The LORD appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre…
The year is 2011. You are part of a team working beneath an ancient temple in the Far East. You are about to break into several chambers that have not been open for centuries. When you do, you can hardly believe what you find. You see diamonds—bags upon bags of diamonds. You see jewelry—more than you can describe or count. And you see gold coins—ton after ton. It will take time to inventory all that is here, but an initial estimate puts what you’ve found at over twenty billion dollars.
In addition, research has identified the treasure’s origins. Hundreds of years earlier, the temple sat on a popular travel route. As people traveled, they would regularly bring generous offerings to curry favor with the temple’s deity. The mountain of treasure standing before you is a powerful picture of how many view their relationship with a higher power. They ask themselves, “What can I give to God to persuade God to do something good for me?”
We discover that the opposite is true when we read the Bible. The eighteenth chapter of the book of Genesis reports that The LORD appeared to Abraham. Although Abraham welcomes him warmly, it’s clear that the LORD is not there so that Abraham can purchase his favor. His very name, the LORD, emphasizes that he is the one who makes unconditional promises and then does what he must do to carry them out.
This falls right in line with how God reveals himself to us throughout the Bible. He knows we are fallen creatures. He knows that, since our first parents severed their relationship with him, sin has soiled everything—including you and me. For this reason, the very idea that my soiled, sinful hands could somehow curry favor from a God of perfect goodness—such an option was never possible.
And that’s why God sent his Son. On our behalf, Jesus Christ lived the sinless life you and I have failed to live. In our place, Jesus Christ paid for our sin at the cross. The Lord did this not because we had given him some nice jewelry. He did it—because we needed him.
Lord, my whole relationship with you rests upon what you have done for me. Thank you. Amen.