Abraham’s nephew Lot was taken captive during a local war. Abraham rescued him and returned to Canaan with all the goods and people he took back from the attackers. A famous meeting took place where Melchizedek, the ruler of Salem and priest of God Most High, welcomed him back and blessed Abraham’s God. Abraham accepted his hospitality and humbly gave him a tenth of the goods.

Then Bera, the ruler or Sodom, wanted to divide up the spoils of war and include Abraham. But Abraham refused to take anything for himself. He said, “I will not take a thread or a sandal thong or anything that is yours, for fear you would say, ‘I have made Abram rich’”(Gen 14:23). Abraham had made a promise to God he would not enrich himself through these relationships (Gen 14:22) because he wanted to make sure that God would be one honored for making Abraham prosperous.

Abraham emphatically told Bera, “not a thread or a shoe strap” אִם־מִחוּט וְעַד שְׂרוֹךְ־נַעַל (will I take)”. This type of language may sound strange to modern people, but “a string”, “a rope” or “a sandal strap” are deemed to be worth almost nothing. What Abraham says is, “I will not accept even an item of most insignificant value.”  While this may sound arrogant, in the context of his victory he was expressing humility by saying to the local kings that they alone should exercise their right to the spoils of war.

When John the Baptizer, a priest by birth, met Yeshua (Jesus), he remarked about being not worthy to untie ἱμάντα τοῦ ὑποδήματος “the strap of his sandal” (John 1:27). The verb שָׂרַךְ (sarach) in Hebrew means “to entangle” or “to tie” thus שְׂרוֹךְ (seroch) is a strap. And נַעַל (naal) means a shoe. So שְׂרוֹךְ־נַעַל (seroch-naal) is “a shoe strap”.  John showed his humility by saying that even he as a prophet cannot perform the most menial of tasks associated with Messiah’s shoe strap.



  1. This is very beautiful and I think the picture of humility is extremely important when sharing the gospel. Often times I hear people giving the church, a program, or their prayer 100% credit for salvation by the language they use (I believe, I have faith, I repented, I prayed) How can we express that salvation is not by works, without illustrating His Work.

    • Kat, The world’s Christianity, past and present, has inculcated this presumption, “illustrating His Work”. His Work is His Sovereignty, His Jurisdiction, not yours. If He chooses to use you as a vessel to demonstrate His Glory, He will do so. Your task is to effectuate and exercise your minute-to-minute, 24-7-365, for the rest of your life, choice to Trusting. Easier said than done. God’s Word informs us that He will straighten out the world’s Christianity as we approach the End. Take faith, everything is in perfect order, He doesn’t need our help, and the Itinerary has already been written.

  2. In today’s world one of the most difficult test in Christians who are appointed in public offices and even in high profile jobs in companies, are to refuse bribes packed as sympathy gifts from people who usually will demand sooner or later a favor back. As it is said “There is no fee meal” . The above affirmation is based in my personal experience serving in public offices and watching how other brethren in the same situations ended up in a vicious circle. Proverb 10:22 The blessing of the Lord brings wealth, without painful toil for it.

    • Dear Ann, please, go to the CERTIFICATION page (top menu) and then look for Frequently Asked Questions. We look forward to welcoming into our learning community!

  3. What has come to my mind after reading this is how we forget this in ministry. Unlike John the Baptist, we think we are worthy of our calling so we even mistreat or despise others under our ministries!!! I think Luke 17:10 (So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’”) is a great reminder to us.

  4. I want to thank you for the regular snips that you share although I am not in the position to be able to do a course right now due to time pressure. They are a blessing.

    • Hi Sue. Life is so busy! I hear you. Keep in mind that we designed these courses for people like you with a busy schedule. I hope you’ll join us soon!

  5. Abraham and John knew God and His Glory in my country there have been cases of people holding office in the Government that have fallen into the hands morden day King Bera, some are lay preachers and it is really sad. The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe.
Proverbs 29:25 To fear God is to love Him completely.

  6. Thank you for this message. Even our Lord showed the deepest humility in coming to this sinful world to seek and save that which was lost. Even more so in going and suffering all that is entailed in His great once for all sacrifice on Calvary to bring salvation to believers. How we should show humility.

  7. Curious as to how insignificant the Bible speaks of the King of Shalom (Salem) Peace. Yet the respect showed by Abraham by bringing a tithe offering.

