Genesis 14:17–24 (ESV)
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,
Possessor 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 hand 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.”
The mystery in today’s reading is Melchizedek. Who is he? We see that he is “a priest of God Most High.”
Abram provided him a tithe, which is 10%. Melchizedek is mentioned in todays reading, also Psalm 110:4, and in Hebrews (chapters 5-7) The Baker Encylopedia of the Bible compares Melchizedek to Christ in the following ways: “First, both
Christ and Melchizedek are kings of righteousness and kings of peace (Heb 7:1, 2). Second, both have a unique priesthood which does not depend on family pedigree (v 3). Third, both abide as “priest continually” (v 3). That the priesthood of Melchizedek
is superior to that of Aaron and the levitical priesthood is then demonstrated. Melchizedek was superior to Abraham, the father of Levi, because Melchizedek gave gifts to and blessed Abraham, and received tithes from him (vv 4–10); David predicted the
succession of the Melchizedekian priesthood over the levitical priesthood, showing the imperfection of the latter (vv 11–19); the Melchizedekian priesthood of Messiah was confirmed by a divine oath, not true of the levitical priesthood (vv 20–22);
and the Melchizedekian priesthood possessed an unchangeable and permanent character (vv 23–25).
The identification of Melchizedek as a theophany, or appearance of the preincarnate Christ in the OT, is sometimes
reached on the basis of Hebrews 7:3: “He is without father or mother or genealogy, and has neither beginning of days nor end of life.” However, this is simply to be understood in the sense that his priesthood was isolated rather than a continuation
of a priestly family line. Melchizedek had a priestly office by special divine appointment, and was thus a type of Jesus Christ in his priesthood. That Melchizedek was one “resembling the Son of God” (v 3) suggests that he was not himself the Son
of God. The suggestion that Melchizedek was the patriarch Shem is without real support.”
I pray: Lord Jesus, You are my Priest and King. Rule over my life, and grant me righteousness and peace from the Father. Amen.
Genesis 14:1–16 (ESV)
Abram Rescues Lot
14 In the days of Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of Goiim, 2 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). 3 And all these joined forces in the Valley of Siddim (that is, the Salt Sea). 4 Twelve years they had served Chedorlaomer,
but in the thirteenth year they rebelled. 5 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, 6 and
the Horites in their hill country of Seir as far as El-paran on the border of the wilderness. 7 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.
8 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 9 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.
one who had escaped came and told Abram the Hebrew, who was living by the oaks 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.
I always loved movies where the bad guys are being destructive… and then, unknowingly… they pick on the wrong guy. Now Lot may have not put up much of a fight… we just don’t
know. But it is not Lot who is really mad, but his uncle Abram. While these people have no idea who they have picked on, Lot raises an army within his own clan and goes after them. This kind of reminds me of two brothers fighting and
a third party tries to break it up… then both brothers turn on to the third party. Abram is not a man to be messed with. He pursues them, defeats them, and brings Lot back home. Wow! What an uncle to have.
I pray: O Lord, I know I am under attack a lot, but I have you to protect me. You are the Judge and I put my trust into you. Amen.
Genesis 13:1–18 (ESV)
Abram and Lot Separate
13 So Abram went up from Egypt, he and his wife and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the Negeb.
2 Now Abram was
very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold. 3 And he journeyed on from the Negeb as far as Bethel to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai, 4 to
the place where he had made an altar at the first. And there Abram called upon the name of the Lord. 5 And Lot, who went with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents, 6 so
that the land could not support both of them dwelling together; for their possessions were so great that they could not dwell together, 7 and there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram’s livestock
and the herdsmen of Lot’s livestock. At that time the Canaanites and the Perizzites were dwelling in the land.
8 Then Abram said to Lot, “Let there
be no strife between you and me, and between your herdsmen and my herdsmen, for we are kinsmen. 9 Is not the whole land before you? Separate yourself from me. If you take the left hand, then I will go to the
right, or if you take the right hand, then I will go to the left.” 10 And Lot lifted up his eyes and saw that the Jordan Valley was well watered everywhere like the garden of the Lord, like the land
of Egypt, in the direction of Zoar. (This was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) 11 So Lot chose for himself all the Jordan Valley, and Lot journeyed east. Thus they separated from each other.
12 Abram settled in the land of Canaan, while Lot settled among the cities of the valley and moved his tent as far as Sodom. 13 Now the men of Sodom were
wicked, great sinners against the Lord.
14 The Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, “Lift up your eyes and look from the place where you
are, northward and southward and eastward and westward, 15 for all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring forever. 16 I will make
your offspring as the dust of the earth, so that if one can count the dust of the earth, your offspring also can be counted. 17 Arise, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it
to you.” 18 So Abram moved his tent and came and settled by the oaks of Mamre, which are at Hebron, and there he built an altar to the Lord.
There comes a point where tough decisions have to be made, because there are not enough resources to support what you have. The Lord has blessed Abram and Lot with
a lot of livestock, but there was not enough food to support the herds. I understand this from our land in Columbus where we ran some cattle. The land can only support so many animals and then you must provide hay or other food to sustain the animals.
