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Wednesday: The Son of Promise — 8 Comments

  1. I wonder, what did this stranger look like? Was he regal and elegant, or downtrodden and travel-worn? Did Abram bow in respect (not worship) before the stranger because he was stately and dignified in form?

    When we are entreated, “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels.” (Hebrews 13:2) is this only for strangers that look worthy of our compassion – those who have a similar culture, who look like us, who don’t make us feel uncomfortable? Somehow, looking at Jesus and how he came to our world, I believe we would most likely find him and his angels even now in the faces of those we would not naturally be inclined to bow down to.

    Lord, help me to be willing to reach out in love to each person you bring my way, especially those that make me uncomfortable. In loving others, you have told me I will be loving you.

    • That is something for us to think of. Who is this stranger who needs my hand, my smile, some food or 'an ear'? Who am I meeting nowadays who can touch me in the heart and make me uncomfortable to the point that I either help or look the other way? Am I ready to attend the needs of my neighbor who come to me for help? Or this is just valid for total strangers? In this world I will certainly face myself with plenty of situations in which I can be a blessing to others, according to the blessings I´ve received from God too. May I stay connected to the Fountain of Life, thus I may also overflow to others. Abraham probably had a constant connection with God, that´s why he was touched and answered quickly and right.

  2. What have I learned about the character of Abraham?
    In spite of his huge household and all his responsibilities Abraham still extended hospitality to the strangers at his door and tended to them himself - is this why the LORD took the time on His way to investigate Sodom to stop and confirm to him that the promised son would be from Sarah?
    What did the LORD say about him? "For I know him, that he will command his sons and his house after him, and they shall keep the way of Jehovah, to do justice and judgment."
    What did this statement from the LORD tell us about the character of Abraham? EG White expands on this topic.

    Abraham's household comprised more than a thousand souls. Those who were led by his teachings to worship the one God, found a home in his encampment; and here, as in a school, they received such instruction as would prepare them to be representatives of the true faith. Thus a great responsibility rested upon him. He was training heads of families, and his methods of government would be carried out in the households over which they should preside. In early times the father was the ruler and priest of his own family, and he exercised authority over his children, even after they had families of their own. His descendants were taught to look up to him as their head, in both religious and secular matters. This patriarchal system of government, Abraham endeavored to perpetuate, as it tended to preserve the knowledge of God. It was necessary to bind the members of the household together, in order to build up a barrier against the idolatry that had become so widespread and so deep-seated. Abraham sought by every means in his power to guard the inmates of his encampment against mingling with the heathen and witnessing their idolatrous practices, for he knew that familiarity with evil would insensibly corrupt the principles. The greatest care was exercised to shut out every form of false religion and to impress the mind with the majesty and glory of the living God as the true object of worship.
    Patriarchs and Prophets pg 141.2

  3. Question from Study:
    Dwell more on the idea that “God is more identified with the hungry and needy foreigner than with the generous one who receives them.” Why is this concept so important for us to remember?

    There are still lots of people in spiritual darkness and hungry for light and spiritual food!

    Answer: Matthew 5:1-16
    Matthew 5:13-16 (CSB)
    13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt should lose its taste, how can it be made salty? It’s no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.
    14 “You are the light of the world. A city situated on
    15 “No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, but rather on a lampstand, and it gives light for all who are in the house. 16 “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.

    John 6
    26 Jesus answered, “Truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate the loaves and were filled.
    27 “Don’t work for the food that perishes but for the food that lasts for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set his seal of approval on him.”

    Matthew 10:16
    Look, I’m sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as serpents and as innocent as doves.

    ******Be careful who you let into your home, in these times********

  4. The lesson writer states:
    “Abraham’s attitude of reverence conveys a philosophy of hospitality.”
    "Showing respect and care toward strangers is not just a nice gesture of courtesy.”
    “Ironically, God is more identified with the hungry and needy foreigner than with the generous one who receives them.”
    Why is this?
    Because in all things, at all times, we have occasion to present the image of the living God to those we meet, personally or otherwise. Every moment, every circumstance, every chance we have to make a good impression for His honor and glory – we want to be ready and engage!

    As I read Heb.18:10, a thought came to mind. Could this be interpreted to say: "… I will certainly restore to you the 'time of life', and behold, Sarah your wife shall have a son." ? Or, "I will certainly return to you the 'time of life', and behold, Sarah your wife shall have a son."?
    Sarah's fertility, her ability to conceive was being restored. I wonder what others might think about this interpretation?

  5. Here we go again, the author of this lesson here says that Abraham calls one of the three men "Adonai," yet scripture does not say this at all. Scripture clearly indicates that Abraham refers to the three men as being "Adonai." then scripture goes on to say that "they," the three men, in verse 18:9, "And they said unto him (to Abraham) where is Sarah thy wife?" From what I read here it is clear to me that all three men were of Divine origin: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, to be exact. And they all communed with Abraham together and not what the author of this lesson claims that Abraham only does with one of them. All three Divine persons of the Godhead come to Abraham in human form to announce their promise to him about the son of promise in Isaac to Abraham.

    • Hi Pete,

      While I concur that the author of the lesson did not provide the best understanding of the text, it seems you err on the opposite side of the issue. The Hebrew word "adonai" which the KJV translates as "My Lord" (mistakenly with a capital "L") is not nearly as specific as you and the lesson author portray it to be. It can mean any superior - your boss in a machine shop, for instance, a slave master, a king, or, indeed, the Creator God Himself. It can be read either as singular or plural, depending on context. (Keep in mind that the Hebrew language has a very small vocabulary, so each word has different meanings, depending on context.)

      It stands to reason that if Abraham saw three strangers approaching he did not recognize them either as Yahweh plus two angels or as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. To him, they were simply strangers, and he greeted them with the utmost courtesy of a desert chief, "My lords, if you please, do not just pass by," or something like that. "Adonai" literally means "my lords," so it is an appropriate form of respectful address for three men. (It could also be translated as "Sirs.")

      I see Hebrews 13:2 as a clear indicator that, at the time, Abraham entertained the three strangers he had no idea that they were anything but strangers passing by in the desert. The word "unaware" indicates that.

      The way the story is told in Gen 18:1-9 is a great illustration of dramatic irony - where the readers know something that the characters in the story do not know. Moses lets us know that Yahweh Himself actually appears to Abraham, but, up to Gen. 18:9, Abraham has no inkling of what we, the readers already know.

      By Gen. 18:10, Abraham must be beginning to get the idea that this particular visitor speaking to Him is no ordinary man. By Gen. 18:13, surely Sarah knew this was no ordinary man! She had laughed "within herself," and the man asked, "Why did Sarah laugh?" By Gen. 18:14, Abraham would have become convinced that this was, indeed, the LORD Himself.

      We, as readers, discover, as the story goes on, that the two men who continued on to Sodom were two angels sent to rescue Lot.

      By the way, in Gen 18:12, when Sarah refers to Abraham as "my lord," she uses the very same "adonai" with which Abraham greets the three strangers in Gen. 18:3. In this case, it must be read as singular, because Sarah has only one husband.

    • NET note on Genesis 18:3
      tc The MT has the form אֲדֹנָי (ʾadonay, “Master”) which is reserved for God. This may reflect later scribal activity. The scribes, knowing it was the Lord, may have put the proper pointing with the word instead of the more common אֲדֹנִי (ʾadoni, “my master”).

      As Inge points out, the scribe who records the story (and the reader) know more about the strangers than Abraham and Sarah do initially. Abraham and Sarah have a progressive revelation of the Lord's presence and mission among them.


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