Observe how great this man was to whom Abraham, the patriarch, gave a tenth of the choicest spoils.
How do we know Melchizedek, and therefore Jesus, is superior to Aaron and the Old Testament priests? In Hebrews 7, the writer said that Melchizedek collected a tithe from Abraham. That is one way that shows Melchizedek is superior to all the priests. Look at verse 4: “Observe how great this man was to whom Abraham, the patriarch, gave a tenth of the choicest spoils.” The job of a priest was to receive tithes, not to pay tithes. But notice that Abraham paid a tithe to Melchizedek, meaning not only is Melchizedek superior to Abraham, but he is superior to all of Abraham’s descendants. If Abraham was the father of the Jews and he was the great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather of Aaron, in a sense when Abraham paid his tithe to Melchizedek, genetically, Aaron and all the future priests were present in Abraham. It is as if they were paying tithes to Melchizedek. Therefore, Melchizedek is superior to Abraham and all the priests that would follow after him.
Now no preacher worth his salt would pass by this without pointing out this is the first mention of tithing in the Bible. I want you to notice two things about the tithe here. First of all, notice the amount of the gift. Abraham gave a tithe of tenth of everything that he had out of his gratitude to God. Some people say, “I do not believe in tithing. We are not under the Law; we are under grace. So we do not have to tithe anymore.” May I point out something? Abraham was the first person in the Bible who tithed. He lived 400 years before Moses and the Old Testament Law, but he knew that if he wanted to give a gift to God, a tithe was a place to start. If you want to be obedient to God, the tithe is the starting place for giving. It always has been.
Second, notice the motive of Abraham’s gift. Abraham did not give to Melchizedek because he liked Melchizedek. He did not give because Melchizedek visited him in the hospital when he was sick, or because he liked Melchizedek’s preaching. It had nothing to do with Melchizedek. Abraham did not know Melchizedek. He just met him out of nowhere. He gave because of his appreciation for God and what God had done for him. That is the motivation for giving, not whether you like the preacher or the church. We give out of gratitude to God.
Another way we know Melchizedek is superior to Abraham is that Melchizedek blessed Abraham. After Abraham paid his tithe, the Bible says that Melchizedek blessed him (Genesis 14:19; Hebrews 7:6). Now it was not a simple, “Bless you, my son.” It meant more than that. Melchizedek was reaffirming God’s covenant promise to Abraham. Hebrews 7:7 says, “Without any dispute the lesser is blessed by the greater.” Melchizedek is greater than Abraham and all of Abraham’s descendants, including the Levitical priests, because Melchizedek blessed Abraham.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “And Now For The Main Course!” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2018.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.