Ezekiel 10:1-11:25; Hebrews 6:1-20; Psalms 105:16-36; Proverbs 27:1-2
Today is the fourth day of November. Welcome to the Daily Audio Bible. And here we are at the end of another week, a week that has switched months for us, and launched us into the 11th month of the year. And day by day we get closer to the destination - the completion of the Bible. But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. We have much territory to cover. And we’ll take the next step forward into the Scriptures today. So, we’ve been reading from the Good News translation this week, which is what we’ll do today. Ezekiel chapter 10 verse 1 through 11 verse 25 today.
Okay. So, in the book of Hebrews today, the last verse that we read we encounter an interesting name that harkens back to the Old Testament. The verse reads, on our behalf Jesus has gone there before us and has become a high priest forever in the priestly order of Melchizedek. And tomorrow, when we encounter the book of Hebrews, we’ll be hearing much more about Melchizedek. And, so, we probably need talk about him a little bit. So, I’m going to start that today by just explaining who Melchizedek is and where he shows up in the Bible. And we’ll probably only get through the Old Testament part of that. But we’ll talk about it more tomorrow. So, who is Melchizedek and why is he compared to Jesus in the book of Hebrews? Now, when you start digging into that territory, it starts getting complicated really fast, and the waters get very murky, and you find everything from remarkable correlations to fantastical things that you would expect to read in an adventure or fantasy novel. So, if you want to lose yourself down that rabbit hole, there’s plenty of stuff to read about it, but if you want to stick to Biblical scholarship, then you’ve still got a lot of thoughts about a lot of things. So, we don’t have several hours to talk about this and I am nowhere near a leading expert on it, but over time I have done enough research and scholarship on it to at least give us some context and a little bit of a baseline, maybe just like a little platform from which you can do as many deep dives as you personally want to do. But in terms of what we do here every day, as we go through a portion of Scripture and apply it to our lives, context is important. So, let’s try to get some context. Melchizedek is a figure that first appears in the Bible in the book of Genesis chapter 14. And, obviously, we read that many months ago, back in the month of January. The story is about Abraham and Lot in a battle where there were five kings against four kings and Lot was captured and taken away in this battle and Abraham went in pursuit and recovered everything. And on his way back, he runs into this figure, Melchizedek, king of Salem, and priest of the most high God. And Abraham pays him a 10% tithe of the plunder from the battle and Melchizedek then, in turn, blesses them. So, no big deal so far, just the retelling of an event that happened and, perhaps, the first theological handle that we have in the Bible relating to Melchizedek is a distinction. So, let’s look at that real quick. I’m reading from Genesis chapter 14. After Abram returned from his victory over Chedorlaomer and all his allies, the king of Sodom went out to meet him in the Valley of Shiva, that is the King’s Valley, and Melchizedek, the king of Salem and a priest of God most high, brought Abram some bread and wine. Melchizedek blessed Abram with this blessing. Blessed be Abram by God most high Creator of heaven and earth and blessed be God most high who was defeated your enemies for you. Then Abram gave Melchizedek a tenth of all the good he’d recovered. The king of Sodom said to Abram, give back my people who were captured, but you may keep for yourself all the good you have recovered. Abram replied to the king of Sodom, I solemnly swear to the Lord God most high, Creator of heaven and earth, that I will not take so much as a single thread or sandal thong from what belongs to you. Otherwise you might say I am the one who made Abram rich. I will accept only what my young warriors have already eaten, and I request that you give a fair share of the goods to my allies Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre. Okay, so, before we can point out the distinction, we just have to understand what’s going on here. Abram has met God. God has invited Abram into a land that he would be shown and he’s following God’s directions. Understand, Abraham’s not following Scriptures. He’s not referring to prophecies. None of that has happened yet. So, the Bible that we are reading hasn’t happened yet at all, but Abram knows who he is always following and that his entire destiny is based upon that relationship because he’s left behind his home and all of the resources and culture that he’s used to navigating. And he’s away from all of that and he’s pursuing the direction of the God who introduced himself to him. So, he’s clear that his life is in God’s hands. So, we have the king of Salem, who is a priest of the most high God, who is coming out and blesses Abram. Of course, Abram in rescuing his kin, Lot, also saves the necks of a bunch of kings. One of them, the king of Sodom, who expects that he will have to reward Abram for what he’s done and he’s trying to negotiate that deal. Abram makes a distinction. He gives a tithe - a tenth to Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, but tells the king of Sodom he won’t take anything. He’s not taking anything from anyone in terms of plunder because in no way is he leaving the door open so later someone will be able to say that they made Abram. Right? That they made Abraham who he is. Abram is acknowledging God alone. So, we can say that. We can say that solidly. And that’s our first introduction to Melchizedek. Abraham makes a distinction between the king of Salem, priest of the most high God, and the other kings. So, who is this guy and does his name mean something? According the Scriptures, Melchizedek is the king of Salem, also known as Jerusalem. So, Melchizedek is a Canaanite king who rules the region and city of Jerusalem, also