Divine Encounters

Abraham Serving the Three Angels, 1646, Rembrandt van Rijn, 1606-1669, oil on panel. Image Source

We have all worried about the future. Maybe we have even said: “Well it won’t matter because I won’t be around to see it.” “That won’t happen in my lifetime..”

But is this God’s view of things? Does God want us to just keep our heads down and not rock the boat? Or does he want us to keep running for the prize until the very end?

Let’s lean in and view this Divine Encounter when Abraham was visited by the 3 holy travelers…

It is evening, all are circled around and everyone is listening to some kind of divine proclamation.

Abraham is being the good host. He is kneeling in service and attending to their physical need of refreshment and cleansing. He is honored to serve these unannounced guests.

Somehow Abraham knows this is encounter is different…

If I have found favor in your eyes, my lord, do not pass your servant by. Let a little water be brought, and then you may all wash your feet and rest under this tree.

~ Genesis 18:3-4

I love the little details that Rembrandt provides to make this scene his own:

  1. Notice the wings of the 3 travelers. Each is in a different position of revelation. The first one, who has his back to us, has his wings perfectly tucked back behind him. The second has wings that are slightly unfolded and the 3rd one in the center is very brightly lit and completely out stretched. The light from this central figure is shining onto all those around and illuminating their space.
  2. Abraham sees their divine nature, but he turns slightly to protect his eyes and looks like he is frozen in the middle of his action of pouring from the jug that is slightly cocked open. He crouches in stunned silence as he hears what God has in mind for his life–how he will become a blessing to many future generations.
  3. Sarah listens from a distance, hidden from sight, behind the door…she listens in disbelief and laughs at the ridiculous nature of their divine proclamation.

We are concerned here [in Rembrandt’s paintings] with the motif of watching, of being an eye witness, of becoming aware…

Rembrandt: The mystery of the Revealed Form, Michael Buckemuhl p. 30

With this painting, we can relive the story of Abraham’s divine encounter– but we are also experiencing all the phases of our own holy vision.

Realizing this we ask:

What is God declaring in your life?

Has he challenged and surprised you lately?

How is he calling you to plant seeds for the next generation? Seeds of sweetness and rays of light?

I believe that seeds of greatness live inside each one of us if we only learn to hear God’s divine call; to pause in silence; and believe in his wisdom and vision for our lives.

“…without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” ~ Hebrews 11:6

May God’s Peace be with you always:)

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