“And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.” – Genesis 14:18-20
Abraham’s nephew, whom he had raised, had become of age and was living in Sodom. War broke out among the wicked kings and powers and in the midst of it all, Lot (his nephew) was taken captive. When Abraham got word of it, he rallied his men and pursued them. He overtook them and recovered not only lot (that which belonged to him), but also captive women of Sodom and their possessions, and liberated the territories they occupied in the process.
The enemy retreated, the battle ceased for a season, and there was peace again in the region. Upon his return the King of Salem (Salem meaning “Peace”) came out to meet him. He brought Abraham this with him, bread and wine. This King of Peace’s name was Melchizedek (which means “King of Righteousness” according to Hebrews 7:2), who was nothing less then a type and shadow of Christ in the Old Testament. This place were he offered Abraham a communion of bread and wine, would later become “Jerusalem”. The place where Abraham’s descendant, Jesus of Nazareth, would offer a communion of bread and wine to other men who, yet being nothing would become more then overcomers through faith in God. Just like Abraham did.
God always uses these places of small beginnings, these seemingly little things to prove His majesty. That we cannot search the depths of His understanding. That He sees value in the smallest most humble things. While disregarding what looks like grandeur to men, in the moment.
The story continued that after taking of the bread and wine, Abraham gave an offering of 10% (a tithe) of all that he had to Melchizedek, and Melchizedek, who was both a King and a priest of God (just like Jesus) blessed him and his descendants for his faith to trust God to give him the victory over the enemies of peace and righteousness. He was willing to risk all to pursue one straying lamb. To leave the 99 behind to find the one that was taken and to redeem him back into the family again.
Yet it doesn’t stop there. What happens next is also of importance, I believe. After receiving this blessing that would reverberate through the generations, if perhaps he would not fall to temptations of pride and selfishness that would surely come over this great victory. And come they did, in the form of the king of Sodom. The place that Lot was living. Abraham had delivered the people of Sodom and their possessions. Upon releasing them to make their own decisions on their final destination, the king of Sodom who’s name means, son of evil, came to Abraham with an offering. A bit of praise and materialism, some resources and spoils to take from the battles for himself. Some of the “glory of sodom” to bring back to his camp, his tent, his family, his territory.
What was Abraham’s response to this? Was his pride fluffed, was he tempted? No, he refused it. The King of sodom said, “you can keep all the things, the money, and possessions, just give me the souls, the persons, and go.” Abraham responded promptly, “I have sworn before heaven that I will not take a shoelace or a thread from you, son of evil, lest it be said that you made Abraham rich.”
No, he didn’t fall for it. He didn’t take the Sauls armor that would give another glory for what the Lord only had done. He trusted in His God to finish what He started and to provide abundantly to do it. And do it He did, above and beyond what anyone could have hoped for, or imagined. Abraham was willing to wait on God, for the work that He was doing was generational, would take time to preform, would bring glory to the Lord, and abundant eternal and spiritual rewards. What the king of Sodom offered was accursed, temporal, temporary, and as we know from the rest of the story, it all burned when judgment fell.
Abraham refused to receive a tithe or tribute unto himself. He laid pride, selfishness, faithlessness, and vain glory down. Yet in the place where he offered a tithe unto the King of Righteousness, did Jesus come 2000 years ago to repay it in a way that no one could match or expected, and still will he come back again to bring the work to its completeness unto all that believed it like Abraham did, with promise, blessing, reward, and new Jerusalem. Yet also with judgment for those who did, those who trusted in and desired more the rewards of the king of Sodom. For it, they will receive Sodom’s payment.
In other words, he rendered to God, what was God’s knowing that God could repay more then he was able to give. And rendered to Sodom what was sodoms, not being willing to partake of it’s pleasures for a season but also of it’s judgment in the end. The beginning would have been grand but the end was destruction. With God the beginning was small, humble, and sacrificial but the end is more then can be imagined by men except it be revealed to them in mere glimpses by the Holy Spirit.
What small act of humility have you either done or passed up that will bare weight in the ages to come? There is no way to know it now, so live as Abraham did daily and walk away from the temptations that come to rob you of the plans that God has laid up for those who love and trust Him completely. Even in the smallest of things.
“For who hath despised the day of small things? for they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven; they are the eyes of the Lord, which run to and fro through the whole earth.” – Zechariah 4:10
“So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.” – Galatians 3:9
“His Lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.”- Matthew 25:23
“He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.” – Luke 16:10
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” – Romans 6:23
“And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND Lord OF LORDS.” – Revelation 19:11-16