War breaks out between nations and Sodom and Gomorrah. The kings of Sodom and Gomorrah were defeated and their goods along with Lot were taken by the victors. When Abram heard about Lot’s captivity, he rounded up trained servants and embarked on a rescue mission. He and his servants smote the enemy and brought back all the goods, Lot, his possessions, the women and the people.
When Abram returned from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer and the other kings, the king of Sodom went to meet him. Melchizedek, the king of Salem and priest of God brought Abram bread and wine. Bread symbolizes the body of Jesus and wine, His blood. Bread and wine are used at the Lord’s Supper. Here we see the connection between Abram and the Messiah. Melchizedek means king of righteousness. The author of Hebrews describes him as the king of peace who “without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, remains a priest continually” (Hebrews 7:2, 3). The order of Melchizedek is the order of the priesthood to which Christ belongs. This is the man who blessed Abram, the man who would be the father of many nations and the man to whom the children of God would be identified with.
Melchizedek is a type of Christ. Like Jesus, he represents righteousness. Jesus was baptized not because He was sinless but to “fulfill all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15). Melchizedek was a Priest of God. Jesus is a High Priest “who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners and made higher than the Heavens” (Hebrews 7:26). Tithes belong to the Lord. Abram gave a tenth of his goods to Melchizedek. The writer of Hebrews said of this, “Now consider how great this man was, to whom even the patriarch Abraham gave a tenth of the spoils” (Hebrews 7:4).
Like Jesus, Melchizedek had no beginning nor end and like Jesus, he represents peace. Melchizedek blessed Abram. He referred to him as Abram of the most High God, Possessor of heaven and earth. Here is a reference to the fourth commandment which speaks of God’s creation. Abram is seen as a child of God, the Creator. God is also seen as a Deliverer of His people. He delivered Abram’s enemies into his hands. Later He will deliver His people from their enemies.
Abram does not take what the king of Sodom offers him, i.e worldly possessions. He knows that only God could make him rich. God is His Provider. He doesn’t want to accept anything from the king, lest you should say, ‘I have made Abram rich’—” (Genesis 14:23). Ellen G. White comments comments on this.
By the usage of war, the spoils belonged to the conquerors; but Abraham had undertaken this expedition with no purpose of gain, and he refused to take advantage of the unfortunate, only stipulating that his confederates should receive the portion to which they entitled.
Few, if subjected to such a test, would have shown themselves as noble as did Abraham. Few would have resisted the temptation [p. 136] to secure so rich a booty. His example is a rebuke to self-seeking, mercenary spirits. Abraham regarded the claims of justice and humanity. His conduct illustrates the inspired maxim, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” Leviticus 19:18, “I have lifted up my hand,” he said, “unto the Lord, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth, that I will not take from a thread even to a shoe latchet, and that I will not take anything that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich.” He would give them no occasion to think that he had engaged in warfare for the sake of gain, or to attribute his prosperity to their gifts or favor. God had promised to bless Abraham, and to Him the glory should be ascribed – Patriarchs And Prophets-pp-12
Rather than take riches from the king of Sodom, Abraham chose rather to give a tenth of his spoils to Melchizedek, the high priest king of Salem. Salem means “peace” which commentators affirm is the same as Jerusalem. It is interesting to note that the name of king of Sodom was Bera which means “son of evil” and Sodom means “burning”. It was a Canaanite city.
Abram brings home the message that only God can give us what we have. He is our Provider. Whenever we receive good things, we ought to give Him the thanks and glory He deserves.