In the name of the Father and of the +Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.
Today we hear of Abram, leader of a crack commando unit, who in the middle of the night dawned their night vision goggles and took out the combined forces of 4 great kings. All to rescue his nephew Lot. In faith Lot came with Uncle Abram from their home land for his own father was dead. Abram was likely a father to him after his father died. But let us assume that Lot heard the call unto faith that the Holy Spirit placed on Abram (Gen. 12:1-3; 2 Pet. 2:6-9), so that Lot followed Abram to the land promised to Abram. (Gen. 12:4) However, once in the land, Lot followed after the desires of the flesh. Both men’s herds grew too big to remain together. (Gen. 13:5-7) So Abram said to Lot, “Do you want over here or over there?” (Gen. 13:8-9) And Lot saw the greener grass on one side and said, “I’ll take this way.” (Gen. 13:10-11) And so for want of greener grass he got ensnared in the wickedness of the cities of that area: Sodom and Gomorrah. (Gen. 13:12-13) When those cities rebelled against their ruling king and were thus attacked by their ruler and his allies, they weren’t up to the task. They were crushed and Lot was taken captive. (Gen. 14:1-7)
Abram didn’t do well in listening to Lord on the promise of protection: of blessing and cursing. (Gen. 12:10-20; 20:1-18) Just like you and I don’t. How often do we actually trust the Lord to take care of us? How often do we place ourselves into His hands? Giving of ourselves sacrificially? Trusting that He will provide for us? Instead we hold onto what we have! Even though we may recognize that all we have is from the Lord (Gen. 14:19; Ps. 24:1; 50:9-12, etc.), yet we hang onto it as though it will slip away from us. As though the Lord who gave it to us can’t give us even more. (Job 1:21; 42:10-16) We say things like, “We must be good stewards of what God has given us.” Which is true. But how often do you say a true thing to justify your stinginess and hide your unbelief that the Lord can and will take care of you? To hide that kernel of doubt in you that says, “But if I give my worldly wealth away what will I have left? Who will take care of me? God? He’s just a spirit.” We tell ourselves. “What can He do about the material world? After all, a man’s gotta eat! You can’t eat words and promises!”
But doubt, my friends, fear, these are the opposite of faith in our Lord! These do not come from Him, but from your sinful self. Repent and hear how God made good in the real world on His promises to Abram.
And as he was heading home, carrying all the spoils of war back to those who lost it, out of Salem, which is Hebrew for Peace, (Heb. 7:2, and later is known as Jeru-salem or “foundation of peace” or “security,” Ps. 76:1-2) forth comes Melchizedek. His name is Hebrew for “king of righteousness.” (Heb 7:2) And lo and behold, the king of peace and righteousness comes feeding Abram and his men with bread and wine. (Gen. 14:18) To this Abram responds worshiping God by tithing a 10th of the spoils of war to the priest of God Most High, and then gives back to the original owners the other 90%. For God will make this man great. He has promised it. (Gen 12:2) Abram does not need strength of arms, or the ill gotten gains of war, especially not from the famous sin city of Sodom. (Gen. 13:13; 18:20-21) No one will say of Abram that they enriched him, except God Almighty. (Gen. 14:23) All this is from faith, dear friends, faith which trusts God’s promise to him to make him great (Gen. 12:2-3) and be a shield to him (Gen. 15:1). To bless the nations through him in the person of Jesus Christ. (Gen. 12:3)
Here we see Abram trusting the promises of God. Holy Spirit wrought faith does great wonders in him (Heb. 11:1-2, 8-19, etc.) just as it does in you.
But that’s beside the point. The author of Hebrews makes the point that Melchizedek just appears out of no where! (Heb. 7:3) He is not introduced to us with the usual “king so-and-so, son of so-and-so.” He’s got no history. No progeny. He is without genealogy or roots in history. He’s like a fish out of the water of time. We’ve been skipping over all the chapters about genealogy (Gen. 5; 10) but genealogy, family, history, place are all very important in the Bible, and in the Middle East. So for this man to appear out of nowhere, with no breeding, no lineage, makes him an extreme anomaly! So much so that in the Eastern mind it means that he is indeed history-less. Eternal. Without beginning or end. (Heb. 7:3, 6, 8)
An eternal king of peace and righteousness who comes to you with bread and wine to feed you. Who does that sound like to you? Why could Our Lord when He had come in our flesh say of Abram, “He saw My day”? (John 8:56) Because either in this instance, or in the accounts we’ll hear in the next two weeks (Gen. 17-18; 22:1-18), or all of them, Abram saw Jesus before He took on flesh. He who was grandfather of all who have faith in Jesus Christ and was the literal grandfather 42 times removed of Jesus Christ (Matt. 1:17) saw His great grand son, through whom the nations are blessed. (Gen. 12:3)
All the world belongs to Him. (Gen. 14:19) And He has planned throughout all of human history to save you. Think of how many details He has overseen so that through Abram you might be saved by the flesh and blood of Christ Jesus your Lord. Let that truth overwhelm you this day in praise and thanksgiving to your saving God. The same god of Abraham.
In +Jesus’ name, Amen.
—Pastor David Haberstock
Epiphany Lutheran Church
Thunder Bay, ON