January 21, 2019

Created for the Creator, not the Creation

Genesis 14

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Abram Rescues Lot

In the days of Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of Goiim, these kings made war with Bera king of Sodom, Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar). And all these joined forces in the Valley of Siddim (that is, the Salt Sea). Twelve years they had served Chedorlaomer, but in the thirteenth year they rebelled. In the fourteenth year Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him came and defeated the Rephaim in Ashteroth-karnaim, the Zuzim in Ham, the Emim in Shaveh-kiriathaim, and the Horites in their hill country of Seir as far as El-paran on the border of the wilderness. Then they turned back and came to En-mishpat (that is, Kadesh) and defeated all the country of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites who were dwelling in Hazazon-tamar.

Then the king of Sodom, the king of Gomorrah, the king of Admah, the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar) went out, and they joined battle in the Valley of Siddim with Chedorlaomer king of Elam, Tidal king of Goiim, Amraphel king of Shinar, and Arioch king of Ellasar, four kings against five. 10 Now the Valley of Siddim was full of bitumen pits, and as the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, some fell into them, and the rest fled to the hill country. 11 So the enemy took all the possessions of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their provisions, and went their way. 12 They also took Lot, the son of Abram's brother, who was dwelling in Sodom, and his possessions, and went their way.

13 Then one who had escaped came and told Abram the Hebrew, who was living by the oaks1 of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol and of Aner. These were allies of Abram. 14 When Abram heard that his kinsman had been taken captive, he led forth his trained men, born in his house, 318 of them, and went in pursuit as far as Dan. 15 And he divided his forces against them by night, he and his servants, and defeated them and pursued them to Hobah, north of Damascus. 16 Then he brought back all the possessions, and also brought back his kinsman Lot with his possessions, and the women and the people.

Abram Blessed by Melchizedek

17 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. (He was priest of God Most High.) 19 And he blessed him and said,

  “Blessed be Abram by God Most High,
    Possessor2 of heaven and earth;
20   and blessed be God Most High,
    who has delivered your enemies into your hand!”

And Abram gave him a tenth of everything. 21 And the king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me the persons, but take the goods for yourself.” 22 But Abram said to the king of Sodom, “I have lifted my hand3 to the LORD, God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth, 23 that I would not take a thread or a sandal strap or anything that is yours, lest you should say, ‘I have made Abram rich.’ 24 I will take nothing but what the young men have eaten, and the share of the men who went with me. Let Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre take their share.”

Footnotes

[1] 14:13 Or terebinths
[2] 14:19 Or Creator; also verse 22
[3] 14:22 Or I have taken a solemn oath

Created for the Creator, not the Creation



Key Verse | Genesis 14:18-20

And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. (He was priest of God Most High.) And he blessed him and said,

“Blessed be Abram by God Most High,
Possessor of heaven and earth;
and blessed be God Most High,
who has delivered your enemies into your hand!”

And Abram gave him a tenth of everything.

Bio | Gonzalo Morillas

Hello, friends! My name is Gonzalo (or G, Zalo, Gonz, Garbanzo, Gonzaga, etc.), and this year I've been journeying through the adventure that is the Residency program here at Watermark Church!

Before this, I spent four years at America's Brightest Orange, a.k.a. Oklahoma State University (#GoPokes), trying to fit "Intro to Golf" and "Wine Tasting" into my senior year schedule. Having accomplished that goal, I now devote a lot of my time to trying to survive on free meals and praising Jesus for every time His sovereign grace blesses me with free leftover food in the Watermark eighth-floor kitchen.

Central Truth

Too often we enjoy the things of this world without acknowledging the source of all good things. Let's remember to praise the Creator. Enjoying His creation can be an act of worship.

Devotional | Genesis 14

When I was saved in high school, even though I had not grown up in the church I quickly learned that Christians often "bless the meal" before consuming it. At first, this...

When I was saved in high school, even though I had not grown up in the church I quickly learned that Christians often "bless the meal" before consuming it. At first, this practice confused me, but with time, it simply became a norm that I began to adopt myself. I never really stopped to examine the reason we do that. What I failed to see then was something that I often fail to see today. Even as I experience the goodness of creation, I fail to praise the good Creator.

