Meditations in the life of Abraham : 26. Further revelation
Gen 14:19-22 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 blessed be God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand.” Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything. The king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me the people and keep the goods for yourself.” But Abram said to the king of Sodom, “I have raised my hand to the LORD, God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth, and have taken an oath.”
Now one of the main things I have wanted us to be aware of and to hold on to throughout these studies in Abram’s life, is the fact of his embryonic faith, the fact that he had no revelation beyond that which he received directly from God. So far he has been a largely lone ear to hear the Lord. We must assume that the earlier accounts of Genesis got passed down by word of mouth unless Moses received them as direct revelation from God when he wrote the first five books (as we believe he did).
So the point we are making is that Abram’s knowledge of who he had been responding to would have been strictly limited. It was a major learning exercise. He had learnt that God had a purpose and that purpose involved good for Abram and his family, and he had learnt that God had power (in theory at least) to bring an end to the childless period of his life. He had also learnt that God had long term plans that involved his descendants and the land, and he had also learnt that even when he got it wrong, God didn’t give up on him. All this he had learnt for the few words the Lord had spoken to him, and his experiences so far.
Now things are about to change. A man comes to Abram on his return from rescuing Lot and this man turns out to be the king of Jerusalem– a local leader, if you like. But more than that, this man who comes to him is also a priest and is in fact a priest of “God Most High” or of “Almighty God”. Moreover this priest comes to Abram and blesses him in the name of the Lord who he describes as “Creator of heaven and earth.” Now that may appear simple to us but for Abram this was pure revelation and it was coming through another human being now.
So far Abram had simply received communication but he lived in a pluralistic world where there were many idols or gods worshipped by the superstitious people of the day. Now, suddenly, he is being told there is One God, the Maker of all things. This God is indeed Almighty or God Most High if He were capable of that. Now it is clear that Abram identifies immediately with this description of the Lord because he says he has made an oath to this One and uses exactly the same description of God as Melchizedek had done. Suddenly the communicator God has got ‘content’ – He is the Creator, the One who made all things, the One who must be High above all other ‘gods’ or idols or whatever foolish and unknowing men might worship. If this is who God really is, then indeed He is worthy of our worship because He is clearly so much greater than we are.
Now perhaps, because we have the whole Bible and we know the early chapters, we take this for granted, but it has immense implications which we need to be aware of. If God is the designer and creator of this world, He alone knows how it should work, He alone knows how we work best. If he designed us, and everything we see in Scripture of Him says that what He has provided in Creation for us is good, then we can also say that He has designed us to work well and so that we enjoy this Creation of His. Everything that comes from Him is good. If this is true, then we should expect to find in the Bible (the account of His dealings with mankind) guidance on how best to live – and we do!
If all that appears from God is good, then it is legitimate to ask why things go wrong then, and it is at this point that Genesis 3 becomes so important because it describes the Fall which resulted in the world being changed and Sin being seen in mankind from then on.
But the key revelation to be held onto here is that God is Creator and He is all-powerful, and if that is so, He is worthy of our worship. Let those simple but staggeringly profound truths sink in.