Alfred Place Baptist Church

Abraham meets Melchizedek, King of Salem

Genesis 14:1-24 “At this time Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Kedorlaomer king of Elam and Tidal king of Goiim went to war against Bera king of Sodom, Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar). All these latter kings joined forces in the Valley of Siddim (the Salt Sea). For twelve years they had been subject to Kedorlaomer, but in the thirteenth year they rebelled. In the fourteenth year, Kedorlaomer and the kings allied with him went out and defeated the Rephaites in Ashteroth Karnaim, the Zuzites in Ham, the Emites in Shaveh Kiriathaim and the Horites in the hill country of Seir, as far as El Paran near the desert. Then they turned back and went to En Mishpat (that is, Kadesh), and they conquered the whole territory of the Amalekites, as well as the Amorites who were living in Hazezon Tamar. Then the king of Sodom, the king of Gomorrah, the king of Admah, the king of Zeboiim and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar) marched out and drew up their battle lines in the Valley of Siddim against Kedorlaomer king of Elam, Tidal king of Goiim, Amraphel king of Shinar and Arioch king of Ellasar – four kings against five. Now the Valley of Siddim was full of tar pits, and when the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, some of the men fell into them and the rest fled to the hills. The four kings seized all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah and all their food; then they went away. They also carried off Abram’s nephew Lot and his possessions, since he was living in Sodom. One who had escaped came and reported this to Abram the Hebrew. Now Abram was living near the great trees of Mamre the Amorite, a brother of Eshcol and Aner, all of whom were allied with Abram. When Abram heard that his relative had been taken captive, he called out the 318 trained men born in his household and went in pursuit as far as Dan. During the night Abram divided his men to attack them and he routed them, pursuing them as far as Hobah, north of Damascus. He recovered all the goods and brought back his relative Lot and his possessions, together with the women and the other people. After Abram returned from defeating Kedorlaomer and the kings allied with him, the king of Sodom came out to meet him in the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley). Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, and he blessed Abram, saying, ‘Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. And blessed be God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand.’ Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything. The king of Sodom said to Abram, ‘Give me the people and keep the goods for yourself.’ But Abram said to the king of Sodom, ‘I have raised my hand to the LORD, God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth, and have taken an oath that I will accept nothing belonging to you, not even a thread or the thong of a sandal, so that you will never be able to say, “I made Abram rich” I will accept nothing but what my men have eaten and the share that belongs to the men who went with me – to Aner, Eshcol and Mamre. Let them have their share.’”

 

Every Christian gets drawn into war. The taxes we all have to render to Caesar pay for the war on drugs and crime and particularly that international terrorism that threatens the peaceful future of a free society. Some Christians become policemen, and others, members of the armed services. Some of the finest characters in the New Testament were Roman centurions who believed in Jesus Christ. When converted soldiers came to John the Baptist and asked him, “What should we do?” He did not say to them, “Now that you’re converted men you can’t remain as soldiers one day longer. Lay down your arms.” Rather he told them, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely – be content with your pay” (Lk. 3:14). Some armies know great success in battle. Let them not boast. Naaman, the commander in chief of the armies of Aram, was an important military leader but it was “the Lord who had given victory to Aram” (2 Kings 5:1) through Naaman. Other armies know disastrous defeat in battle; Pharaoh led his chariots through the Red Sea, but the whole army was wiped out when God caused the waters to close around them. Since Adam’s son murdered his brother bloodshed has characterized our fallen race necessitating the rule of law, the protection of the weak from the strong and the punishment of criminals.

 

Back in the early centuries of human history men “went to war” (v.2) against others and in the first dozen verses of Genesis 14 Moses becomes a war correspondent as he recounts ancient records of one of the first campaigns that took place in the world.

 
  1. A WAR TOOK PLACE WHICH DREW IN THE SERVANTS OF GOD.
 

We look at these names of men and places with which this chapter begins, and at first they seem very remote from us. The names and places are as difficult for us to pronounce as the names and places of the wars and their leaders in various parts of Africa today. They inhabit a different world from most of us, but there are many different worlds out there. I only have to meet the world of rock bands and rap singers parading their strange names and that is very remote from me.

