Saturday, April 4, 2009

Mel ~ King of Salem

Just a few thoughts on a kinda obscure subject.

Not much is really known about Melchizedek although he is a major figure in the history of Israel and the church. Hebrews devotes a lot of chapter 7 to him. He is first met in the Bible when Abraham is returning after battle, exhausted, and extremely aware that he ticked off four of the most powerful kings of his day. And the story goes as Abraham was returning, "Melchizedek, King of Salem, brings out bread and wine and blesses him." Hebrews 7:7 says, "Without doubt the lesser person is blessed by the greater."

But who is this guy you know? He is the King of Salem (ancient Jerusalem) and a "priest of God most high," who fed and blessed Abraham. Non Biblical sources say he was anything from an angel to just a man so righteous he was made a priest. In Psalm 110 David saw Mel as a type of the promised Messiah who would establish a new order of King priests. Hebrews 7 takes it farther says that Mel was like Jesus, whose title is "king of righteousness" and "king of peace," who appears in scripture without beginning or end to life and remains a "priest forever." So Melchizedek was a picture of Jesus, but probably also just a man ...

I want to focus on what Mel did with Abraham for a minute though. This priest was out and about, not holed away somewhere. He went out looking for those who have been through some stuff, tired, weary, maybe disillusioned ... Instead of trying to "fix" the problem, and he probably really wanted to, he cared for Abraham and Co., and listened to them. He came out with bread, wine and a blessing. The bread offers endurance and strength. The wine gladdens the heart, i.e., cheers them up. The blessing ... A definition of "to bless" is: "to bestow something that promotes or contributes to another's well being, happiness and prosperity." Interestedly the root of the Hebrew word is "to kneel."

We cannot undo the circumstances of another's journey, or take away its pain. But we can help them out in real ways and point them to the One who is the source of all blessings. We may not be able to show another the way, but we can reflect and show them Jesus. And bless them good ...


Numbers 6:

22-23 God spoke to Moses: "Tell Aaron and his sons, This is how you are to bless the People of Israel. Say to them,

24 God bless you and keep you,

25 God smile on you and gift you,

26 God look you full in the face and make you prosper. 27 In so doing, they will place my name on the People of Israel— I will confirm it by blessing them."

~The Message

1 comment:

Laura said...

This is such good stuff!

I've always been taught that Mel (smile) was a preincarnate Jesus, but he is such a mysterious figure.

I love your observations, and how you generalize them to caring for others.