Abraham’s Meeting with God

Scripture Passage: 
Genesis 18:1-33

INTRODUCTION:  This section of the Bible gives a great lesson on hospitality.  But, more than that, it deals with fellowship with God.  Abraham received the Lord into his home and the Lord felt enough confidence in Abraham to reveal to him what He was getting ready to do.

  1. THE MEAL WITH THE THREE MEN (Genesis 18:1-8)
    1. The Lord Appears at Abraham’s Tent (Genesis 18:1-2).
      1. The plains of Mamre are at Hebron (Genesis 13:18).
      2. Because of the hot climate, people would commonly seek shelter in the heat of the day.  They would eat their noon meal (Genesis 43:16).  Later, they would rest and sometimes take a nap (see 2 Samuel 4:5; 1 Samuel 24:3).
      3. The three men (Genesis 18:2)
        1. Evidently the Lord appearing in a body along with two angels
        2. After talking with Abraham (Genesis 18:22), the men go to Sodom and the Lord remains with Abraham for a while.  Later (Genesis 18:33), the Lord goes on His way.
        3. We are then told that two angels come to Sodom at even (Genesis 19:1).  Of the three men who appear at Abraham’s tent door, two of them are the two angels who go on to Sodom while the third is the Lord who stays and talks with Abraham.
        4. The Lord who appears to and talks with Abraham is certainly an appearance of Christ before He was born as a baby in Bethlehem.  We know He appeared in the Old Testament because 1 Corinthians 10:4 states that the Rock that followed Israel in the wilderness was Christ.
    2. Abraham Ministers to the Men (Genesis 18:3-5).
      1. He asks them to stay awhile (Genesis 18:3).
      2. He offers his hospitality (Genesis 18:4-5a).
        1. Water to wash their feet
        2. A tree for shade
        3. A morsel of bread
      3. He sees purpose in their visit (Genesis 18:5) -“for therefore are ye come to your servant.”
      4. They agree to stay (Genesis 18:5).
    3. Abraham Prepares a Meal for the Men (Genesis 18:6-8).
      1. Sarah prepares the bread (Genesis 18:6).
      2. A young man fetches a calf (Genesis 18:7).
      3. Abraham adds butter and milk (Genesis 18:8).
      4. They eat under the tree (Genesis 18:8).
    4. Special Notes on Tents
      1. The life of the Nomads
        1. An early form of living (Genesis 4:20)
        2. The life of the patriarchs (Genesis 12:8; Genesis 26:17; Genesis 33:18)
        3. The Israelites in the wilderness (Numbers 1:52; Numbers 24:2)
        4. A people of no single dwelling place (Hebrews 11:9)
        5. A life spent mostly outdoors; fostered a spirit of great independence
        6. Considered the best and most righteous kind of life by those who lived it (Psalm 84:10)
      2. The material of the tent
        1. Made of black goat’s hair (Song of Solomon 1:5), a coarse, heavy fabric
        2. Becomes waterproof after the first rains shrink the hairs together
        3. The same material as sackcloth (Revelation 6:12) which was worn because of its prickly texture and common appearance as a sign of:
          1. Sorrow (Genesis 37:34; 2 Samuel 3:31)
          2. Humility (1 Kings 21:27; 2 Kings 19:1)
          3. Repentance (Daniel 9:3; Jonah 3:5)
      3. The pitching of the tent
        1. Poles were set up over which the long tent cloth was stretched.
        2. The tent was then drawn out by cords and the cords were attached to the ground by nails (see Judges 4:21).
        3. Side pieces were added to the tent which were lifted up in the summer to allow the breeze in.
        4. When there were several tents, they were pitched in a circle with the openings to the center of the circle; this area was often used to keep some of the sheep or other animals.
        5. The tent of the sheik or leader of the group was identified by a long spear at its side (see 1 Samuel 26:7).
      4. The design of the tent
        1. The tents were usually narrow but long; after the setting of the stakes, they might look oblong.
        2. They were divided into two or three compartments by curtains.
          1. The door led into the middle section which was the men’s apartment; this is where visitors were greeted and the men conducted business.
          2. A second apartment would be for the women and children.
            1. The only man who could ever go back there was the head of the household.
            2. Though screened from the men, the women could hear what went on (Genesis 18:10-15).
          3. There was sometimes a third apartment for servants or cattle.
        3. In great households, the women might have separate tents (Genesis 31:33).
        4. A tent could be enlarged by adding a new section to the old tent material (Isaiah 54:2).
      5. The furnishings of the tent
        1. Everything in the tent must be easy to move (Isaiah 38:12).
        2. The ground was covered with rugs.
        3. They slept on mats or carpets and covered themselves with their outer garments.
        4. They had skin bags or bottles from which to drink water; leather buckets for drawing water from a well; earthen pitchers for carrying water.
        5. Their cooking and eating utensils included pots, pans, kettles, serving mats, platters and cups.
        6. Light was provided from a lamp which burned olive oil.
        7. If a camel was owned, the camel furniture served as a seat inside the tent (Genesis 31:34).
