In Genesis 14:17-24 Abram returns from a significant military victory in which he saved his nephew Lot along with other captives and many possessions that were taken as plunder of war. He takes nothing of the plunder for himself. He gives a tithe to Melchizedek, identified as both king and priest, returns the captives and the plunder asking only for the food his troops already ate and a share of the goods recovered for his allies.
17 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,[d] 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.
21 The king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give back my people who were captured. But you may keep for yourself all the goods you have recovered.”
22 Abram replied to the king of Sodom, “I solemnly swear to the Lord, God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth, 23 that I will not take so much as a single thread or sandal thong from what belongs to you. Otherwise you might say, ‘I am the one who made Abram rich.’ 24 I will accept only what my young warriors have already eaten, and I request that you give a fair share of the goods to my allies—Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre.”
Abram makes a point to show that he did not fight to get riches. He fought because it was right to do so. It was a righteous battle, rather than one fought for greed or love of money. Abraham is wealthy, but does not serve money. He serves God. He gives to God through the tithe to Melchizedek and asks for some of the goods for his allies. Melchizedek gives praise and honor to God for the victory.
God wants us to follow Abram’s example… to fight righteous battles not for personal gain but to live in accordance with God’s instruction. The battles we are called to fight are not always literal. Many times we are not called to raise sword or spear but rather to speak the truth and stand up for our faith and resist those who wish to silence Christians through fear or persecution. Sometimes it may be choosing those we do business with or vote into political office based on their public demonstration of faith and honoring God instead of someone who is selfish and greedy for power… and helping convince others to do the same.
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