By Zac Poonen
In Genesis 14, we find that Abraham, on his way back from the battle, was exhausted, and possibly proud as well of the fact that with just 318 servants he went and destroyed the many armies of so many kings. He was also in danger of collecting all that wealth that he had accumulated through winning this battle. In those days if you won a battle all the gold and silver of the enemy’s was yours. At that time God sent a servant of His to Abraham. Isn’t it wonderful to see that? An unknown man named Melchizedek, who was living out there in the desert, was in touch with God. (Gen. 14:18) The reason why Melchizedek is important is because in Psalm 110:4, Jesus is called a Priest after the order of Melchizedek. And in Hebrews 7 that is confirmed. The only place in Scripture where Melchizedek comes is in Gen. 14:18–20 – three verses, that’s all. Melchizedek appears, fulfils his ministry and disappears. And God said to his Son, “You are a Priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.” Not a priest after the order of Levi – the old covenant priesthood. How did this man Melchizedek, who appears in only three verses in the Bible become so important? It is good for us to know the reason.
What did Melchizedek do? He first of all brought food for Abraham and for his 318 servants. Christianity is practical. If a man is exhausted, what he needs is food, not a sermon! There is nothing unspiritual about providing food to a hungry man. That is the most spiritual thing you can do for him. When Elijah was exhausted, an angel came from heaven and gave him food twice (1 Kings 19:6–8). After Jesus rose up from the dead, when He saw His disciples one morning, coming back exhausted from a whole night’s fishing, He kept food ready for them (John 21:9). That is true spirituality, to help others with food and material things, where there is a need. That is the first part of the priesthood of Melchizedek.
It goes on to say that Melchizedek then blessed Abraham (Gen. 14:19). He did not criticise Abraham. There is no accusative spirit in the order of Melchizedek. No. Only blessing. And how did he bless him? He said, “Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth.” He reminded Abraham that his God owned the heaven and the earth and that therefore he should not take the little gold and silver that he won in the war. He was trying to save Abraham from being covetous. Then he said, “Blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” Thus he reminded Abraham that it was God Who had given him the victory, thus saving him from pride.
How did Melchizedek know that Abraham had these three problems – that he was exhausted and needed food, and that he was in danger of covetousness and of pride? How did his ministry fulfil these three needs exactly? Melchizedek’s ministry was like arrows that went straight to the centre of the target. His secret was that he was a man who had the habit of listening to God every day. He did not live by his bright ideas but by God’s Word. This is the secret of all prophetic ministry that meets people’s needs exactly.
When Melchizedek was waiting on God one day as usual, God told him, “Get up. Take a large quantity of food for about 400 people. And take this two sentence message with you and give it all to a servant of Mine, whom you have never met, who is travelling on such-and-such a road.” Like Philip went to meet the Ethiopian eunuch on the road to Gaza, Melchizedek got up and went, not knowing whom he was going to meet. When he went to the place God told him of, he met Abraham. He gave him the food and gave him the message – and then went off back home. What a ministry – blessing people and then disappearing, without waiting around to receive a gift or appreciation. The priesthood of Melchizedek is one that ministers and disappears. Jerusalem is built through such priests. These are the true kings of Jerusalem today.