I was watching a movie, an action adventure movie about an embassy plopped down in the middle of a hostile and suspicious country. The embassy seemed like the only safe place to be in this wild setting, a mysterious place where plots to rebel and overthrow are rampant and everyone and anyone could be a spy for the enemy.
For some reason this story brought to mind the Bible story of Abraham and his rescue of his nephew Lot. I wasn’t as mindful of the military special forces mission where lot was rescued and the stolen loot recovered as I was about afterwards, Abraham finding Melchizedek, a priest of God in the city of Salem. The culture of the day back then was polytheistic. There were many gods. For each god a temple and a priest. Monotheism has always been unique, believing in only one God. One God who created and sustains everything. One God who hears and knows everything. One God who is all powerful. One God who is everywhere all of the time. One God? One God can do all that, is all that? Yes. In the bustling city of Salem in the times of Abraham, Abraham sorted through and sought out the priest of God, Melchizedek.
Actually according to the Bible story in Genesis 14, Melchizedek went out to meet Abraham in the valley of the kings and he brought bread and wine.
“When Abram heard that his nephew Lot had been captured, he mobilized the 318 trained men who had been born into his household. Then he pursued Kedorlaomer’s army until he caught up with them at Dan. There he divided his men and attacked during the night. Kedorlaomer’s army fled, but Abram chased them as far as Hobah, north of Damascus. Abram recovered all the goods that had been taken, and he brought back his nephew Lot with his possessions and all the women and other captives. After Abram returned from his victory over Kedorlaomer and all his allies, the king of Sodom went out to meet him in the valley of Shaveh (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 has defeated your enemies for you.” Then Abram gave Melchizedek a tenth of all the goods he had recovered.”
Genesis 14:14-20 – NLT
I imagine the temple or home of Melchizedek was like the embassy in the movie I was watching, a safe place. A place that was familiar because of the family connection of worshiping the one one true God.
My Grandparents bought a house on 4 1/2 acres in 1939. In 1996 when my grandfather who survived my grandmother, when he passed away, he still owned that home. For My Dad’s Childhood and my childhood and my children’s childhood, my grandparents house was the family home. I didn’t know anyone else in the town they lived in, but I could always go to that house and be welcomed and loved on and cared for. It was a home base, an embassy for our family.
For my wife and I, We moved from our kids childhood home. Twice. Same town. Different sized house. One move was upsizing for more room and the next house was a downsizing for less room. Because of COVID and other reasons, only 1 of our 4 kids have been in our new house. It isn’t the home base that I had as a kid in my grandparents house but we do try to make people comfortable when they visit or stay with us. For me, hosting is not innate. I struggle against my inherent hermit nature and have to consciously work at thinking of others needs before my own. I’m rambling but I’ll keep it here as a confession and a marker to see if God will work a change in me.
But back to home base, embassy, Abraham, Melchizedek and what I started to say.
I want my home and by extension, wherever I roam, to be an embassy of the country I am a citizen. You see I am a citizen of heaven, where God rules, and everything is done right and done well, and is good. I am a citizen of that place. I want my home and my life to reflect that citizenship. I want others who come into my home or encounter me to feel the presence of God, to feel the order of God, to feel the care and compassion of God.
The gift of hospitality is the ability to make our guests feel seen and heard and to put their needs ahead of our own, doing unto them and for them as we would have done unto ourselves.
God cares about us and for us and in sending Jesus, he put our needs ahead of his.
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.”
John 3:16-17 – NLT
Just like God to think of our needs and provide for them. May that be true of me, his ambassador, at his embassy, my home and my life.