Your power of choice is incredibly important to you. No more so than with your choice of who to bow to. Ultimately you must bow your knee to Jesus Christ. You can do that in your life, now, and be happy about that for eternity. Or you will end up bowing your knee to Jesus Christ after this life is over, and having eternity to regret not having done it now.
Joshua, who led Israel into the Promised Land, understood the importance of making a choice about who you will bow to. He challenged the nation of Israel to choose who they would serve. He declared, as an old grandfather, that he and his entire household were dedicated to serve the Lord.
“And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose you this day who you will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the water, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15
So it is for each of us. We must make the choice of who we will bow the knee to.
That is why this post is titled, “Choose Your King”.
Abraham and Kings
Abraham did business with kings. He negotiated with them. He rebuked them. He feared them. He did battle with them. He fought on their behalf. So Abraham had opportunity to reveal how a man of God should deal with kings.
The historical record lists a group of warrior kings who oppressed parts of Palestine in the days of Abraham. There is no record that they oppressed Abraham personally, but Abraham’s nephew, Lot, was living in Sodom, and so came under the oppression of these kings.
“And it came to pass in the days of Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of nations; That these made war with Bera king of Sodom, and with Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, and Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela, which is Zoar.” Genesis 14:1,2
War of the Kings
When the local kings rebelled against the oppressors war broke out. The dominant kings invaded the land, attacked the rebelling cities and took them all captive.
“And there went out the king of Sodom, and the king of Gomorrah, and the king of Admah, and the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (the same is Zoar;) and they joined battle with them in the vale of Siddim; With Chedorlaomer the king of Elam, and with Tidal king of nations, and Amraphel king of Shinar, and Arioch king of Ellasar; four kings with five. And the vale of Siddim was full of slimepits; and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, and fell there; and they that remained fled to the mountain. And they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their victuals, and went their way. And they took Lot, Abram’s brother’s son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed.” Genesis 14:8-12
Fortunately for Lot, Abraham had his own standing army. And that army was an impressive force. Abraham had 318 trained servants in his household who were prepared for warfare.
“And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan. And he divided himself against them, he and his servants, by night, and smote them, and pursued them unto Hobah, which is on the left hand of Damascus. And he brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people.” Genesis 14:14-16
That’s a pretty good effort. Four kings which dominated the region and beat all that was before them were overpowered and defeated by a small private army. It begs the question of what “trained servants” means and what kind of ‘training’ Abraham gave them.
Obviously Abraham was a hero after such a victory. The King of Sodom was overjoyed to receive his people and goods back. Abraham was like an angel to him. So the King offered to give a huge reward to Abraham.
However, Abraham declined to take anything from the King. Abraham did not want it to ever be said that the King of Sodom had made him rich. Abraham allowed his own servants to receive a reward, but he refused for himself.
“And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the persons, and take the goods to yourself. And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lifted up my hand to the LORD, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth, That I will not take from a thread even to a shoe-latchet, and that I will not take any thing that is yours, lest you should say, I have made Abram rich” Genesis 14:21-23
Abraham rebutted the King of Sodom, refusing to receive anything from him.
On the same day Abraham rejected the King of Sodom he met yet another king and gave that king total adoration. Now, isn’t that interesting? Abraham did not treat all kings equally. Abraham rebutted one king and fell at the feet of another.
The Bible records that Abraham met Melchizedek, the King of Salem, or King of Peace. Some even suggest that Melchizedek was King of the Heavenly Jerusalem (see the word “Salem” in the word Jerusalem).
“And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. And he (Melchizedek) blessed him (Abram), and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered your enemies into your hand. And he (Abram, later called Abraham) gave him (Melchizedek) tithes of all.” Genesis 14:18-20
We learn later, in the book of Hebrews in the New Testament, that this meeting was very significant.
“For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace; Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like the Son of God; abides a priest continually. Now consider how great this man was, to whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils.” Hebrews 7:1-4
This King of Salem was a divine and eternal being. I believe that Melchizedek was a pre-incarnate manifestation of Jesus Christ. He brought “bread and wine” to Abram, just as Jesus gave His disciples the Communion (Eucharist) meal at the last supper, in which He said, “This is my body… This is the New Covenant in my blood”.
So Abraham fell down and worshipped the spiritual king, but did not give place to the wishes of the wicked earthly king.
How do we know that the King of Sodom was a wicked king?
Not long after Abraham had rescued the city from the invading kings that whole region was destroyed because of the homosexuality of the men. The King of Sodom ruled a land of sensual, sexually abhorrent men. No righteous king would have created a culture so wicked that God would destroy it.
The King of Sodom presided over a nation of men who had lost their manhood. They had taken up a ‘lifestyle’ which cut the gizzards out of their personal moral authority. That is why they could not defend themselves, while a few hundred morally pure men under Abraham’s command could rescue them all. When men live for sex and abandon their calling as real men they also lose their moral might as men.
The King of Sodom had created a nation of wicked men. So it could hardly be argued that he was anything but a wicked king.
Choose Your King
Satan comes to us with all the grandeur of human kingly authority and offers us wealth and all that man could think valuable. But we are to reject that offer, even if it seems we are offending the King.
Christ comes to us with all the grandeur of heavenly kingly authority and challenges us to lay down all for him. We are to run to Him and gladly suffer the loss of all things in order to have Him as our Lord and King.
Abraham had no difficulty in choosing which king he would bow the knee to. But we get tangled up in the compromise of wanting wealth from earthly kings, through certifications, welfare payments, concessions, grants, funding, approvals and the like. We fall down and worship the “kings of Sodom” without realising the spiritual compromise that we enter into.
When we bow the knee to the “heavenly King”, ensuring our devotion to God’s divine leadership in our lives, even shunning the gifts offered us by earthly kings, we remain in the place where God’s blessings can manifest in our lives.
Shortly after Abraham’s sunning of the King of Sodom the city was destroyed and Abraham received the promised heir.
My wish for you is that you escape the destruction of the earthly kings and receive the fullness of God’s promises in your life instead.