Recipe for life

Genesis 14:17-24
I’ve struggled to offer you thoughts about this encounter.

There are a lot of blanks to fill in when it comes to making sense of King Melchizedek. He shows up in Genesis 14 when he welcomes Abram returning from war. The few mentions of him after that relate to interpreting his role as a priest. That means there are a lot of questions about who he was and even what he was. For example, how did a non-Jew become priest of God Most High?

As I began writing, I noticed I was trying to provide a lot of information. I wanted to fill you in on what makes this passage intriguing if you aren’t already familiar with it. There’s much this text offers. But it started to read like a history lesson. I wondered if I was answering questions you weren’t asking.

And that’s been the lesson for me today. Maybe we’re too quick to “get something” out of the Bible. After all, scripture is not a cookbook.

There are countless recipes on Youtube and thousands of other websites. So, I didn’t realize cookbooks were still a big deal. Were I to open one I’d be looking for a how-to for tonight’s dinner. I’d expect each page to contribute to my options. Show me something to cook today because I am hungry today.

One of my most favorite movie lines is, “No one leaves this place without singing the blues.” Likewise, no one closes this cookbook without finding something to cook. Or no one closes this Bible without finding some life application.

Finding life application from every passage of scripture has its challenges. And it may not even be what the Bible is asking of us.

Would we be okay with that? Or does scripture have to tell you something each time you read it?

I’m suggesting to you it doesn’t.

The disciples on the way to Emmaus come to mind. Jesus intrigued them with his teaching. He helped them better understand scripture they had already known. At that moment, their reading and studying of God’s word prepared them to see God’s will unfold.

I’ve known the habit to read the Bible, close it and immediately ask, “What does this mean for me?” Who cares, John? Don’t be so selfish. Maybe there’s something for you to take to heart today. Maybe God’s giving you the information now in order for it to make sense later.

I’ve learned to broaden my reading to include two other questions. What does this text mean to us? What has it meant to our tradition? That helps me find the Bible’s insight when I read it even if I don’t find personal application.

Now, none of this means that you can’t read a story about an enigmatic figure like Melchizedek and learn some life lesson. It’s just that today I didn’t.

Is that alright?

Stay blessed…john

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

John Fletcher

Recent Posts


Social Links