You know a message is really important when three messengers arrive together, out of nowhere, in the middle of the day.
And you know someone knows you really well when they happen by your home, unannounced, at a time they know you will be there.
This is what happened to Abraham and Sarah one day when they were quite elderly and possibly feeling forgotten. Forsaken? And then, out of the blue, these men arrived…
““My Lord,” he said, “if it pleases you, stop here for a while. Rest in the shade of this tree while water is brought to wash your feet.”
Genesis 18:3-4 NLT
If you don’t live in a desert, this passage might not resonate as clearly as it does for those of us who do. Below are a couple of important tidbits my dear man and I learned upon moving to the desert:
- Look for trees – park under them and walk or rest under them when you have opportunity
- Take water with you everywhere you go
Shade and water are critical for survival in the desert, especially during the summer. The lower desert humidity makes room for higher temperatures, and a greater need for water to keep your body hydrated. And trees create the best shade. Sitting or walking in a shaded area will protect your skin from the sun, but there’s an added benefit. Temperatures under shade trees can be as much as 10 degrees cooler.
Another interesting feature of desert living is siesta time. Particularly during the hottest season of the year, desert dwellers go out early in the morning or late in the evening to run errands, exercise, and socialize. It’s not usual to see people just outside walking during the heat of the day.
“When the food was ready, Abraham took some yogurt and milk and the roasted meat, and he served it to the men. As they ate, Abraham waited on them in the shade of the trees.”
Genesis 18:8 NLT
With a fresh perspective, this story of Abraham and his three visitors comes to life with texture, experience, and color. Contextually, all of this makes sense, except the visitors out walking in the middle of the day.
These were no ordinary men, and they didn’t just wander by Abraham’s tent. I believe the one Abraham addressed as LORD (YHWH) was the pre-incarnate Christ in the flesh, and the other two were angels (messengers).1 They arrived at Abraham’s tent with a very important message. One with a date stamp. And what a beautiful message!
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