 

If you can set aside for a moment the unusual names and places, the story line of this chapter is simple; one year when Abram was in his 80s four kings from outside Jordan valley and the Dead Sea area invaded that region and fought the militia of five local kings in the Valley of Siddim (the Salt Sea). They are called ‘kings’ but their ‘kingdoms’ would have been an area surrounding their chief towns. It’s a bit grand to call them ‘city states.’ These ‘kings’ w
ere chieftans. In early Welsh history there were similar kingdoms in the north, south, east and west of the country ruled by men we call ‘princes.’

 

Again, lest you think that armed gangs are something remote let me remind you of the police report that came out yesterday which announced that almost 3,000 criminal gangs operating in such places as London, Manchester, Birmingham and Liverpool. There is more organized criminality in the U.K. today than ever before. There are the violent teenage gangs on estates and working from schools. There are well-established families with a vicious grip on a neighbourhood. These are entities a bit like the Mafia run as an international business. There are crime barons with a respectable face and accountants. There is a £40 billion criminal economy, fluid, flexible, opportunist, but 60% of their money is in the drug trade. They are violent men. Their connection to Genesis 14 is their commitment to power and money.

 

The invading kings, we are told, were named Amraphel of Shinar, Arioch of Ellasar, Kedorlaomer of Elam and Tidal of Goiim. They fought against five kings, Bera king of Sodom . . . stop there. Lot had gone to live near Sodom and the men of Sodom were especially evil men (Gen.13:3), so maybe Abram is going to get drawn into this campaign. So the four invading kings marched into the Dead Sea area to fight against Bera king of Sodom, Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinar king of Admar, Shemeber king of Zeboiim and the king of Bela (that is Zoar).

 

None of the kings on either side of this conflict are known anywhere else in ancient literature but in these four verses. There seem to be no ‘goodies’ and no ‘baddies’ in this conflict. The local kings have infamous names; the name ‘Bera’ (of the king of Sodom) means “characterized by evil”; ‘Birsha’ (of the king of Gomorrah) means “characterized by wickedness”, while ‘Shinab’ (of the king of Admah) means “hater of father”. The five local kings had been vassals for twelve years of the top king of that whole middle east area, the one named Kedorlaomer of Elam in what today is called Iran, in fact Elam was not far from Ur of the Chaldeans where Abram had been raised. However, in the thirteenth year of their subjection to this king they rebelled against his tyranny. They unilaterally declared independence, and that was the reason for Kedorlaomer’s invasion. He and this alliance of kings took their time on a long campaign of conquest, first of all entering the lands around Canaan steadily conquering much of the territory of the Amalekites and Amorites and finally meeting their rebels in battle in the Valley of Siddim, “four kings against five” (v.9). The five rebel kings lost the fight; Kedorlaomer and his allies, battle hardened in this long campaign, gained the victory, and the five kings, including the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah, fled to the hills. Some of them fell into the tar pits of that treacherous area – hiding, or maybe deliberately throwing themselves into the molten tar rather than be caught by Kedorlaomer’s cruel soldiers.

 

King Kedorlaomer and the others helped themselves to everything of value in Sodom and Gomorrah, possessions, valuables, food and slaves. They carried off Abram’s nephew Lot and all he had, his vast flocks and herds because Lot was no longer living “near Sodom” (Gen. 13:14), “he was living in Sodom” (v.12). So here was a man to whom the things of this world had become all important, who had left the kingdom that God had promised to Abram and his seed. He had chosen all that seemed to encourage prosperity, and yet within a few years he lost everything including his liberty. He had lost Canaan for some time, but now all the things that he had collected and guarded were taken from him by thieves and he himself was looking forward to a life of slavery.

