Out of the Garden, part eighteen

Following up on Abram’s victory over the enemies who had taken his nephew captive, we get a very interesting moment in the Bible. We meet an individual named Melchizedek. A king and a priest, Melchizedek stands as one of the most mysterious individuals in the Bible and I encourage you to seek out information on him. My Pastor gave a great sermon not too long ago about Melchizedek that was challenging and fascinating. But, I want to focus not on who he was, but on something that he said to Abram. Let’s look at their meeting.

Genesis 14:17-20 After Abram returned from his victory over Kedorlaomer and all his allies, the king of Sodom went out to meet him in the valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley). 18 And Melchizedek, the king of Salem and a priest of God Most High, brought Abram some bread and wine. 19 Melchizedek blessed Abram with this blessing: “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. 20 And blessed be God Most High, who has defeated your enemies for you.” Then Abram gave Melchizedek a tenth of all the goods he had recovered.

In a natural view, Abram and his men just pulled off an incredible victory. They’re not an army, they aren’t men of war, and yet they tracked down and defeated an army. From an outside view, this was a great feat. But look in verse 20, as Melchizedek gives credit for the victory to someone other than Abram and his men. “And blessed be God Most High, who has defeated your enemies for you.”

It’s interesting to me that Melchizedek gives ZERO credit to Abram and his men. According to him, it was God who defeated the enemies. This is such a foundational truth and yet it’s one that is at odds with our current society. We want credit for the things that we accomplish. If you updated the story of Abram and his men defeating the army of Kedorlaomer, we’d speak of the might and power of Abram. He would receive praise and glory that the world would agree was well deserved; parades, accolades, a made for TV movie, the man would be heavily honored. But no matter where society is at, the truth of God stands supreme, and it says that we need to always remember where the credit belongs. God did it. He’s the one that defeated your enemies.

I’ve spoken to people on this subject before who strongly dislike this concept. They want credit for what they’ve accomplished. THEY fought through addiction, THEY found a great job, THEY accomplished some great and difficult task. I’ve found, however, that when you reverse engineer any good or victorious situation, you always find God at the source. Let’s take Abram and his situation. Abram won a battle using weapons, using his strength, using his fists, his mind for tactics. Where do all of those things come from? When you start to peel back the layers, you always come to God as the source. He created Abram! God is the author of goodness, it’s impossible to trace goodness backward and not run into Him.

I spent most of my life seeking glory and credit for being a good person. I did many good deeds with a selfish motivation. I had a massive ego over how humble people perceived me to be. I barely recognize the person I once was, because now I operate knowing where the credit belongs. I know my best, I know how far I can take credit for because I lived it for quite a while. It’s not a pretty picture. I take credit for selfishness, depression, misery, laziness, wasted time, and so many other negative things that defined my life. That was my best without God, it was as good as it gets, and I take credit for that. What’s happened since, I’m not foolish enough to take any credit for. All I’ll take credit for is recognizing that without God I wasn’t going to make it. The beauty that’s unfolded since? All Him. The victories over depression, over social anxiety, over self-hatred, over crippling fear? All Him. The victories in ministry, the hundreds of times I’ve stood as a leader and taught on the word of God? All Him. The ability to put my own desires aside and be there for people in need? All Him. I won’t ever forget to whom the credit belongs because I remember what it was like before Him.

1 Samuel 2:30 Therefore, the LORD, the God of Israel, says: I promised that your branch of the tribe of Levi would always be my priests. But I will honor those who honor me, and I will despise those who think lightly of me.

Honor God, and He will honor you. We don’t need credit from our fellow man. Yes, we want to be loved, we want to be looked at as people who live with honor and dignity and help others. But we should never want it enough to claim credit that isn’t ours. Our ability to live with honor and dignity, our commitment to helping others and our ability to do so, it’s all God. So submit your life to be used as a tool for His goodness. We honor Him with our lives in service to Him, and in doing so He says He’ll honor us in return. What more credit can there possibly be than that originating from the God of the universe?
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I love all of you! I hope your week is off to a wonderful start. If you’ve got any prayer requests or just need someone to talk to, my email is always open to you at freejenkins@gmail.com.

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