Presentation1I’ve been thinking lately about the “outreach” of God to the world. The Bible shows us the work God is doing through the narrow window of Palestine and the greater Middle East. For example, God was reaching out to the people in Palestine before Abraham was given the promise that it would be his inheritance. God had His witnesses. More than four hundred years before Israel conquers the land there was a priest of God in Jerusalem.
It’s an odd little moment that takes place when the now powerful Abraham fights a battle for the rescue of his nephew, Lot. Lot was caught up among the captives after a war of conquest between nine provincial kings. If you remember the story, Abraham defeats the five northern kings. As he is returning with all the captives and the plunder taken by them, he stops in the Valley of Shaveh, (the Kidron Valley). There the Priest of the “Most High God” meets him. He brings refreshment to Abraham, and Abraham returns a tithe of all that he has brought back from the battle.
The story stands out for its oddities. Who is Melchizedek? Where did he come from? Why is his back story not told? And why is Abraham subservient to him? I will attempt to answer none of these in this short format. Sorry. However, may I make one small but important point?
God had a priest in Canaan at Jerusalem 500 years before Israel arrives.
The people had not entirely forgotten God. And God had never forgotten them. It is easy to remember only the story of Israel and forget that the story of Israel, as important as it may be, is not the entire story of God’s outreach to the world. Noah’s story is only a few long generations before Abraham. People had attempted a united building project and been scattered by God a few generations prior to this story. God was not silent, nor was He impotent before there was an Israel.
Abraham arrives in Canaan with a fully functioning idea of who God is and how to serve Him.
So, this is my leap to the present; God Himself is still doing outreach. It is easy to look at the world and see only the unfaithfulness of men, and there is plenty of that to be seen. But don’t forget the faithfulness of God. Right this moment God is at work in ways we know nothing about!
As sad as our world’s plunge into the worship of science and experts is to watch, God is not out of reach, on the sideline, or in any way disengaged. He was willing to die so His children could get home! He is “for us,” all of us, right now!
God demonstrated His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us! (Romans 5:8)
Once Again, Keep Your Faith in Him and Your Eyes Looking Up