 
  1. ABRAM SET OUT AND RESCUED HIS NEPHEW LOT.
 

One of the men taken captive escaped; he hurried all the way to the great trees of Mamre the Amorite where Abram was living and he told him about what had happened to Lot. Abram did not say, “Whatever will be will be.” He did not say, “That is the will of God” and went on tending his flocks. He did not saying, “Lot brought this on himself in leaving the promised land.” He didn’t only weep and cry out his frustration and grief at the news, but “he called out the 318 trained men born in his household and went on pursuit” (v.14). He had not lost his confidence in taking a huge decision like that, one he had never had to consider before. He was not paralyzed by the memory of the folly of going down to Egypt and hatching a plot concealing Sarai’s identity. He determined to rescue his nephew, even though the towns of Sodom and Gomorrah were going to be destroyed, and that that would be a just judgment on those wicked people. He would go and save his nephew and family. So Abram formed an alliance with three Amorite brothers and their men to rescue Lot. Did that trouble his conscience? Did he ask whether he was trusting in the flesh again? He was going to leave the land of Canaan; was that right? He was going to interfere with God’s judgment on the two cities; was that right? He was going to enter into a treaty with the Amorites who were iniquitous pagans who one day would be dispossessed of this land; was that right? War creates issues like that. It created dilemmas for the midwives of the children of Israel who were told by Pharaoh to kill the male children. They couldn’t do that. It created issues for Rahab hiding two believers in her roof in Jericho and asked about them by the rulers of that city. She couldn’t betray them. When some Christians go to church they often leave the lights on in the winter evenings to suggest to a would-be burglar that someone is in the house. We are to be as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves. We are at war against evil men and part of our weaponry is a plain clothes policeman. We are told here how Abram responded gathering together a posse of men and seting out quickly to rescue Lot. God passes no moral disapproval of Abram’s conduct in Scripture.

 

Why do we approve of Abram’s response? Not simply because it showed his family love, his pity and bravery, but because it showed his grace. Abram needn’t have done this; he could have spelled out his arguments in passing judgment on Lot for his folly in leaving the land and going to live in the cesspool of Sodom, but Abram put his own life on line and went to rescue him. So Abram is increasingly showing himself to be a growing servant of God, like the Seed of the woman who one day would come, God’s great Servant. The Lord Christ loved us whom he’d taken to be his eternal brothers. He found us in captivity, facing a future of slavery to sin. We had lost any entitlement to anything; we had chosen to sin; Satan had thoroughly ruined us. Henceforth we would go astray from the womb obeying whatever our master, sin, told us to do. We could do nothing to help ourselves, but our great elder Brother, like Abram, came on a long journey to deliver us from sin’s captivity, not with armed men to help him, but all by himself, living for us, dying for us rising to be our King and Lord.

 

Jesus the Messiah, the son of Abraham, defeated our enemies, and he took those captive who had held us captive. He ransomed us from the hands of God’s righteous justice. He set us free by the power of his grace and restored all that we had lost. He defeated our adversaries, delivering us from their power for ever, making us more than conquerors in him by the power of his grace, and so in this chapter we
see Abram, the servant of the Lord, prepared to lay down his own life to deliver those whom he loved. That is the reason why there’s no challenge to or disapproval of the decision that Abram takes, and that is why God give his servant this surprising victory.

 

Abram sets off with his ill-trained army. Of course the element of surprise is his. These kings have routed the army of the five kings; the defeated demoralized men are hiding in the hills or amongst the asphalt pits. They are licking their wounds while the victorious forces are enjoying the spoils of battle not even setting a watch. Then at night, Abram’s men skillfully divided in two to attack from both sides. Maybe Kerdorlaomer’s men were sleeping off a drunken night’s revels while Abram’s men attacked. Whatever the exact circumstances might have been we know that God gave Abram the victory; he routed the four king’s battle-hardened men and pursued them a couple of hundred miles, still chasing after them all the way to northern Syria. “They are still pursuing us! Let’s get going!” Abram “recovered all the goods, and brought back his relative Lot and his possessions, together with the women and the other people” (v.16).

 
  1. ABRAM MET MELCHIZEDEK, KING OF SALEM.
 

The incident does not end at verse 16. So far it has been a simple story. Christians are drawn into wars at many different levels. Lot became a prisoner of war, but Abram went off on a daring mission with a small band of men and rescued Lot and defeated one of the most powerful armies of the Middle East. Abram has done all this without any reference we read of to calling on the name of the Lord, but Abram is not against the will of God. He has left the promised land and formed an alliance with pagans for this battle, and he has gained an outstanding victory. What is going to happen to Abram now? Will he become vain, and over-confident in his own abilities. Will he trust the arm of the flesh? Will he boast in his military skills and weary his wife Sarai and his servants with interminable stories of his battles? Will he keep all the booty for himself? Will Abram shrink and become just another little king, full of himself and his own great name? A time of testing lies ahead. Has this servant of the Lord really grown in grace? Has he become mature with more trust in the Lord? We shall soon see because . . . look . . . in the distance Bera, the defeated king of Sodom, and his entourage comes walking up to meet Abram in the King’s Valley.

