How Faith Responds When Confronted With Sodom and Salem

Abram was tempted to use his victory over the four kings (Genesis 14:17-24) for personal gain, but he refused the offer.  A procession of kings come out to meet him–one is the king of Sodom, and one was Melchizedek the king of Salem.  One was pure evil (Sodom), and other was a type of Christ (Salem).  Take a closer look at Melchizekek.

His name in Hebrew means “my king is righteousness”.  He comes from Salem– which in Hebrew is “shalom”, meaning peace.  He is a righteous king from the city of peace.  The name of the city of Salem later on is changed, of course, to JeruSALEM–God’s capital city where He will one day establish His kingdom over peace over all the earth.  Mel is also a priest.  He is a king and a priest.  Hebrews 7 in the New Testament tells us very clearly that Melchizedek is a type…a picture…of what Christ would be like.  Only Melchizedek and Jesus are simultaneously a king and a priest.  (All the future kings of Israel would be forbidden by the Law of Moses to be a king and perform the duties of a priest at the same time…but Jesus was both–sacrificing as a priest and ruling as a king!)

Melchizedek comes with bread and wine to bless Abram the man of faith and friend of God.  Jesus as our great High Priest instructed us that the bread and wine are symbols of His body and the New Covenant.  Melchizedek gives God all the credit, blesses Abram–and Abram recognizes the priestly dignity of the king-priest by giving Mel a tithe (Genesis 14:20).

Then we have the king of Sodom.  He does not come to bless.  He comes with a bargain! Look at verse 21.  He tells Abram “give me the human beings…give me the people.”  He just wanted slaves.  And he tells Abram to take the cash.  Nope, Abram did that back in Egypt, right?  Abram wants NO part of this creep from Sodom.  He does not want any man to be able to say, “I made Abram rich” (vv22-24).

Abram believes that God is able to meet all his future needs and he does not want or need any approval or endorsement from the enemy!!!  Nobody would have blamed Abram for taking loot from the king of Sodom–in fact he would have been applauded by the crowd!  But Abram wanted the applause he could not hear or see–the applause of heaven.

The real test of our Christian walk is not seen in our accomplishments or words.  It’s found in this:  when we have an opportunity to wander away, to disobey, to leave God’s presence, do we choose instead to stay close to Him, to abide in Christ, and to obey?  Real growth happens only when we face our challenges, trust God, and overcome.

Posted by Jeff Sanders