With all that Lot and Abram had, they had no choice but to separate and spread out. It is interesting that Lot chose what appears to be the better land. The herdsmen begin fighting over grazing land and water. The Lutheran Study Bible states:
“Conflict arises between Abram’s and Lot’s herdsmen. Abram—for the sake of peace within the clan—decides they need to part and relinquishes to Lot the right of first choice. What an example Abram sets for true, godly living, an
example Christ Himself shows. Though Christ was God, He counted humanity better than Himself, taking the form of a servant that we might be treated like kings and queens! By His self-sacrificing, humble service in our place, we are reconciled with God.”
I pray: Lord God, teach us, by Abram’s example, how to love as we have been loved and how to serve
as we have been served. Amen.
Genesis 12:10–20 (ESV)
Abram and Sarai in Egypt
10 Now there was a famine in the land. So Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was severe in the land. 11 When he was about to enter Egypt, he said to Sarai his wife,
“I know that you are a woman beautiful in appearance, 12 and when the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me, but they will let you live. 13 Say
you are my sister, that it may go well with me because of you, and that my life may be spared for your sake.” 14 When Abram entered Egypt, the Egyptians saw that the woman was very beautiful. 15 And
when the princes of Pharaoh saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh. And the woman was taken into Pharaoh’s house. 16 And for her sake he dealt well with Abram; and he had sheep, oxen, male donkeys, male servants, female
servants, female donkeys, and camels.
17 But the Lord afflicted Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram’s wife. 18 So
Pharaoh called Abram and said, “What is this you have done to me? Why did you not tell me that she was your wife? 19 Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her for my wife? Now then, here is your
wife; take her, and go.” 20 And Pharaoh gave men orders concerning him, and they sent him away with his wife and all that he had.
This is an interesting story. Abram (Abraham) is later called a man of faith. Well, where is the faith in today’s reading. Abram lies about Sarai when he says that she is his
sister. He is afraid of his life and where is his trust in God? To be honest, Sarai is a half-sister of Abram, but this half-truth is also a half-lie. He was afraid. So he lies to protect himself. Well, we often resort to stretching
the truth when we sin and get caught. We all fall short of the glory of God… even Abram and… me. God is a forgiving God and I give thanks for that. The Lutheran Study Bible states: “Although God promises Abram that he
will possess the land that God will give him, Abram still finds no secure place in which to dwell. At times, we also find ourselves in circumstances that show the opposite of what God says. In Abram’s case, he went forth—even out of the land of
promise—trusting that God would fulfill His Word. God returned Abram and Sarai, in time, to Canaan, and there kept all that He had promised to them. In the fullness of time, He even brought forth the Son by whom all nations would be blessed. Though the
hour of Jesus’ agony and death was dark, God was keeping His promise.”
I pray: Lord God, when all we see appears to contradict what You
have promised, teach us to rely on Your unfailing Word. Defend us in Christ Jesus, our Lord. Amen.
Genesis 12:1–9 (ESV)
The Call of Abram
the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. 2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so
that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
Abram went, as the Lord had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. 5 And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their possessions that they
had gathered, and the people that they had acquired in Haran, and they set out to go to the land of Canaan. When they came to the land of Canaan, 6 Abram passed through the land to the place at Shechem, to the oak of Moreh.
At that time the Canaanites were in the land. 7 Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built there an altar to the Lord, who had appeared to him. 8 From
there he moved to the hill country on the east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. And there he built an altar to the Lord and called upon the name of the Lord. 9 And Abram journeyed
on, still going toward the Negeb.
Roughly 20 years ago, life was going along great. I had a career
that I loved, a house that I loved, a church home that I loved, and friends that I loved. Then, the Lord started tugging on my heart to go into the ministry. Why me? What did I do? I couldn’t escape the Lord’s calling.
A couple of years later… we left all that behind and moved to the unknown. Both Lori and I had never lived outside of the great state of Texas. We moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana on May 30th, 2000. It was like a foreign land
to us. They spoke the same language as us, but the customs were different, the food… well, was very bland to our standards, and the Southern charm of the people was not there. We learned to love the place, but it was still a temporary
stop. We still didn’t know where we were going. Then I received the “call” to Shreveport, Louisiana. Now we knew where we were going. So we packed up our house, grabbed the kids, a dog, and a canary… and moved
to Shreveport. It was still the great unknown, but we were only 19 miles from Texas. I understand what Abraham went through when he received his “call” from the Lord. “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s
house to the land that I will show you. 2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I
will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” My call was nowhere near as significant as Abraham’s.
Lutheran Study Bible writes: “God calls an idolater to faith, giving him a promise that God Himself would fulfill for all people. God’s Spirit works faith, when and where He pleases, through the Word. He is faithful to do as He has said. He made
Abram into a great nation, blessing all the world through the Son. As Abram’s offspring by faith, we have the blessing of God’s forgiveness and life without end.”
I pray: Heavenly Father, call us to trust the Word of God in the water of Holy Baptism, to cling to everything You command, and to live by the blessing of Your Word. In Jesus’ name. Amen.