The LORD appears to Abraham Genesis 18
The LORD appears to Abraham
Last week we took a look at the call of Abram in Genesis 12
-Abram's call explains the Jewish nation (for they are his direct descendants)
-To Abram , God gave three great promises (Land, seed--that from him a great nation
would come, blessing). Ultimately, Jesus coming into the world to save us from our sins
is the jewel of the promises made to Abram. When God calls a person to Himself today,
they become the inheritors of many great and precious promises of God as well.
-God didn't call Abram because he was a righteous man. When God called Abram he was
doing his own thing and his character was far from commendable. Such reminds us that
salvation and peace with God is a gift received by faith and totally hinging on God's
grace. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
-To God's call Abram responded in faith, worship, and obedience
-God's call didn't result in Abram becoming a mature man right away-- for almost
immediately Abram messed up royally--- going down to Egypt and giving his wife Sarai
into the arms of the Pharoah. God's response and mercy to Abram reminds us of his
grace to us and of how when we do sin we have in Jesus One who speaks in our defense
(I John 2:2)
This morning we are going to take a look at Genesis 18 together.
In Genesis 18 something very remarkable happens: God, on a hot and sunny
afternoon, appears in the flesh before Abraham.
When I usually think of God appearing- I envision the scene of Christ in all His Divine
glory, on the Mount of Transfiguration. I also think of the visions of John in Revelation or
of Isaiah seeing a vision of God on his throne in Heaven. I think of Elijah on Mount
Horeb and his experience of God passing by (1 Kings 19). I think of Moses hidden in the
cleft of a rock as God passed by and the mountains quaked (Exodus 33). I think of Moses
on Mount Sinai (itself covered in smoke and there being thunder and fire). I think of the
Ezekiel and the awesome visions he was given of God in his glory. I think of God saying
in Exodus 33:20 "you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live." (meaning
that we cannot see God in all his glory-- for the Cherubim cover their faces as they
surround the throne)
While all think of all those things as it regards God appearing, I don't think of God
suddenly showing up as a normal looking man in the middle of the day, with his glory
veiled-- as he does in Genesis 18.
Of course in saying this; we realize that this is how Jesus showed up. Herein the
entrance of Christ into our world is prefigured. God became a man and dwelt amongst us
and his own did not recognize him. Jesus came, his glory veiled-- that he might save us
from our sins
Going deeper: FYI
This wasn't the first time that God appeared in such a fashion. In Genesis 12:7-9 we are
told that the LORD appeared to Abram. In Genesis 17 (which maybe happened a couple
of months prior to Genesis 18) it says "When Abram was 99 years old, the LORD
appeared to him." Theologians call such things "Theophanies"
READ GENESIS 18:1-22
Before reading note that between God's call of Abram and Genesis 17-18, 13 years pass.
Over the course of those thirteen years Abram took some spiritual steps forward and
some backward steps too. One backward step that Abram took was that he tried to take a
short cut as it regarded God making a great nation out of his descendants. Because his
wife Sarai couldn't have children, Sarai handed over her maid to Abram and told him to
have a baby by her-- that this baby might be presumably raised as her own.
Abram having sex and making a baby with Sarai's maid was a big sin.
a. It showed a lack of trust in God who said that Sarai would personally become
pregnant (Genesis 15).
b. The consequences of Abram's sin are still felt by the Jews today (for some Arab's- who
are the enemy of the Jews are descendants of Ishmael). Side note: Though Arabian
Muslims all claim to be descendants of Ishmael-- such is not provable)
AN IMPORTANT POINT: Short cuts have a way of coming back on us and biting
us in the rumpus.****
WAIT FOR GOD!
Isaiah 40:31 says; "But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they
shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall
walk, and not faint."
Lets read Genesis 18:1-22
THOUGHTS ON GOD'S APPEARANCE TO ABRAHAM
1. Note Abraham's RESPONSE to the LORD's appearance
v.2 Though it was the HEAT of the day, "he hurried from the entrance of his tent to meet
them" Note: Abraham is not a young man and yet he's moving as fast as he can-- and it
doesn't matter that its hot
v.2 "he bowed low to the ground"
v.3 he identifies himself as their servant (and that is what we are)
v.3 he seeks their favor
v.4 he makes provision for the washing of their feet
v.4 he invites them to rest under the shade of the tree
v.5 he wants to give them a little something to eat. The word used is 'morsel'
v.6 he hurried into the tent to get Sarah to cook some bread. Note again "hurried". Note
also: Abraham spoke of giving them a bite (the word used means 'morsel') to eat, 3
seahs of flour is about 22 litres of flour-- which makes a huge about of bread
v.7 tells us that Abraham then ran out to where his cows were and selected a young calf
to have cooked for the men (running usually undignified for a man of Abraham's age and
stature and yet not in this case)
v.8 After all the food was prepared and the best of everything that Abraham could offer
them was given, the text tells us that Abraham didn't even sit down with them. Abraham
hovered a little distance away from them as they ate.
