The Battle and the Blessing
And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth. And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.
It was upon the victorious return against Chedorlaomer and his allies, that Abram the man of faith was approached by two significant kings. One was the king of Sodom - ruler over a wicked city; the other the king of Salem - a ruler over a city of peace. One was a king of unrighteousness with an offer to compromise Abram, the other was a king of righteousness who came to strengthen and bless. The differences between these two powerful people are notable. There similarities however, are but one: they both arrived at a vulnerable time in Abram's experience. At this juncture, Abram no doubt thought the worst was behind him. He had risked much by undergoing the campaign to recapture Lot, his wayward nephew whose unwise choices put him in harm's way. Persistent to the end, Abram pursued this formidable alliance and defeated them with his own personal cadre of trained servants. A greater example of brotherly love for the backslider there could not be. But little did Abram anticipate this challenge of a on the pages of Holy Scripture. Is it not at this time also that the devil - the ruler of this present world seeks in a similar fashion to compromise the heirs of faith? Does he not engage us in battle as Chedorlaomer did with Abram and then deceitfully reappear as the king of Sodom did to ensnare the man or woman of faith? He is ever quick to make his alluring approach to the sons of faith especially when they might be basking in a recent achievement. But as with Abram, there is a king-priest at hand who is there to help us remain faithful and true. With Abram, it was the mysterious man Melchizedek who stepped in front of the King of Sodom and exercised his kingly authority and priestly office to intercept Abram to keep the man of faith on the path of faith. Not only did he refresh Abram and his troops with bread and wine, but he reminded him that it was the Lord who delivered his enemies into his hands and by so doing, readied him to withstand the tempting offer from the king of Sodom. Abram gratefully responded by giving him a tithe of all, acknowledging Melchizedek's greatness and the vital part that he was having in his life. Through this episode, God's servant Abram was now prepared to repel the King of Sodom's offer when it came. And so it is with us. We also have a King-Priest who is near at hand. He is the Lord Jesus Christ, the King of Righteousness, the King of Peace. He also appears when Satan approaches to refresh, remind and ready us for the subsequent battles and temptations that may come our way. Each week, He exercises His kingly and priestly offices, presenting bread and wine to strengthen our sagging spirits, weary from the battles and skirmishes of a previous week and elevating our hearts and minds and setting them on things above. He reminds us that any victory that we have achieved is solely because of His intervention and that one day we shall reign with Him. And, after having been blessed by Him, we have the wonderful privilege of gratefully responding back in worship and praise, prepared to overcome the most subtle of solicitations from the ruler of this world who also wants to diminish our allegiance to Possessor of heaven and earth, the One infinitely possesses so much more. Abram had a friend who helped him when he needed it most and so do we - all the time.
A Mighty Fortress
A mighty fortress is our God, A bulwark never failing;
Our helper He, amid the flood, of mortal ills prevailing.
For still our ancient foe, Doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and pow'r are great, And, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.
Did we in our own strength confide, Our striving would be losing;
Were not the right One on our side, The Man of God's own choosing.
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth is His name, From age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.
And Though this world, with evil filled, Should threaten to undo us;
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us;
Let goods and kindred go, This mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God's truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.