Genesis 14, Matthew 13, Nehemiah 3, Acts 13

DateVersionReading Plan
@January 13, 2024ESV (2016)M’Cheyne Plan 2024

Genesis 14

Genesis 14:14 (ESV) 14 When Abram heard that his kinsman had been taken captive, he led forth his trained men, born in his house, 318 of them, and went in pursuit as far as Dan.

Abram’s rescue of Lot and other kinsmen provides some insight as to how much God had blessed Abram. Having 318 trained men among his workforce, it seems as though Abram would have had significant power and influence in the region.

Genesis 14:17–20 (ESV) 17 After his return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley). 18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. (He was priest of God Most High.) 19 And he blessed him and said, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; 20 and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!” And Abram gave him a tenth of everything.

This is a wonderful moment depicting Abram’s faith. He knew that his victory was solely the work of God, so his response was to give the king/priest of Salem, Melchizedek, a tenth of everything he had was a profound act of humility. He knew that nothing he possessed or accomplished came by his own ability.

Matthew 13

Matthew 13:11–12 (ESV) 11 And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. 12 For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.

The context here is knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, so when Jesus speaks of giving more to those who have and taking away from those who have not, He is referring to understanding, not worldly provision or prosperity. It is important to make this distinction and to see how our knowledge of Him is of far more value than any earthly possession.

Matthew 13:20–21 (ESV) 20 As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away.

Something that struck me today about this passage was the qualifier, “on account of the word”. It is not referring to just any tribulation or persecution but one that directly opposes God’s Word. A shallow-rooted individual may speak and walk with devotion for a time, but a direct confrontation on matters of faith leads to a falling away. It is an admonition to press into God and His Word that He would provide for us the deep root structure needed to endure such trials.

Nehemiah 3

The chapter is largely centered around the repair of the Jerusalem wall and its multitude of contributors, but the repetition of “After him” starting in Neh. 3:16 seemed noteworthy. There is as much emphasis on the names of those who made the repairs as there is of what was repaired. The “After him” also points to a specific order that the repair followed.

Acts 13

Acts 7:2-3, 13:16–17 (ESV) 2 And Stephen said: “Brothers and fathers, hear me. The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran, 3 and said to him, ‘Go out from your land and from your kindred and go into the land that I will show you.’ … 16 So Paul stood up, and motioning with his hand said: “Men of Israel and you who fear God, listen. 17 The God of this people Israel chose our fathers and made the people great during their stay in the land of Egypt, and with uplifted arm he led them out of it.

I had never noticed before how similar Paul’s speech is to Stephen’s in Acts 7. Also good to see was how both of their speeches begin with early Israelite history, tying the events of the church fathers and the promises God made to their ultimate fulfillment in Jesus Christ. This should be an encouragement to us to be students of both Old and New Testaments, that God may illuminate the same connections He revealed to Stephen and Paul.

Carson on Genesis 14

Historically, Melchizedek (his name means “king of righteousness”) appears to be the king of the city-state of Salem (a name meaning “peace” or “well-being”). He functions not only as Salem’s king, but as “priest of God Most High” (14:18). Indeed, it is in the name of God Most High that he blesses Abram. And Abram so respects him, apparently knowing him from previous dealings, that he honors him in return.

The association of names between Melchizedek and Salem are fascinating. Melchizedek, righteous king, was ruler over Salem, a city-state of peace. What a picture this is as we view it within the context of the later reference in Acts 7 where Jesus is the High Priest that arose “after the order of Melchizedek” (Acts 7:11).