What Does Genesis 18:2 Mean?

When he lifted up his eyes and looked, behold, three men were standing opposite him; and when he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them and bowed himself to the earth,

Genesis 18:2(NASB)
Picture courtesy of Richard Gunther

Verse of the Day

When man sinned and lost his sovereign authority over earth, God's foreordained programme of redemption began to unfold. The Seed of the woman, Who would crush the serpent's head and triumph over sin and death, passed silently through Seth and Enoch to Noah and his son Shem.

Following the watery judgements of the worldwide flood and the confusion that halted the building of the satanic tower of Babel, God chose one man - through whom His redemptive plans and purposes would be fulfilled. That man's name was Abram... and God promised that through him all the families of the earth would be blessed.

We first meet Abram in Genesis 11 as a pagan whom God called to leave his home and to go to a land that He would show him. We read that God promised to make him into a great nation, to bless him, and to make his name great. He pledged that through him ALL the families of the world would be blessed. Abram believed God's Word and his faith was credited as righteousness... and over the course of his life, his faith developed and grew and translated into actions that honoured the Lord.

In chapter 15 we read of the covenant God made with His servant, whom He renamed Abraham (father of many nations), and chapter 17 tells us that circumcision was to be the sign of God's unconditional covenant with this man and his descendents. "I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant," God promised. "I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings - all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God."

Arriving in chapter 18, we read that Yahweh, the God Whom Abraham had trusted nearly 25 years earlier, appeared to him as a Man. He came to Abraham as the pre-incarnate Christ, accompanied by two holy angels. God came in person to visit Abraham as he camped by the oaks of Mamre, "Now the LORD appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre," we read.

The Lord appeared to His servant, "while he was sitting at the tent door, in the heat of the day." This was no mirage Abraham saw during the brightness of the noon-day sun. He was visited by the Lord of heaven and earth. Abraham was in no doubt about his honoured Guest, for when he saw Him standing opposite him, he ran from the tent door to meet Him and bowed himself to the earth, and said, "My Lord - if now I have found favour in Your sight, please do not pass Your servant by."

Abraham knew that this was the Lord his God. First, he lifted up his eyes and LOOKED to see who was standing opposite from him, but then he SAW. His eyes were opened and Abraham saw the LORD GOD, and ran from the tent door to greet his visitors. He bowed himself to the ground before the One in Whom he had placed his trust, so many years before. Abraham bowed before the Lord - for He alone is worthy of all praise and glory. His worship was addressed to God and not to the two accompanying angels, "for the Lord God will not share His glory with another."

Scripture identifies Abraham in various ways. He is known as the father of faith and the great patriarch of Israel, but perhaps one of the most beautiful titles of this God-fearing man is found in James, who calls Abraham, "a friend of God"... demonstrating an intimacy he enjoyed with the Lord that each one of us should seek to emulate.

Maybe this visitation was a test that God had set for Abraham concerning the imminent destruction of Sodom or maybe it is a reminder to us to be mindful to show hospitality to strangers, for in so doing, 'some have entertained angels without knowing it'. But perhaps the most precious  'takeaway' from this story is the closeness of our heavenly Lord to all those who love Him... in every season of life and at every moment in the day.

As members of the Body of Christ we have the most privileged access to our heavenly Father and can enjoy continuous, close communion with our wonderful Saviour at any time and in any place. We can draw near with confidence to God's throne of grace and are promised mercy to find grace to help in times of need... but we can also enjoy the closest intimacy with our heavenly Father, as we commune with Him in the first flush of the morning sun, be blessed by meeting with Him in the heat of the midday sun, or engage in quiet intimacy with Him in cool of the evening.

May we be ready with EYES that are open to look and SEE the Lord as He comes to enjoy fellowship with His blood-bought children. May our EARS be ever open to His Word and may we HEAR all that the Spirit says to us individually and corporately.

May we never be engaged in spiritual slumber or allow the passing of time to dim our desire to know Him more intimately and to love more passionately, with every passing day. May we eagerly wait for His any day appearing to come and take us to be with Himself - and in everything we do, may we do ALL to the glory of God.

My Prayer

Heavenly Father, what a great encouragement to know we can also enjoy the close, intimate fellowship Abraham enjoyed, once his faith was reckoned as righteousness. How precious to realise that he was a friend of God and that the Lord came to visit him as he sat under the oaks of Mamre, in the heat of the day. But what a privilege is mine when I realise that I have permanent access to Your holy presence and can commune with You every moment of the day, through prayer and praise, thanksgiving and worship... and how I thank You that my body is the very temple of the Holy Spirit. May I come to an ever growing understanding of the incredible privilege of having the Spirit of Christ indwelling my mortal frame. Heighten in me an increasing awareness and reverence of You, in the knowledge that You are my Friend. In Jesus' name I pray, AMEN.

Picture courtesy of Sweet Publishing

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