Thursday, January 03, 2008
Abraham meets Three Angels (Dore)
In Genesis 18, the Lord appears to Abraham in the form of an angel.
Before the incarnation of our Lord as a man, he took on bodily form as an angel, a form by which He made many appearances.
God is a personal God. He desires a relationship with His creations. Being corporeal beings, it is easier for us to relate to other coroporeal beings, so that even before God revealed Himself in the Son, He revealed Himself as an angel.
Abraham in this story was able to share a meal with His God. It seems an incredible idea, yet this is what the Word of God tells us. If Abraham had only shared a meal with two angels it would seem remarkable, yet God also descended and ate with Abraham.
God had fellowship with Abraham. The Christian may not share a meal physically with His Lord. Yet, He is indwellt by God the Holy Spirit. He is united to Christ in heaven. He has fellowship with the Church which is Christ's body and is a temple also indwellt by the Holy Spirit. When she is raised from the dead and glorified, the Christian will ever be with the Lord, enjoying His presence for all eternity.
Note the final conversation that Abraham has with God. He negotiates with Him. He attempts to persuade the Lord of the universe to have mercy on Sodom.
God allows Himself to enter into negotiations. Instead of operating an unchangeable plan devised in eternity, He negotiates with Abraham.
So many times do we hear theologians and preachers talking all the time about the sovereignty of God. They talk about how God has set down His counsels in eternity and they will never change. Yet here God allows His plans to be influenced by Abraham.
God desires a relationship with us. God wants men and women to be included in His plans.
So many Christians strugggle with prayer. They think "If God has planned what He is going to do, why should I pray?" This emphasis on the immutability of God's plans can present an obstacle for prayer for many Christians.
Yet this story tells us that Abahams' pleas had an impact on God. God listened to Abrham and changed His plans in accordance with His negotiation with Abraham. When we pray, God hears our prayers and He will shape His purposes in accordance with them. We can have boldness to bring our requests and petitions before the throne of grace and have confidence that they have an impact.