17. Hospitality

I’ve read up to Genesis 18 and Sarai has now done her fair share of blowing it. She took matters in to her own hands and had her maidservant produce Ishmael, a son from Abram, in order to get the ball rolling on God’s promise. I guess she thought He needed her help in fulfilling a promise that He made to her, rather than the other way around.

Despite their failings, God gives them a fresh start. Kind of like a reboot, He changes their names and establishes a covenant with them. (Sounds like becoming born again to me.) The first outward sign of this inward change is the rite of circumcision. (Sounds like getting baptized to me.)

Here’s where the old covenant diverges from the new. The old covenant is good for Abraham and all of his descendants. If you’re born into the tribes of Israel, you’re all set with God. The new covenant is good for one generation only. Originating from a Christian family, even going to church, does not guarantee your salvation. One final difference: God’s covenant with Abraham excluded all non-Jews. The new covenant in Christ doesn’t leave anyone out:

John 3:16 – For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.

Back to our quilt block, Hearth and Home. The passage beginning in chapter 18 of Genesis tells of God visiting Abraham at his tent. There are three visitors, and the others aren’t identified. Of course I’m curious. Was it the Trinity, all in one place? Were they angels? I’m guessing angels, because the purpose of the visit was to tell Abraham that angels will soon destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. The passage also describes the two visitors leaving first and heading towards Sodom.

Before they left, there was a meal prepared and presented to these visitors. There were cakes to knead and bake, a calf to be slaughtered, dressed, and cooked, milk and curds to be arranged. I don’t know if I could pull off a feast like that at a moment’s notice. Mind you, Abraham was quite wealthy with a houseful of servants to carry out all the preparations.

But we are called to hospitality ourselves. We may not have tentfuls of servants, but we have microwaves, and instapots, and Keurig machines. And pizza delivery. I want to challenge myself to embrace more opportunities to open my hearth and my home to visitors. Hebrews 13:12 encourages us:

“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it”.

That’s an exciting thought!

Block 17 – Hearth and Home

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