Genesis 18: 1-2, NIV
“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.”
John, in the introduction to his gospel, tells us that Jesus – ‘the Word’ – was involved in creating everything that exists. John also informs us that no one has ever seen God (John 1:18; 5:37; 1 John 4:12; 4:20). Yet on the other hand, Scripture states that Abraham saw God (Genesis 12:7; 15:1; 17:1; 18:1). Is Scripture contradictory, even confused? Is Scripture unreliable? No, I believe not. There is always a necessary explanation.
For a very long time I pondered on the fact that Jesus created everything that is, but that we do not see or hear of Him after the act of creation until He appears as a new born baby in Bethlehem. Where was He in this gap period of time? And what was He doing?
Examining our text above, we are told ‘three men’ appeared to Abraham. We are also told that Abraham ‘hurried…to meet them’, there was an urgency. Then ‘he bowed low to the ground.’ The Hebrew word translated ‘bowed’ is also translated elsewhere as ‘worshipped.’ One of those men is described as ‘the Lord.’ Abraham’s response indicates he recognized the Lord. In the next chapter, 19:1, the two men are named ‘angels.’ So now we can identify the ‘three men’ as ‘the Lord’ and ‘two angels.’
As we continue reading chapter 18 we see that ‘the Lord’ drops a bombshell by informing Abraham that his wife will next year give birth to a son – she’s barren, he thinks. And so did Sarah – she laughed, although she denies doing so.
We then have the dialogue between Abraham and ‘the Lord’ as Abraham intercedes for Sodom and Gomorrah, which concludes, ‘When the Lord had finished speaking to Abraham, he left, and Abraham returned home.’
Abraham visibly recognized ‘the Lord.’ He recognized Him as ‘Jesus’ although Jesus wasn’t named until his circumcision eight days after his birth. My mind boggles at the richness, and accuracy to detail of God’s Word. Jesus spoke about His relationship with Abraham. John records the occasion when Pharisaic leaders are proudly and arrogantly proclaiming Abraham as their father. Jesus responds ‘”Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.” “You are not yet fifty years old,” the Jews said to him, “and you have seen Abraham!” “I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “Before Abraham was born, I am!”’ (John 8:56-58) Clearly, Abraham knew Jesus, that is why he recognised Him, worshipped Him and served Him lunch.
This has deeper implications. It was ‘the Lord,’ pre-existent Jesus, who called Abraham to leave his country and on arrival in Canaan made covenant with him. It was Jesus who revealed to Abraham His purpose for the unique nation that would be born of his descendants and it was Jesus who revealed world revival would come through his descendants. And it was Jesus who called Abraham to sacrifice his son of promise on Mt Moriah, and it was Jesus who prevented Isaac’s sacrifice. This was the very place where in a future time Jesus Himself would be sacrificed as “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”
The Word of God is accurate and true in every detail. Jesus said to Philip, ‘Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father’ (John 14:9). What a comfort and strength is the Word of God. We can depend upon Him in every situation of our lives, even when we feel at our lowest. He is our Rock, He is our anchor, He is our Redeemer and He is the coming King! He is the One we can depend upon. And we are assured of spending eternity with Him!
Prayer: Thank You, Father, for Your Word which tells us that ‘in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form’ and that we have been given fullness of faith in Christ Jesus, the only enduring faith man has known. Thank You for the relief, the motivation, the inspiration, the compassion and the hope that we find daily in Your eternal and all embracing love. Amen.