GOD’S COVENANT OF PROVISION
After Abraham had defeated the five kings, he was met by the mysterious figure of Melchizedek, King of Salem [Genesis 14]. Melchizedek, whose name means ‘King of Righteousness’, is described as ‘Priest of the Most High God’.
This is the first time the word ‘priest’ is used in Scripture, which is significant. It is commonly understood from the ‘Law of First Mention’ that the first time an important word occurs in the bible it holds keys to the understanding of the concept, and provides an important foundation for its fuller development.
Although not specifically explained, it seems that Melchizedek was an important player in Abraham’s success; his authority in the aftermath of the battle was unquestioned, and he was offered an overlord’s usual share of the spoils of war [Genesis 14]. It would have been normal in that cultural environment for such an important priestly intermediary to offer sacrifices to the god he served, both to petition for victory and to give thanks afterwards.
Melchizedek, however, built no altars and made no sacrifices, instead he brought out bread and wine.
It was also part of the cultural norm of the day for parties to eat together when making a covenant. And so we see here, Melchizedek, a type of Christ and representative of the Most High God (if not an actual theophany), bringing out the most profound symbols of covenant in the history of the world.
The ‘everydayness’ of this account is striking. There was no fanfare, no atmospheric music, no solemn rites; but through this simple meal a binding contract was initiated, (to be completed, as shown in the previous post, according to the custom of the day); worship was offered to the Lord, and blessing (which means the ‘empowerment to prosper’) was loosed on Abraham. The God of Covenant had come present.
This covenant-meal was the precursor to the Lord declaring Himself to be everything Abraham needed; and a window was opened on God’s eternal plan to make total provision for all our needs on the cross.
Up to this point, Abraham had been in the habit of building ‘altars to the Lord’. It is interesting that there are no further records of him worshipping in this way—apart from one—which we will explore next time. It seems this encounter with Melchizedek changed his religious mind-set forever.
As believers, we are all priests after the order of Melchizedek, in addition to being the spiritual offspring of Abraham. And God is still a covenant-keeping God. Whenever we take bread and wine in remembrance of the cross—as many of us will do over the weekend—it is good to know that we will also be participating in an irrevocable pledge of provision.
that you, always having all sufficiency in all things,
may have an abundance for every good work.
[2 Corinthians 9:8 NKJV]
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