, Paul challenges us to put on the armor of a warrior and prepare for battle against Satan and his minions.  It is important, then, that you are trained in the ways of war.  You must learn how to hold up the shield of faith as you wield the Word of God like a mighty sword.

If you haven’t yet mastered these skills, it is not too late.  Whether through instruction at your church or personal discipleship from a respected, mature Christian, you must find the training you need in order to be an effective soldier in God’s armed forces.

Where are you today?  Have you been joined to a family of believers?  Have you received the teaching and discipleship you need to adequately prepare you for spiritual conflict?

Even if you haven’t, it is not too late for God to bring you into the family and training you need to successfully win the battles which He has called you to fight.

Jim Laffoon is part of the international leadership team of Every Nation and also serves on the pastoral staff of King’s Park International Church in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina.  He is the author of Our Daily Blog. Jim and his wife, Cathy, have four children and live in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina.

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