BLESSED BE ABRAM
Genesis 14:17 ¶ And the king of Sodom went out to meet him after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer, and of the kings that were with him, at the valley of Shaveh, which is the king’s dale. 18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. 19 And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: 20 And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.
Genesis 14:21 ¶ And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself. 22 And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth, 23 That I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich: 24 Save only that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men which went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion.
Abram comes now to have the Lord bless him in a most unique way. For the Lord sends to him two entirely different characters at a most unique place in his life. Isaiah 43:4 Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life. Some of the people who come into the believer’s life at specific times are expendable. For they are like the chaff which the wind driveth away! This was the case with the king of Sodom in Abram’s life. For the chaff is part of the wheat kernel while it is growing. But as soon as the wheat matures, the chaff becomes useless and is separated.
But others are very precious and valuable souls who inspire the believers to greater heights of spiritual blessing. This was most certainly that which was accomplished by the presence of Melchizedek, priest of the most high God!
These were both essential for Abram, “high father,” to become Abraham, “father of a multitude.” These were just as much necessary for the development of Abram as were both Judas and John for the entire church! For Judas was needful to provide the wicked hands, as it was the determinate counsel of God to deliver the Lord Jesus to be sacrificed! Acts 2:23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: And, as Melchizedek, what value could be placed on the Apostle John for his revelation to us as the disciple whom Christ loved?
And even in the placement of these two in the arrangement of these verses of the scriptures, we can see a glimpse of the purposes of the Lord. For we have just one verse to introduce the king of Sodom into this picture, before Melchizedek is set forth. Then, after the verses concerning Melchizedek, we return to consider more of the encounter with Sodom’s king.
We find Abram and his household servants, and his Canaanite “confederates” (see Genesis 14:13), returning from the slaughter of the kings (Hebrews 7:1) at the time of this occurrence. And we know from other passages in the scriptures that they had to have been exhausted in body and mind. Therefore they much needed the bread and wine that Melchizedek provided.
Consider this passage: 1 Samuel 14:31 And they smote the Philistines that day from Michmash to Aijalon: and the people were very faint. 32 And the people flew upon the spoil, and took sheep, and oxen, and calves, and slew them on the ground: and the people did eat them with the blood.
But our Lord was extremely hungry before his warfare with the Wicked One! Matthew 4:1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. 2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. And yet, he overcame in the spirit, while his flesh was at its weakest ebb! Matthew 4:11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him. He was always nourished by his obedience to the Father’s will! John 4:32 But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of. 33 Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat? 34 Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. What a glorious Savior and Master is ours! Bless his holy name!
And this very same Lord was with Abram! For he was manifest as such by this mysterious priest, Melchizedek. Listen as the Lord God speaks of Abram: Isaiah 41:8 But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend. 9 Thou whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called thee from the chief men thereof, and said unto thee, Thou art my servant; I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away. 10 ¶ Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. 11 Behold, all they that were incensed against thee shall be ashamed and confounded: they shall be as nothing; and they that strive with thee shall perish. 12 Thou shalt seek them, and shalt not find them, even them that contended with thee: they that war against thee shall be as nothing, and as a thing of nought. 13 For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.
And as the seed of Abraham, all believers are blessed in Christ! Galatians 3:16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. 29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
But Melchizedek brought to Abram far more that just physical food to nourish his body!For he communed with Abram’s issue of faith in a way that no other human being ever had, or could! For in our verse nineteen we hear him speak forth that Abram is of the most high God, and that Abram’s God is the possessor of heaven and earth! This strengthened Abram’s faith and confident resolve that the land on which he dwelt, although still filled with Canaanites, was entirely under the authority of the God of his promise!
And we see that when it comes to dealing with the king of Sodom, as recorded in our verse twenty two, Abram uses Melchizedek’s very same, exact words to describe that resolve. And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth,. So Melchizedek not only brings bread and wine to strengthen Abram physically, but he also brings him a word of faith to strengthen him spiritually.
