Genesis 18: The Three Visitors

Everyone loves some good ol’ southern hospitality, and Abraham proves to be the best at it. Back then, inns didn’t exist around every corner, so many strangers would stay in people’s homes during their travels. Three men came to Abraham, and he ran out and addressed them as Lord. Many believe these are created angels, or perhaps Jesus and other heavenly beings. We do know that the Lord had appeared to Abraham before, both in Genesis 12 and Genesis 17. It is not for certain that the Lord appeared in the same forms every time, but Abraham did recognize the Lord in these three beings. Note that God never appeared to man as Himself (as a “person” per se), but probably as angels, the Son of God, and the Holy Spirit.

“No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.” – John 1:18

In response, Abraham humbled himself, bowing low and washing their feet. Now how does this hospitality apply to us? We must show kindness and cheer in welcoming entertaining strangers, as they may be angels (seriously!). God comes knocking at our door, and we must be inclined to open it and welcome him in, both into our heart and into our home. Like Abraham, we must be prepared to serve and humble ourselves before the Lord. Open the door, the Lord is knocking, and he has a rich feast for us.

“Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” – Hebrews 13:2

“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” – Revelation 3:20

Meanwhile, Sarah is inside the tent tending to her duties, and eavesdropping. After just 3 months, versus the 13 years previously, God repeats His promise to Abraham of a son through Sarah. Sometimes we need to constantly be reminded of God’s promises, especially in times of struggle. This is why turning to the Bible when we are confused or find ourselves falling away from the Lord is so important. We find comfort when realizing God is in control, and a blessing of eternal life awaits us.

“Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.” – Romans 10:17 

Both Abraham and Sarah laughed when they first heard from the Lord that they would have a child at such an old age. The difference between Abraham’s laugh in Genesis 17, and Sarah’s laugh here is Sarah’s denial of it… her disbelief in God’s power to perform miracles. But God knows and hears everything we say and think.

“If we died with him,
    we will also live with him;
if we endure,
    we will also reign with him.
If we disown him,
    he will also disown us;
if we are faithless,
    he remains faithful,
    for he cannot disown himself.” – 2 Timothy 2:11-13

Next we are introduced to the lands called Sodom and Gomorrah. As God promised Abraham a great nation, He reveals to him what He will do with this land. Sinners continue in sin as though God does not see them, but when the day of wrath comes, the Lord enacts His judgment. Here, God has an open dialogue with Abraham, as Abraham prays for God to spare Sodom. Abraham is now alone, as the two men walk towards the lands (in Genesis 19 we find out these men are angels). And the third? Probably the Lord Himself in the image of the Son of God. Through prayer, Abraham showed consideration for not only his nephew Lot, but for the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. He sought out God’s character, asking if the innocent (righteous) would be spared. His compassionate prayer for sinners made in the image of God is something we should emulate. Note that Abraham prayed to save those righteous peoples, not that the wicked would be spared for their own sake. When we call out to God, He responds in beautiful ways: Reassuring us of our worries and concerns, revealing that He is a just Lord who knows and rewards our righteousness.

Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.” – Hebrews 7:25

Were there any righteous people left to be saved? Find out what happens to Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 19.

 

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