Melchizedek (“my king [is] righteous[ness]”) is introduced as the king of (Jeru)Salem, and priest of El Elyon (“God most high”).
Melchizedek is mentioned 3 times in the Bible; in Genesis, in Psalms, and in Hebrews.
Here’s the context of Melchizedek’s story… Lot and his family had been taken hostage in a war between 9 kings who lived in kingdoms surrounding Sodom. Abram, with the help of an elite fighting squad of 318 household servants, had rescued his nephew in a daring night maneuver.
It is on Abram’s return home that we’re introduced to Melchizedek:
“Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine: and he was [is] the priest of the most high God. And he blessed him, and said, “Blessed be Abram to 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 tithe from all.” – Gen. 14:18-20
Melchizedek is a mysterious figure who seems to pop in… then pop out… of Abraham’s story. If all we had was the Genesis account, we might see him as a non-factor. But, the Hebrews account tells us he was a “forerunner” of the Messiah Himself!
Melchizedek was a priest of the One True God before there was even a priesthood!
He was king of God’s holy city before it would become what it would eventually become!
He blessed God’s man in God’s name… then received a tithe – before a tithe was expected – on God’s behalf.
The writer of Hebrews pointed back to Melchizedek when justifying the priesthood of Jesus (which was questioned by some orthodox Jews because Jesus was not of Levi’s line, but Judah’s).
Like Jesus, Melchizedek’s origins were unique… as was his ending.
Like Jesus, Melchizedek served as both king and priest.
There are many questions surrounding Melchizedek…
“How did he know of God before God had really moved on the scene?”
“What was his connection to Jerusalem?”
“What authority did he have to grant a blessing on God’s behalf… and to receive a gift on God’s behalf?”
“Just who was Melchizedek?”
We may have more questions than answers when it comes to Melchizedek. But, we can certainly be inspired by his whole-hearted commitment to God!
Seek God today… even if surrounded by a culture that seems willing to settle for lesser gods.
You can read Melchizedek’s story in Genesis 14; Psalm 110; Hebrews 5-7.