I find it so helpful that Biblical heroes are normal people, who struggle with patience and unbelief, just like us. Today’s passage, Genesis 18, mixes unbelief over God’s promises with passionate intercession for others.
God had promised Abraham and Sarah descendents and kept promising it – Gen 12:1-3;Gen 13:16; Gen 14:4-6 and Gen 17:4-8. They were way past the age of childbearing, and then some! And they were still waiting. As I was praying this morning I was taking prophetic promises back to God and asking why haven’t they happened yet?
Then one day as Abraham is sitting in his tent doorway trying to keep cool, when three visitors appear. Abraham is a honourable man and addresses the apparent leader “Lord”. As a good middle Eastern man he is more than eager to offer hospitality to these strangers (As Hebrews 13:1 tells us be eager to offer hospitality as they might just be angels!). Water is brought, fresh bread is baked and a calf prepared for a feast.
It begins to get weird, because one of the 3, now identified as LORD, asks about Sarah and prophecies that the time for her to bear a child is within the year. After all the patient waiting and prayer, God is telling them the prophecy is about to come to pass. These three visitors turn out to be a Christophany (a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus) and 2 accompanying angels.
Sarah laughs – she can’t believe it, can’t believe that God will finally do this miracle. That God can do the miraculous in and through us. she denies laughing but as always God has the last word – “No, but you did laugh.” Sarah’s laugh is a bitter laugh, but it will soon turn to the laugh of joy, when Isaac is borne within the time of the prophecy. (Gen 20:6)
Is anything itoo hard for the Lord? No!
Abraham and Sarah in the midst of this incident have been showing spiritual maturity gained over years of following the Lord’s leading
- Intimate fellowship and prayer
- Their attention shifted from themselves to others
- A balance of passively waiting in prayer and activity in showing hospitality
- learning the greatness and goodness of God
The wait has purified and shaped them. We live in an instant age and an age of entitlement. Waiting and learning patience is good for us.
Next we see fruit of Abraham’s intimate relationship with the Lord. Amos 3:7 shows us “Surely the Sovereign LORD does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets.” The Lord asks himself the rhetorical question shall I hide from Abraham? The answer is no, he’s called to lead and bless the nations, he’s ready to hear this stuff!
What follows is a passionate intercession for Sodom, driven largely by the fact that Lot and his family are living there and would be destroyed too. How passionate are you pleading to the Lord for family and friends who are lost?