        8. The hearth was a hole dug in the ground where a fire was kindled; it usually had stones around it; there was also one outside for cooking in good weather.
    5. Special Notes on Hospitality
      1. Guests
        1. Guests were always desired; eating alone was disliked (Job 31:17).
        2. Guests were believed to be sent by God; a wandering stranger was treated like an invited guest (Genesis 18:2-8; Hebrews 13:2; Romans 12:13).
        3. Guests came under the protection of the host; it was a great evil to betray this duty (Genesis 19:4-8).
        4. On the other hand, for a guest to betray his host was also a terrible evil (Psalm 41:9; Obadiah 7; John 13:18).
      2. Customs upon entering a home
        1. Bowing – used to show a readiness to serve, to express thanksgiving, to ask for a favor; also an act of worship (Genesis 18:2-3; Genesis 23:7, 12; Genesis 33:3, 6, 7;  Matthew 18:26; Revelation 19:10)
        2. Greeting – the host says, Peace be on you; the guest replies, And on you peace (Luke 10:5-6).
        3. Kissing
          1. The kissing of the cheeks is an Oriental custom of greeting (Genesis 27:27; Genesis 33:4; Genesis 45:15; Genesis 48:10; Exodus 4:27; Exodus 18:7; 1 Samuel 20:41; Luke 15:20; Acts 20:37).
          2. Used as a familiar greeting among friends (Luke 7:45)
        4. Removing the shoes
          1. Shoes were removed when entering a house.
          2. The shoes, which touch the ground, are considered defiled (Exodus 3:5).
        5. Washing the feet
          1. Water is offered to the guest to wash his feet (Genesis 18:4; Genesis 19:2; Genesis 24:32; Genesis 43:24; 1 Samuel 25:41).
          2. A servant will often wash the feet of the guest (John 13:4-5).
          3. This is an important test of hospitality (Luke 7:44; 1 Timothy 5:10).
        6. Anointing the head with oil – often done to refresh the guest (Psalm 23:5; Luke 7:46)
          1. Giving a drink of water
            1. Commonly done (Genesis 24:17-18)
            2. A recognition that the guest was worthy (Mark 9:41)
        7. Taking care of the guests
          1. The guest was made lord of the house (Genesis 19:2).
          2. The guest was not left alone at any time.
          3. The guest was served a meal (Genesis 18:5-8).
            1. The meal was considered a special covenant of peace and trust (Genesis 26:30).
            2. The meal was to be entered into with care (Genesis 24:33; Joshua 9:14).
        8. Departure of the guests
          1. Attempts made to delay the departure (Genesis 24:54-56; Judges 19:5-10)
          2. Guest told to depart in peace (Genesis 26:31)
          3. Host sometimes traveled a short distance with the departing guest (Genesis 18:16)
    6. THE PROMISE OF A SON FOR SARAH (Genesis 18:9-15)
      1. The Lord Renews His Promise (Genesis 18:9-10).
        1. They inquire about Sarah (Genesis 18:9).
        2. They announce the coming birth (Genesis 18:10).
          1. According to the time of life
          2. Sarah shall have a son.
      2. Sarah Laughs at the Prospect (Genesis 18:11-12).
        1. Sarah had ceased after the manner of women (Genesis 18:11).
        2. She laughs at the prospect of having a son (Genesis 18:12).
      3. The Lord Declares His Power (Genesis 18:13-15).
        1. He challenges Sarah’s laugh (Genesis 18:13).
        2. He declares His ability (Genesis 18:14).
        3. Sarah denies that she laughed (Genesis 18:15).
    7. THE WARNING OF JUDGMENT FOR SODOM (Genesis 18:16-22)
      1. The Question of Revealing to Abraham (Genesis 18:16-17)
        1. The men rose up to leave (Genesis 18:16).
        2. The Lord questions revealing His plan to Abraham (Genesis 18:17).
      2. The Worthiness of Abraham to Hear (Genesis 18:18-19)
        1. Abraham will become a great nation (Genesis 18:18).
        2. Abraham will command his children after him (Genesis 18:19).
          1. They will keep the way of the Lord.
          2. They will do justice and judgment.
      3. The Lord’s Plan Concerning Sodom (Genesis 18:20-22)
        1. The cry of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18:20)
        2. The investigation of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18:21-22)
    8. THE INTECESSORY PRAYER OF ABRAHAM (Genesis 18:23-33)
      1. Abraham’s Plea Concerning Fifty Righteous (Genesis 18:23-26)
        1. Abraham’s concern for the righteous (Genesis 18:23)
        2. His plea in case there are fifty righteous (Genesis 18:24)
        3. His confidence in the justness of the Lord (Genesis 18:25) –“Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?”
        4. God’s promise to spare Sodom for fifty (Genesis 18:26)
      2. Abraham Works Down to Ten Righteous (Genesis 18:27-33).
        1. Abraham’s plea for forty-five righteous (Genesis 18:27-28)
        2. Abraham’s plea for forty righteous (Genesis 18:29)
        3. Abraham’s plea for thirty righteous (Genesis 18:30)
        4. Abraham’s plea for twenty righteous (Genesis 18:31)
        5. Abraham’s plea for ten righteous (Genesis 18:32)
        6. The Lord goes on His way (Genesis 18:33).

    CONCLUSION:  Abraham’s life of service and dedication to God is an example for us today.  How well do you know God?

    David Reagan and Andrew Ray

Daily Proverb

Proverbs 20:5

Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water; but a man of understanding will draw it out.