On any given day, after we enjoy eating, sleeping, or taking a hot shower, our minds quickly move on. I get it. I get so caught up in all of the good things happening around me that I often forget where those good things came from. Unlike Abram in this story, I forget to recognize where my victories originated and to praise God for His hand in it all. Melchizedek's blessing attributes Abraham's victory to the power of God. In response, Abraham's offering of "a tenth of everything" affirms the truthfulness of Melchizedek's words.

In Hebrews 7, the author circles back to this specific passage to support his claim that Melchizedek (whose name translates to "king of righteousness") is someone who resembles the Son of God. Melchizedek quickly appears and disappears in Genesis 14; so, as far as the Old Testament narrative is concerned, there is no end to his priesthood, and in that sense, he continues a priest forever. Like Melchizedek, Christ now serves as our High Priest forever, and because of that, we are to praise Him for the good gifts He entrusts to us and allows us to experience—no matter how minuscule they may seem.

Know that the Creator loves to bless His creation. Christ is the true king of righteousness, and His greatest gift to us is that His followers get to draw near to God on the basis of His perfect life and work.

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Discussion Questions

1. Can you think of some important blessings given in Scripture? What are the blessings that have been granted to all Christians by their union with Christ (start with Ephesians 1:3)? 

2. Do you ever find yourself forgetting to actively praise Christ for His great gift of salvation to us and slip into a religiosity that, in effect, denies Christ's sufficient, atoning death? Does this lead you to justify yourself by behaving morally and doing good rather than by faithfully following the new law inaugurated by Christ's death and resurrection? If so, discuss this with a trusted friend to help sharpen you in this area of your life.

3. How can you actively remind yourself to maintain a posture of worship and praise for the Creator as you experience His creation daily (Romans 1:21-25)? 

4. We can rejoice in knowing that Christ is our true king of righteousness. How might His eternal ministry encourage us as Christians?

5. What conclusion can we draw from the fact that Abraham gave a tithe to Melchizedek (Hebrews 7:1-10)? How does this act of tithing demonstrate Melchizedek's superiority to other priests and his priesthood's similarity to the priesthood of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 7:11-28)?

11 Comments available

Michael Scaman about 3 hours ago

Abraham even at his elderly age conducted a 318 person night rescue mission. Bold and successful (with God’s help)

And yes there are still dangerous tar pits near the area of Sodom http://geekychristian.com/biblical-insights-from-archaeology/

Melchi-Zedek had a descendent Adonai-Zedek (also king of Jerusalem) and fought Joshua ( see Joshua 10 - I guess Adonai-Zedek not as nice as his great great great… grandfather Melchi-zedek )

Some nice comparisons about Melchizedek and Christ from DA Carson: “Getting excited about Melchizedkek” by DA Cason https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lk3rHI4Vf9Q

Teralynn Swank about 3 hours ago

This week at our house we have had a broken dishwasher and I am currently waiting for the repair man to come fix our heater (remember Saturday’s high temps in the 30’s? ). Losing these modern conveniences sure has made me more thankful for the little things. I am thankful when I put a dish in the dishwasher. I have been grateful for blankets and space heaters. This is a good reminder to not only be thankful for these things but to be praising my creator in all things big and small.

Wade Souza about 3 hours ago

Thanks Gonzalo, I can definitely relate… praying we can increasingly glorify God in all we do.

As Lot failed to embrace the grace of God in Abram’s victory and his unlikely rescue, he remained a prisoner of his own passions and pleasures. His faithlessness serves as a powerful foil to the faith and gratitude of Abraham and Melchizedek.

When we only see the physical, material world around us without connecting everything to the unseen, spiritual realm, we live outside of reality and fall prey to lie after lie of our fleshly desires. Without the refinement of a holy, righteous God, our loves remain disorder and our lives remain destined for disillusion and destruction.

