Summary: Abraham meets Melchizedek who blesses him. The Lord knows our struggles and wants to encourage us with his word. How will we respond?
On Friday night Joe Nathan, the relief pitcher for the Minnesota Twins, sprinkled on the pitcher’s mound dirt that he had saved from the old Metrodome pitching mound he had so much success in. It was his first time to pitch in the new Target Field and he wanted to ensure his success. And in the end, they won with him pitching the final three outs.
We might conclude that his “dirt” worked. But then again, is there such thing as luck? Chance? As Christians, we believe in a God who is all powerful, all knowing, ever present. Does anything happen without his involvement? We believe in God’s grace and mercy and even in hardship, we believe God is in control to help, provide, encourage and bless us through it.
As we continue with the story of Abraham, we discover an amazing encounter he has – not by chance or luck, but pre-arranged by the grace of God. But before we look at that, we need to back up and see what has been happening in the world at that time – the first 'world war.' A battle of four ancient kings against five. During this battle, the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah are trapped and taken by the enemy who also loots the two cities and takes all the people as captives. Included in this capture are Abraham’s nephew Lot and his family.
How does Abraham react? He steps forward in faith to fight this battle even though he had only 318 men against the Kings of Elam, of Goiim, of Shinar, and Ellasar. Many would call it foolishness, suicide, insanity. Those of us who follow the Lord call it simply faith.
But he wins the battle by dividing his forces up by night. It’s a miracle! A similar thing happened when Gideon defeated the Canaanites with only 300 men at night. But imagine the amazement of the people as Abraham and his small army returns from battle with all the captives of those two cities along with their possessions.
That was quite a great miracle but an even greater miracle is about to occur – one that is even more needed than this earthly victory – one that every one of us needs as well as Abraham – a personal meeting with the King.
Upon his return, Abraham is met with an unexpected blessing. Out of the blue a man approaches him – Melchizedek, king of Salem. Several details about this man jump out at us. First, his name in Hebrew means “King of Righteousness.” His title, “king of Salem” means “King of peace.” For a man to have this name and this title in this land filled with idolatry and wickedness is amazing.
In addition, he is mentioned as a “priest of the Most High God.” (which in Hebrew is “El Elyon.”) This reveals the God he served – he served the Most High God who was above all gods – the highest one! Far beyond any gods that the Canaanites served.
Can you imagine the surprise of Abraham? Can you imagine the joy? Can you imagine the relief? Here is a man who was called by the Lord out of idolatry in Ur, then in Haran. Only Abraham hears from the Lord. Only Abraham has this calling. And out of his faith he risks it all and leads his family to Canaan. Years go by and he alone hears God’s voice.
Then suddenly he meets someone who understands – he meets Melchizedek – the first person who also serves the Most High God. What a great confirmation of faith! What a great confirmation of all that he has risked and all that he believes in. And you can almost sense the joy and relief from Abraham as he receives this great encouragement in his walk with God. I’m not alone!
And there are people who need that same encouragement today. People who are walking in faith and trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ but have NO ONE in their family, NO ONE at their work place. In Poland we had student after student who came from non-believing homes. And they would come to Bible school and finally find people who understood – who supported them – who encouraged them. I remember Luke who was rejected, mistreated, abused and was starving for love. He came to Bible school and for the first time, found healing, blessing.
There are people around us today who maybe even go to church but they feel alone. And they need to hear – “You’re not alone, I too serve the Lord, I too trust the same Savior as you. How can I bless you? How can I uplift you?”
And Melchizedek confirms the facts: “God Most High, who created the heavens and the earth, delivered your enemies into your hand!” It wasn’t by Abraham’s strength of numbers, or clever strategy, or physical preparedness of his 318 men. It was God’s work of deliverance!