The Ways and Counsels of God

 •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 6
Genesis 18:5-195And 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. 6And 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. 7And 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. 8And 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. 9And they said unto him, Where is Sarah thy wife? And he said, Behold, in the tent. 10And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him. 11Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. 12Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also? 13And the Lord said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old? 14Is any thing too hard for the Lord? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son. 15Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid. And he said, Nay; but thou didst laugh. 16And the men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way. 17And the Lord said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; 18Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? 19For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him. (Genesis 18:5‑19)
What a lovely meal Abraham provided for the three men who came to his tent door! Perhaps you never thought God takes knowledge of what we serve for our guests, but He does! Abraham and Sarah both had their part, as well as one of Abraham’s young men, in preparing the cakes, the meat which was so “tender and good,” along with the butter and milk too! Wouldn’t you like to have helped in preparing that lovely meal for those three men, who were really the Lord and two angels? What a privilege it was! But I hear some people saying, “The Lord never came to my house, nor angels either!” Well, they haven’t come in a way that you could see them — that’s true — but we have a nice verse for you. “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me” (Matthew 25:4040And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. (Matthew 25:40)). When you help mother prepare the dinner, you can do it as if you were really doing it for the Lord! That would make you want to do it well, would it not?
Sarah’s Unbelief
The Lord again promised that Sarah was going to have a son. When Sarah heard this, she laughed. She did not think it was possible. The Lord heard her and asked why she had laughed. Sarah then denied it and said she had not laughed. Abram had laughed with pleasure in the seventeenth verse of the previous chapter, but Sarah laughed be­cause of unbelief. The Lord knows the very reason why we do things!
At last the three men set out for Sodom, and Abraham accompanied them. It is just another little reminder of the kind of hospitality Abraham showed his guests.
Many years ago a dear servant of God had been holding meetings in a certain place. There was a young man in the home who always managed to stay out of sight. He did not want to be spoken to about his soul, though it was evident he was under deep exer­cise. On the night of the last meeting he went quietly to his room and accept­ed Christ as his Saviour. Can you guess what was the first result seen in his life? Well, it was just this. Early the next morning, the preacher had to take the train for home, and who should offer to carry his bags to the station but this very young man who had been avoid­ing him! Yes, he now wanted to be in his company, and like Abraham he helped “to bring him on his way.”
God’s Purposes in His Word
Would God hide His purposes from Abraham? No! That is why God has given us His Word. He has told us about all His counsels, though unsaved men cannot understand them. “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolish­ness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually dis­cerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14). Don’t expect your unsaved friends to understand the Bible. It is not until we have accepted the Lord Jesus as our Saviour that we have the Holy Spirit of God indwelling us to teach us its meaning.
Abraham was a strict father, though he was a loving one too (Genesis 22:22And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. (Genesis 22:2)). God said of him, “He will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord.” He did not allow his children to do as they liked. He made them obey because he loved them, and he knew that true happiness was the result of obedi­ence.
Further Meditation
1. Why did Sarah laugh when she heard the Lord’s promise that she would have a son?
2. Serving others is a huge privilege for every believer. Often that service comes without thanks or encouragement from other people. How did Ruth serve in a simple way without trying to attract attention to herself? What were some of the results?
3. You would no doubt enjoy and benefit from reading the pamphlet Christian Service by W. J. Prost.