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May 16, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“The king of Sodom said to Abram, ‘Give the people to me and take the goods for yourself.’ Abram said to the king of Sodom, ‘I have sworn to the Lord God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth, that I will not take a thread or a sandal thong or anything that is yours, for fear you would say, “I have made Abram rich.” I will take nothing except what the young men have eaten, and the share of the men who went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their share.’”—Genesis 14:21-24 (NASB)
In the scene above, only two men are featured, but three are in attendance: Bera, the king of Sodom, Melchizedek, the king of righteousness, and Abram. It recalls a popular picture—a person with an angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other. The picture fully develops when we look at the men in more detail.
First, let’s look at Bera, the king of Sodom. His name means “son of evil.” He was aptly named because he was the king of what is still considered one of the most licentious cities in history, Sodom. (Incidentally, Sodom means “burning,” which is exactly how the city met its end.)
Then there is Melchizedek, whose name means “king of righteousness.” He was the king of Salem (Jerusalem) and priest of the Most High God (Genesis 14:18). Melchizedek typified Christ. He came to Abram after Abram’s army defeated the armies of the four kings, blessed him, and offered him bread and wine.
Finally, we have Abram, a man of righteousness and God’s friend (James 2:23). Abram may have made a few missteps in his spiritual walk, but he believed in the Lord, and God blessed him for his belief.
The symbolism is astonishing. There was the evil, the righteous, and the friend of God. The devil on one side tempting Abram to take whatever he wanted. Bera, just like the evil one, was after the people. The Hebrew word for people is nephesh, meaning souls. Bera wanted the souls.
Melchizedek was on the other side, a type of Christ. He offered bread and wine, a symbol of life and grace, fellowship and peace—exactly what Jesus wants for us.
Yet not an ounce of compromise surfaced through Abram whose desire to please God was utmost in his heart. God was the portion of his inheritance; God was enough. For Abram, to God be the glory.
Abram gave a life-changing testimony. The Bible doesn’t reveal Bera’s reaction to Abram’s refusal of riches. He simply walks out of the pages of history. But what we do know is years later Sodom was destroyed. The king had returned with the people and the treasure, but he did nothing with the testimony he received, which could have prevented the life-ending judgment to come.
Each day we have situations similar to this—the whispers of wrong and of righteousness in our ears. Like Abram, I pray we all show our affection, obedience, and faithfulness to God so we can give our own life-changing testimony.
DIG: Why did Abram reject Bera’s incredible offer to retain the spoils of war?
DISCOVER: How do you feel when you make the choice to do the right thing in a compromising situation?
DO: In less than 30 seconds, Abram gave a life-changing testimony. What can we do with 30 seconds?
Lisa Supp lives in Utah and has served within the CCFL Web and Prayer Ministry since 2011. She also volunteers as an editor on the CCFL Prayer Wall and is a writer on the Communications Team. Retired from teaching, Lisa and her husband Ron volunteer at their local Calvary Chapel and share a passion for Scripture, apologetics, and education.