known as Salem. And the majority of biblical scholars would agree on that. What does his name mean? So, Melchizedek - the king of righteousness or maybe more literally, my king is righteous, or maybe even more literally, my king is right. And that’s it. Melchizedek only shows up one other time in the Old Testament by name and that is found in the Psalms. Psalm 110 verse 4, which reads, the Lord has sworn and will not change his mind, you are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. And thoughts about this begin to spray off in all kinds of different directions from there. And, I mean, and you can see how. The order of Melchizedek, what is that? I mean, that sounds like the title to a thriller, does it not? I mean, what is the order of Melchizedek and how does one get into the club? So, we have to, first, acknowledge that a lot of things happen between Abraham and King David writing Psalms. Right? So, Abraham has Isaac. Isaac then sires Jacob and Esau. Jacob’s name changes to Israel. He has kids. They become the children of Israel. They are enslaved in Egypt. They are freed from Egypt. They wander in the wilderness. They come into the promised land, that is the conquest. We go through generation after generation after generation of judges and then kingship is introduced into the culture with King Saul and then comes David. So, a lot happens between the two times Melchizedek is named in the Old Testament. And even though a lot has happened, a lot of ground has been covered and a lot of years of past, Melchizedek doesn’t disappear from their thought. Even though he was only mentioned two times in the Old Testament far apart in history, he is still being referred to. Why would that be? Why would this obscure event in Abraham’s life that refers to an ancient Canaanite king who happened to the be a priest of the most high God continue forward in the culture extra-biblically throughout all the generations all the way down to King David writing a song? So, there can be all kinds of explanations but from a scholarship perspective, I think this is what holds the most water- Melchizedek is the first priest named in the Bible and he is a priest of the most high God, king of Salem. In David’s time, priests could only come from the tribe of Levi, as mandated by the Mosaic law, and yet, Melchizedek was most certainly not a Levite because Levi hadn’t been born yet in Abraham’s time when this incident happened. So, in Abraham’s time, there is no Mosaic law because Moses hasn’t been born and there are no Levites because Levi hasn’t been born. And yet, Melchizedek is a priest of the most high God, but most definitely not a Levite but the Bible makes it clear that he’s a king. So, Melchizedek is a priest of the most high God, who is also a king. So, when David writes Psalm 110 and he pens this song and writes these lyrics under the inspiration of God, a statement is being made. David is to be a priestly king in the order of Melchizedek. So, like Melchizedek was. And it so happens that David is king in Jerusalem, the same city. So, David is a king who is aligned with the priesthood. So, maybe not occupying the office and the function of Levitical priesthood, but nevertheless, the priesthood before God. And this is a bit of a big deal from a theological and from a cultural perspective in David’s time because they do have the Torah, they have the Mosaic law, and it’s the underpinning of their entire society, and priests can only be Levites. And yet, David is to be a priestly king. And the way that this can work is that David is being set aside by God, like Melchizedek, in the order of Melchizedek, to serve in that role even though he’s from the tribe of Judah and not the tribe of Levi. Okay. So, I have to take a small bunny trail that applies directly to this. So, probably the most compelling theological understanding would place us back in the life of Moses. So, we know the story of Moses and his childhood and him being placed in the river in a wicker basket and being raised by Pharaoh’s daughter and ending up killing an Egyptian and having to flee for his life and all of this. And the next thing you know Moses is before burning bush and God is calling him to set his people free from slavery in Egypt. And God is telling him to go and Moses is resisting, he was giving every excuse. And his main excuse is, I don’t know how to speak, like, I’m not a public speaker, I don’t know how to do this. And God’s telling him, you really don’t have to do anything but just obey me. Like, I’ll put the words in your mouth. It’s all good. You don’t have to worry about this. And, finally, Moses is like, send someone else, please send somebody else, which for me is a very sad scene in the Bible because of how much it imitates our own lives. But in the end, God relents and sends Moses brother Aaron to be the mouthpiece. And this is where we see sort of like this dual role - a priestly role and a governor or a kingly role. Moses and Aaron make up the two pieces but that is more like the plan B. Right? So, the plan A was that Moses would be empowered by God to lead his people and would be the mouthpiece of God to those people. In other words, a priestly governor, a priestly ruler, a priestly king. So, in other words, Melchizedek was a priestly king of the most high God. Moses would’ve been invited into that but didn’t enter into it. But then God invites David into that role once kings are introduced into the story of Israel. And that is where I’m going to stop for today. We are going to read about Melchizedek in the book of Hebrews extensively tomorrow and we’ll pick this up then, once we have a little bit more New Testament context to the story
Father we thank You for the beauty of Your word. And as we apply our minds and hearts to all of its nuances and intricacy, we invite Your Holy Spirit among us. We thank You for this gift. We love You, Father, and worship You. We pray these things in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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And that’s it for today. I’m Brian I love you and I’ll be waiting for you here tomorrow.
