Text: Genesis 14:17-24, Psalm 110, Hebrews 6:13-20, Hebrews 7
Lying with my face pressed against the concrete edge, I exhaled and reached further down, fishing with a bungee cord. Extending my good arm, I dangled the little black plastic hook just far enough to catch the runner of a beautiful antique toboggan. Oh yes! I am the Christmas Queen! I hoisted it triumphantly out of the dumpster and held the sled up for my embarrassed husband to admire. “There’s nothing wrong with this! We can give it fresh paint and use it to decorate for Christmas! Christmas is saved!”
I started to cast my eyes around for other delights and leaned even further over the edge. I had never been to our local country dump before, and I was making up for lost time. I spotted another rotting sled and prepared to go in after it when I heard a loud voice: “Ma’am, please get out of the dumpster. You cannot remove trash from this dump.”
Yeah. I hear it now, too. I was climbing in a dumpster. I had to be scolded by another adult. It’s probably his job to keep enthusiasts like me from climbing over the metal sides to root through other people’s castoffs. When we wake up in the morning, we don’t plan to put our hands in the garbage. But then something shiny sitting in the middle of the refuse catches our greedy eyes, and we dive in head first.
When Melchizedek came to visit Abraham, our guy Abraham dropped everything and gave him ten percent of his wealth. He saw that Melchizedek was a faithful priest of the one true God—a truly rare thing in those days. But the king of Sodom was there, too, and did he care that the extraordinary prophet, priest, and king of the Old Testament had come to visit? Hard no. He couldn’t see the big picture.
The king of Sodom was focused on the grabby, shiny business of splitting up land with Abraham. He didn’t even speak to Melchizedek. He was caught up in the petty details of arguing with Abraham, but the important thing that day was the meeting with Melchizedek, the mysterious priest-king.
Melchizedek was a big deal! At this meeting, it’s clear that he is greater than Abraham, and Abraham is, well, he’s “Father Abraham,” the father of the faith in so many ways. Even Abraham pays Melchizedek homage. The writer of Hebrews describes Melchizedek as being “without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life”—a truly unique figure (Hebrews 7:3).
This rare combination foreshadows Jesus, who is the true eternal priest-king (Psalm 110:4, Hebrews 7:3; 16:20). Jesus is the truer and better Melchizedek who fulfills both our need for a priest and for a king (Genesis 14:18, 21). Jesus is actually called “a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek” (Hebrews 7:17).
When Melchizedek sat with Abraham, he served the kingly and covenantal meal of bread and wine, just as Jesus would later do for His disciples (Matthew 26:26-28). While the meal and blessings Melchizedek offered Abraham were a welcome refreshment, Jesus is the only source of true fulfillment and blessing.
When we, like the king of Sodom, find ourselves focusing on the wrong thing—digging in the garbage for our treasure—we can remember that the wonder of the ages is right in front of us. The gospel is true! Instead of giving ourselves over to the sparkles and twinkles of distraction, let us see “the hope that is set before us” which is Christ the Lord (Hebrews 6:18). Thanks be to God!