God Visits Abraham (Genesis 18) Commentary


And the Lord appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the door of his tent in the heat of the day. This occurs where Abraham had built an altar for God. There was nothing extraordinary here, Abraham had not called on God, it was a nornal day for him, taking rest from the heat. This visit from God is different from others, in that it is not accompanied by supernatural events. It is however, similar to some of the appearances of Jesus after his resurrection, such as on the road to Emmaus and on the beach. He lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing in front of him. This may not have seemed out of the ordinary, but Abraham recognized them as God, because God allowed Him to. The three men are the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. When he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them when Peter saw it was the Jesus, he jumped from the boat into the water  and bowed himself to the earth and said, “O Lord, if I have found favor in your sight, do not pass by your servant. When Jesus ministered to the crowd, people would throw themselves at this feet, asking humbly to be healed. The Psalms too, beg of the Lord’s presence. Abraham sets a great example, that we should imitate. If we humble ourselves to God and invite him in, He will not pass us by. Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree  God has appeared in human form. Jesus rested, by Jacob’s well. It was a hospitable custom to offer water to guests so they may wash their feet. When Jesus dined with a Pharisee, the Pharisee did not offer him water, but a sinful woman wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. Jesus, washed his disciples feet, in the greatest example of servitude and love.  while I bring a morsel of bread, that you may refresh yourselves, Abraham offers further hospitality and after that you may pass on— since you have come to your servant.”  Abraham asked for nothing else, only the blessing of the presence of God. So they said, “Do as you have said.” The three are one God.  And Abraham went quickly into the tent to Sarah and said, “Quick! Three seahs of fine flour! Knead it, and make cakes.” Fine flour is the purest flour. It is referenced often in the Bible:  It is the sacrifice allowed to God by the poor, Elijah the prophet continually filled the supply of fine flour for a starving widow, and Jesus compares the kingdom of heaven to flour and yeast worked into dough.  And Abraham ran to the herd and took a calf, tender and good, and gave it to a young man, who prepared it quickly. Abraham did not offer anything that was flawed. Then he took curds and milk and the calf that he had prepared, and set it before them. As an offering And he stood by them under the tree while they ate. To be of service, and probably in wonder. We should be amazed that God would appear in human form, as Jesus did.

They said to him, “Where is Sarah your wife?” God knows all of us by name. And he said, “She is in the tent.”  Abraham affirms his wife is well and near. God knows where those close to us are. He asks to provoke us to their attention. A push from God to call upon a friend or relative should not be ignored, or else we act like Cain, who when asked the whereabouts of his slain brother answered, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” The Lord said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife shall have a son.”  God’s promise fulfilled at His appointed time, not Abraham’s or Sarah’s. And Sarah was listening at the tent door behind him. Having heard her name, she had come to listen in, as God was well aware. Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in years. The way of women had ceased to be with Sarah. That is, anything that was necessary for her to reproduce was absent.  So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I am worn out, and my lord is old, Abraham is referred to as “lord”, recognising him as the spiritual head shall I have pleasure?”  Pleasure of intimacy; the pleasure of a child The Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?’   Is anything too hard for the Lord? Why does Sarah doubt God in his very presence, no less, after all He has done? This is a rebuke.  At the appointed time I will return to you In God’s time;  about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son.”  as promised But Sarah denied it, saying, “I did not laugh,” for she was afraid. An interesting look into the character of Sarah, who lies to God instead of asking forgiveness for doubting.  He said, “No, but you did laugh.” God is not mocked! You can hide nothing.
Then the men set out from there, and they looked down toward Sodom. And Abraham went with them to set them on their way. In the same manner John followed Jesus. The Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, God is deliberating as to whether or not share with Abraham His intentions;   For I have chosen him Abraham was God’s representative on Earth;  that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice, so that the Lord may bring to Abraham what he has promised him.”
Then the Lord said, “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is very grave, I will go down to see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry that has come to me. And if not, I will know.”  The Lord is about to judge Sodom and Gomorrah, and is handling the matter himself.
So the men turned from there and went toward Sodom, but Abraham still stood before the Lord. Two of the three went to Sodom. It has been argued that the two were angels, and also that the two were of the Trinity. While it is up for interpretation, it is clear God wants us to recognize the significance of Three.  Then Abraham drew near and said, “Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? Abraham is concerned for those without sin. Therefore he begins a negotiation with God, a plea for mercy for the righteous. He appeals to God’s own righteousness, and mercy.   Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city…forty-five… forty… thirty…twenty….ten….  It is not futile to pray for God’s mercy, as his dialogue with Abraham shows. We must be diligent in our prayers for the all, as we are all sinners.
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