LISTEN: Abraham, Part 4 (The Covenant & the Cross #50 with Daniel Whyte III)

Daniel Whyte III
Daniel Whyte III

This podcast is designed to help you better understand the Word of God — both the Old and New Testaments. The Old Testament is the story of the Covenant which God made with His chosen people Israel. And the New Testament is the story of the Cross which signifies the fulfillment of the Old Covenant with Israel and the formation of a New Covenant with redeemed people from many nations.

We always like to start out with the Word of God, and today’s passage of Scripture is Genesis 14:18-20 which reads: “And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.”

Allow me to share with you some further commentary on this passage from the Reformation Study Bible by Dr. R.C. Sproul:

The introduction of Melchizedek emphasizes that he was a king as well as a priest. As such he is a type of Christ, who is our Prophet, Priest, and King. Salem was apparently an ancient name for Jerusalem.

That Melchizedek blessed Abraham is understood by the author of Hebrews to indicate that Melchizedek was greater than Abraham.

El, the supreme god in the Canaanite pantheon at the time of Abraham, had similar titles. The patriarchs used these titles for the Lord, the true God, Creator of heaven and earth. Abraham interpreted Melchizedek’s praise in this way, repeating the same titles but adding the covenantal divine name Lord (Yahweh). Though a Canaanite, Melchizedek had come to know the true God—a pagan priest could not meaningfully have “blessed” Abraham, nor would Abraham, who was consecrating the land to the Lord, have given “a tithe” to the priest of the depraved Canaanite god El.

The practice of paying a tenth to a king or to a god was widespread in the ancient Near East, and predates the Mosaic law. Abraham’s gift to Melchizedek was probably not the payment of the “king’s tithe”, but rather was an offering that reflected Abraham’s regard for Melchizedek as a priest of the true God.

Today’s quote about the Bible is from C.S. Lewis. He said: “In most parts of the Bible, everything is implicitly or explicitly introduced with “Thus saith the Lord”. It is not merely a sacred book but a book so remorselessly and continuously sacred that it does not invite — it excludes or repels — the merely aesthetic approach. You can read it as literature only by a tour de force… It demands incessantly to be taken on its own terms: it will not continue to give literary delight very long, except to those who go to it for something quite different. I predict that it will in the future be read, as it always has been read, almost exclusively by Christians.”

Our topic for today is titled “Abraham” (Part 4) from the book, “The Promise and the Blessing” by Dr. Michael A. Harbin.

Melchizedek, whose name means “king of righteousness”, was king of Salem (an earlier name for what is now known as Jerusalem). He was a Jebusite, that is, from one of the tribes that had moved into the land. He was also a priest of El Elyon, the Most High God, another title for the same God that Abram worshiped. Abram had sworn not to keep for himself any of the goods that he recovered, a reward he was certainly entitled to; however, he was more than willing to give a tithe (one-tenth) of the entire bounty to Melchizedek as God’s representative. This act shows that Abram had high regard for Melchizedek’s role as priest and his spiritual state. It also gives us a little insight into the relationship between Abram and the inhabitants of the Promised Land.

After the heady victory, Abram evidently felt somewhat depressed. Perhaps he was starting to have second thoughts about Lot’s spiritual state. He was certainly struggling with the fact that he had no children. He then receives a second promise, and this promise relates specifically to the children, although the issue of the land is also involved. At the end of chapter 15, we see a ceremony where God validates his promise. This ceremony correlates with what we see in other documents from this period regarding treaties. Normally, the two parties to the treaty would walk between the split animals, indicating their willingness to be destroyed if they should violate the agreement. In this case, God alone passed through to show the promise to be unilateral.

The next event recorded after this tremendous promise is another failure on Abram’s part. Sarai got frustrated in her childlessness and offered her maid Hagar as a surrogate mother. We have legal documents from Mari (an ancient city in the Euphrates Valley) that reflect a similar situation, for they contain the provision that the child of a main belonging to a barren wife would become the legal heir of the husband fathering the child. Despite the apparent legality and social acceptability of the act, however, it clearly represents another slip in Abram’s faith. Key to our understanding of the incident is the fact that we have no record of him asking God about the matter — he merely took action.

Lord willing, we will continue looking at this topic in our next broadcast/podcast.

Let’s Pray —

Before we close, dear friend, I want to remind you that the most important thing you should know about the Bible is that it is the story of God working to save humanity from sin and the consequences of sin. He did this by sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for our sins and take the punishment that we deserve on Himself. Romans 5:8 says, “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, and you want to get to know Him today, all you have to do is believe “that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” and you will be saved. The Bible states in the book of Romans 10:9, 13: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Pray and ask Him to come into your heart and He will.

Until next time, remember the word of God is the foundation to a successful life. God bless.

Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry which publishes a monthly magazine called The Torch Leader. He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica for over twenty-seven years. God has blessed their union with seven children. Find out more at www.danielwhyte3.com. Follow Daniel Whyte III on Twitter @prophetdaniel3 or on Facebook.