Posted by: Terry | February 24, 2009

A timeless drama

“After Abram returned… the king of Sodom came out to meet him… Then Melchizedek brought bread and wine.” (Genesis 14.17-18 NIV)

Three characters play out a timeless drama in the Valley of Shaveh almost 4,000 years ago.

If you visit this valley today, also known as the “Kings Valley,” you would be in downtown Jerusalem, which was called Salem before the reign of King David. Melchizedek was its ruler and he was a follower of God, his faith that was passed on through the line of Seth after the flood.

Bera, the king of Sodom, meets Abram in the valley as he is returning from the defeat of the four-king coalition lead by Kederalomer, who had driven off five kings and plundered their cities. One can only surmise the intentions of the king of Sodom, yet it is safe to conclude that greetings and congratulations were not his chief motive; he was a defeated ruler of a notoriously evil people so one may assume that regaining power and position were part of his motive.

Bera does not wait for Abram to return, he offensively goes out to meet him. He then proposes to exchange wealth for the people. Some writers attribute his offer to generosity and compassion for his subjects, but Abram’s response suggests that he sensed that the proposition could not be taken at face value.

As their liberator Abram had the right to all the possessions and it would seem the service of the people of Sodom and the other four kings. Bera was willing to exchange possessions for people, perhaps he realized that wealth could be restored, but without subject he was no longer a king. Abram wanted nothing to do with it; the prospect of indebtedness to Bera could have negative long term consequences.

So we have these three:

  • Melchizedek – who was a type of Christ the high priest and king, refreshes Abram and his followers. Then he blesses them in the name of God Most High.
  • Bera, king of Sodom – offers him wealth in exchange for the people and a relationship of debt.
  • Abram – worships God, takes care of those who are with him, and resists the enticement of material wealth while avoiding a problem fraught association.

Like Abram we are faced with taking part in this world’s system in barter for short term gain. Jesus who has experienced the same temptations (Satan offered him the world in exchange for worship), is able to comfort, refresh and bless.

In the valley of Shaveh two men stood before Abram, one representing evil and the other God. This is the same choice we are confronted with daily, pray that we will choose as wisely as Abram.


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