Torah – Genesis 18:1-22:24 Haftarah – 2 Kings 4:1-37 Brit Chadashah – Luke 1:26-38; 24:36-53; 2 Peter 4-11
Vayera (and He appeared) is a portion of Torah packed with a lot of familiar scenes and so much to learn. We encounter stories from Abraham’s encounter with the three strangers all the way to his obedient trip to the mountain to sacrifice his son, which was interrupted by the voice of the L-RD who substituted a ram caught in a thicket. There are many lessons to be learned through the events which happen between these two events, not the least of which being the destruction and judgement of Sodom and Gomorrah.
This year I feel lead to focus on the opening three verses.
Genesis 18:1-3, “Then the L-RD appeared to him by the terebinth trees of Mamre, as he was sitting in the tent door in the heat of the day. 2 So he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing by him; and when he saw [them], he ran from the tent door to meet them, and bowed himself to the ground, 3 and said, “My L-rd, if I have now found favor in Your sight, do not pass on by Your servant.” (NKJV)
We know that Abraham was an amazing man whom G-d referred to as friend. We know he was eager and hungry to know the One True G-d. We also know the accounts of the impressive hospitality that he and his wife were known to show to countless numbers of travelers and others they encountered.
These two traits intersect here as the study opens. Abraham, on the third and most painful day after circumcision, was sitting in the door of his tent. His tent was said to be opened on all sides that he may spot travelers coming from far away in order that he may greet them and treat them to his hospitality, which he used to share the knowledge of the One True G-d to the polytheistic world around him.
The lesson I want all of us to take to heart this week is that Abraham was alert and looking for an opportunity to serve and to be used by G-d. Of course, we know that in this particular account it was G-d Himself who received the hospitality.
Do we want to get G-d’s attention? Do we want to be known as a friend of G-d? I trust the answer to these questions is a resounding “yes!” We ought then to model the lessons shown by Abraham. He was looking for opportunities to serve. Don’t wait for something to happen, actively look where you can get involved in G-d’s plan.
Abraham humbled himself by bowing. There is a certain humility involved in being gracious and hospitable to others, especially strangers. Remember there are plenty of examples of humility that are spoken of throughout Scripture. Does the name Moses ring a bell?
There are other lessons and examples of how we can emulate this great father of the faith, but lastly I will point out that Abraham called himself a servant. In today’s church world, we like to throw around titles. We like to think of ourselves as kings and priests. We call ourselves a child of the king and so on. While these things are true, it would be much better for us to keep those things in mind, but only behind what should be our primary title…servant.
As we practice hospitality, we open the door to opportunity. When we humble ourselves and serve others we get their attention and now we have an opportunity to share with them not only the knowledge of the One True G-d, but we, in our time, have the chance to reveal His Salvation, Yeshua (Jesus!)