What motivates you to give your best to God? When Abraham came to Jerusalem, he gave his best to a king who was God’s priest. This may have laid the groundwork for when Abraham gave his very, very best to God.
We usually associate Abraham with Jerusalem in connection with the binding of Isaac—Abraham’s heroic willingness to sacrifice his son in the region of Moriah—today’s Temple Mount (Gen. 22:2; 2 Chron. 3:1).
But Abraham had come to Jerusalem (Salem) many years earlier. His visit there gives us more than a peek at early Jerusalem.
It gives us a lesson worth pondering.
Why Jerusalem Is Where Jerusalem Is
Jerusalem has had many names. When King David captured the city, it had the name Jebus. But in the days of Abraham, it was called Salem.
Ancient Jerusalem owed its location to two geographic blessings:
Abram’s Meeting in the Valley of Shaveh (the King’s Valley)
Scripture describes Abram’s visit to Salem in simple terms:
After [Abram’s] 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). And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; now he was a priest of God Most High. —Gen. 14:17-18
The meeting took place in the King’s Valley, which is traditionally identified with the Kidron Valley (2 Sam. 18:18). If so, the meeting may have occurred near the towers that covered the water system.
Melchizedek, king of Salem, had a name that means “King of Righteousness.” Melchizedek would mean little to us if he were not mentioned elsewhere in Scripture as being very significant.
(Image: Melchizekek greets Abraham, by Charles Foster. Public Domain)
In Psalm 110:4, Melchizedek serves an illustration of the Messiah. The book of Hebrews clearly shows Melchizedek as a picture of Christ.
He is both priest and king of Jerusalem. No one else ever served as both.
The book of Hebrews points to Melchizedek’s lack of lineage as a picture of Christ as eternal.
And 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.” And he gave him a tenth of all. —Gen. 14:19-20
How did Abram respond? Abram gave a tenth of the spoil to Melchizedek. I wonder if this offering laid the groundwork in Abraham’s heart for his second visit to Salem. At that time he would offer God a greater sacrifice—Abraham’s own son, Isaac—in the area just north, called “Moriah”—what we know today as the Temple Mount.
God’s greatest blessing in our lives has flowed from the one who is “high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek” (Heb. 6:20).
In light of everything the Lord has done for us, how can we not do as Abraham did—and surrender to Him the very best of our lives, including our money, our children, and our very lives?
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