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Meeting Melchizedek

Abraham’s nephew Lot separated himself from Abraham and went to live in Sodom.  His decision soon got him in trouble. Genesis 14:1-16 describes how a coalition of kings led by Chedorlaomer overcame Sodom and its allies and took as prisoners the people of those cities, including Lot.  When Abraham heard of this he called out his followers and rescued Lot and the other captives.

After his return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley).  (Genesis 14:17)

But before the king of Sodom met him he encountered Melchizedek.

And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. (He was priest of God Most High.) And he blessed him and said,

“Blessed be Abram by God Most High,
    Possessor of heaven and earth;
and blessed be God Most High,
    who has delivered your enemies into your hand!”

And Abram gave him a tenth of everything.  (Genesis 14:18-20)

Read the rest of this entry

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Our debt to Caesar

Jesus said, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”  He was responding to a question about the legality of paying taxes to Caesar and his answer shows that we must pay our taxes.  Some people protest government activities that they consider evil or immoral by withholding the percentage of taxes that goes to support such actions.  Jesus’ statement does not give Christians the option of doing this.  We must pay all the taxes imposed on us; if Caesar misuses the tax money we provide in ways that are contrary to God’s will, he will answer to God for his actions.

Our obligation to Caesar goes beyond just paying taxes. Read the rest of this entry

Paying taxes

When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma tax went up to Peter and said, “Does your teacher not pay the tax?” He said, “Yes.”

And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do kings of the earth take toll or tax? From their sons or from others?”

And when he said, “From others,” Jesus said to him, “Then the sons are free. However, not to give offense to them, go to the sea and cast a hook and take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth you will find a shekel. Take that and give it to them for me and for yourself.”
Matthew 17:24-27 Read the rest of this entry

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