Pentecost 9
August 5, 2001
Genesis 18:1-10a
"The Rewards of Hospitality"

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INTRODUCTION:  Can you be hospitable when guests come for dinner unannounced? Three men from God came to Abraham at a time when guests usually do not arrive - "in the heat of the day" (v.1) probably at noon.

What's more, nothing was prepared!  There was no food in the house.  Sarah had to bake bread. Abraham had to go to the fields to slaughter a calf. All of this was done eagerly and gladly because Abraham saw these man as angels of God.  Do we entertain very much in or day?  Would we go these extremes which Abraham and Sarah did, or would we take our guests to a restaurant and put them up in a motel rather than in our homes? 

There is a spiritual aspect to our text for this morning. Moses is teaching us more then having proper manners. What was it that Abraham saw in these unannounced dinner guests?  All of the preparation Abraham did because he saw these men as angels of God. There is a need for hospitality for the strangers we entertain may be angels in disguise.

As we look at this text for this morning we need to see the even greater need for us to have fellowship with God.

True, having guests may be an inconvenience and a lot of hard, hard work.  But when we entertain especially God and His representatives, we are blessed beyond measure.  Let's consider this morning the rewards of entertaining.

1. The presence of God in the guests – “ And the Lord appeared unto him by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day. And he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood over against him. And when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself to the earth,” vss.1-2

Where do we find God today? Some say that God is nowhere to be found. The Soviets in the ‘60’s upon launching their spaceship into outer space informed the world that there was no God for they could not find Him in the outer recesses of the space and cosmos. Is that legitimate?

Abraham was searching for God thus he prepared himself to meet God where He would be found. What about us today? Do we search for God, and if we do, where do we look? God will be found in those places where He has determined to make Himself known. The challenge for us is twofold; first to believe that He can be found and second, to make ourselves accessible to those places where He has clearly told us that He will be found. That is what Abraham did. We must do the same. For what did Abraham find as he waited on the Lord? He found:

2. The fellowship and friendship “ and he said, My lord, if now I have found favor in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant. - v.3

“Abraham saw three men coming towards him. These three men were three spiritual heavenly beings, now assuming human bodies, so that they might be visible to Abraham. Having assumed human form they were now able to converse with him.

Some think that they were all created angels, others that one of them was the Son of God, the angel of the covenant. Notice that Abraham distinguished Him from the rest (v. 3), and called Him Lord.”

(From Matthew Henry's Commentary Genesis 18:1-8 - Abraham's interview with the angels PP5)

Abraham desired to have an intimate relationship with God. He found it in the coming of these three. Do we desire to be this close to God? Do we desire such a fellowship with Him? Are we easily frustrated when we cry out to God desiring to have our prayers answered, when all we hear is silence? 

Abraham serves us well in this case. He not only expected God to come but He took the time for Him by fellowshipping with Him. We too need to take time for God. Daily draw strength from Him by spending time with Him in His Word, by speaking to Him in prayer, by communing with Him in His meal by coming to His table.

Transition:  Having expected God to come and taking time with Him Abraham received the word that He was needing to hear that a son would be born.

3. The miraculous gift of new life “And he said, I will certainly return unto thee when the season cometh round. And, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son.” - 10a

The promise was made, and in due time the promise was kept. God is famous for keeping His Word. He is ever faithful and sure to keep His every promise. Do we expect a miracle? Do we expect God to keep His Word to us? Certainly Abraham did; and he is no different then you or me.  He had his own doubts and struggles. He was familiar with disappointment and grief. He knew what it meant to be on a course that seemed to be headed nowhere. He was just as confused about his future as anyone as he wandered aimlessly for years.

But there was one thing he was sure of and that was that the Father would keep His Word.  A year later that promise was fulfilled in the birth of a son. So it is with your life.  God will keep each and every promise spoken to you. It may not seem possible at the moment; it may not seem to be feasible by the Father is more then capable of meeting your every need. As He proved it in the life of Abraham and Sarah so He will fulfill it in your life as well. Of this we can be sure – the Lord will keep His Word!

+ Soli Deo Gloria +