‘Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree: and I will fetch a morsel of bread and comfort ye your hearts; after that ye shall pass on: for therefore are ye come to your servant. And they said, So do, as thou hast said.’ Genesis 18:4–5
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: Genesis 18:1–16
We may briefly note Abraham’s hospitality and the reward he found it. The apostle refers to this and to the case of Lot (in Hebrews 13:2) where he says, Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have received angels unawares. It seems Abraham did not at first know his guests, but it was his usual custom to welcome strangers. We are not bound to open our doors to all, nor would it be prudent, but we should be hospitable and kind, especially to the Lord’s people. We know not what a blessing they may bring with them. The kindness we show to the meanest of his, he will accept as done to himself. These three men were three angels, or rather, one of them was the angel of the covenant, the Lord, who afterwards assumed a real body on behalf of his people. This was a greater honour and happiness to Abraham, but such honour have all his saints. He still walks with them and dwells in them.
Observe the simplicity of the times. Abraham was a great man, he lived in plenty. But the idle pomp and luxury of aftertimes was not then practised. His entertainment was plain. And he and Sarah, though they had many servants, were not above a concern in it. Abraham fetched the calf and Sarah made the cakes. So we find Rebecca drawing water. I do not say it is necessary or would even be proper for persons of rank and destination to employ themselves so with us. But the pride and vanity which grows in our times as people are raised a little above the lowest state of life, appears doubly contemptible when compared with the manner of Abraham’s living, whose wealth, honour and influence were very great, and yet he had no regard to the things of the world, but for their real use.
FOR MEDITATION: ‘Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms’ (1 Peter 4:9–10, NIV).
SERMON SERIES: GENESIS, NO. 37 [1/4], GENESIS 18:14