Gen. 18:1-15; Heb. 13:1-2
I’m sorry for sounding like a broken record (and even more sorry for using such a time-worn cliché), but I want to remind you that the Bible is an intensely practical book. On the subject of the spiritual realm, it’s easy to get caught up into esoteric issues and speculation. If we need to know something about how to relate to God and each other, the Bible will reveal it to us. Anything outside that is something that the Bible probably won't address.
But today’s passage raises some interesting questions about the nature of angels, and it’s worth taking a look at it.
People encounter angels in several parts of Scripture. Of course, these individuals make up only a tiny minority of people in history, but they do exist: Adam and Eve, Jacob, Moses, David, Peter, etc. But today’s passage provides a really rare experience, when people actually sat down with angels and ate with them.
Please keep in mind that angels are spirits. They don’t have physical bodies like we do. But for a short time apparently they were/are able to take on at least the appearance of physical bodies--note that they ate and drank in front of Abraham. So they can eat; they just don’t need to.
But here’s where it gets interesting. Keep in mind that the New Testament is the best commentary on the Old. And according to the author of Hebrews, what’s a lesson we need to learn from this story? Be hospitable, especially to strangers, because you never know who might be in front of you in disguise.
What do we mean by hospitality? It means to open up not only your house but your resources to those in need. I do believe that we need to be cautious in this principle: You shouldn’t put your family in danger in bringing someone into your home. But as a guiding principle we should see our house, our money, our car, and anything else we own as really belonging to God. He doesn’t bless us primarily so that we can be blessed but that so we can pass the blessing on to others.
It'd be nice to offer my home to a stranger and find out later that he’s an angel, but I can think of something far better. What if I had the opportunity to have Jesus as a guest in my home? What if I was feeding people in need and later found out that Jesus had been secretly checking out my work and I had been given the chance to serve my King and Savior?
Well, you don’t need to wish for it. Wish granted! Done! You haven’t forgotten what our Lord said, have you?
'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?' "The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'"
Kinda beats having an angel over for dinner, doesn’t it?
Lord Jesus, I'd consider it an indescribable honor to serve you. So who's your stand-in today?