 

How will Abram deal with him? Will he treat him as an equal, or less than an equal? Abram is now the most famous man in the land. Abram the conqueror. Abram the warrior, the victor over Kedorlaomer, the most popular man in all of Canaan. Will be become a mere king himself? Will he divide the spoil he’s got from Kedorlaomer with Bera the king of Sodom? Will he throw in his lot with those who have gained fame and wealth and power by the arm of the flesh and the wisdom of the world? Many do. Think of Solomon having received such wealth and power from his father David, and then how it all went to his head. Will Abram by the adrenalin rush of victory forget the Lord? Berin the king of Sodom is getting nearer. We shall soon find out.

 

Then in the mercy of God, at that very moment of testing, God sends another person into Abram’s life. Don’t we find that often? We had had some academic success, or sporting recognition, or promotion and a salary increase. The world was head-hunting us; great promises were being made. The managing director had spoken highly of us and our future in the company. Yes, it would mean regular Sunday work, but the rewards were great, the expenses account, the use of the firm’s holiday flat, conferences in California twice a year. I know that for us men our careers, and some recognition and appreciation of our gifts, is very important and we do like that, but there are other things in life like the kingdom of God that always have priority, and as long as they do come first then we can handle wealth and fame and keep them as our servants.

 

So it was that at this time of triumph in Abram’s life God acted and sent an unexpected messenger, addressing him by name, with words from the Lord – just as we have known such times too, when God has delivered us from our day dreams and plugged us into reality again. So while the king of Sodom came ever nearer, another king, Melchizedek, king of Salem, arrived before Berin, speaking personally to him, “Blessed be Abram” (v.19). What words! “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. And blessed be God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand” (vv. 19&20). If Abram were somewhat self-elated by his victory then the best cure for pride and the most certain way to get his priorities right again is a word from a messenger of God. Before the accolades of a wicked king and an evil city sound in his ears let the word of God be heard. Before Abram had the chance of receiving what was rightly his then these powerful thoughts of the greatness of the living God were set in his mind.

 

Where is happiness to be found? In a gift of God Most High. Who is this God? He is the Creator of all that we see around us. The world did not come about by a big bang, or by chance, or luck. Creation did not come out of nothing. Nothing comes out of nothing. Our Lord made it all – “Creator of heaven and earth.” And where do our gifts come from, and the progress we make in life, all our little deliverances and victories and steady maturation that give us quiet thankfulness and satisfaction? They come from God Most High, this one Melchizedek tells Abram, “who delivered your enemies into your hand.” Blessed be God Most High! Holy Melchizedek came and he spoke to him, and Abram got his priorities right immediately, and the temptation to walk tall and treat the king of Sodom as an equal or even as an inferior, disappeared. Every lasting blessing in life had come and would always come from the living God. If Abram could not thank God for what he had and use it to God’s glory then he would reject it.

 

Who is Melchizedek, this king of Salem who is also priest of God Most High? Search all the thirteen chapters of Genesis before this verse and you will find not a single reference to him. We know nothing about him except what is found in these three verses. Yes, he is referred to later in Psalm 110 and that is opened up in Hebrews 7, “Jesus Christ a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek” (Heb. 6:20), but that is all we find, in all of the Bible. There is no record of Melchizedek’s origin – “without father or mother, without genealogy without beginning of days or end of life” (Hebs. 7:3). To whom can we compare Melchizedek the king? We could say that he reminds us of Joseph of Arimathea, a disciple of the Lord but secretly (Jn. 19:38), and also that Melchizedek was like the thief hanging on the cross who had one opportunity in his life to speak a word for his Lord and to his Lord, and he took it, rebuking his companion and praying humbly to the Saviour. Melchizedek had this word given to him by God and he used it to keep Abram’s priorities right.

