May 25, 2003
Genesis chapter 18 contains an odd little story. To emphasize its strangeness, I want to begin this morning by retelling the story to you.
Abraham is a powerful man. He has enormous wealth and is accustomed to the finest that life has to offer. He is patriarch of his tribe and is responsible for a large number of people associated with his household. Within his sphere of influence his word would be law.
One day Abraham the patriarch is sitting in the door of his tent. It is in the middle of the day and is the siesta hour. The heat is just too oppressive for the regular duties of the day, so Abraham is lounging in the shade of his tent door. At that moment Abraham spots three men off in the distance. It is an unusual time of day for travellers as almost everyone would be taking shelter from the oppressive heat. However, instead of just letting the travellers pass by, 99 year-old Abraham jumps up from the shade and rushes out to meet them. Abraham, the Lord of his domain, then falls to the ground in front of the three men and using language that would normally come out of the mouth of a slave, begs that these three strangers might allow him to provide hospitality for them in the form of water with which to wash their feet and in the form of a meal.
When the strangers agree, Abraham the mighty man, rushes off to personally instruct his wife to make the finest bread for the strangers. Then this old man runs to the herd to hand-pick the finest calf to be prepared for the strangers’ meal. He then proceeds to lay out a meal fit for a king.
Perhaps strangest of all, while the guests are eating, Abraham, the man with dozens of servants to meet his every need, stands by the men and acts as their personal servant.
How do we explain such an unusual picture?
1. Who were the three men?
Verse 1 Yahweh appeared to Abraham
Verse 13 LORD
Preincarnate Christ plus two angels
2. What was the purpose of their visit?
There are 2 purposes but we will only deal with the one today.
Is any thing to hard for the Lord.
Hard = wonderful
NIV Jeremiah 32:17 "Ah, Sovereign LORD, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.
NIV Jeremiah 32:27 "I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?
NIV Isaiah 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
NIV Exodus 15:11 "Who among the gods is like you, O LORD? Who is like you-- majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?
NAB Psalm 77:14 You are the God who works wonders; You have made known Your strength among the peoples.
Is there anything too wonderful for God?
If he can give a 100 year-old man a son by a 90 year-old woman - Is there anything too wonderful for God?
Matt 19:22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.