Noah had three sons. When Ham uncovered his father’s nakedness, he invoked a curse upon his own son, Canaan. The priesthood was extended through Shem. And Abram was born of Shem. It is interesting to note that later, God led the Israelites out of Egypt to possess the Land He promised to Abraham, which was occupied by Canaanites at the time.
Afterward, God called Abram out of the Chaldeans and promised that He would bless him. Abram was 75 years old at the time. He and his nephew, Lot, separated, only to have Lot looted by kings from the North. Abram came to his rescue. And this is where this story meets the one we began earlier in this series: When Abram meets Melchizedek and is blessed by Him. Only after this, God establishes a covenant with Abram. (Gen. 15)
God promised him a son, an heir. As well, He promised him the land He would give to him.
Then, when Abram was 99 years old, God reaffirmed His covenant with him.
He also changed Abram’s name to Abraham, and his wife Sarai’s name into Sarah.
He also gave a name to the son He promised that would be born of Sarah: Isaac.
He commanded Abraham to circumcise his household as a token of the covenant.
He would extend to Isaac an eternal covenant.
When Isaac grew older, God tested Abraham by asking him to sacrifice his son. Abraham obeyed. This ensured God would more be than faithful in His personal commitment to Abraham and his son. Through faith, Abraham reactivated the seed of promise that had long been dead within mankind.
Gen. 22:15-18 [NIV]
15The angel of the LORD called to Abraham from heaven a second time 16and said, “I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, 18and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”
Paul mentions in several places the significance of this covenant:
Rom. 4:18-25 [NIV]
18Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 19Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead-since he was about a hundred years old-and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. 20Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. 22This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.” 23The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, 24but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness-for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.
This is post is _Part 5_ in the series The Order of Melchizedek. To use this as a growth tool to better understand your own calling, you might start by reading the explanation of this series, Pt 1, Pt 2, Pt 3 and Pt 4.
Photo credit: Rafik Berlin