Abraham's Great Reward

Life will place us in situations where we stand to make a profit by sacrificing our principles. The person who refuses to compromise his values may lose out financially, but his ultimate reward is God Himself.

God promises Abraham a numerous offspring in a dream. (Image: Wikimedia commons, public domain, art by Wenceslas Hollar)

Lech Lecha

Regular Shabbat Readings

Read / Listen to these Portions

  • Lech Lecha (לך לך | Go forth)
  • Torah: Genesis 12:1-17:27
  • Haftarah: Isaiah 40:27-41:16
  • Gospel: John 8:51-58

Note: The regular readings are often interrupted with special readings on Jewish holidays, special Sabbaths, and Rosh Chodesh. Refer to the annual Torah Portion schedule for these special portions.

Portion Outline

  • Torah
    • Genesis 12:1 | The Call of Abram
    • Genesis 12:10 | Abram and Sarai in Egypt
    • Genesis 13:1 | Abram and Lot Separate
    • Genesis 14:1 | Lot's Captivity and Rescue
    • Genesis 14:17 | Abram Blessed by Melchizedek
    • Genesis 15:1 | God's Covenant with Abram
    • Genesis 16:1 | The Birth of Ishmael
    • Genesis 17:1 | The Sign of the Covenant
  • Prophets
    • Isaiah 40:1 | God's People Are Comforted
    • Isaiah 41:1 | Israel Assured of God's Help

Portion Summary

The third reading from the book of Genesis is named Lech Lecha (לך לך). It means "go forth." The first verse says, "Now the LORD said to Abram, 'Go forth (lech lecha לך לך) from your country.'" Section Lech Lecha introduces Abraham and tells the story of his pilgrimage in pursuit of God.


In the days of Abraham a great war swept through the land of Canaan. The invading armies captured the Canaanite city of Sodom and took the inhabitants captive. A fugitive survivor escaped and came to Abraham. He told him that his nephew Lot was among the captives.

There was little that Abraham could do about it. After all, he did not have an army at his command. Besides, Lot had it coming. Abraham could have said, “That’s what he gets for claiming the best of the land for himself. The LORD has repaid him for his greed.” But he did not. Instead he demonstrated courageous loyalty. He immediately gathered the able-bodied men in his household and the Canaanite neighbors who would assist him and set off in pursuit of the invaders. That’s the kind of person Abraham was.

God honored Abraham’s selflessness. Though Abraham went up with only 318 men against a much larger army, God delivered the enemy into his hands. Abraham rescued his nephew and all of the prisoners. He returned from the battle with the prisoners and all the plunder the invaders had taken.

The evil king of Sodom offered Abraham a handsome reward for his efforts. “Give the people to me and take the goods for yourself,” he said. It was a generous offer and would have made Abraham very wealthy. Abraham refused the proposal. He knew the king of Sodom was cunning and wicked. Abraham did not want to owe any allegiance to such a man. He said, “I have sworn to the LORD God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth, that I will not take a thread or a sandal thong or anything that is yours, for fear you would say, ‘I have made Abram rich’” (Genesis 14:22-23).
Some people are tempted to sacrifice their principles for the sake of money. Abraham stood fast because his faith was in the “possessor of heaven and earth.” He did not need the rewards of the wicked king of Sodom, no matter how tempting.

When God saw how Abraham refused reward from the king of Sodom, He appeared to him and said, “Do not fear, Abram, I am a shield to you; your reward shall be very great” (Genesis 15:1).

Life will often place us in situations where we stand to make a profit by sacrificing our principles. The person who refuses to compromise his values may lose out financially, but his ultimate reward is God Himself.

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