Who Was Melchizedek and How Did God Use Him?

Do you like a good mystery? One of the most mysterious people in the Bible is the king of Salem, Melchizedek. He appeared one day in the life of Abraham (then Abram) and was never heard from again. What happened that day, however, was to be remembered throughout history and eventually became a subject of the New Testament letter of Hebrews.

This meeting between Abram and Melchizedek was most unusual. Although the two men were strangers and foreigners to each other, they shared a most important characteristic: Both worshiped and served the one true God, who made heaven and earth.

This was a great moment of triumph for Abram. He had just defeated an army and regained the freedom of his nephew Lot and many other captives. If there was any doubt in Abram’s mind about whose victory it was, Melchizedek set the record straight by reminding him, “And praise be to God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand” (Genesis 14:20). Abram recognized that this man worshiped the same God he did.

Melchizedek was one of a small group of God-honoring people throughout the Old Testament who came in contact with the Israelites but were not Israelites themselves. This indicates that the requirement to be a follower of God is not genetic but is based on recognizing his greatness and faithfully obeying his teachings.

Do you let God speak to you through other people? In evaluating others, do you consider God’s impact on their lives? Are you aware of the similarities between you and others who worship God, even if their form of worship is quite different from yours? Do you know the God of the Bible well enough to know if you truly worship him?

Allow Melchizedek, Abraham, David, and Jesus, along with many other persons in the Bible, to show you this great God, Creator of heaven and earth. He wants you to know how much he loves you; he wants you to know him personally.

Strengths and Accomplishments

• The first priest-king in Scripture—a leader with a heart tuned to God
• Good at encouraging others to serve God wholeheartedly
• A man whose character reflected his love for God
• A person in the Old Testament who reminds us of Jesus

Lessons from Melchizedek’s Life

Live for God and you’re likely to be at the right place at the right time. Examine your heart: To whom or what is your greatest loyalty? If you can honestly answer God, you are living for him.

Vital Statistics

• Where: Ruled in Salem, site of the future Jerusalem
• Occupation: King of Salem and priest of God Most High

Key Verses

“This Melchizedek was king of Salem and priest of God Most High. He met Abraham returning from the defeat of the kings and blessed him. . . . Just think how great he was: Even the patriarch Abraham gave him a tenth of the plunder!” (Hebrews 7:1, 4)

Learn about Melchizedek straight from the Bible. His story is told in Genesis 14:17-20. He is also mentioned in Psalm 110:4 and Hebrews 5–7.

This Bible personality profile was drawn from the NIV Life Application Study Bible, Third Edition.


NIV Life Application Study Bible, 3rd Edition

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