Here we read that Melchizedek, king of Salem, blesses Abram for his military victory. Not only does he bless Abram but interestingly, he blesses and ascribes victory to God. If one were to read the language of the first part of chapter fourteen, you would get the sense that this was not just a military victory but a rout. You get the sense that kings and armies are tumbling over themselves in their attempts to get away. There is no doubt the use of this language is meant to impress upon the reader the military prowess and cleverness of Abram, who has defeated a much larger force than his own. Although Abram’s talents are not to be downplayed, what Melchizedek realizes in this moment is that God is the one who made victory possible.
Everyone likes to be recognized for their accomplishments. We appreciate when supervisors, spouses, friends, and family notice that we have done something well. Many times, when reflecting upon those successes, we can even recognize God’s blessing of provision in our lives. But the driving question brought up by this narrative is not about whether we ourselves can recognize God’s blessing in our success, but whether others can. Through the way Abraham handled himself in victory, Melchizedek was able to recognize God’s provision. By the way that we handle success within our workplace, would our coworkers be able to attribute our success to God’s blessing and provision? By the way that we parent our children through their successes (and failures), is our community able to recognize God’s provision in our families? If we want to change our city, we need to start by being introspective about how we represent God in our successes. Are my successes about me and me alone? Or are others able to see God in how we represent ourselves through our success?