A lot has happened to Abraham in the past 24 years as we’ve been looking at his life. And to clarify, those 24 years are not how long we’ve been in this sermon series – we’re actually only at week 7 – but at this point in our story, it’s been 24 years since God first appeared to Abraham and invited him on a journey that would forever change his life.
God first appeared to Abraham when he was 75 years old and God made a promise to Abraham that he would have all kinds of descendants, that those descendants would become a great nation, God would bless them, and that they would be a blessing to every family on earth!
And those promises are not unlike the promises we received when we first met Christ. When we first came to Christ (at whatever age that was for each one of us), we receive very similar promises. First of all, we would have a huge family. God promised to adopt us into his family (a family that is spread across the planet and across time – we would instantly have millions of brothers and sisters in Christ). These people that you’re sitting here with today are part of God’s promise to you.
Also, God has promised to bless us with all kinds of blessings – not necessarily physical blessings, but blessings of life, joy, and peace, hope for the future – which are certainly worth more than any amount of wealth or possessions. And in receiving those blessings, God has enabled us to be a blessing to the people around us. We have the opportunity to share the Good News of Jesus with friends and family, neighbors and co-workers – whoever happens to be in our circle of influence.
We really are privileged to have received all these promises from God. And that’s perhaps where we’re a little different from Abraham at this point in our story. At this point, Abraham has not received the fulfillment of any of God’s promises. Abraham’s wife, Sarah, is now 90 years old and is still childless – God has promised them a son, but so far, they have no descendants. And while they are now living in the Promised Land, they are still foreigners in that land – the land does not yet belong to them. They are still waiting for God – 24 years later – to come through on his promises.
But in that wait, God has not been silent – nor has God been absent. In fact, God has used those 24 years to grow their faith, to help them learn to trust Him, and to teach them who He is and what He’s like.
And in our passage today, although God is still waiting to fulfill his promises, we see God once again taking the opportunity to reveal more about Himself to Abraham and Sarah. So let’s take a look. We’re in Genesis chapter 18 this morning – and we will start at verse 1.
The Lord appeared again to Abraham near the oak grove belonging to Mamre. One day Abraham was sitting at the entrance to his tent during the hottest part of the day. 2 He looked up and noticed three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he ran to meet them and welcomed them, bowing low to the ground.
3 “My lord,” he said, “if it pleases you, stop here for a while. 4 Rest in the shade of this tree while water is brought to wash your feet. 5 And since you’ve honored your servant with this visit, let me prepare some food to refresh you before you continue on your journey.”
“All right,” they said. “Do as you have said.”
6 So Abraham ran back to the tent and said to Sarah, “Hurry! Get three large measures of your best flour, knead it into dough, and bake some bread.” 7 Then Abraham ran out to the herd and chose a tender calf and gave it to his servant, who quickly prepared it. 8 When the food was ready, Abraham took some yogurt and milk and the roasted meat, and he served it to the men. As they ate, Abraham waited on them in the shade of the trees. Genesis 18:1-8
Now there are just a few things that I’ll briefly mention here before we keep reading.