Long-term Hope

OPENING PRAYER

Lord, let me know the intimacy of sitting across the banqueting table from You.

 

Read: GENESIS 18:1–15

[1] The LORD appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day. [2] Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he hurried from the entrance of his tent to meet them and bowed low to the ground. [3] He said, “If I have found favor in your eyes, my lord, do not pass your servant by. [4] Let a little water be brought, and then you may all wash your feet and rest under this tree. [5] Let me get you something to eat, so you can be refreshed and then go on your way-now that you have come to your servant.” “Very well,” they answered, “do as you say.” [6] So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah. “Quick,” he said, “get three seahs of the finest flour and knead it and bake some bread.” [7] Then he ran to the herd and selected a choice, tender calf and gave it to a servant, who hurried to prepare it. [8] He then brought some curds and milk and the calf that had been prepared, and set these before them. While they ate, he stood near them under a tree. [9] “Where is your wife Sarah?” they asked him. “There, in the tent,” he said. [10] Then one of them said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.” Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, which was behind him. [11] Abraham and Sarah were already very old, and Sarah was past the age of childbearing. [12] So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, “After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I now have this pleasure?” [13] Then the LORD said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’ [14] Is anything too hard for the LORD? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.” [15] Sarah was afraid, so she lied and said, “I did not laugh.” But he said, “Yes, you did laugh.” 

 

Reflect: IS THE FAITH OF ABRAHAM AND SARAH WITHOUT BLEMISH?

When the Lord comes to dinner, what do we cook? It’s the ultimate Come Dine With Me nightmare! Only the very best, of course, and we make sure we serve it ourselves (7,8). That’s assuming Abraham has an inkling it is the Lord who has turned up at his place. From the verses, do you think he has? How many times must Abraham and Sarah have cried out to God – in hope then despair – to give them a child? The Bible doesn’t say. Maybe one too many times for them – it’s now a joke for Sarah, to protect herself from yet more disappointment. Yet here is the Lord just the other side of the tent flap eating calf, curds and milk. Bad timing for laughing about something he himself has promised (17:15,16,19)! Like Sarah maybe we too are tempted to stop believing. After all, we’ve prayed so long and so hard. On this adventure into the unknown, taking God at his word about our deepest hopes and fears is vital. Remember, “What is impossible for people is possible with God” (Luke 18:27, NLT).

 

APPLY

In your long walk of faith, accept the Lord’s timing in your life patiently and peacefully.

 

CLOSING PRAYER

Father, I trust Your heart and so I can rest regardless of what I do or do not see.

 

Syndicated via Scripture Union. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

 

Terry Schneider