Thursday, January 5, 2012

The appearance of Melchizedek





Scripture

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).
(Genesis 14:17 NASB)
And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; now he was a priest of God Most High.
(Genesis 14:18 NASB)
He blessed him and said, “Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth;
(Genesis 14:19 NASB)
And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” He gave him a tenth of all.
(Genesis 14:20 NASB)

Observation

The arrival of Melchizedek is a foreshadowing of the coming Messiah. Really, the story has barely begun but the appearance of this king already begins a trajectory which will culminate in the life of Christ here on earth. Melchizedek is not a part of Abram's family. He is a priest and later all of the priests would come from the line of Levi. The line of Levi hasn't even begun and so this priest appears from outside the structure. He is the King of Salem...Salem meaning peace...could it be that he is laying the groundwork for the "Prince of Peace?" In his worship of God, he broke the bread and shared the wine. Here Abram was already partaking of a meal which would become, for all of time, the Lord's supper. Abram and his men had been blessed by victory and he wanted to give God thanks. He gave Melchizedek a tenth, a tithe of the plunder. Melchizedek was an earthly ambassador of God on high and Abram, honoring him, gave him the tithe of the victory.

Application

When Jesus came he was remembered as being "a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek."Jesus came to establish a new system, a new covenant that went beyond the bounds of the traditional religious practices of the day. It was a frustration to the religious leader of the day, but this had been God's plan for centuries. He knew that this is what would need to happen to be able to set people free.
There are moments in our lives today where we have experiences that foreshadow what lies ahead. God continues to step into history and nudge humanity in the right direction. Somehow Abram understood that Melchizedek was special and unique, and he responded to the ministry of this King. He respected this King and brought his tithe.

What are we responding to and respecting these days? Melchizedek was authentic in his walk with God. The world is hungry for Christians whom they can truly respect. Our lives are also to be a foreshadowing of Christ, for his image is stamped on us. This is a humbling message today, because it was not often that there were faithful individuals, like Melchizedek, who broke into time and space for the world to see the coming Messiah. The challenge is to live each and every day in the grace of God, allowing his image to be brought into clearer focus so that our lives touch the world and give a momentary glimpse of what is to come.

Prayer

Lord, may I reflect your image today. Amen.

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