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The Sacrament and the Tithe

Genesis14:14-16,18-24 When Abram heard that his relative had been taken captive, he led out his trained men, born in his house, three hundred and eighteen, and went in pursuit as far as Dan. He divided his forces against them by night, he and his servants, and defeated them, and pursued them as far as Hobah, which is north of Damascus. He brought back all the goods, and also brought back his relative Lot with his possessions, and also the women, and the people... And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; now he was a priest of God Most High. 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.” He gave him a tenth of all. The king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give the people to me and take the goods for yourself.” Abram said to the king of Sodom, “I have sworn to the LORD God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth, 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.’ “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.”

I'm wondering what took me so many years to study the Bible a little more intently as I am doing now and I regret the time I lost and the many opportunities lost with it to share God's riches with those I am blessed to fellowship with. However, when I do consider Abram and the age at which God was using him so powerfully, I do believe that it is never too late and God continues to be in control of our lives and His will for us :)

Here is the tale of a bitter-sweet victory for Abram and the people of Soddom as they first lost many and were restored few along with their possessions. Abram achieves victory over the 5 kings with only his 300+ men whereas the 4 kings and their troops from Sodom and Gomorrah were no match to these same 5 kings.

Obviously God's hand is visible in Abram's victory and what a fitting response that this victory was marked by honoring God through the feast that followed.

The question that hung in my mind was why Melchizedek brought out bread and wine to celebrate and why did Abram refuse the gifts offered?

It was customary to offer bread and wine to the victors as it was food that was refreshing. However, here the bread and wine was more than just refreshments because it was served to Abram and his valiant warriors by Melchizedek, the priest of God!

Much later in Exodus 25:29-30, the bread of Presence was placed on the table in the tabernacle, and then Jesus in John 6:48-59 talks about how one would live forever if they ate of the body and blood of the Son of Man, Jesus Christ himself. Is it not astounding how consistently the word of God speaks the same language from beginning to the end and how we can trust God completely in it?

Interestingly, we also see the first mention of tithe here when Abram offered a tenth of all he brought back to Melchizedek as a acknowledgment of the absolute and exclusive supremacy of the God, whom Melkizedec worshipped, and of the authority and validity of the priesthood which he exercised.

Then the King of Sodom offers Abram the rest of all the goods according to custom but Abram refuses to accept because He does not want to be indebted to any man but God. What a wonderful response that was but we also need to remember that Sodomites were notorious for their wickedness and therefore accepting this gift would mix the spiritual and the carnal.

In all of this, we can clearly see that God is faithful to those who call on His name and we learn from Abram's response how we must honor God above all else.

In His Loving Service,

Isaiah 41:10 'Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.'

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