Gen 14: 18ff “Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, and he blessed Abram, saying,
“Blessed be Abram by God Most High,
Creator of heaven and earth.
And praise be to God Most High,
who delivered your enemies into your hand.”
Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.
In Genesis 14, we learn of a strange encounter between Abram, Melchizedek and the King of Sodom. Lot’s family, after choosing the best lands in Canaan and leaving lesser lands to Abram’s family, has taken residence in Sodom. A consortium of four kings raids Canaan and captures Sodom. During the battle with the four kings, the King of Sodom retreats to escape capture. Lot’s family and possessions are taken by the four kings. Abram learns of the battle and immediately rescues Lot by defeating the four kings.
After the battle is won, two Kings seek to reward Abram: Melchizedek and Sodom. Sodom’s King rightfully offers Abram the battle plunder as reward for his victory. Abram declines his fair share of the treasures that the victory restored to Sodom. Before battle, Abram vowed that his victory would be God’s victory. After the battle is won, Abram reasserts his vow by declining Sodom’s booty. God was Abram’s great reward (Gen 15:1). No Sodomic reward would taint the reward of God’s future promises. The battle and victory were exclusively God’s. By contrast, Abram received the the bread of wine offered by Melchizedek. Together, Melchizedek and Abram give singular and unselfish praise to God for the victory given. Then, Abram tithed for his victory.
Abram actions showed uncommon character, discernment and faith.
What would I do if, having promised to share my winnings with others, I purchased a winning lottery ticket? How might I re-think my promise to others based on their risk and and my reward? Are my promises faithful and consistent with Christ-character? True character is displayed when we have control and no one is watching! Do I have the Christ-character to discern what is right? Do I have Christ-character to do it? Do I have the Christ-character to focus credit on the Giver of every gift?
Eph 4:22-24 “… take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you.” (The Message)