Our Doxology: The King of Salem or the King of Sodom?
by Impact Church
17 Then 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). 18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; now he was a priest of God Most High. 19 He blessed him and said, “Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; 20 And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” He gave him a tenth of all. 21 The king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give the people to me and take the goods for yourself.” 22 Abram said to the king of Sodom, “I have sworn to the Lord God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth, 23 that I will not take a thread or a sandal thong or anything that is yours, for fear you would say, ‘I have made Abram rich.’ 24 I will take nothing except what the young men have eaten, and the share of the men who went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their share.” Genesis 14:17-24
It comes as no surprise that people have learned to handle suffering and hard times. Although difficult, there is a resiliency in the human experience that propels people to overcome the worst of conditions and work to improve their life.
What is rarely considered is the ability to handle success. Many times we have seen people achieve incredible feats of accomplishments and then to become full of pride and as soon as it was realized, the success evaporates.
One the strongest temptations in our lives are to see the source of our good things or blessings as the result of the work and industry we invested or our association with the right people. A little mentioned aspect of Abraham’s life was his successful record as a warrior. And how he responded to the temptation to accept the world’s blessing.
After his defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings with him, two kings approached Abraham, each representing two contrastive worldviews. The first to reach him was the king of Sodom. This king from the worldly and wicked valley of decadence asked for the people Abraham had captured and would leave him with the goods.
The second king was Melchizedek, which means “king of righteousness”. He was king of Salem, which means “peace”. In quite the contrastive reference, this second king didn’t ask for anything from Abraham. He instead brought out bread and wine and blessed Abraham. As a footnote, Moses wrote that Melchizedek was a priest of God Most High.
Melchizedek, who was both king of righteousness and peace and was priest, is the archetype of the priesthood of Jesus. As the High Priest of the Most High God, Jesus offered the bread and wine of His body and blood to those who believe as Abraham did.
But the circumstances of Abraham’s original story was to recognize the difference of the honor that comes to him. The worldly king was the first person to appear to Abraham, representing that worldly acknowledgement is the first to honor us. The second king brought blessings and acknowledged the spiritual source of Abraham’s success. Melchizedek blessed the “God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” (14:20). At the words of Melchizedek, Abraham responded by giving him a tenth of all that he had acquired in his battle.
After his commitment to give Melchizedek his tenth, Abraham was asked by the king of Sodom to give him the people and keep the goods for himself. Abraham reveals that he was sworn to the Lord God Most High that he would not take anything of the king of Sodom because he was fearful that the wicked king could claim that he had made Abraham rich.
From this story, we can learn some of the characteristics of properly handling our blessings:
- Be suspicious of the first ones who appear after your success
- True acknowledgement of your blessings will honor God because of what He’s done in your life
- A godly recognition of your blessings solicits the desire to return a portion to the Lord. Grace begets grace.
- Avoid taking from a worldly blessing and do not associate with anyone who wants to lay claim to your blessing.
Our Praise of the King of Salem, the King of Righteousness, and the Priest of the Most High God for our blessings is the right response. As The Doxology taught:
Praise God, from whom all blessings flow
Praise Him, all creatures here below
Praise Him above, ye Heavenly Hosts
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.