So we come to three little verses that carry enormous theology. Melchizedek, (Genesis 14 v 18-20) the mystery man of the scriptures.
Abram had mustered his men, rushed off at top speed, routed and chased the enemy, recovered the stolen goods and people, and conveyed them back to home territory. They must have been exhaused (no stopping on the way would have been safe) hungry (no time to take food, and no time to eat any) anxious and vulnerable (a counter-attack, when you are laden with grabbed goods, women and children, would be a constant fear.) With hearts pumping and adrenalin still surging, they are greeted by a king of peace, (Salem is Jerusalem, but also close to the word for ‘peace’) who brings bread and wine – not just a few crumbs and a communion cupful, I’m sure. This was food and drink – sustenance – to battle-weary worn-out, needy people.
When I’ve read this exchange between Abram and Melchizedek before, I’ve tended to think of it as a meeting of two men, one blessing the other, and Abram feeling the need to pay him for it.
There were many witnesses, not least the king of Sodom. This was a formal declaration of Abram’s standing before God. Abram was on God’s side, but most significantly, God was on Abram’s side. No wonder Sodom wanted to muscle in! If you’ve got people that powerful in your vicinity, you want them aligned with you!
Abram’s response is a heart-felt giving. He had no doubts over who he wanted to be aligned with.
When I’m feeling weary and battle-worn I too want to turn to the King of Peace who provides for all I need, reassures me of my standing before Father God, blesses me, and reminds me of God’s protection. A heart response of giving back is the natural reaction. What else could you want to do?