Community Prayers and Praise Reports:
Good morning. It is Beloved by Him from Gloucester, UK and it Wednesday, the first of November. And, this is a praise report, really. I’ve been listening consecutively for to whole months now from ___ and it is amazing how God has blessed me since then and how much better I am now then I was when I started. So, let’s pray. Father God, thank You for the DAB. Thank You so, so much for Brian and the team behind it. Thank You for Brian who answered Your call and for everything you’ve done with it through then, for all those people who reviewed the DAB way back when I first started listening a long time ago. Father God, thank You for the Global Campfire Initiative. Thank You that the team are going to make this free and we pray Lord that You’d be at work in that, that You would help us discover all of those bugs, all of those problems, so that when it comes to releasing it properly it will just be a great instrument of grace for people to find You and learn and know more about You. Father God, I lift up my brothers and sisters out there who aren’t listening right now, who can’t listen for whatever reason, whether it’s a technical difficulty, no access to wi-fi or data, or ___ whatever. I pray Lord that You’d blessing them where they are and sending people and sending companions for them to help them through. Father God, for those of us who are in a dark state right now, be it depression or anxiety, something that’s stopping us from listening, I pray Lord that Your light will shine so, so brightly in our lives. We’d love to see You and be blessed by You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Hi. Good morning Daily Audio family. It’s really nice to know that I have friends and brothers and sisters around the world for praying and believing who are strong who are in community. I just want to be vulnerable with my brothers and sisters this morning. I feel so lonely and on my own. I have been divorced for about four years now and live on my own and often on my quite time, it’s when we’re in isolation that the enemy tries to attack most, mainly in fort life, mainly ideas and notions and addictions and comforts. Sometimes we comfort ourselves in our loneness with different substances like drink and alcohol and even pornography to satisfy those needs. And I want to be honest with you, I’m struggling. I’m struggling with ___ of loneliness and with a God who is there, who knows my thoughts, who knows my coming in and going down, who knows my thoughts. I just want to put my need out there and say, I really need companionship and accountability, that the right people, the right friends, will come around me, that God will just comfort me. And You said You will never leave me or Forsake me. I just need stability and ___ that word today. I wish you and thank You for considering my prayer request and I love you all and appreciate you, Brian and Jill. God bless you all. Bye-bye.
Hi everyone, it’s Lisa the Encourager. I hope you guys are having a great day. I am calling in to pray for some of my Daily Audio Bible friends. I’m calling to pray for Edgar. He is in Belize, He’s on a pilgrim’s journey. So, I want to pray for Edgar tonight. I also want to pray for Julie from Maryland, to lift up her husband in prayer. He’s a godly man and she just wants us to pray for him. So, I am going to praying for him for you tonight sweety. And also, doctor John, I am praying for Phoebe, she’s in medical school and I know that…I can’t imagine…I’m sure that’s a lot of stress and I guess she mentioned that she has some depression and anxiety and am just praying that she’ll alleviate some of that stress and that she’ll just have piece in God through all of that - from God. And also, Melany had called in abut her sister, that she was in a horrible accident and needed healing from that. So, I am praying for that for you and your dear sister Melany. And lastly, Homeward Bound called about her dad needing surgery and he needed it in two weeks. I think that was from October the 7th. It’s been some time now. So, I’m not sure if he’s had surgery or is post or pre-op but I am definitely going to be praying for your dad, Homeward Bound, and it’s my pleasure to pray for your dad. So, let’s pray. Heavenly Father, I thank You so much for Edgar and him on his pilgrim’s journey. Lord, I just pray You’ll protect him and give him all the kind of resources that he needs in order to complete this pilgrimage and that he’ll give all the glory to God and he will be able to be lifted up in His Spirit and feel fulfilled, Lord…and I just pray for…
Hey Daily Audio Bible friends, this is ___ in ___ Chicago. I just left a message but I believe it got messed up, so, please delete that one and play this one instead. Anyway, let’s pray. God, thank You so much for today. Thank You for how You went before me and the people in the small group tonight as we met and had to talk about some tough stuff and You just did a miracle and gave me a humble heart, allowing us to listen to constructive feedback. I ask that You would open my heart to people that I have closed my heart to and just give wisdom on boundaries and all that stuff. Thank You, that You are constantly at work in the world and Yu are constantly at work in our lives. I thank You for the lady that calls into the Daily Audio Bible and sings songs over us. I ask that You will just strengthen and encourage her. Whether or not You bring back her original voice, we thank You that you’ve given her willingness to call in and bless us with the voice that she has right now. This is such a great, really amazing thing. So, thank You, God, for that. Thank you everyone that is listening and I ask that if there is anyone that is listening right now that wants to give up on life that You would bring them joy and peace and hope. Thank You so much that two days ago marked the one year anniversary of someone know and love being in the hospital for suicide, suicidal tendencies, but now is living and working and much healthier than before. So, we thank You so much for that beautiful transformation. Amen. Love you all. Bye.