3 minutes reading time (593 words)

God's Calling of Abraham and Three Visitors and the Gift of Hospitality (Genesis 12, 18)

Desert-Travel-in-Israel

 God's Calling of Abram

The Lord had said to Abram, "Go from your country, your people and your father's household to the land I will show you. "I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing". So, Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran…and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there. -Genesis 12

When Abram (later called Abraham) left everything that was familiar and safe to travel to the land of Canaan, he must have felt tremendous uncertainty. With the coronavirus raging and mutating, a lot of us are feeling the weight of uncertainties in our own lives. How will we be affected if we get the virus? When and how will the pandemic end? When will we get the vaccine? And these questions are in addition to the other uncertainties in our lives associated with relationships, career, finances, and a host of others.

In Stephen Covey's The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, he writes that "between stimulus and response, (we) have the freedom to choose." We can choose how we respond to the uncertainty in our lives, avoiding negative coping strategies and, instead, counting blessings and choosing gratitude.

What is God calling you and me to do as this new year begins? Each of us must answer that question for ourselves, but I offer that continuing to be faithful, finding ways to help each other and being grateful are good choices.

Three Visitors and the Gift of Hospitality

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."-Genesis 18

As Abraham encountered these three visitors, he was quick to provide water, food and a place to rest from their travels. Suzanne and I enjoy having people in our home for a meal and conversation and look forward to doing so again when we all arrive at the "new normal." We feel blessed by the community that flows from these gatherings. Abraham did not know he was entertaining angels when he made his invitation to them. But he soon realized the blessing of knowing he would have a son. 

We normally have a family beach vacation and the location changes from year to year. In 2019, we were in Indian Pass, Florida, which is close to Port St. Joe, a town that was heavily damaged by the October 2018 hurricane Michael. On Sunday morning I attended a church service at a church that sits beside the Gulf. The church sanctuary was moved off its foundation by a wall of water from the storm. Many of the church member's homes were damaged, some of their workplaces destroyed and everyone was adversely affected. Wherever people went, the conversation was about the hurricane and its devastating effects.

The sermon was based on this story with emphasis on the question, "Is anything too hard for the Lord?" The facility rebuilding initiative was underway. There were lots of unknowns and details to be worked out, but the congregation was being challenged to maintain their faith despite difficult circumstances. 

It seems like a good question for us to consider these days as well. Is anything too hard for the Lord?
Hagar and Ishmael in Huntsville (Genesis 21)
The Fall (Genesis 3)
 

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Wednesday, 19 January 2022

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