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B'resheet/Genesis 18:1 Adonai appeared to Avraham ... as he sat at the entrance to the tent during the heat of the day (CJB)
The Talmud tells us that the L-rd had come to visit the sick (b. Sotah 14a). According to R'Chana, it was the third day since Avraham's circumcision and the L-rd came to enquire about his welfare (b. Bava Metzia 86b). Whatever the historical accuracy of the tradition's additions to the written Biblical narrative, the story can teach us three things: firstly, G-d sought to comfort Avraham in his physical discomfort and distress; secondly, although Avraham's wound would still have been weeping, G-d set aside the cleanliness/purity laws that were later to be given to Moshe (Vayikra 15:1-15) in order to visit Avraham and share his hospitality; and thirdly, G-d appeared at an unexpected time - when travellers would normally be resting in the shade, as indeed Avraham himself was doing.
From this we can learn three important principles: firstly, G-d desires to comfort His people in their affliction. As the Psalmist wrote, "when I walk through the valley of the shadow of death ... Thou art with me" (Psalm 23:4, KJV); and Yeshua tells the talmidim as He is about to leave them, "Remember! I will be with you always, even until the end of the age" (Matthew 28:20, CJB).
Secondly, although G-d will not tolerate or compromise with sin, He nevertheless reaches out to us in order to rescue us when we stumble. After all, Rav Sha'ul tells us that, "G-d demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8, NASB). As in the Jewish tradition, all the mitzvot (save three) can be suspended in order to save life, so G-d Himself will reach into our lives to gain relationship with us or re-open a blocked channel of communication.
Thirdly, even when we are not expecting Him, G-d breaks through into our lives. Whether He arrests us in a hidden sin that we thought He could not see; whether He speaks into our loneliness, depression or despair; or whether He breaks our silence of neglect or forgetfulness (or even busy-ness!) towards Him, G-d wants to be a part of our lives and to be there for us when no-one else can or will.
Further Study: Psalm 139:7-12, 2 Corinthians 5:21
Application: Have things between you and G-d been a little sticky lately? Have you lost touch in the pressures and pains of life? Then reach out to Him, for He is longing to visit you in the heat of the day.
© Jonathan Allen, 2003
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