 

We know his name means, ‘King of righteousness,’ in contrast to the king of Sodom whose name, ‘Bera’, meant ‘characterized by evil’ – and even as Melchizedek was speaking Bera was getting nearer and nearer to Abram. Melchizedek’s role and title is the king of Salem, that is, the king of peace. The word ‘salem’ is found in ‘Jerusalem’ which simply means the ‘City of
Peace.’ So Melchizedek was a king in one of the city states of Canaan, later called ‘Jerusalem’, but at this time, ‘Salem,’ the place God chose a thousand years later as his dwelling place where his house would be erected on earth. So we have thought, and I have actually said in the weeks gone by, that Abram had been the only believer in the Lord in all the world, and yet here I have found another one, an old believer, the last representative of the old order of men who walked with God, a spiritual successor of Enoch and Noah. There, in the hill country, where Jerusalem and its temple were to be erected, king Melchizedek had lived serving and worshipping the Lord. That day God summoned him to go to Abram and speak to him so that Abram would be strong to resist temptation at a time of victory. Melchizedek is going to hand over the torch of revelation which he’d been holding to Abram. He has no descendants. His line is no challenge to Abram. From henceforth this land will be filled with Abram’s seed, and his alone. No longer are the residue of believers to be found scattered far apart from one another, a Noah and his family here, and a Melchizedek in Salem there, but only in the line of Abram are they to be found thriving and flourishing, and through them the Seed of the woman will one day appear and then all the nations of the earth will be blessed. Melchizedek is here transferring his title as the king of Salem in Canaan to Abram. Lot leaves the land to Abram, and Melchizedek leaves any claim to the land to Abram.

 

Here is a great and merciful high priest, who is also the king of peace sent from God to hand over the dominion to Abram. Melchizedek does this in a delightful way, by inaugurating a love feast. He gives bread and wine to Abram, that is, they share a fellowship meal together. And when Melchizedek speaks with him he reminds Abram where his strength truly comes from. They hold communion together so that Abram might be assured that he is not some loner, not a religious innovator, the inventor of monotheism, no. Abram stands in the line of Enoch and Noah and the patriarchs who all loved the one living and true Lord before him. Now he and Melchizedek might be brothers together sharing this one meal of bread and wine, but Melchizedek must decrease that Abram might increase.

 

Melchizedek is a wonderful picture of our Lord and Saviour, the one who comes to us so often as we meet in his name. He will come and chastise our enemies when they threaten us. He will deliver them into our hands. He will send a messenger to us when we have gained a notable triumph just to keep us humble and to make us aware that we are tiny creatures and he the Creator of heaven and earth.

 

The Lord Jesus Christ is a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek in three ways:

 

i] Melchizedek was a divinely appointed priest. He did not perceive when he was growing up that he was inevitably going to be a priest when he grew up because his father before him had been one. No, this was no hereditary title. His was an underived priesthood. He was sovereignly appointed a priest by God. So too the Lord Jesus did not come from the tribe of Levi. He was of the line of Judah as his father and forefathers had been. It was God who determined to make Jesus a special priest as he had made Melchizedek a priest. It was nothing shocking or illegal to call Christ a priest as someone not of the tribe of Levi because here was someone else in the O.T. who had also been a non-Levitical priest.

 

ii] Melchizedek was a once for all priest. There was no new line of priests started in Canaan linked through the umbilical cord to Melchizedek of Salem. He had no successors. His priesthood was a once for all which he alone performed. So Jesus too needed no successors to do the work he did because he completed his priestly work perfectly and he left nothing undone for further priests to do. He prays for everyone of his people; none suffer because there are no more priests; none suffer because they have no one to intercede for them. We have a great high priest who ever lives to intercede for us. When Pope John Paul visited Australia, speaking to priests, he said, ‘Jesus did not want a church without priests. If priests are lacking, then Jesus is lacking in the world, as is his Eucharist and his forgiveness . . . We share in the work of Christ, the eternal High Priest.’ Men and women died rather than assent to such ideas. They understood the unique perfection of the once and for all priestly work of Christ.

 

iii] Melchizedek was recognized as a true priest of God by Abram. Abram the father of all who believe, and the father of Jesus according to the flesh, reverently approached the man Melchizedek and presented him with a tithe of everything he had. What was Abram declaring as his herdsmen separated a tenth of all his cattle and sheep and donkeys and camels and grapes and olives and wheat, giving them all to Melchizedek who took them all back to Salem? Abram was saying that everything he owed belonged to the God of Melchizedek that the both worshipped, God Most High, the Creator of heaven and earth. Now we go one step further and we say that every believer was also in Abram, all his children were in him, when he gave that tithe to Melchizedek. Levi too, though as yet unborn, submitted to Melchizedek in the person of his ancestor Abram. So let all the priests of Levi who lived at the time of the early church, tens of thousands of them, all bow and submit to Jesus Christ because he is a true priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek, and a superior priest to Levi.