      • Hi Dr. Eli, I was hoping that you would expound on Melej Salem. Not much is known about this High Priest other than he was a descendant of one of Noah sons and a high priest of the all mighty. Blessed be He.

        • Roberto, see Hebrews 7 on Melchizedek. “Without genealogy, without father or mother” (– at least in the text of Genesis). He is a prefiguration of Christ. An archaeologist working beneath Jerusalem recently found a worship area of great antiquity, predating David, deliberately buried at the Temple building time. –?Melchizedek’s?

  8. Amazing insight ! Though WHO was ever worthy of even speaking to the living God YESHUA on earth ? Only those who’m The LORD called, or those who’m He chose to speak to ( around 90% Jews) may His name, The name of The LORD be praised forever Amen !

  9. The task John the Baptist was speaking of was baptism by water. Is John’s saying getting baptizing by him will not reveal Christ? This helps to make sense of John’s earlier testimony (vs 1:19-22). The priests and the Levites had to ask (are you Christ, Elijah, or a Prophet). This is not a revelation. I know that Christ (hidden Messiah) is something that is revealed, but would Elijah and even Prophets have been revelations? I have never heard of Prophets as being revealed.????

  10. Good insights! Are you familiar with Dr. Steven Collins’s theory that Melchizidek was a local warlord (among other things), from his book Discovering the City of Sodom (Simon&Schuster, 2012)?

    • No, not familiar with that book. But I have heard all sorts of strange ideas said about Melchizedek. All I can say, Latayne, is that canonical tradition and Jewish sources present him in a very positive light. Messiah is a priest according to his order in NT, so he could not have been that much of a scoundrel. 🙂

  11. I’ve recently discovered the art of Remezim – the science of interpreting scripture used initially by first century Rabbis. The Rabbi would hint at an OT passage, sort of like shorthand, knowing that all Jews were Torah literate and would know the passage by heart. I enjoyed learning this art so much, and researched and studied all I could find on it. So much that I began recognising Remezim for myself.
    So when, with the new background, I read the Baptist’s statement, I knew immediately that it was a Remez of Ruth 4 and, before it, Deut 25:9.
    I understood the reason why Boaz had to defer to the senior relative was that, if he’d disregarded protocol, the other man, who had prior claim, would’ve removed Boaz’ shoe.
    And so it was, with the Baptist. He was older than Jesus by 6 months, and so had first in line status. If he heard that Jesus was somewhere redeeming someone, John would have the natural right to demand that his younger “cousin” removed His shoe.
    But John was not speaking about natural things. I understand him to have been meaning that he didn’t qualify to be the Redeemer. That he wouldn’t even think to demand natural first claim in Supernatural matters. That if Jesus suddenly decided to renege on the promise to die for the sin of the world, he, 6mnth older John, would never even think of stepping in to stand in the gap – “I’m not worthy”.
    Now I understood why Moses and Joshua, and only those two, were told to remove their shoes! It was so that they wouldn’t have big heads, thinking that they’d redeemed Israel! God was telling them that they were only tokens. We see Him in the ark, heading the procession.
    Then Moses began to put his shoe back on, having a big head and not honouring God in the presence of Israel. He lost admission into the promised land.
    I might have gone off-topic, apologies in that case.

    • Remez is the last step, Ange. Please master the previous three steps thoroughly, or your Remez will lead to places it should not. Remez always has to agree with Pshat.

  12. When i realized humility and humbleness pleased God I prayed “oh LORD, Papa, please make me humble.’ Believe me this is a prayer you do not want to pray. Just be humble. Just be humble. That is much, much better. I wrote a book about my experiences. It is entitled, ‘How I Became Humble.’ It is an awe inspiring book. With a forward by God!

  13. These are wonderful — but from the beginning with the Abraham stories, I thought you might get into how “humility” is the opposite of “hubris,” which I feel is the basic sin in the allegories of Adam and Eve in the garden and the Tower of Babel: humans thinking we

  14. Excellent insight! Unless we are living our life fully awake that God alone is the source of life, we can easily fall into the temptation to dance apart from God. Christianity is Death->Life->Life to its’ fullness.

  15. Its revelational. Pls can you elaborate to me for my own understanding as regards tiths and offering.How do i give tithe correctly , and is tithe really important in this dispensation of Grace through Christ? thanks

  16. John1:27 Humility today I understood .
    Humility shows that before God the nessacity of exalting God’s holiness.


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