The names of God #5: The most high Genesis 14:17-24
Life of Abraham was one of rich experience of God. He who had begun as an idolator in Babylon, had met the God of glory (Acts 7:2) and lived a life of the pilgrim in touch with God—the friend of God (James 2:23). Another great name of God is found in the context of Abraham’s spiritual life.
In the background to this revelation of God lies a battle which Abraham had fought with the Chaldean allies who had invaded Canaan and carried off Lot. He had been successful in that battle and is returning as the victor. Even in this there is a lesson! Increasing knowledge of God is the experience of those prepared to go to war. God reveals Himself more fully to those prepared to do engage in the spiritual battle that parallels Abraham’s battle with the Babylonians.
I THE MOST HIGH GOD IS A NAME THAT EMPHASIZES THE SUPREME SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD.
- He is above all things. Cp Is 55:9.
- He is therefore the possessor of heaven and earth, v19, 22.
- He is the author of Abraham’s victory, v20. Because He is the most high He is able to give His people success in their battles.
II THE USE OF THE NAME HERE UNDERSCORES THE NEED FOR A MEDIATOR.
- The use of this name is accompanied by the revelation of the royal mediator, v18-19. This is a primary and crucial revelation of Christ the mediator that is built upon through the Scriptures. Cp Ps 110:4, Heb 7:1-3. A priest becomes necessary because of the relative positions of God and man.
- The mediator’s work.
- Symbol. Melchizedek brings bread and wine. There is no doubt a natural benefit to be observed. Abraham is refreshed by this royal priest. He has exerted himself in battle. It is striking to see that the New Testament symbols of the Mediator’s sacrificial death are employed here.
- Blessed in God’s name, v19. The Mediator secures blessing that would ordinarily be inaccessible and out of reach! He brings down to man the blessing of God.
- Leads in praise. The royal priest also blesses God, specially for the victory that Abraham has enjoyed. He declares the praise of God and so leads Abraham in doing so. The purpose is that Abraham will join with Him in these sentiments.
III AN UNDERSTANDING OF THIS NAME PRODUCED AN EFFECT ON ABRAHAM.
- He paid tithes, v20. This is the first reference to this practice. This was an expression of his gratitude and devotion and specially of his consciousness of God being the most High God and of being in the presence of God’s priest. Cp Heb 7:4. Long before an Levitical regulation on the matter, tithing was the practice of saints impressed by the mercy and grace of God. Cp Gen 28:17-22.
- He refused the overtures of the King of Sodom, v22-23. He wanted to distance himself from that King and any material benefits that might accrue to him. Note the extent of his desire for separation from that wicked regime! (See 13:13) He did so in terms of a solemn vow that indicated his understanding of the name of the most High God. He uses exactly the same terminology as Melchizedek! How carefully weighed these words were! Cp Ecc 5:1-2.
- Behind these words lay a deep trust of the most High God to keep His promises. Cp 12:2-3. Abraham was still anticipating the increase that God had promised him. He did not want in any way to have the King of Sodom share in the glory of that promised advance/increase. He would not embrace an alternative route to the blessings God had promised him. We can depend on the most high God to keep His word.