Thursday, April 2, 2009
Three Visitors to Abraham's Tent
Well now Izzy, it is good to see you again, did you have a good day with your family on Sunday? Are you ready for your lesson today?
<= = = Yes sir, but I am still pondering the notion of Abraham not being a Jew, I realize the term comes from Judah, but . . .
As, I pointed out earlier, when he was still called Abram, the scriptures called him Abram the Hebrew, but never Abram the Jew. So, let's get started, this section, like Melchizedek's is quite mysterious and more than a bit sobering. The LORD appeared again to Abraham while he was camped near the oak grove belonging to Mamre. One day about noon, as Abraham was sitting at the entrance to his tent, trying to catch a bit of the light breeze coming out of the east while still staying out of the sun when he suddenly noticed three men standing nearby. He got up and ran to meet them, and though Abraham was a great man himself as part of the act of welcoming them, he bowed low to the ground.
<= = = Is this just part of their culture, or did he recognize them as greater than he?
Abraham had a special gift to hear and obey God, he has met the LORD more than once so of course be recognized Him. "My lord," he said, "if it pleases you, stop here for a while. Rest in the shade of this oak tree while my servants get some water to wash your feet. Let me prepare some food to refresh you. Please stay awhile before continuing on your journey." "All right," they said. "Do as you have said." So Abraham ran back to the tent and said to Sarah, "Quick! Get three pounds of your best flour, none of the moldy stuff, and bake some bread." Then Abraham ran out to the herd and chose a fat calf and told a servant to hurry and butcher it. When the food was ready, he took some cheese curds and milk and the roasted meat, and he served it to the men. As they ate, Abraham waited on them there beneath the trees.
<= = = Why all the hurry, hurry, hurry, I thought God was outside of time, what harm could another half hour bring? Also, you can't serve meat and cheese together, that isn't kashrut.
The great I AM is indeed outside of time, but Abraham and all that is around him is not outside of time and that will be a point of this story. Now the meat and cheese thing, that is a big misunderstanding, when we wrote not to boil a young goat in its mother's milk we meant exactly that. You guys eat lox and cream cheese and no one gets excited, go ahead, eat a cheeseburger they are amazingly good, just try to skip the bacon, OK? All this talk of cheeseburgers is getting me hungry, let's get back to our story.
"Where is Sarah, your wife?" they asked him. "In the tent," Abraham replied. Then one of them said, "About this time next year I will return, and your wife Sarah will have a son." Now Sarah was listening to this conversation from the tent nearby. And since Abraham and Sarah were both very old, and Sarah was long past the age of having children, she laughed silently to herself. "How could a worn-out woman like me have a baby?" she thought. "And when my master--my husband--is also so old?" Then the LORD said to Abraham, "Why did Sarah laugh? Why did she say, `Can an old woman like me have a baby?'
Izzy, you can take one thing to the bank, when God asks you a question, and in your life that will happen more than once, He already knows the answer, He wants you to go through the exercise of developing an answer. My favorite question is part of the story of Adam: Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as He was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, "Where are you?" Adam answered, "I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid." And He said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?" Always remember, when God asks you a question, He already knows the answer. And Izzy, it is very important you are never somewhere that God has to ask you where you are, do you understand? Now, Abraham had quite the relationship with the LORD, because He chose to answer gently and to reaffirm their covenant even after Sarah's laughter and her later denial of her own words.
Is anything too hard for the LORD? About a year from now, just as I told you, I will return, and Sarah will have a son." Sarah was afraid and she had every right and reason to be afraid especially if she understood the mission at hand, so she denied that she had laughed. But God said, "That is not true. You did laugh."
That is enough for now, maybe I can slide by White Manna in Jersey and get a cheeseburger on my way to my next appointment. The bun is too big for the burger, but I usually toss the bottom bun and eat them upside down. And Izzy, really, make sure you never go anywhere that God has to ask you where you are, trust me, He knows!