We can also see Abraham’s heart when the three men, the angels of the Lord, visited him. The Bible says about Abraham that he was sitting outside his tent. The Bible does not say that he knew they were the angel of the Lord; all he saw were three men approaching. But it was what followed that shows us the character of a Godly man.
Let’s try and see what went on here. I imagine that Abraham saw some very tired-looking strangers passing by his home and his tender heart was touched. They certainly were not walking with ‘Angel of the Most High God’ written on their blazers. Abraham saw these men and he purposed to do something about it. But imagine this man, 99 years old, running to invite passersby, literally forcing them, to accept of his generosity! Abraham had a generosity that would leave many of us reeling with disbelief.
The Bible says that Abraham ran and that he and Sarah personally ministered to these visitors; and it was not your ordinary “Another cookie, please?” Back then, what he and Sarah prepared was a 5-course meal.
(With regard to this, I have a few families to thank. I wouldn’t forget my wife).
God is looking at the condition of our hearts. God is interested with the ease with which we can keep our hearts pure and holy before Him. Christians are forever harping about how God is interested in many other things in our lives. True, yes; but first things must come first. Mind you, God could give us those ‘other things’ without necessarily being pleased with us. But we are interested in what pleases the Lord.
Only by obeying God as Abraham did will we become towering men of faith and mature in character as Abraham was.
And, pray, what price are we willing to make that happen? What price are we willing to pay to make sure our hearts are pure before God and man, especially in today’s world with its many stumbling blocks? Once God grants us to know the price we need to pay in order to live that kind of lifestyle, then we will have known the true price of Christianity.
It is truly sad to see how proud Christians are today. They do many things, but they are not ready to carry their cross and follow Jesus.
The Christian life is a given life. We must be willing to die to our pride and to ourselves!
And we must be swift to do it. We must be swift to release, quick to let go the things in our hearts that hinder us from pleasing the Lord.
Of necessity I find I often have to hit out at myself, “Don’t be stupid!” when I realize that my heart is deceptively moving towards a certain direction.
I want to run a different race. I want to run with father Abraham.
Recently a brother from a distant town called me on the phone and he began telling me about the problems that he has been having in his marriage. It was not the first time for me to hear about that particular couple; I heard about their troubles a long time ago and, being far, I had assumed everything worked out well eventually. Now he was telling me that nothing had changed and that, if anything, things just got worse between him and his wife.
This time, I knew exactly what to tell him. I felt he needed to hear the really Good News. I said, “Brother, if you are having a problem with someone, then the problem is not the other person, but you. Had you determined in your heart to not harbor problems, right now there would be no difficulty in your marriage regardless of what your wife is doing against you. You are taking too long to obey God!”
I assure you that I spoke those words with all the grace that the Lord had given me at that time.
We all have our job cut out for us.
I have a prayer in my heart. Maybe we all need to make this prayer. “Lord, deny me everything, but give me the swiftness that you gave to Abraham in heeding to your voice. Thank you, Lord. Amen.”
(You have the liberty of making this prayer without including the “deny me everything” part. That was just for me).