I devoted my last blog entry A New Promise (Part 3) to one of the ways by which Abram’s faith in God was translated into action, by putting others before himself, as evidenced by his brave rescue of Lot and his servants. In this blog entry, I would like to explore another aspect of Abram’s faith – his refusal to compromise.
Upon Abram’s return from rescuing Lot, we read an interesting account contrasting the King of Sodom and the Priest Melchizedek in Genesis 14:17-24. Abram is first greeted by the King of Sodom:
“Then 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). ”
He then meets Melchizedek (literally, “King of Righteousness”), who was both the king of Salem and the Priest of the God most High; Melchizedek welcomes Abram with bread and wine, which is a key element to recognize. Melchizedek is a foreshadow of Yeshua the Messiah, who is both High Priest and King, and the fact that he offers bread and wine foreshadows the body and blood of Messiah that would be offered up for our redemption.
“And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; now he was a priest of God Most High. And he blessed him and said, “Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” And he gave him a tenth of all.” Genesis 14:18-20
Melchizedek declares a blessing over Abram, stating that not only does Abram belong to God Almighty, but is also blessed by the LORD. But then Abram is put in a compromising position; his faithfulness to God is tested:
” And the king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give the people to me and take the goods for yourself.” And Abram said to the king of Sodom, “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, lest you should say, ‘I have made Abram rich.’ “I will take nothing except what the young men have eaten, and the share of the men who went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their share. ” Genesis 14:21-24
The King of Sodom makes Abram an incredible offer – all the goods that were taken back when he rescued Lot. However, Abram knew His God; his faith in God was not just a mere and empty statement, but rather a true act of obedience. How can I say this with certainty? Abram refused to receive the material goods offered to him – those items that would make him quite possibly the wealthiest person on earth. Instead, he chose to trust in His provider and remained faithful to his God alone. He knew that God was his provider and not man, and was not willing for any man to get any glory, which belonged to God.
It was after Abram’s great acts of faith, these acts of dying to self and making a choice to trust God that the Word says: “After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not fear, Abram, I am a shield to you; Your reward shall be very great.”
What can we learn from this account? First, God sees everything! He knows everything and He is in control over everything; the result of our obedience will be the reward from God. As I write this, I am reminded of the wonderful words of our Messiah from Matthew 6:
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Matt 6:19-21
Make a choice today to trust God just like Abram did; the reward is great…
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