And just where did all this take place? That must be important for verse seventeen informs us that it was at the valley of Shaveh, which is the king’s dale. And since the Holy Spirit saw fit to include this information, it would do us well to investigate it for our edification.
There is one other mention of this location in the scriptures. And here is the verse: 2 Samuel 18:18 Now Absalom in his lifetime had taken and reared up for himself a pillar, which is in the king’s dale: for he said, I have no son to keep my name in remembrance: and he called the pillar after his own name: and it is called unto this day, Absalom’s place. Years later, here is another man without a son in this same place where Abram was. For Abram’s issue was that he had no son.
Yet we read in 2 Samuel 14:27 And unto Absalom there were born three sons, and one daughter, whose name was Tamar: she was a woman of a fair countenance. This seems, upon first glance to contradict the other verse. But as you prayerfully meditate upon it, you began to realize that there is no contradiction. For there are four children born to Absalom, but only one name listed. And knowing that the Jews kept strict records on genealogies, you conclude that these nameless boys must have been still born!
So Absalom’s fruit of his flesh did not continue, and his line was ended. But Abraham’s fruit that shall come forth out of thine own bowels is as the stars and sea sands for multitude, and shall continue forever! Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. (Genesis 15:4,5).
Absalom had to raise up a stone for the remembrance of his name as he had no sons. And, as always, the valley previously known as the king’s dale now is known as Absalom’s place. For the pride of the worldly man is forever changing the glorious things of God unto man’s own vain glory. But there was a man, the man Christ Jesus, who could have raised up stones to be Abraham’s children! Matthew 3:9 And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
Matthew 16:16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, (That word “Peter” is the same Greek word as “rock” in Matthew 7:24), and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Christ’s “stone” provides the revelation of spiritual life and newfound identity by faith in him! Revelation 2:17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.
Both Abram and Absalom were in the king’s dale at one time in their lives. Both had no son. Absalom had produced natural seed that died, and had to resort to having a stone speak for his remembrance. But Abram had the Holy Spirit produced his seed, the spiritual seed of Messiah, who are without number and live eternally! (See Galatians 3:29, listed above). Romans 4:17 (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. 19 And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara’s womb:
Revelation 7:9 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; 10 And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.
But what of this mysterious Melchizedek? We could never do him justice in the short space we are now allowed. But a careful reading of Hebrews chapter seven will be of great reward. He is called king of Salem in our verse eighteen. And Psalm 76:2 clearly informs us that this was Jeru- salem! It is Zion! In Salem also is his tabernacle, and his dwelling place in Zion.
One of the things that we read of this priest of the most high God instructs us that he was great. Hebrews 7:4 Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils. And the only time that a high priest is called “great” in the scriptures is referring to the Lord Jesus Christ! Hebrews 4:14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.
Melchizedek was not Christ. For it is said of him that he was made like unto the Son of God in Hebrews 7:3. And, contrary to some belief, he was not Shem! For that same verse states that he was without father, without mother, without descent. And we know both who Shem’s parents and children were! But he is a strong personal type of our Lord Jesus Christ! (This does not mean that Melchizedek had no parents. It is just that, with the importance of the genealogy of the Old Testament Jewish world, he is not listed as “the son of,” nor who he his children were.)
And being so, he is said to be even greater than Abraham! Hebrews 7:7 And without all contradiction the less (that is, Abram), is blessed of the better (that is Melchizedek). Philippians 2:9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
And not only was he termed “great,” but he was said to have an unending priesthood! …made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually. Hebrews 7:3. For the priests that attended the altar in the Jewish tabernacle and temple were of the tribe of Levi. But both Melchizedek and the Lord Jesus were of the tribe of Judah. And those of the Levitical priesthood are never said to have an endless life! So there had to be very many of them to span the length of time in which that sacrificial system endured. Hebrews 7:23 And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death:
But this is not the case with Melchizedek and his representation of Christ’s priesthood. Hebrews 7:24 But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. 25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. May Jesus Christ be praised! gb