The King of Salem
Once upon a time long, long ago, there was an old shepherd named Abraham. One day while his flock of sheep were feeding in his pasture, one of them wandered off into the forest.
When Abraham noticed that one was missing, he knew it must have wandered off into the forest, a place of many dangers where it was unsafe to be alone.
Abraham was like a father to his sheep, so he set his heart on finding that lamb. He sent his flock home and went alone, deep in the forest.
Abraham looked and looked, over here and over there, under logs and behind trees as he wandered deeper into the forest. Abraham had faith, never doubting that he would find that little lost sheep.
Further and further he walked into the forest until – lo and behold – resting under the shade of a tree, lay the lamb he had traveled so far to save.
Abraham was happy to find the lamb, so he picked it up and laid it on his shoulders, rejoicing that what had been lost was now found.
He said to the little sheep, “Well little lamb, you’ve far from home, so let’s take you back to your family. I’ll use my staff and clear a path so you can follow me.”
The lost sheep walked in safety behind his father, the shepherd, leading him.
But as he walked though the shadowy forest trying to retrace his footsteps, Abraham wasn’t quite sure which way he had come. But he didn’t get discouraged by what he could not see. He continued to stride through the darkening trees, looking for the trail to lead his lost sheep back home,
Abraham looked up to see a young man sitting peacefully on a wooden log. He appeared to be waiting for someone.
“Hello,” said the man in a welcoming voice.
Abraham was surprised. “Hello,” he said, curious about why the young man was in the forest alone. “Who are you and what in heaven are you doing here?”
With a pleasant smile, the young man said, “This forest was part of my Father’s kingdom. I’ve inherited it and am traveling beyond the mountains to claim my throne. I’m the King of Salem.”
“Well how about that!” said Abraham, “A real King! What an honor!” Abraham bowed before him. “My name is Abraham, I am a shepherd who has come into your forest to find my lost sheep. Please forgive any trespass I may have committed.”
“No worries Abraham, all is forgiven. When anyone asks, I always forgive. You look weary and tired. Come, sit and rest awhile. Let your sheep rest with you.”
So Abraham sat and rested.
“Will you have some bread?” asked the King. “I also have wine. Stay with me awhile.”
“Oh, you don’t say! I’m definitely hungry,” Abraham said as he chuckled and rubbed his belly.
So they sat and broke bread as the King shared his meal with Abraham.
“Wow, this bread is fantastic! And I’ve never tasted wine like this! It’s as if you have saved the best for me!”
As Abraham ate, he thought to himself of the young man’s kindness and how that delightful bread and wine had restored him and made him feel like a new man. “You know my name. What’s yours?” said Abraham.
The King replied, “My name is Melchizedeck”
“What, what kind of name is that?” asked Abraham.
“That’s my birthright name,” said the King, “I’m a priest.”
“A King and a Priest?” thought Abraham. He wasn’t sure what to think.
But then Abraham looked down and realized that he had eaten all the bread and drunk all the wine. “My Lord, I’ve drunk all your wine and eaten all your bread! How can I ever repay you!”
“Abraham, these have I given freely.”
They talked little longer and shared stories of their lives. Finally, Abraham said, “I must be going now. I have to get my sheep safely home. You have been so kind to me.”
So the King stood up and with open arms said, “Be blessed, Abraham. Go your way. You have a friend in God, which means you are a friend of mine.”
– John McNair