 
  1. ABRAM MET BERIN, KING OF SODOM.
 

So as this great exchange of recognition and affection and prayer and gifts was all over along came Berin, the king of Sodom, and immediately, from the moment this pagan opens his mouth you know he lives in another world of darkness and unbelief. “Give me the people and keep the goods for yourself” (v.21). It’s the voice of the bully; it’s the sound of braggadocio. He has just been whipped in battle by the four kings led by Kedorlaomer. He has run for his life, been hiding in the hills, and has had his city plundered, but now Abram has destroyed the army of Kedorlaomer, so Berin can return to Sodom. This is the man who comes along to Abram ungrateful and suspicious. “Don’t get any big ideas, Abram,” he is saying, “this is what is going to happen. I’ll take the people and you can keep the goods.” A greater contrast with the words of Melchizedek you can hardly imagine.

 

By the laws of that time Abram owned the people and the goods. To the victor belongs the spoils. No one has the authority to tell what he could keep and what had to be taken away from him. If Abram gives him anything then it will be pure grace that has bestowed it. Abram owes him nothing at all, but like the men of the world the king of Sodom did not understand grace. He and the men of the world understand their needs – what they want. They argue that the best form of defence is attack. Get your retaliation in first. It is all there in the six curt words that in the original he says to Abram; “Give me people; you take goods.” He makes his demands without a word of thanks. He is trying to pass himself off as an unchallengeable ruler and Abraham as some petty vassal king who got lucky. But the great king at the end of a successful battle is the one who alone divides up the spoil. The booty is all Abram’s and he must dispense it according to the service that the other kings and their men performed in the fight. Berin is the king who ran for his life; his men are still hiding in caves in the hills
not knowing that the war is over. Others jumped in bubbling pools of tar rather than fall into the hands of Kedorlaomer’s men. Berin is trying to pass himself off as the top gun generously allowing Abram to keep the goods. This is what Abram would have been like, and what I would have been like if our hearts had not been conquered by the grace of the God of heaven and earth posers and bullies.

 

How noble is Abraham’s reply. He was noble speaking to young Lot and letting him choose the left or the right, but now hear him again saying to the king of Sodom, “I have raised my hand to the LORD, God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth, and have taken an oath that I will accept nothing belonging to you, not even a thread or the thong of a sandal, so that you will never be able to say, ‘I made Abram rich’ I will accept nothing but what my men have eaten and the share that belongs to the men who went with me – to Aner, Eshcol and Mamre. Let them have their share.” (vv.22-24). “You can keep the lot as far as I am concerned, but consider these three brothers who lost men and friends and family in the war. They must have their share, but I’ll take nothing at all, not a thread from any of the garments heaped up there on a cart. King of Sodom, you will never look at all that God has given me and then turn to your friends and say, ‘Abram owed all that to me.’” Abram will be above reproach; he will not be tarnished by moral ambiguity. Paul surrendered his right to take money for his preaching in order not to hinder the ministry.

 

Abram took a solemn oath that day, of life-long dependence upon the Lord. He raised his hand to the God Most High, the Creator of heaven and earth. Those words, your remember, were the words of Melchizedek. That is how he described the God he worshipped, but now Abram goes one step further. He also calls him ‘Jehovah;’ he is the Lord, the God Most High. Melchizedek’s mighty God is identified by Abram as the God who had called him from Ur of the Chaldeans and was leading him every step of the way.

 

There was a wealthy London Welshman, now deceased, who, when I began my ministry, promised the churches in Wales millions of pounds if they would all come together, the false prophets and the true, all come together in one hyper denomination and his money would fund it all. The churches to their credit all said, “No thanks.” If he wanted to do Wales good then let him do his own soul good first and buy the truth and sell it not. Let him know what is historic Christianity and what is error. Then let him use his assets to support the evangelism of Wales with the truth. We cannot take money that will cause a man to say, “That church and that pulpit owes everything to my generosity.” No man can have God’s pulpit in his pocket. All that we have and are we owe to the extraordinary grace of God in Jesus Christ. So Abram was learning by every obstacle he met to grow in trust in his mighty God.

 

26April 2009     GEOFF THOMAS