Summary: So why did they stop off at Abraham's place first? Just passing by, saw your light on and thought we would drop in? Lord, let me have that kind of light, but what was the point of eating a meal with Abraham and then going on?
Part 4 - Genesis 18:16-30 - JUST PASSING BY AND SAW YOUR LIGHT ON ...
He slipped away into eternity peacefully the other day as we stood by his bed. The family and I held hands and prayed as an old man who loved the Lord and loved his family was in that moment absent from the body and present with the Lord. Peace and tears filled the room and I noticed one young woman held a baby in her hands. The next generation to be blessed in this Godly family.
How empty it seemed as I stand by the bed of other families who do not know the Lord. Emptiness fills the room and there was no eternal legacy or light shining for another generation to walk in. The contrast is stark and I feel the uneasy tension of those who have rejected God and do not want to talk to a Pastor.
So it is even more sobering as I read about these men in Genesis 18 were on their way to Sodom to visit those who had rejected God! Sodom would be destroyed.
So why did they stop off at Abraham's place first? Just passing by, saw your light on and thought we would drop in? Lord, let me have that kind of light, but what was the point of eating a meal with Abraham and then going on? Why didn't they just head towards Sodom straight away?
The only thing I can think of is that God passes my way when I respond positively towards Him and His Word. And as He gets closer, He TESTS MY RESPONSE to Him. He is always concerned with RELATIONSHIP.
When three strangers came to visit him, I don't think Abraham knew that one of them was the Lord Himself. Abraham greets them with true Eastern hospitality. His response to strangers was to address their leader with respect. Abraham calls Him "LORD", he bows to the ground in the posture the same as WORSHIP, He SERVES Him humbly and personally. And when he prepares a meal for Him there is a SACRIFICE involved.
Reminds me a little of Matthew 25:34-40 which speaks of when we die and stand before Jesus. It says we will say "...‘Lord, when did we ever see You hungry and feed You? Or thirsty and give You something to drink? Or a stranger and show You hospitality? Or naked and give You clothing? When did we ever see You sick or in prison and visit You?' ‘And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these My brothers and sisters, you were doing it to Me!'"
Hospitality and respect certainly wasn't the kind of greeting these strangers received in Sodom! BIG CONTRAST between Abraham's greeting and how Sodom responded to the presence of the Lord's messengers. OUR RESPONSE TO THE LORD DETERMINES OUR DESTINY.
But I see another important principle here. When my response to God is one of WORSHIP, SERVICE, AND SACRIFICE, then and only then am I ready to begin to learn what HIS WILL for my life is. I will look for the opportunities He gives me to be a BLESSING TO OTHERS, to THINK GENERATIONALLY. I will accept God's GRACE AND HIS JUSTICE, HIS PROMISES AND PRONOUNCEMENTS and they will begin to make sense to me in the enormous scheme of things. I will even understand what it means when God says "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 6:22-23 NLT) and I will begin to see the BIG PICTURE OF FORGIVENESS BASED ON THE SACRIFICE OF THE CROSS.
This same principle of understanding God's will is summed up in Romans 12:1-3. It says...
"And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice-the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him. Don't copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. THEN you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect."
As Abraham worships, serves and is willing to sacrifice the best to God, God says "SHOULD I HIDE MY PLAN FROM ABRAHAM?" the Lord asked. "For Abraham will certainly become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth will be BLESSED THROUGH HIM. I have singled him out so that he will DIRECT HIS SONS AND THEIR FAMILIES to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just. Then I will do for Abraham all that I have promised." (Genesis 18:17-19 NLT)