And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; now he was a priest of God Most High.Genesis 14:18(NASB)
After Abraham's great victory in rescuing his nephew from his captors and rejecting the king of Sodom's sly, but tempting offer, we are introduced to an intriguing individual called Melchizedek, which means "king of Righteousness". He was no ordinary person for he was "El Elyon"... "Priest of the most High God". But he also had the title "king of Peace" for we read that "Melchizedek was the king of Salem - i.e. PEACE".
Melchizedek is mentioned, by name, nine times in the Bible - by king David in his writings as well as the writer to the Hebrews. Our interest in this curious character is heightened when we read: "Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine - Now Melchizedek was a priest of God Most High."
Not only does our mind turn to the bread and wine we take in remembrance of Christ's sacrifice on the cross, but we notice his duel role as priest and king - an impossibility in the yet to be born kingdom of Israel, for the kingly line would come out of Judah, while the priesthood was to be through the descendents of Levi - and yet we know this to be a reality in the life of the Lord Jesus Christ... for he is the greater Prophet than Moses; the singular Priest of the most High God after the order of Melchizedek and the eternal King of heaven, from the lineage of David.
As king of Salem we further recognise that Melchizedek... this King-Priest of the most High God, ruled over the eternal city of Jerusalem, where God had chosen to place His holy name. He was governor of a city in the centre of the Canaanite stronghold of paganism; satanic evil and demonic wickedness.. and yet he greeted Abraham with the most cherished emblems of our Christian faith - bread and wine.
Abraham had just won a great victory over a number of pagan kingdoms and resisted the temptation to rely on the spoils of the battle for his supply, rather than on God, who is the great Provider of all we need, according to His riches in glory. And this incident with Melchizedek would be a reminder to Abraham of his call, by God, to go to Canaan, a land of promise, which God would show him. No doubt it would cause him to recall the covenant God made with him, many years earlier - "that I will make of you and great nation and through you all he families of the earth will be blessed".
Whether the bread and wine were for refreshment, following his successful rescue mission or whether it was for some sort of ceremonial purpose, we do not know. But this incident with the intriguing individual called Melchizedek - king of Righteousness, king of Peace, king of Jerusalem and priest of the most High God, no doubt heightened Abraham's faith in the Lord and strengthened his resolve to fight the good fight of faith.
Many suppose that Melchizedek, the mysterious King-priest, who brought out bread and wine for Abraham, was a Christophany - i.e. an appearance of the pre-incarnate Son of God. Whether or not this is the case is not important, but there are lessons to learn from this passage as we trace the various Scriptures where this intriguing character is mentioned.
I wonder if this was one of the places that the Lord Jesus related to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus when He joined them on the way and opened their minds to understand the Scriptures and explained to them the things which were written about Him... which must be fulfilled, in the Law of Moses; the Prophets of Israel and the great treasury of Psalms.
As we journey through the Word of God, may our hearts and minds be open to all the Lord has to teach us, so that we are guided into all truth about the Lord Jesus, which are hidden therein... knowing that God's plan of redemption is a most precious scarlet thread that weaves its way through each book and every character.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the wonderful way all scripture points, to Christ. Help me to be earnest in my study of Your word, and guide me into all truth I pray. Thank You for the beautiful emblems of bread and wine that Melchizedek gave to Abraham and which is used in remembrance of Christ's sacrifice of Himself on the cross for my sake and the sake of all mankind. Bring many to a deeper understanding of Who You are and all that Christ has done for us - this I ask in Jesus' name, AMEN.