Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand.
When Lot was taken hostage by King Chedorlaomer, Abraham went in to rescue him. He ended up defeating the king, and he took all the wealth that Chedorlaomer had seized. Suddenly, Abraham was a living legend, and he was wealthier than he had ever been.
How did Abraham handle this new prosperity in his life? He was tested in a confrontation with a man named Melchizedek. Genesis 14:18 says, “Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; now he was a priest of God Most High.”
This priest, Melchizedek, came to Abraham after his great victory and said, “Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth” (Genesis 14:19). God possesses everything. Do you understand that everything you have is owned by God? Your bank account. Your 401(k). Your house. Your job. Your reputation. Your dreams. God owns all of it. He chooses to lend it to you for a temporary period of time, but He owns it all. Melchizedek was saying to Abraham, “Your newly acquired wealth–do not forget that God owns all of it.”
Then he added in verse 20: “Blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” He was reminding Abraham, “The reason you had a great military victory was not because of your strategic planning or your superior skill. God is the one who gave you victory.”
What was Abraham’s response? The Bible says he voluntarily gave a tenth of everything he had to Melchizedek, God’s representative. This is the first time we find tithing in the Bible. Some people argue, “That was the Old Testament. That was under the law, but we are under grace. We practice grace giving instead.” I have found that for most people, grace giving means giving as little as they can without feeling guilty about it–and it is amazing what a low threshold of guilt most Christians have. What a travesty.
When people talk about tithing being under the law, here is a great answer: Abraham tithed voluntarily, four hundred years before the Mosaic Law was given. Tithing came before the law. If you want to know, “What does God want me to give to the church?” the tithe is always the starting place of our giving. Abraham gave not out of compulsion but out of gratitude for all that God had done for him.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Battling Believer’s Remorse” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2009.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org