Things to note:
The servants heart of Abraham. Abraham knows who he is in relation to God-- He is His
The reverence of Abraham.
The hospitality of Abraham (a hospitality that we are to exercise to others***)
Abraham offered the best of everything he could. We are to do the same in relation to
Christ and our service of him. Give of your best to the master says the old hymn
2. NOTE WHY THE LORD APPEARED TO ABRAHAM
a. To let Abraham and Sarah know that the time had come for God's promise to
be kept regarding their having a baby of their own. v.10
POINT: GOD KEEPS HIS PROMISES!
SUBPOINT: Note the difference between Sarah's response to God's appearance and
Abraham's-- doubt v/s faith v.9-15
-her laughter was not like Abraham's in Genesis 17:17 who laughed in astonishment.
Sarah's laughter was a laughter of derision and lack of faith. Sarah's laughter was a
-God called her on it-- knowing her thoughts
-She denied it, God didn't let her off the hook
Issue: long periods of waiting on God sometimes lead to a person weakening in their
We need to hold onto our faith. God is more than able. God is always faithful.
FYI: Don't think to yourself that Sarah stayed where she was that day. The Bible
commends Sarah as a great woman of faith and as a great wife. 1 Peter 3:1-6
NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR GOD v.14 We need to remember this.
This is a big point that comes out of the interaction between the LORD and Sarah-- and
note this: God repeats his promise of a son being born by that time next year
No illness is to far gone. No financial need is to big. No relationship is beyond repair. No
sin is beyond forgiveness-- if one truly humbles themselves and repents.
Key: Cast all our cares upon Him, for He cares for us.
Jeremiah 32:17 says; "Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by
your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.
b. The LORD appeared that He might see for Himself if Abraham's heart was in
tune with His as it regarded the subject of justice and mercy v.19-22
This point is fleshed out in the dialog between God and Abraham in v.23ff
The ultimate point is this: God had come down to reveal to Abraham his heart and plans
and purposes-- to see if Abraham's heart was in accord with God's-- and his was. For it
is found that Abraham had a merciful and tender heart, just as God does.
Our goal: To know God and to have a heart that is in tune with His-- and so we pray
"Lord, help me to understand your thoughts and ways, help me to know your will, help
me to love what you love and to hate what you hate."
c. The LORD appeared to Abraham so that He might impress on his heart the
importance of teaching his children the ways of the LORD v.19-22
The responsibility of every Father (for Father's serve as the head of the home-- and are
responsible to God as such) is to teach their children about God and to raise them in the
fear and service of the LORD. Such is the key to blessing.
"Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it."
Ephesians 6:4 "Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the
training and instruction of the Lord."
Of the Lord and his ways, Deuteronomy 11:19; "Teach them to your children, talking
about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down
and when you get up."
d. The LORD appeared as a display of His friendship with Abraham
In James 2:23 it says; "And the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God,
and it was credited to him as righteousness," and he was called God's friend."
Abraham is likewise called a friend of God in 2 Chronicles 20:7 and Isaiah 41:8
The friendship of God with Abraham is seen by God showing up, God accepting
Abraham's hospitality, God walking with Abraham, God revealing to Abraham what was
going to do
God's offer of friendship is still available today
-Be reconciled to God. In Christ alone is the forgiveness of sins and life eternal
-Put your faith in Christ as Savior and Lord
Interesting verse from the Gospel of John 15:15 "I no longer call you servants, because a
servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for
everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you."
In Genesis 18 a most remarkable thing happens: God shows up in the flesh and spends
an afternoon with Abraham.
God showed up in a most understated way-- prefiguring the advent of Christ
Abraham responded in ways most appropriate to God showing up- Sarah struggled a bit -
for God's delay in keeping his promise to them had led to a weakening in her faith (but
God was gracious)
God showed up for some specific reasons-- one of which was to show that He was
Abraham's friend. The offer of friendship with God remains today-- accept his invitation
and come to Him on His terms.
Closing song: My God is so big.