CATRICE HINES about 6 hours ago

This Is on of those passages that always stirred my curiosity. Melchizedek just like shows up on the scene, blesses him and then shows back up or at least mentioned in NT. Hmmmmm everything is written in Gods Word for a purpose even the details. Still studying and scratching my head on this one. Great valid points that you highlighted. Also think this was first mention of tenth giving

Naomi Yachnik about 6 hours ago

Thank you Gonzalo. Sometimes when pulling from my driveway, walking around the house, in the office working, stuck at a red light, I say it aloud thank you God for my beautiful home…job…car. With our busy lives it is easy to forget without him we wouldn’t have all that which makes us busy in the first place. And of course giving him back a tenth of all that he blesses me with as a sign of gratitude, obedience and show of complete trust in him.

Greg Jones about 6 hours ago

Q5 It is also said that Melchizedek represents Zadok the high priest who is mentioned in 2 Samuel 15:24-29.

Many think that when David defeated and took control of the Canaanite city state of Jerusalem Zadok was its king and high priest. Jebusite Jerusalem history was king/high priest dual role. Melchizedek is the king and high priest of Salem, Salem being the shortened of Jerusalem.

Abram paying a tithe and recognizing this king in Israel’s past would help David fight the resistance of some people to move the equivalent of a capital and the arc from Shiloh to the central location of Jerusalem and allow the former Canaanite high priest to remain as high priest pre first temple.

Sue Bohlin about 6 hours ago

Hi Gonzalo! Thanks for your devo.

It must have been scary for Lot to have been taken captive, him and all his stuff, but when Uncle Abe rescued him, he went right back to evil Sodom. Having studied 1 Corinthians 10 in depth this week for Women’s Bible Study, with its emphasis on idolatry, I see Lot’s idolatrous heart stamped all over this situation. May the Holy Spirit prick mine to see MY idols.

Hope Harris about 7 hours ago

GM friends The exchange between Abram and the King of Sodom caught my attention this morning. Clear Theology notes this"Abram refused these spoils because (1) he wanted to testify to the true source of his blessing, which was God; (2) he desires to avoid obligating himself to the worldly king, a relationship he could live to regret; and (3) Abram discerned in the offer the temptation to take one big step toward becoming identified with the life of Sodom. Abram was victorious over temptation because he was in fellowship with his God.

When faced with temptation I need to ask the question Hugh’s friend asked him, “Is God enough?”

Lindsey Driscoll about 7 hours ago

Thank you Gonzalo for your devo today! My NIV 1984 Study bible notes say that “Abram, by identifying Melchizedek’s “God most high” with “the Lord” bore testimony to the one true God.” We often have opportunities to identify that every provision and victory is from the Lord Most High, the One true God. Praying prayers of thanksgiving today, that God’s name would be on my lips to others as I thank him for all things.

Hugh Stephenson about 8 hours ago

Awhile back I was discussing with friends the need/command to trust God for all provision. One friend leaned over to me, looked me straight in the eye and said, “Is God enough…or not?”.

I hesitated. I was busted.

A key moment. God showed me I did not fully trust Him because I did not know Him well enough.

Heartbreaking.

I identify with Abram. Chilling out in high toned Ur he was called into service.

He failed several times before returning to Bethel.

It seems the humiliation in Egypt was when he finally got it.

After amazing and improbable victories, he gives all credit to God by tithing the spoils to Melchizedek and giving the rest to Bera so that all would see that Abram was relying on God alone for his provision.

May I know the King of Righteousness and Peace so well that surrender to Him is natural.

Michael Scaman 3 days ago

The king of Sodom goes to meet Abraham and gets interrupted by the ‘King of ( what would become Jeru)salem’ A priest-king. King Saul got rebuked and judged for being impatient and offering a sacrifice for a battle and got in serious trouble over it. Melchizedek shows us there could be a rightful priest-king to come someday

In the prelude to the Passover psalms there is the Judas Epic in the Psalm 109 where a poor man is persecuted and God is at his right hand. In Psalm 110 a man seated at God’s right hand like Melchizedek and the most quoted verse from Psalms in the New testament. Both are a fitting prelude to the Passover salvation songs in 113-118

https://www.slideshare.net/MichaelScaman/the-super-epic-psalms-book-5-128616558

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