The Give and Take of Blessings and Kings

“When Abram heard that his kinsman had been taken captive, he led forth his trained men, born in his house, 318 of them, and went in pursuit as far as Dan. And he divided his forces against them by night, he and his servants, and defeated them and pursued them to Hobah, north of Damascus. Then he brought back all the possessions, and also brought back his kinsman Lot with his possessions, and the women and the people.

“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). And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. (He was priest of God Most High.) And he blessed him and said,

‘Blessed be Abram by God Most High,
    Possessor of heaven and earth;
and blessed be God Most High,
    who has delivered your enemies into your hand!’

“And Abram gave him a tenth of everything. And the king of Sodom said to Abram, ‘Give me the persons, but take the goods for yourself.’  But Abram said to the king of Sodom, ‘I have lifted my hand to the Lord, God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth, that I would not take a thread or a sandal strap or anything that is yours, lest you should say, “I have made Abram rich.” I will take nothing but what the young men have eaten, and the share of the men who went with me. Let Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre take their share.’” Genesis 14:14-24

In this interesting nugget of a story that reappears later with deeper meaning, we see a telling exchange. The spotlight is on the inscrutable King of Salem (King of ‘Peace’), also priest of God Most High (before the priesthood was ordained), who greets the victor Abram with blessing, bread, and wine. In turn, Abram, who bore the royal seed of Israel- the Lord Jesus Christ-, gives Him a tithe (before the law) of everything he’d recovered in battle. We sense a holy hush at what is taking place between mortals who represent our supernatural King of kings and Great High Priest. In the background, the worldly King of Sodom is refused, and kept in his shadow. This mutual exchange of honor between God’s anointed men is palpable, and mysterious. (Genesis 12:2-3; 1 Timothy 6:15; Hebrews 4:14)

Both the recipient of the Priest’s blessing, and the recipient of the revered tithe, are lavish in their giving. Their generosity does not compete, and their grace is willing to receive, all in shared benevolence, respect, and honor. Such are our Lord and King, worthy of blessing, offering, and praise. Eternal commutations are not bound by time or limited by our understanding. Would we enter the heavenlies and participate in wonder and praise? How might this scene move our hearts to offer afresh? (Psalm 110:1-4; Hebrews 7:1-10)

In what ways can I tangibly bless and honor others? What will I give, and give back, for all the Lord my benevolent King has bestowed on me? How careful am I not to touch the glory of God, or greed of another? (Isaiah 42:8; Colossians 3:5)

Possessor of heaven and earth, may my giving and receiving be done in reverence of Your worth, according to Your bounty, and for Your glory.

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