“After Abram returned from his victory over Kedorlaomer and all his allies, the king of Sodom went out to meet him in the valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley).”- Genesis 14:17 As they are returning, Abraham is met in the King’s Valley by two kings: the King of Sodom and the King of Salem. Each of them came out to meet Abraham after the battle. Abraham may have just came from a great battle, but he was about to enter another one. This one wouldn’t involve swords and spears, but rather faith and choices.
Before the King of Sodom reaches Abraham, he is confronted by Melchizedek, the King of Salem.
“And Melchizedek, the king of Salem and a priest of God Most High, brought Abram some bread and wine.”-Genesis 14:18
Little is known about Melchizedek. He is unique in that he is a King and a Priest. Some scholars believe him to be Noah’s son-Shem, while
others believe him to be Jesus incarnate. Interestingly enough he brings Abraham bread and wine which Jesus would use as symbols of His sacrificial death. Melchizedek pronounces a blessing over Abraham: “Melchizedek blessed Abram with this blessing: “Blessed be Abram by God Most High,Creator of heaven and earth. And blessed be God Most High, who has defeated your enemies for you.”-Genesis 14:19-20
Melchizedek’s blessing affirmed the source of Abraham’s victory. God Most High, the Creator of heaven and earth had fought for him. When reminded of this: Abraham responded with worship rather than wanting.
“Then Abram gave Melchizedek a tenth of all the goods he had recovered.”-Genesis 14:20 This is one of the first mentions of tithing in scripture and within the context of this passage, it is an expression of worship towards God. Worship communicates dependency. This was not a reward given to an ally who fought alongside him, but rather an expression of worship towards the One who fought for him. It was not a debt that Abraham owed, but rather an expression of faith declaring God as his source and strength.
It is in the midst of this worship experience that Abraham is then approached by the King of Sodom. However, rather than a blessing, the King of Sodom is offering a bounty. “The king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give back my people who were captured. But you may keep for yourself all the goods you have recovered.”-Genesis 14:21
This wasn’t an unreasonable offer. Abraham had spared life and limb to recapture what was taken captive. This may have been a genuine expression of gratitude on the King of Sodom’s part, nevertheless, it didn’t belong to Abraham. Abraham chose God’s blessing over the riches of Sodom. In fact, Abraham had predetermined that he wanted nothing Sodom could offer him.
Pastor Scott Burr Dayspring Community Church