Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Genesis 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 praise be to God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand.” Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything. (vs 17-20)

In this portion of chapter 14, Abram is met by two kings after his victory over the four kings we studied yesterday. These two, Bera, the king of Sodom, and Melchizedek, the priest/king of Salem, couldn’t be more different. Melchizedek is a mysterious person in the Bible. We only know what we read here and what the writer of Hebrews tells us in Hebrews 5::6 and Hebrews 7, when he compares Jesus’ priesthood to that of Melchizedek. Some believe he was a Christophany, an appearance of Jesus in the Old Testament. He is, at the very least, a type of Christ.

While Bera is the king of wickedness (a type of Satan), Melchizedek is the king of righteousness (the meaning of his name), and peace, the meaning of Salem. Melchizedek asks for nothing from Abram, but gives him bread and wine and blesses him. Abram’s response to Melchizedek is to give him a tenth of everything, the first case of tithing in the Bible, and note that it precedes the giving of the law, so it is separate from it. The king of Sodom, on the other hand, demands, “Give me the people and keep the goods for yourself.” (vs 21) Abram’s response to him is vehement:

But Abram said to the king of Sodom, “With raised hand I have sworn an oath to the LORD, God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth, that I will accept nothing belonging to you, not even a thread or the strap 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, Eshkol and Mamre. Let them have their share.” (vs. 22-24)

It is interesting to me that right after his great military victory, Abram is met with two choices: worship Satan and gain material wealth, or worship God with his entire being, including his giving. And isn’t this the typical choice we’re given? Satan loves to come right after we’ve had a victory and either rob us of the joy of it, somehow, or rob God of the credit and glory due Him alone. Satan doesn’t necessarily ask that we blatantly give him credit - he just wants to steal it from God. In fact, he will usually tempt us to take credit ourselves. While in this instance, he is bold in his demand for people (notice it is souls that he is after), he is sometimes very subtle, and may whisper something like, “Wow! You just did an awesome thing by sharing the gospel with that girl. She came to Christ because of you!” Oh, how we puff up! And just like that, we rob God of the glory! Abram, here, is passionate about NOT giving the king of Sodom ANY credit for the blessings in his life, including this victory.

This has just been a cursory glance at this passage. There is so much more here! So, tomorrow we’ll revisit these verses, focusing on Melchizedek, his comparison to Christ in Hebrews, and the subject of tithing: do we have to? how much? why? Meet you back here! :)

No comments:

Post a Comment