When You Need A Friend
A daily devotion for June 6th
1 At this time Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Kedorlaomer king of Elam and Tidal king of Goiim 2 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). 3 All these latter kings joined forces in the Valley of Siddim (the Salt Sea ). 4 For twelve years they had been subject to Kedorlaomer, but in the thirteenth year they rebelled.
5 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 6 and the Horites in the hill country of Seir, as far as El Paran near the desert. 7 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.
8 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 9 against Kedorlaomer king of Elam, Tidal king of Goiim, Amraphel king of Shinar and Arioch king of Ellasar—four kings against five. 10 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. 11 The four kings seized all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah and all their food; then they went away. 12 They also carried off Abram's nephew Lot and his possessions, since he was living in Sodom.
13 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. 14 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. 15 During the night Abram divided his men to attack them and he routed them, pursuing them as far as Hobah, north of Damascus. 16 He recovered all the goods and brought back his relative Lot and his possessions, together with the women and the other people.
He recovered all the goods and brought back his relative Lot and his possessions, together with the women and the other people. (Genesis 14:16)
The Holy Spirit would drive one thing home to our hearts through Abram's experiences in this passage. We do not lead our Christian lives in isolated seclusion—we are members of one another, and in circumstances of this nature, one Christian can often be the means of deliverance of a weaker brother or sister. There was nothing Abram could do to deliver Lot from Sodom. Sodom represented an inward choice in Lot's heart to live in the materialistic, sensualized atmosphere of Sodom. If a child of God chooses to be materialistic, sensual, commercial, and greedy for things of the world, not much can be done for him or her. Only Lot could take himself out of Sodom. But from this circumstance that threatened Lot's very life and liberty, Abram's resources were amply sufficient through prayer.
James 5:16b tells us,
The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. There is a Chinese translation of that verse that is excellent:
The earnest, hot-hearted prayer of a righteous man releases great power. That is certainly the case in this incident.
The prayer offered in faith, we are told in the same chapter of James,
will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up (James 5:15). Many have been puzzled by this verse, but if we read the context, we see clearly that the affliction here is one that has arisen because a child of God has become involved in deliberate sin. Such a one is to call the elders of the church together and confess his or her faults, and then the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him or her up again. It is a wonderful experience, this power of prayer for someone else.
The history of the church is replete with instances of such deliverances through faithful prayer. A wise and experienced missionary leader, speaking to a group on the subject of prayer, addressed the matter of overwhelming sin that so grips the heart as to enslave the life and frustrate all activity for God. He gave some very wise words of advice.
Perhaps some younger Christian, he said,
may find himself in such a circumstance, and the thing he is doing is so shameful that he cannot bring himself to confess it publicly; then let him seek out some older man of God, someone he can trust, and lay the whole matter before him and ask him to pray concerning this. It is wise counsel, indeed. When Lot could not possibly help himself, Abram, separated in heart from the Sodom-like attitudes that rendered Lot so powerless, was able to lay hold of God and affect a great and mighty deliverance.
Lord, help me to stand ready to help a friend in time of need, even if it means simply being there to listen and to pray.
Life Application: Are we able to aid our brothers or sisters in Christ with helpful counsel from the Word of God? Have we engaged in faithful prayer for those in sinful circumstances?
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Daily Devotion © 2006 by Ray Stedman Ministries. For permission to use this content, please review www.RayStedman.org/permissions. Subject to permission policy, all rights reserved.