Melchizedek Blesses Abram
It is unknown how much time passed between the end of Genesis 13 and the beginning of Genesis 14. The names of 9 kings are given in Genesis 14, and they go to battle against one another (four against five). Five of the kings ruled cities very near to where Lot resided (Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, & Zoar). Thus, it is no surprise that when the four kings are victorious, they captured Lot and his goods also, and took them away as spoils. One man escaped and reported the news to Abram.

"Now when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his three hundred and eighteen trained servants who were born in his own house, and went in pursuit as far as Dan. He divided his forces against them by night, and he and his servants attacked them and pursued them as far as Hobah, which is north of Damascus. So he brought back all the goods, and also brought back his brother Lot and his goods, as well as the women and the people" (Gen. 14:14-16). The fact that Abram, with only 300 or so men, is able to attack four kings and be successful over their troops is impressive and a testament to the fact that God was with him! He brings everyone and everything back safely! Abram's success here is significant, and such is recognized.

The king of Sodom as well as Melchizedek went out to meet Abram when he returned from his victory. "Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine, he was the priest of God Most High" (14:18). Melchizedek served as both king of Salem and priest for God. Very little is known about this godly leader (cf. Heb. 7). He, out of kindness, brought these items out for refreshment. Then Melchizedek blessed Abram by saying - "Blessed be Abram of God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand" (14:19,20). Then Abram gave Melchizedek "a tithe of all." In other words, of everything that had been won in battle, Abram gave one-tenth of it to the priest of Almighty God. That is a generous gift, and it shows something about the heart of the giver!

"Now the king of Sodom said to Abram, 'Give me the persons, and take the goods for yourself. But Abram said to the king of Sodom, 'I have raised my hand to the LORD, God Most High, the Possessor of heaven and earth, that I will take nothing, from a thread to a sandal strap, and that I will not take anything that is yours, lest you should say, 'I have made Abram rich'--except only what the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men who went with me: Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion" (Gen. 14:21-24).

The king of Sodom was willing to let Abram keep all the spoils of battle he won (i.e., possessions of the inhabitants of Sodom that had originally been lost to the four kings). He could keep everything except the residents of Sodom. Abram, however, wants nothing to do with this wicked city (though he did gladly accept a blessing and refreshment from a righteous man)! He doesn't want to benefit at the expense of this evil city, even if it was traditionally acceptable for the victor to retain the spoils. He is not opposed to allowing his friends to take their portion of the spoils, if they desire, but he will not do so. He doesn't want Sodom to be able to state to any degree that they helped him become rich. There is a great lesson here for us today about influence. Merely because we can do something does not mean that we should. Let us carefully guard our influence to the best of our ability, bringing glory to God in all that we say and do!