“Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High. And he blessed him and said: ‘Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.’ And he gave him a tithe of all.”
Abram’s encounter with Melchizedek is one of the most interesting and encouraging stories in Scripture. The scene is set for their meeting in the previous chapter, where we find Lot departing from Abram, and moving to the plains outside the city of Sodom. What seemed to be a brilliant business decision, turned out to be a costly moral one, as Lot is soon caught up in the ways of Sodom. When fighting breaks out between nations, Lot finds himself taken captive as a POW, and led to Elam where he will become a slave. The news of Sodom’s defeat, and Lot’s capture, reaches the ears of Abram, who gathers his 318 servants and heads out in hot pursuit. Abram is attempting to do with 318 farmers, what five armies could not do; defeat the forces of Chedorlaomer.
Miraculously, Abram is able, not only to defeat Chederlaomer, but to drive his forces as far north as Damascus. God has accomplished the impossible through the faithful and fearless service of a few men. It is here, the story gets really interesting. Upon returning home, Abram is met by Melchizedek, the King and Priest of Salem. This man, although only appearing briefly in the narrative of Genesis, becomes a key player in the overall story of Scripture. When we come to the New Testament, we are told the ministry of Jesus was patterned after the ministry of Melchizedek. Jesus, unlike the Jewish priests, was both a king and a priest. The encounter Abram had with him, is an illustration of the encounters that we must have with Christ.
Abram’s encounter with Melchizedek happens after a battle, that would have left any army exhausted, and before facing the king of Sodom, who would offer him great riches. It is here, Abram meets with Melchizedek, who offers him bread, wine and a blessing. As Scripture continues to unfold, we will find that bread and wine play a critical role.
Life for the believer is filled with spiritual battles. We face the trials and temptations of life, coupled with the difficulties of winning others to the Lord. This can become exhausting, and leave us vulnerable to the enemy’s attacks. The secret is to take a page from Abram’s book, being sure our service includes ample time with King Jesus, and our focus is on the cross. In communion, where we are told to remember Jesus, the bread reminds us of His body, broken for our sin, while the wine reminds us of the forgiveness we find in Him. It is critical, in the midst of battle, we learn to get alone with the Lord and allow Him to strengthen us.
Whatever challenges you may face today, spending time with Jesus will prepare you for it. Before you run out the door to face the next hurdle in life, be sure to take time to look into the Word, and up at the Lord.