Who's on first? Besides being a very funny Abbott and Costello skit, it is a great question for believers. Most of the time when I read a passage of scripture, it involves more extensive study. Because I like to study, I'm okay with this and today it leads me to share what I've learned with you. As I pondered this question, a man named Melchizedek reminded me how to put God first in all things. Have you heard of Melchizedek? There is a lot of mystery involved around this name. We read about him in Genesis 14. Here we see that Abraham had rescued his nephew Lot who with all his possessions, had been taken captive during a massive land battle between several kings. Upon Abraham's return, Melchizedek comes out to meet him.
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 praise be to God Most High,
who delivered your enemies into your hand."
Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.
These verses caught my attention because there is so much that we can apply to our lives about putting God first. The mystery lies in who Melchizedek actually was. Some theologians say that he was king of Salem, but others have ventured to say that Melchizedek was Jesus Christ incarnate. The name Melchizedek means "king of righteousness." He is also introduced as priest of God Most High. In addition, the city of Salem, was the future site for Jerusalem. After reading this passage, it would be easy to go along with this theory. That being the case, let's look at some important lessons from this encounter.
- Melchizedek was reminding Abraham to remember all that God had done for him by bringing bread and wine. It reminds us that communion is a time of reflection and thanksgiving. Whenever we feel discouraged, doubtful, or fearful, we should have communion first with our Lord and Savior!
- Jesus blessed Abraham for his continued obedience. He blessed him with victory over his enemies and reunited him with his nephew. God establishes boundaries for us in order to protect us and bless us. Is there a victory you need in your life? Are you being obedient to what God has asked you to do at work or at home? God wants to deliver everything into your hands. He withholds no good thing from those who walk uprightly! (Psalm 84:11)
- Abraham recognized the greatness of Melchizedek and offered him a tenth of what he had. Notice that Melchizedek didn't ask for it; it was given to honor his greatness. It is a great reminder that we are to tithe our ten percent to honor God's greatness. This can often be overlooked when we think of ways to honor God, but the fact is that it's an important act of obedience. I just love that Abraham was so willing to give this tenth. What if the church was this willing to give back a tenth? Nothing would be impossible for us! I believe it grieves the Holy Spirit when we are disobedient with the tithe. We are withholding blessings from God, the church, our community, and ourselves when we choose to keep what belongs to God.
I say all of this to say, we honor God when we remember all that he's done for us. Put him first in our thoughts. There have been many times when I feel overwhelmed and weary, but in those moments, the best thing I can do is to have communion and count my blessings. When you honor God for his greatness in all areas of your life (physically, emotionally, spiritually, and financially) he will indeed pour out more blessings than you can store! (Malachi 3) Test him in this and let your life be a testament to his greatness! So to answer the question, "Who's on first?" God is! In all areas, he is first.
Until the whole world hears,