Religious Studies Sample Paper on the Son of Promise Genesis 18:1-18

The Son of Promise Genesis 18:1-18

Original Meaning

The Audience and Presentation Context

The devotional below was written to be presented to members of The Vineyard Compass Ministry at The Vineyard Church in Dalton, Ohio on Thursday 22nd, June at the weekly compass fellowship. The fellowship comprises of both male and female young adults of the age 18 to 30 years. The group contains church goers, miscellaneous denomination members and some unchurched individuals. The bible literacy level of this people is high as some of frequently been involved in bible classes and studies for a long time and have even facilitated the bible studies program.

The Son of Promise Genesis 18:1-18

GENESIS 18: 1-18 contains a memorable narrative on Abraham’s invitation of the three holy men and the promise of his son. While in the Promised Land; in the plains of Mamre, Abraham was sited at the entry of his tent and the lord appeared to him in the heat of the day (verse 1). The verse says that the lord appeared to Abraham in Mamre and some three men also visited him. The men are said to have engaged in all human activities like eating and walking. This appearance of Yahweh to Abraham was not a peculiar occurrence since he had previously appeared to him several other times. This was the sixth time the Lord was visiting Abraham[1]. At this time, Sarah was back in her tent.

The culture of the Middle East people involved welcoming of strangers who looked tired and weary. Abraham welcomed the three holy men, not just as a cultural practice, but also due to his generosity. This visitation bears the concept of freedom as well as that familiarity. Abraham requested the three men to come under his roof and get some little water to bathe their feet, and get some rest with him under the tree.

Abraham saw the men after lifting his eyes to see whether there were any men passing that way. The three gentlemen stood beside him. They might have probably descended from the heaven directly to the spot where Abraham sat or they might have traveled for quite some distance before getting to where Abraham was seated.

He then rushed into the tent and asked his wife to make some three morsels of bread. He then took a tender and lovely calf and handed it to his young servant who slaughtered it and prepared it. When the meal was ready, Abraham set it before the men; some cheese, milk, the baked bread and the meat that the young men had prepared, and served his three guests[2].

One distinct factor is that the men appeared in human bodies. The tent had openings on both sides so that he could be able to see the strangers who came from the east and the west and welcome them[3]. Abraham did not have anything in particular that he was doing but was probably looking for an opportunity to do good. He might have been waiting to see some strangers who he could entertain. Unlike these days there were no inns then, sojourners would be welcomed and treated by the people of the land where they travelled.

The three men were spiritual beings who were visible to Abraham and he could converse with them. Several debates have risen on who those men really where. Some bible scholars have argued that they might have been angels while others believe that one of them was the son of God. On seeing them, he bowed to the ground as a sign of honor. This was despite his advanced years

Customarily, washing of feet was a usual thing in the hot climate in the Middle East where sandals were the only attire for the feet. Due to the climatic conditions, the feet were dirty as a result of the debris and sandy terrain that characterized the roads[4]. Therefore, it was important that one washed their feet to prevent blemishing the host’s house as well as relieving the aches and pains that were caused by walking for long distances. Entertaining visitors is something that we should not forget. This is not only the visitors that we know but also for the strangers who we have never met before. Hebrews 13:2 says that, for in so doing some have welcomed angels to their satisfaction. Abraham’s home was open to strangers and this portrayed his love to God by showing hospitality to humanity. On seeing the three gentlemen, he did not wait for them to approach but he ran towards them to welcome them. Abraham’s generosity brings association with the divine creatures.

Abraham did not sit to eat with his guests but stood so that he would be able to carry out any task that they requested. The physical eating of the three holy men was natural partaking of supper just as Jesus would do with his disciples during the last supper (Luke 12:41). Abraham had a personal relationship with God. 2nd Chronicles 20:7 as well as James 2:23 refer to Abraham as an acquaintance of God. This friendship was founded on a continued relationship and deeds of obedience to the divine will. He agreed to leave his homeland (Genesis 12) and even accepted circumcision; both he and the males of his family.

After staying with him, they asked Abraham; “where is Sarah your wife?”. Mentioning Abraham’s wife by name signified that though they were strangers, they knew Abraham and his family all by their names. In addition, asking about the wife showed that they were concerned about the whereabouts of Abraham and his family.

When she heard them ask about her, she drew her attention and began to listen to what they were to say. That led to her hearing them tell her husband that they would return to visit him and that at a time like then, Sarah would have a son. This tells us that the Lord returns to those who welcome him. Sarah’s reaction to those words was laughter. Hers was not laughter of faith but one of doubt, distrust, and awe. To her, it was not biologically possible for a woman of her age to conceive. She was past the natural child bearing age.

The situation was further magnified by the fact that she had been barren. She kept questioning how this would be. The condition was further escalated by the truth that her lord was already old just like herself. Sarah called her partner Abraham, lord. The New Testament acknowledges Sarah’s respect and submissiveness, which led her to calling her husband Abraham, her lord. On the other hand, Abraham called the holy men “my lord.”

Abraham’s hospitality compelled the holy men to tell him what their mission was. They could no longer keep hiding from Abraham what they were going to. God deliberately expresses himself in the councils of men. This secret is greatly with those who fear the lord and who abide in him and have by faith put their lives in continued communion with God. Such people have a divine insight in the present as well as the things that are to come.

Contemporary Significance

Abraham’s lifestyle and relationship with God is something worth emulating by Christians today[5]. He portrayed a lot of faith in whatever thing that he did and no wonder the Bible calls him an acquaintance of God. Christians should be hospitable and give their best not only to friends and fellow Christians but also to strangers.

Christians should honor all men. Abraham; the father of our faith bowed to honor the “strangers.” As a sign of honor .The Holy Spirit notices any single act of affectionate and hospitable welcome like the one that Abraham gave to the angels[6] . In addition, the Christian wives are recommended to imitate and follow Sarah’s wifely character and submit to their husbands.

 

Bibliography

Henry Mathew. 2012. Commentary on the whole bible volume1 (Genesis to Deutronomy).CCEL.

Hunt, Steven A., and Marvin R. Wilson. 2010. Perspectives on our Father Abraham: essays in honor of Marvin R. Wilson. Grand Rapids, Mich: W. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co.

Longman T. III. 2009. How to Read Genesis. Intervarsity press.

Scharfstein, Sol. 2008. Torah and commentary: the five books of Moses : translation, rabbinic and contemporary commentary. Jersey City, NJ: KTAV Pub. House.

Smith Dudley. 2012. The expository commentary: genesis. Lulu.com

The King James Version Bible.

Walton, John H., and Victor Harold Matthews. 1997. The IVP Bible background commentary: Genesis–Deuteronomy. Downers Grove, Ill: InterVarsity Press.

[1] Dudley Smith, (2012). 80

[2] Scharfstein, Sol. 2008, 66-67

[3] Steven A hunt and Marvin R Wilson. 2010. 89

[4] John H. Walton and Victor Harold Matthews. 1997. 44-45

[5] Tremper Longman III. 2009. 36

[6] Mathew Henry. 2012 (n.p)