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4 Now [de] consider [theoreo] how great [pelikos] this man [houtos] was, unto whom [hos] even [kai] the patriarch [patriarches] Abraham [Abraam] gave [didomi] the tenth [dekate] of [ek] the spoils [akrothinion].
5 And [kai] verily [men] they that are of [ek] the sons [huios] of Levi [Leui], who [ho] receive [lambano] the office of the priesthood [hierateia], have [echo] a commandment [entole] to take tithes [apodekatoo] of the people [laos] according to [kata] the law [nomos], that is [toutesti], of their [autos] brethren [adelphos], though [kaiper] they come [exerchomai] out of [ek] the loins [osphus] of Abraham [Abraam]:
6 But [de] he whose descent is [genealogeo] not [me] counted [genealogeo] from [ek] them [autos] received tithes [dekatoo] of Abraham [Abraam], and [kai] blessed [eulogeo] him that had [echo] the promises [epaggelia].
7 And [de] without [choris] all [pas] contradiction [antilogia] the less [elasson] is blessed [eulogeo] of [hupo] the better [kreitton]. KJV-Interlinear
4 Now observe how great this man was to whom Abraham, the patriarch, gave a tenth of the choicest spoils. 5 And those indeed of the sons of Levi who receive the priest's office have commandment in the Law to collect a tenth from the people, that is, from their brethren, although these are descended from Abraham. 6 But the one whose genealogy is not traced from them collected a tenth from Abraham, and blessed the one who had the promises. 7 But without any dispute the lesser is blessed by the greater. NASB
Three lessons are found in this passage. First, the greater is always the one who blesses the lessor. Second, the lessor is always the one who makes offerings to the greater. And third, the greater person is always greater than anything that comes out from the lessor person.
We might add just one more point. The lessor will never rise up and become greater than another who is already greater than he.
Melchizedek is mentioned in just a few verses in Genesis 14. Although we know very little about the man, what we do know is that he was considered greater than Abraham. Abraham is considered the father of many nations, and certainly from the time Abraham is introduced in the Old Testament in Genesis, all of the way through Malachi, the rest of the Old Testament is really a story about the descendants of Abraham in some fashion.
Yet with little mention, Melchizedek is the greater of the two.
Melchizedek came to Abraham after Abraham defeated Chedorlaomer. There is never any mention that Melchizedek was involved in the battle. There is never any mention that Abraham was obligated in any way to Melchizedek.
Abraham however knew of and recognized Melchizedek as a significant priest. This is the only priest that Abraham recognized. Abraham out of his own free will, and without any hesitation, gave a tenth part of the spoils of the battle, to Melchizedek. Abraham was not obligated to give anything, but he did so out of his respect to Melchizedek and more so, out of his love and thankfulness to God. His gift did not gain him anything, but it did support and promote whatever role Melchizedek had in Abraham's day.
Based on the rest of the Bible, we can reasonably assume that Melchizedek taught doctrine and offered sacrifices as a part of his priestly function.
Abraham bowed to Melchizedek and Abraham gave tithes to Melchizedek. The lessor gives offerings and respect to the greater.
Melchizedek on the other hand knew of Abraham and he knew that he must bless Abraham, which he did. The greater blesses the lessor.
Even though the lessor person, Abraham, is the recipient of the promises of God, he is still the lessor person with respect to Melchizedek.
So both the respect to and the gift of a tenth part to Melchizedek, were not mandated, Abraham still gave both to Melchizedek. This does not mean that our giving is optional, or that it should depend on whim or personal feeling. It means that the basis of our giving should be our love and devotion to God, in gratitude for His inestimable gift to us. Probably only the mature believer will understand and appreciate the true meaning of the giving and support concept.
Too often people are reluctant to give because they rationalize that it is unnecessary and that their intended recipient doesn't need it. Typical excuses designed to hide their real reason - greed or selfishness. This is also a typical barrier preventing spiritual growth.
Under grace we are free of the demands of the law, but not free of the responsibilities of our spiritual life.
It is not until the Levitical laws were written, that the mandatory tenth part was required for the support of the Levitical priesthood. They were given no land, so their sole support came through the tithing of the tenth part. This was not the tenth portion which was mandated for the government as a tax, nor the tenth portion which was mandated every third year for charity.
So the Israelites were required to give ten percent to the church and ten percent to the government every year, or twenty percent of their annual income, and then every third year they gave another ten percent for charity, or thirty percent every third year.
The Law mandated this, but Abraham did not give out of some mandated regulation, but he gave out of his personal love and respect for God and doctrine. The percentage is not the issue, the desire to give is.
Abraham gave out of the best that was available to him. He did not give out of excess, or out of left overs. Therefore, Abraham sets the example for giving - which is out of love, not out of obligation which comes about out of the greed and reluctance of a people who would just as soon not give.
During the period of the Levites, they collected offerings from the people who were also descendants of Abraham. But since the Levites were descendants of Abraham, and did not exist in the time of Abraham except through his genes, then the Levites in effect gave to Melchizedek through Abraham's actions.
Therefore, the Levitical priesthood was the lessor party giving to and respecting, the greater party, Melchizedek.
This humility that Abraham demonstrated to Melchizedek was out of Abraham's own personal character, and not based on any ancestry of Melchizedek, nor on the culture that Melchizedek represented, nor on his color, etc. None of these facts are even known. They are irrelevant. We know virtually nothing about Melchizedek except that he was superior to Abraham, that Abraham himself recognized this, and that Melchizedek is the illustration of the promised Messiah.
David knew of these facts as well, and David lived over one thousand years after Abraham. Others surely knew of and understood this principle.
Now is the time to post a prayer.
End Of Lesson
Study to show thyself approved (mature) unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (studying/discerning), the Word of truth.