Have you ever shown hospitality to God?
This seems like such a weird question, doesn’t it? After all, God created the heavens and the earth. The Bible tells us that He dwells in the heavens, but this isn’t even directly accurate because He Himself is far greater than the heaven that He Created. He is everywhere-present at all times, and He is a spirit who is not limited by time or space. Yet, on some level, His presence is manifested in a heavenly throne room, surrounded by precious jewels and angels who are constantly worshipping Him.
God is so great! How could we possibly entertain Him? Yet, Abraham does just that.
Please read Genesis 18:1-8.
Most scholars believe that God Himself took the form of a man, and He was accompanied by two angels. However, it’s possible that the three different persons of the Trinity each manifested themselves as an individual man, which is why there are three of them. Either way, the Scripture clearly says that “the Lord appeared to” Abraham—this was not merely three angels who were speaking with the Lord’s authority; it was God Himself.
How did Abraham know that this was the Lord? We don’t know. All indications are that these were simply three travelers, and Abraham was so accustomed to showing hospitality that he did for them what he would have done for anyone else. Some scholars believe that, when Abraham calls the traveler ‘O, Lord,’ he is merely using a term of respect, such as ‘dear sir.’ Abraham may not have known initially that it was God who was appearing to him.
Why then did Abraham expend such effort to show hospitality to these random strangers? Because that was the right thing to do. Abraham lived in a culture where hospitality was the greatest expression of godliness. No matter who came by his tent, he would have gone out of his way to show them hospitality. This was likely a pattern of his life, and it just so happened that this time, he was showing hospitality to God Himself. Just as Jesus says, “as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me” (Matt. 25:40).
I have some friends who go out of their way each Thanksgiving to invite people to their home that cannot otherwise be with their own family. I have other friends who invite strangers over to their house each week for a Bible study. I know a man who stops at each intersection where he sees a beggar, and offers to take him out for a sandwich. I know another woman who bakes care packages and sends them to every college student in her church.
There are many ways to show hospitality. However it works for you, do your best to show God’s love to strangers. As the author of Hebrews says, “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares” (Hebrews 13:2). Yet Abraham went even further and actually entertained God!
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