and said, "My Lord, if now I have found favor in Your sight, please do not pass Your servant by.Genesis 18:3(NASB)
Genesis chapter 18 opens with a most unusual occurrence. Abraham was sitting in the door of his tent in the heat of the day, when he saw three men standing opposite him. It seems he was snoozing in the midday sun for we read, "When Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, behold, three men were standing opposite him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them." Then we read that Abraham, "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 recognised one of the men was the Lord. One of the three messengers was the pre-incarnate Christ, the Angel of the Lord. His two companions were elect angels, who would later be instructed to rescue Lot out of Sodom, before God's judgement fell on the ungodly people there. Is it possible that the Lord had appeared to Abraham earlier? His reaction and response during this encounter, demonstrates that Abraham was well aware that this was the Lord, for he said, "My Lord, if now I have found grace and favour in your eyes, do not leave me. Do not go away from your servant."
We do not know HOW Abraham recognised this to be the Lord, but throughout the Old Testament, there are many places in Scripture where the pre-incarnate Christ is seen by different people. An appearance of the pre-existent Christ, in the Old Testament, is called a "THEOPHANY", and He often referred to as "the Angel of the LORD." In Genesis 16 and 21, the Angel of the LORD met with Hagar by a spring of water in the wilderness. He comforted her and promised that Ishmael would be the father of many nations. In Chapter 21 He appeared to Abraham a second time, when he was preparing to offer his son Isaac, as a sacrifice to the Lord, as God had directed him.
In Genesis 31, the Angel of the LORD appeared to Jacob to confirm the covenant He made with His fathers, Abraham and Isaac, and in Exodus 3 the angel of the LORD appeared to Moses in a blazing fire from the midst of a bush, when he was commissioned to go to Egypt and instructed to challenge Pharoah to "let My people go."
After the death of Joshua, the pre-incarnate Christ, the Angel of the LORD, appeared to Israel, to chasten them for their ungodly ways, while in Chapter 6, He called on Gideon to destroy the altars of Baal and lead the armies of Israel into battle. Other Theophanies appeared to the parents of Samson, to David, to Zechariah the prophet and Joshua the high priest, who was standing before the angel of the LORD, while Satan stood at his right hand to accuse him before the Lord.
In the New Testament, we see the Angel of the LORD conversing with the father of John the Baptist, while after Christ's resurrection, many consider that great angel that released Peter from prison to be an appearance of the risen ascended Lord Jesus Christ. And Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, also tells of his personal encounter with the risen, glorified Lord on the road to Damascus, when the greatest persecutor of the Church, became the most ardent follower of Jesus.
In days-gone-by, God spoke to us through holy men of God and prophets, and occasionally He appeared in person, as the Angel of the LORD. However, in these last days, He has spoken to us through His Son, Whom He appointed Heir of all things, and through Whom also He made the world. Jesus is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of His nature. He upholds all things by the word of His power, and when Jesus made purification of sins, through His death on the cross and resurrection from the dead, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, until that day when He returns to bring all things to their final consummation.
Abraham was saved because he believed God's Word, and his faith was credited as righteousness. Abraham knew the Lord for only those who are saved can enjoy fellowship with Him. There were times during his walk of faith when Abraham enjoyed fellowship with the Lord, and times when he was out of fellowship, those times he followed his own human logic instead of God's divine direction, such as the time he went down to Egypt during the famine, instead of trusting God to provide for his needs; and the time he took Hagar as his concubine, instead of trusting God to keep His word, concerning the promised SEED, Who would be born through his wife, Sarah.
When he was sitting in the door of his tent and saw three 'men' standing opposite him, Abraham was walking by his faith and not by his sight. He was in fellowship with the Lord, for we can only enjoy true fellowship with the Father and sweet communion with our Lord and Saviour, when we turn away from trusting ourselves to total trust in HIM. When we REPENT of self-dependence and rely on God-dependence. When we TURN FROM depending on man to trusting in the Lord with all our heart. When we BELIEVE His Word and do not lean on our own understanding.
It was at the oaks of Mamre, sometimes called 'the terebinth trees', that the Lord met Abraham on that astonishing day in Genesis. This was the place to which Abraham returned after his sojourn in Egypt. This was the place where he built an altar to worship the Lord and this was the place where he purchased a cave, in which to bury Sarah his wife, after her death, This was the place that Abraham was buried and the place that Isaac, the son of promise was also laid to rest. Mamre was obviously a very special place for Abraham.
But we do not need a certain place to meet with the Lord and He will not appear to us in the same way as He did to Abraham. God met with Abraham one way, and He meets with us in a different way. But He is the same Lord, yesterday, today and forever, and like Abraham, we can trust His Word and we must obey His will, and by faith in Him, we also have found grace and favour in His sight, and have been given His promises that He will never fail us. And He is coming one day to meet with us. May we be awake, ready and watching for Him with earnest expectation.
Heavenly Father, thank You, that I have found grace and favour in Your eyes and have been made a child of God, through faith in Christ Jesus. Thank You for the lessons we learn from servants like Abraham, and thank You that through faith in Christ, I can know you intimately and enjoy daily fellowship with you anywhere and everywhere. Open my eyes to see Your hand of blessing in my life. Never let me become complacent in my Christian walk and I pray that I will be waiting expectantly for the day when Christ comes to take His church to be with Him forever. This I pray in Jesus' name, AMEN.
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