Thanks to a great insight from author Shalom Denbo:
In Genesis 17 we read where God and Avraham have made a covenant and Avraham has just been circumcised and the Almighty comes to comfort him.
So we read in Genesis 18:1 “YHVH appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent during the hottest time of the day.”
Surely, most of us would consider a personal visit from YHVH, where He appears to us and talks with us would be the greatest thing that could ever happen to us!
Consider a less dramatic analogy:
Some great and famous person such as your country’s President or Prime Minister, or your greatest sportsman or guru comes to visit you and is sitting with you in your lounge. Surely, the honour and prestige would be so great that you would not get up and leave him/her?
Yet, this is exactly what Avraham does, and not just to the President, but to the Creator of the Universe!!
He gets up and leaves Him when he sees 3 strangers walking by; 3 strangers who may just be vagrants or poor travellers.
Read on from verse 1 to verses 2-5:
“2 Abraham looked up and saw three men standing across from him. When he saw them he ran from the entrance of the tent to meet them and bowed low to the ground.
3 He said, “My lord, if I have found favor in your sight, do not pass by and leave your servant.
4 Let a little water be brought so that you may all wash your feet and rest under the tree.
5 And let me get a bit of food so that you may refresh yourselves since you have passed by your servant’s home. After that you may be on your way.” “All right,” they replied, “you may do as you say.” – NET
Avraham doesn’t just leave God ‘standing’, he runs from Him!!
I had never seen this before or thought of what it signifies.
Is Avraham so ‘familiar’ with the Almighty that he can do this; or is he simply not aware of the great and awesome honour bestowed upon him to have YHVH in his presence, communing with him?
Denbo suggests another option.
He argues that we learn from this text that Avraham wishes to emulate the Almighty, that is to be godly.
To be godly is to wish to be like God and to take responsibility for the world.
Avraham sees the 3 strangers and cares for their welfare as they travel exposed to the heat at the hottest time of the day.
Avraham desires to help these strangers, to offer them refreshment and shelter for a moment from the heat of the day.
Avraham sees being like God s more important that being with God!
What an amazing lesson!
This is surely what God wants from all of us. Not to wish that the peak of our existence is to commune with Him, but the peak of our being is to be as much like Him, as godly as possible and as a result to undertake ‘tikkun HaOlam’, that is, to undertake to repair the world, to take responsibility to do all within our power to impact the world for the better.
To be Godly, to be Holy!
This insight from “7 Traits: How to Change Your World” by Shalom Denbo.