And he said, Behold now, my Lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant’s house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways. And they said, Nay; but we will abide in the street all night. – Gen. 19:2 KJV
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Jehovah had heard so much about the atrocities of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah and he decided to send His angels to verify all these allegations, possibly with the additional authorisation for them to do the needful should they confirm the allegations – Gen. 18:15-21. Obviously, it could not have been the case that some people physically approached Jehovah or probably sent Him some form of written communication, so it must have been the case of people getting his attention through their supplication to Him in prayer, but more significant was the step taken by Jehovah to confirm these allegations. One can then safely conclude that when the scriptures stated that no undeserved curse comes to rest (Prov. 26:2), it is because the One who will authorize such requests will carry out a confirmation of the allegations before He gives approval for the curse to be activated.
Three men (Gen. 18:2), were therefore saddled by Jehovah, with the task of confirming all the allegations that were leveled against the people of Sodom and Gomorrah – Gen. 18:20-21. They were on this journey when they were sighted by Abraham who was relaxing under mamre trees close to his house and he invited them over to spend some time with him – Gen. 18:1-15. Though they made attempts to reject his gesture, he was able to convince them and was left blessed because of his good gesture to foreigners, when they were about leaving as a long term request to Jehovah was granted on that occasion.
This act of Abraham seemed like it was a norm for him, so much so that he had made it a family tradition. This is because the angels on arriving at there destination were equally sighted by Lot, a nephew to Abraham with whose family he had grown up, who reacted in exactly the same way his uncle reacted to the angels, and this he did without any form of communication with his uncle. Probably not aware that the angels were destined for his city, and as noted in the scripture that is the foundation of today’s Devotional, he not only implored them to come into his house and stay all night, but also offered them the opportunity to clean up before proceeding on their journey on the next day. Although they initially rejected his offer preferring instead to spend the night on the streets, his insistence just like his uncle did made them change their decision and agreed to spend the night with him. It now seemed a family tradition that they take care of strangers and he too was blessed by that decision as he was given the grace to leave the city with his family members before the angels commenced their destruction despite his hesitation to do so – Gen. 19:10-26.
By the way, worthy of mention is that though three men, supposedly angels, met with Abraham and also left him on their way to Sodom and Gomorrah after spending the night (Gen. 18:2, 22), the bible notes that only two men (angels) arrived Sodom and Gomorrah – Gen. 19:1. One of them probably did not continue with them on that journey.
It should be noted also that all Abraham did was to ask that the city be saved from destruction if a specific number of righteous people existed there (Gen. 18:23-33), but he was not specific about the individuals to be saved. With the decision of the angels to commence destruction of the city, they not only must have confirmed all the allegations that got to Jehovah about the residents of the city, but also did not find in the city the ten righteous people that Abraham had asked for as a pre-requisite for not destroying Sodom and Gomorrah, yet Lot was exempted from the destruction. He was probably simply being rewarded for taking care of strangers.
Though, the entire world is littered with so much insecurity and danger sufficient to discourage anyone, the Christian inclusive, from giving care and attention to people classified as strangers, it will still not detract from the fact that there is so much possibility for blessings in the act from Jehovah. Several sections of the scriptures emphasize how important Jehovah considers this act and also rewards it – Lev. 19:33-34; Deut. 10:18-19. The writer of the biblical book of Hebrews had this in mind when in the final verses of that book, he advised Christians to not stop taking care of strangers reminding all that such act opened great doors of opportunities and priviledges for many people in the past – Heb. 13:2. Jehovah specifically asked the Israelites to take care of strangers, not only because they too were once strangers in a foreign land but because generally, we are all strangers and sojourners in this world – 1Pet. 2:11-12; Heb. 11:13. Never stop taking care of strangers, albeit under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, as that may just be the key that will open the door to that long awaited request.
Make it a personal attitude and a tradition amongst family members just as Abraham and Lot did. They both took the decision to welcome the strangers and their family members did not resent the decision. You may not have to bring the strangers under your roof like they both did to welcome them, as making provision for them to feel welcomed in a strange environment may be all that is needed. May Jehovah grant us all the spirit that welcomes strangers in Jesus name. Amen.
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