Second Sunday after Pentecost (Jun 18th)

Pastor's Summary of Genesis 18:1-15

Abraham has set up an altar at "the rocks of Mamre" (13:18), near Hebron. Here divinity appears to him, as he sits in a sacred spot ("at the entrance of his tent", 18:1). In Genesis, God's messengers, here "three men" (18:2), seem to be human in appearance. Abraham offers them the best in oriental courtesy and hospitality (18:2-8). Weary travellers welcomed a foot wash (18:4) and a meal (18:6-8). Addressing them as "my lord" (18:3) was part of the etiquette.  That they are divine becomes clearer in 18:9-15, especially when one of them speaks (18:10).  He (probably God himself) promises the couple a son: an incredible, laughable, idea, considering their ages.  Sarah is no longer of child-bearing age (18:11); to have sexual "pleasure" (18:12) is beyond belief. In 17:17, Abraham has laughed at the idea of having a son.) God will return "in due season" (18:10), next year). God keeps his promises (21:1-7). Isaac (meaning he laughs) is circumcised as a sign of the covenant between God and Abraham and his descendants (21:4). The author neatly divides Abraham's life: 75 years in Ur and Haran (12:4), 25 years waiting for the child in Canaan, and 75 years after Isaac's birth. Sarah is rescued from the cultural stigma of being childless; she reverses her earlier skeptical laughter: "everyone who hears will laugh with me." (21:6).