Part of me has to laugh when I read Abraham’s urgent instructions: “Quick . . . bake some bread.” Baking bread from scratch is not something you can do quickly! It requires careful work and time.
But hospitality required that Abraham and Sarah’s visitors should have bread and choice meat and curds and milk prepared. So, whatever time it took to prepare all that, it was worth the work and the wait to provide a hospitable, generous environment for their guests.
Hospitality was central to the culture of that time, and it demonstrated God’s purpose for relationships. When people break bread together, something important happens. People who eat together develop a deeper understanding of each other.
Sadly, in our North American culture today, we’re often in such a hurry that we don’t take the time to really extend hospitality to each other. Yet the Bible often depicts the kingdom of God as a hospitable, even extravagant feast.
In our lives today, could we learn from our neighbors in other cultures about what it means to be hospitable? Could we make room for each other in a patient, generous way—even using the finest ingredients—so that our gatherings echo a biblical vision of hospitality?
Jesus, you promise to gather us at a great banquet. May that extravagant vision of breaking bread with you inspire us to spread a generous table for others who might even be your messengers (Hebrews 13:2). Amen.
18 And the Lord appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day;
2 And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground,
3 And said, My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant:
4 Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree:
5 And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts; after that ye shall pass on: for therefore are ye come to your servant. And they said, So do, as thou hast said.
6 And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth.
7 And Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetcht a calf tender and good, and gave it unto a young man; and he hasted to dress it.
8 And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat.
2 Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
46 Bel boweth down, Nebo stoopeth, their idols were upon the beasts, and upon the cattle: your carriages were heavy loaden; they are a burden to the weary beast.
2 They stoop, they bow down together; they could not deliver the burden, but themselves are gone into captivity.
3 Hearken unto me, O house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, which are borne by me from the belly, which are carried from the womb:
4 And even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you.
5 To whom will ye liken me, and make me equal, and compare me, that we may be like?
6 They lavish gold out of the bag, and weigh silver in the balance, and hire a goldsmith; and he maketh it a god: they fall down, yea, they worship.
7 They bear him upon the shoulder, they carry him, and set him in his place, and he standeth; from his place shall he not remove: yea, one shall cry unto him, yet can he not answer, nor save him out of his trouble.
8 Remember this, and shew yourselves men: bring it again to mind, O ye transgressors.
9 Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me,
10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:
11 Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.
12 Hearken unto me, ye stouthearted, that are far from righteousness:
13 I bring near my righteousness; it shall not be far off, and my salvation shall not tarry: and I will place salvation in Zion for Israel my glory.