Genesis 14:17-24 (ESV)
After his return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King's Valley). And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. (He was priest of God Most High.) And he blessed him and said,
“Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!”
And Abram gave him a tenth of everything. And the king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me the persons, but take the goods for yourself.” But Abram said to the king of Sodom, “I have lifted my hand to the LORD, God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth, that I would not take a thread or a sandal strap or anything that is yours, lest you should say, ‘I have made Abram rich.’ I will take nothing but what the young men have eaten, and the share of the men who went with me. Let Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre take their share.”
Abram has just rescued Lot (plus Lot’s household and a significant percentage of all of Sodom). He is then greeted by the king of Sodom and the king of Salem (Melchizedek). The contrast between these two kings couldn’t be more stark.
Abram tithes to Melchizedek, indicating complete allegiance and respect. But Abram insults the king of Sodom and prohibits any affiliation in the future. Did Abram perceive the coming demise of Sodom or is there something in what these kings said that justifies this stinging rebuke?
It’s what they said. Melchizedek blesses Abram but gives all the credit to God. He also doesn’t ask for anything; he just proclaims truth.
Contrast this with what the king of Sodom does. He had just lost a war, but then was bailed out by Abram. Maybe groveling wouldn’t be appropriate, but at least some serious thanks are in order.
Furthermore, Melchizedek has just explained what happened and Abram has confirmed his interpretation. This seems to go right over the king of Sodom’s head.
So, what does he do? He tries to sound magnanimous and kingly by announcing that Abram can keep his own plunder. It’s pathetic, and Abram wants nothing to do with this fool – forever.
Melchizedek’s words are beautiful. He almost sounds like he’s saying grace. This is a great model for us in two ways: he doesn’t say grace only before eating, and he’s serious.
We can have a “just get it over with” attitude about grace. Are we really all that thankful?
Ask God to teach us to model Melchizedek’s heart. Ask Him to teach us to get serious when we say grace.
We take too many blessings for granted.
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