Genesis 14:17 And the king of Sodom went out to meet him after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer, and of the kings that were with him, at the valley of Shaveh, which is the king’s dale.
18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.
19 And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth:
20 And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.
21 And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself.
22 And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth,
23 That I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich:
24 Save only that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men which went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion.
In this passage we are introduced to a man that has a unique place in the Bible. Melchizedek is the king of Salem. The Hebrew word translated as “Salem” means “peace”. Commentators believe Salem is the early name for Jerusalem. Melchizedek was more than just a king. He was also the priest of the most high God.
Hebrews 7 tells us that he was without father and without mother. He had no genealogical record with no beginning and no end. He is described as more than just a normal human being. In theological terms we describe him as a Christophany, a pre-incarnate appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ.
This man blessed Abram for his victory over Chedorlaomer and the kings that were with him. Abram was given this victory due to his faithfulness to the LORD.
In verse 20 we read that Abram gave Melchizedek tithes of all. This is the first time we read about tithes. This is several hundred years before God gave the law to Moses. We learn from Hebrews 7 what the meaning of the tithe is:
Hebrews 7:2 To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace;
3 Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.
4 Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils.
Tithing is something God put into Abram’s mind and heart. Much later, God warned Israel of a dangerous situation they were in.
Malachi 3:8 Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.
9 Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.
10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
Most people would not think of stealing from their neighbour. So far we have been safe from thieves in our area. God warned the nation of Israel that they were stealing from Him. God is not unreasonable in expecting ten percent of every wage earning person. That money was to be used to pay the priesthood and any upkeep in the Temple. The tithe was not just for the Jews. It was for all people. The lost rob God in many ways. The nation of Israel was designed to be God’s people. The tithe was not only for the nation of Israel.
Romans 4:16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,
17 (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.
Those who are saved, whether Jew or Gentile are of the faith of Abraham. Thus, the tithe is for all those who are saved. Those who withhold the tithe from the Lord, are robbing Him. The tithe today is God’s way of collecting the funds needed to pay for the pastor of the local church and to look after the expenses involved in spreading the Gospel both at home and abroad.
Jesus asked the question:
Matthew 16:26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
There is no price that can be put on the soul. No amount of money will purchase even one soul from death. No one can purchase God’s gift of eternal life. The proclamation of God’s Word to all the world is the most important work that any born again Christian can be involved in. Not all are called to go to other parts of the world. All are called to give tithes and offerings as the Lord blesses.
Some churches look at some of the Old Testament offerings and they try to pressure their people to give in response to those offerings. The Old Testament offerings were a type of the Lord Jesus Christ. He fulfilled all of them. We do not have a temple made with hands today and we do not need a temple made with hands. We have a spiritual Temple in the Lord Jesus Christ. Every true child of God is the temple of the Holy Ghost.
Those who are saved have the privilege of giving the Lord of that which He has blessed them with. We will look further at how that is done according to God’s Word.
Today is the Lord’s Day. It is the day born again Christians should be attending a true, Bible-believing, local church. True Christians desire to know their Lord and Saviour better. True Christians desire the fellowship of the Lord’s people. A true church is not just a gathering of people. It is built upon the Lord Jesus Christ. He has designed His church to be led by a pastor who knows the Lord and walks in the fear of the Lord.
We pray that those reading these devotionals would listen to the Word of God and also to the work of the Holy Spirit as He seeks to guide you to a good church, not just for today, but as your church home. We are also praying that those reading these devotionals, but still lost, would attend a true church where their itching ears are not just scratched, but that their hearts are further convicted and that they would get saved. This life is short. It will be over before we realize. Eternity is a long time. It will never end. The Lord wants all to be in heaven with Him. Only those who know Him as God and Saviour will be there with Him.