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Gen.18:1-33 - Intercessory Prayer - Part 1
A fascinating meeting takes place here between Abraham and the Lord here.
Vs. 1-5 - “The Lord appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day. Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he hurried from the entrance of his tent to meet them and bowed low to the ground.
He said, ‘I have found favor in your eyes, my lord, do not pass your servant by. Let a little water be brought, and then you may all wash your feet and rest under this tree. Let me get you something to eat, so you can be refreshed and then go on your way, now that you have come to your servant.’ ‘Very well,’ they answered, ‘do as you say.’”
As we go through this text it’s gonna be clear that one of these guys is the Lord Himself, because He will identify Himself as Jehovah; as Father God, and the text will identify himself multiple times.
This is called a ‘theofany,’ (a visible manifestation of God to mankind). I do not believe this is a ‘Christophany,’ which is a pre-incarnate manifestation of Jesus Christ as we had with the Angel of the Lord, but this is Jehovah the Father Himself.
Now, how did Abraham know that this was the Lord? We can’t say for sure, right? But somehow he’s able to figure out that this is the Lord here.
The Hebrew word would indicate that there was a real suddenness of their appearance. So, it’s not like he sees these guys sort of strolling their way in from the distance, but the idea in the Hebrew is that one minute they aren’t there and the next they are. They just popped onto the scene - BAM - there they are!
He’s looking out of his tent in the shade and out of nowhere these guys are upon him and he immediately hits the dirt!
Let’s see what he does, picking it up in verse 6. Vs. 6-8 - “So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah. ‘Quick,’ he said, ‘get three seahs of the finest flour and knead it and bake some bread.’
Then he ran to the herd and selected a choice, tender calf and gave it to a servant, who hurried to prepare it. He then brought some curds and milk and the calf that had been prepared, and set these before them. While they ate, he stood near them under a tree.
This is fascinating! We’ll discover in a latter message, in Genesis 19:1, that these 2 men with him are angels But this is wild! God with 2 angels show up at the compound for lunch, and apparently Jehovah’s NOT a vegetarian - He likes veal, and Abraham is just sitting there watching these guys eat outside his tent by a tree.
Now, Sarah, picking it up in Vs. 9, evidently she’s just on the other side of the tent eavesdropping.
Vs. 9-12 - “Where is your wife Sarah?’ they asked him. 'There, in the tent,’ he said. Then one of them said, ‘will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.’
Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, which was behind him. Abraham and Sarah were already very old, and Sarah was past the age of childbearing. So Sarah laughed to herself (I want ya to take note and underline this!) as she thought, ‘After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I now have this pleasure?’
What’s interesting here is that this encounter now takes place, evidently, within 3 months from the previous encounter. So 13 years pass by and God isn’t talking to Abraham and now He shows up twice in a 90 day period, and He’s telling Abraham that he’s going to have a son by his wife in a year’s time.
We know this second appearance is within a 90 day window because we can confidently assume there’s going to be a 9 month gestation period for Isaac. So why in the world is God showing up for a second time within 3 months after such a long silence? Well, there’s probably a number of reasons, but no doubt one of those reasons is to encourage Abraham and Sarah to be intimate with each other!
When you read vs. 12, Sarah is not putting this delicately at all! Sarah is saying - ‘Look, I’m no spring chicken! What, am I going to have sex again? You gotta be kidding me! So probably this kind of intimate activity has ceased in their marriage, and God, of course, knowing all things, knows this, so He shows up and tells them that this deal won’t go down unless these 2 get together!
Sarah’s laugh is the laugh of unbelief, because notice the Lord’s response in vs. 13-15 - “Then the Lord said to Abraham, ‘Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.’ Sarah was afraid, so she lied and said, ‘I did not laugh.’ But he said, ‘Yes, you did laugh.’”
Here Sarah is eavesdropping in on the conversation, but she doesn’t think anyone hears her self talk. This is one of the reasons I wanted you to highlight that scripture. Sarah said nothing out loud nor did she laugh out loud. It was to herself, within herself, silently. Yet the Lord knows everything, sees everything!
The Bible tells us that every idle word will be judged by the Lord. All things are open and naked before Him! Matt. 12:36-37 - “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
The all-knowing God is on full display here. We would do well to understand that the Lord knows our every thought. He knows absolutely everything we are thinking. I don’t say this unto condemnation, I am saying this unto encouragement. Because that’s the remarkable thing! Knowing ALL our thoughts - and believe me, I have some dark ones - yet He still madly loves us!
Picking it up in vs. 16 - “When the men got up to leave, they looked down toward Sodom, and Abraham walked along with them to see them on their way.”
Then, in vs. 17 the Lord is kinda talking to Himself, not talking to Abraham here yet¦ Vs. 17-19 - “Then the Lord said, ‘Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do? Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him. For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.”
We’ll discover in the next message that these guys are angels, and they're packing heat and heading over to Sodom in Chapter 19. But what we’re being shown here is very striking in this discourse where God is presented as kinda talking to Himself. Maybe we can even assume it’s going on within the Triune Godhead like we saw in Genesis ch. 1 - “Let us make man in our image.”
But what this lets us know is remarkable. I believe God is deliberately opening up a window into His heart here, for you and I to peer into.
What is the Holy Spirit showing us here? Maybe that He is a personal God and cares a great deal about us and puts a great deal of thought into His decisions and decrees concerning us. We do NOT have just a theological God sort of just up ‘there’ pouring through doctrine as He’s dealing with us.
What we have here and what we will continue to see in the remainder of this text, is a deeply devotional God who desires to be known as He desires to know us.
So here He’s thinking about Abraham. Did you ever wonder what God is thinking about you? Ya ever wonder How often God is thinking about you?
Let’s read a staggering passage in Psalms 139:17-18 - “How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand.”
Do you understand that!? And His thoughts are filled with plans and goodness for you!! I encourage you to get hold of that in the quietness of your hearts this week!