You know when you know. There are some relationships that you have over the years of our lives that cannot be broken. When you have them, you cherish them. These relationships can go for long stretches of time without seeing them, be separated by distance, and still the relationship is there. You don’t always agree about everything in life, but the love and respect you have for each other and their family is the glue that cements the relationship. You meet from time to time and just pick up the conversation where you left off that last time you saw or spoke with them. I’m thinking of my friends’ relationships right now and smiling. Are you? Yes, we cherish these precious, unconditional, loving, forever relationships.
Abraham and God have a relationship that tops all human relationships. Abraham knows that His relationship with God is the most important relationship he will ever have in his life. Abraham and God don’t always agree and certainly Abraham is less than perfect in his behaviors, but God loves him deeply knowing that Abraham respects and loves God back.
When God shows up, Abraham looks up, gets us and immediately bows before him—taking on the role of a servant. Read, think, pray as we learn from Abraham’s behavior in his relationship to God. Abraham gives his best to His Master showing us the epitome of hospitality because of who he is. “Stop, rest, refresh—I’ll get water to wash your feet!” “Sarah, make bread!” “Servants, kill the best, fatted calf, cook and serve the meal to our guests while they rest in the shade.” This is love expressed with awe and respect for God.
Yes, when the God of Abraham shows up with his angels, Abraham jumps to action to show his love. Remember the promise of God to Abraham about fathering future generations? It is time. The wait is over. “By this time next year”, Sarah will have her first son, Isaac, in her loving arms. Sarah laughed at the thought in herself—and God heard those snickers. The name Isaac, meaning “laughter”, reflects the first thought that came to their minds after God’s announcement. Remember, earlier God caught Abraham laughing to himself. Sarah laughed when she heard the news! Can you blame them? They’re approaching 100 years old!
There are two lessons here:
–It’s never too late for God to intervene to fulfill His purpose and will through us.
–Don’t mess with God, He knows our thoughts!
Part two of the Visit
Meanwhile, remember Lot who separated from Abraham and went to Sodom to raise his family? We were told earlier that Sodom was “full of evil”. Lot thought he was choosing the “greener grass” but turns out what looked good was rotten to the core! Isn’t that the way evil works to draw us in?
Well, things went from bad to worse. The sin of this city spread to nearby Gomorrah. Sins beyond our wildest thinking or imagining were producing victim of horror! God heard the victims cry out for mercy and made plans through His messengers to stop the evil dead in its tracks. So, there is another stop to make after delivering the news of the impending birth of Abraham and Sarah’s son, Isaac, God’s promise to Abraham.
Genesis 18, The Message
1-2 God appeared to Abraham at the Oaks of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance of his tent. It was the hottest part of the day. He looked up and saw three men standing. He ran from his tent to greet them and bowed before them.
3-5 He said, “Master, if it please you, stop for a while with your servant. I’ll get some water so you can wash your feet. Rest under this tree. I’ll get some food to refresh you on your way, since your travels have brought you across my path.”
They said, “Certainly. Go ahead.”
6 Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah. He said, “Hurry. Get three cups of our best flour; knead it and make bread.”
7-8 Then Abraham ran to the cattle pen and picked out a nice plump calf and gave it to the servant who lost no time getting it ready. Then he got curds and milk, brought them with the calf that had been roasted, set the meal before the men, and stood there under the tree while they ate.
9 The men said to him, “Where is Sarah your wife?”
He said, “In the tent.”
10 One of them said, “I’m coming back about this time next year. When I arrive, your wife Sarah will have a son.” Sarah was listening at the tent opening, just behind the man.
11-12 Abraham and Sarah were old by this time, very old. Sarah was far past the age for having babies. Sarah laughed within herself, “An old woman like me? Get pregnant? With this old man of a husband?”
13-14 God said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh saying, ‘Me? Have a baby? An old woman like me?’ Is anything too hard for God? I’ll be back about this time next year and Sarah will have a baby.”
15 Sarah lied. She said, “I didn’t laugh,” because she was afraid.
But he said, “Yes you did; you laughed.”
* * *
16 When the men got up to leave, they set off for Sodom. Abraham walked with them to say good-bye.
17-19 Then God said, “Shall I keep back from Abraham what I’m about to do? Abraham is going to become a large and strong nation; all the nations of the world are going to find themselves blessed through him. Yes, I’ve settled on him as the one to train his children and future family to observe God’s way of life, live kindly and generously and fairly, so that God can complete in Abraham what he promised him.”
20-21 God continued, “The cries of the victims in Sodom and Gomorrah are deafening; the sin of those cities is immense. I’m going down to see for myself, see if what they’re doing is as bad as it sounds. Then I’ll know.”
22 The men set out for Sodom, but Abraham stood in God’s path, blocking his way.
23-25 Abraham confronted him, “Are you serious? Are you planning on getting rid of the good people right along with the bad? What if there are fifty decent people left in the city; will you lump the good with the bad and get rid of the lot? Wouldn’t you spare the city for the sake of those fifty innocents? I can’t believe you’d do that, kill off the good and the bad alike as if there were no difference between them. Doesn’t the Judge of all the Earth judge with justice?”
26 God said, “If I find fifty decent people in the city of Sodom, I’ll spare the place just for them.”
27-28 Abraham came back, “Do I, a mere mortal made from a handful of dirt, dare open my mouth again to my Master? What if the fifty fall short by five—would you destroy the city because of those missing five?”
He said, “I won’t destroy it if there are forty-five.”
29 Abraham spoke up again, “What if you only find forty?”
“Neither will I destroy it if for forty.”
30 He said, “Master, don’t be irritated with me, but what if only thirty are found?”
“No, I won’t do it if I find thirty.”
31 He pushed on, “I know I’m trying your patience, Master, but how about for twenty?”
“I won’t destroy it for twenty.”
32 He wouldn’t quit, “Don’t get angry, Master—this is the last time. What if you only come up with ten?”
“For the sake of only ten, I won’t destroy the city.”
33 When God finished talking with Abraham, he left. And Abraham went home.
WHAT DO WE LEARN—HOW DO WE RESPOND?
Our relationship with God must be honest and sincere as well as loving and kind with respectful “hospitality” of service to God.
We must realize that NOTHING is impossible with God. He has proven His power over and over again through His Word and to us!
We can converse with God asking for mercy for those who we love. That’s how we learn to seek justice, love mercy and walk humbly with him—all the requirements God gave us to live well in relationship with Him. (Micah 6:8) Lot is on Abraham’s mind as he questions God about destroying the evil cities.
Trust God. Build a relationship of trust with God. He can do anything, you know! Mm, can God trust me, like he trusted Abraham with information of importance?
Communicate in communion with God. How long has it been since you talked with God? –And listened, ready to serve in obedience to God?
When we talk with God, do we also lean in to listen intently to what He has to say in answer to our questions? Frustrations in life come from not listening.
Our relationship grows as we commune with God hourly, daily, 24/7. To know God is to be still, let go of all distractions and worries around us and really listen, believing God knows what is right and true. When we do, God will change our thinking and give us peace. The apostle Paul explains,
“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9, NLT
The more I learn the more I know I need to learn. Thank you for being patient with me as we build our forever relationship. Forever—I like the sound of that. Some relationships come and go, but our relationship is forever! All because of Jesus! I love you with all my heart, mind and soul. How can I serve you today?
In Jesus Name, For Your Glory, Amen