Summary: Three privileges of being a friend of God.
“The Privileges of Friendship with God”
To say that Abraham was God’s friend meant that he was a human being to whom the God of the universe felt close, whom he regarded highly, and with whom He wanted to share some of His intimate thoughts. That God was Abraham’s friend we can easily understand. But that Abraham was God’s friend is almost beyond comprehension.
Friendship with God produces privileges in the life of a believer that we see exemplified in the life of Abraham. We shall see that the privileges include Companionship with God, Communication from God, and Compassion for People.
I. COMPANIONSHIP WITH GOD 18: 1-8
“ Then the LORD appeared to him by the terebinth trees of Mamre, as he was sitting in the tent door in the heat of the day. 2So he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing by him; and when he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them, and bowed himself to the ground, 3and said, "My Lord, if I have now found favor in Your sight, do not pass on by Your servant. 4Please let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. 5And I will bring a morsel of bread, that you may refresh your hearts. After that you may pass by, inasmuch as you have come to your servant." They said, "Do as you have said."
We are told clearly in verse one who it is that appears to Abraham. “Then the LORD appeared to him by the terebinth trees of Mamre.” It is God himself who appears to Abraham. In this passage over and over we read that the LORD said. In verse 22 we read, “Then the men turned away from there and went toward Sodom, but Abraham still stood before the LORD.” In chapter 19 we are told that the two men that accompany him are “angels” (19:1). I believe that this is a pre-incarnate appearance of the Lord himself, what is referred to as a Christopany. Abraham is having a conversation with the Lord himself. I still find it amazing that the God of the Universe desire our company that he offer his companionship to man.
6So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah and said, "Quickly, make ready three measures of fine meal; knead it and make cakes." 7And Abraham ran to the herd, took a tender and good calf, gave it to a young man, and he hastened to prepare it. 8So he took butter and milk and the calf which he had prepared, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree as they ate.”
Abraham does not recognize Him, at least at first. Yet Abraham reacts as a mid-eastern host should. All he sees are three weary travelers as they come off the desert. This is obviously a test of Abraham’s heart. God appears in such a commonplace way that Abraham is not aware of his identity. This is often the case with tests, they do not come when we are warned and ready. Anyone could pass them then. If you are told that you are to be tested to see if you can control your temper when you are irritated, you should be able to pass with flying colors. But God does not test that way. His test catch us unprepared, off-guard. It is when you tired and planning on a rest and you get a phone call that a friend is sick and needs someone to keep the kids, what do you do? These are the tests.
This test reveals Abraham for who he really is. He is not doing these things because he wants to gain something for himself. He is not trying to impress anybody. He is not striving for recognition. He is not trying to show how spiritual he is. For all he knows these three men are just what they appear, three weary travelers. People he will never see again. But he treats them like royalty. Even if he had known who they were he could not have treated them better. His prompt and generous response is the manifestation of a heart that has been so changed by God that he responds to human needs without thought of self or need of praise from others.
II. COMMUNICATION FROM GOD 18:9-21
A. A Word To Sarah (vv. 9-15)
9Then they said to him, "Where is Sarah your wife?" So he said, "Here, in the tent." 10And He said, "I will certainly return to you according to the time of life, and behold, Sarah your wife shall have a son." (Sarah was listening in the tent door which was behind him.) 11Now Abraham and Sarah were old, well advanced in age; and Sarah had passed the age of childbearing. 12Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, "After I have grown old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?" 13And the LORD said to Abraham, "Why did Sarah laugh, saying, "Shall I surely bear a child, since I am old?’ 14Is anything too hard for the LORD? At the appointed time I will return to you, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son." 15But Sarah denied it, saying, "I did not laugh," for she was afraid. And He said, "No, but you did laugh!"