SALEM OR SODOM?

Scripture Reading: Genesis 14:1-24

“Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, and he blessed Abram, saying, ‘Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth, and bless be God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand.’ Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.” (Genesis 14:18-20)

Lot made a selfish choice to move to the land near Sodom (13:10-13). Lot eventually lived in Sodom and became one of the city’s leaders. His choice had serious consequences.

The battles in Genesis 14 took place between a confederation of four kings from the cities of the Euphrates River area and five kings from the cities located in the lower Jordan area. The four kings defeated the five kings and then raided Sodom and Gomorrah (vs. 10,11). Lot, who was living in Sodom, and his possession were taken captive (v. 12).

When Abram heard about Lot’s captivity (v. 13), he assembled a small army and attacked the armies of the four kings. He defeated the kings and brought back Lot and all the goods the kings had confiscated. Obviously God gave Abram the victory. Abram’s army was considerably smaller than the armies of the four kings. Now Abram had the right to possess all the spoils of war.

After the defeat something interesting happened. Two kings came out to meet Abram in the King’s Valley. These two kings were very different from one another. The first king was Bera, the king of Sodom. He ruled over a very wicked city and certainly was wicked himself. The king of Sodom lost all his possessions and wanted to get back what he could. He crawled out of the tar pits into which he had fallen and came to appeal to Abram. The king of Sodom is an illustration of the things of the world. He was bankrupt and really had nothing to offer.

The second king, the king of Salem, is a mysterious person in Scripture. His name, Melchizedek, means “king of righteousness.” Melchizedek stood for righteousness in contrast to the king of Sodom who stood for all the unrighteous world. Melchizedek was the king of Salem. The word “salem” means “peace.” Melchizedek was the king of peace who stood in contrast to the king of Sodom who stood for warfare. Melchizedek was also identified as a priest of God Most High. He was both a priest and king. Many Bible scholars believe Melchizedek was a type of Jesus Christ. Some suggest that he was a pre-incarnate manifestation of Jesus.

These two kings represent the choices we have. One is to follow the shallow ways of the world (Sodom). The other represents the righteousness of Christ (Melchizedek, king of Salem). The question is which will we choose– Salem or Sodom?

Lord Jesus, my King and Priest, I bow before You. You are the king of righteousness. You are the Prince of Peace. I choose to follow You. Grant me grace to honor You in all that I do and say.

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