Genesis 18: 1-15 – The World in Front of the Text

This week we are looking at Abraham. There are so many different stories that we can look at regarding his life, it was almost too hard to choose. So, for me, I decided to use my favorite story from Abraham’s life, Genesis 18: 1-15:

The Lord appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the entrance of his tent in the heat of the day. He looked up and saw three men standing near him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent entrance to meet them, and bowed down to the ground. He said, “My lord, if I find favor with you, do not pass by your servant. Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. Let me bring a little bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on—since you have come to your servant.” So they said, “Do as you have said.” And Abraham hastened into the tent to Sarah, and said, “Make ready quickly three measures of choice flour, knead it, and make cakes.” Abraham ran to the herd, and took a calf, tender and good, and gave it to the servant, who hastened to prepare it. Then he took curds and milk and the calf that he had prepared, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree while they ate.

They said to him, “Where is your wife Sarah?” And he said, “There, in the tent.” 10 Then one said, “I will surely return to you in due season, and your wife Sarah shall have a son.” And Sarah was listening at the tent entrance behind him. 11 Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in age; it had ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. 12 So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I have grown old, and my husband is old, shall I have pleasure?” 13 The Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh, and say, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?’ 14 Is anything too wonderful for the Lord? At the set time I will return to you, in due season, and Sarah shall have a son.” 15 But Sarah denied, saying, “I did not laugh”; for she was afraid. He said, “Oh yes, you did laugh.”

When I read this passage, I think of how Abraham spent years moving, spent years searching, spent years just waiting for God to fulfill his promise.  We talked a lot last week with Noah about waiting.  And we could look at that for Abraham today, but to me what struck me about him and about this story is the moment of God’s arrival.

This is about halfway through Abraham’s story.  We meet him in Chapter 12 and he dies in 23.  His story is almost halfway over.  It was that point when God showed up.  To me, this story is about revival.  Noah offers hospitality to revival his guests (i.e. the Lord – we’ll talk more about that tomorrow by the way) and in turn, the Lord offers revival to Abraham. The Lord will be true to His word, to His promise.

So much of our faith, our lives, we spend thinking about what we have to do for God.  How can we serve?  How can we work?  What can we do?  What about my efforts?  What I am supposed to do?

What was Abraham doing to make this happen today?  Nothing.  He was sitting there in the heat outside his tent.  He could have just as easily have been in Mississippi.  He sat there.  Hot, tired, probably frustrated.  And what happened?  God showed up.

Today, God will show up in our lives. Not because we’ve done anything special or earned it or been perfect.  Just because He is God and He loves us.  Even as we sit here in the heat and wait.  He will show up.  Be looking.  He will be there.

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