The Word — A visit by messengers of hope

Published 5:46 pm Saturday, December 17, 2022

“And the Lord appeared to (Abraham) by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the door of his tent in the heat of the day . . . The Lord said, ‘I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife shall have a son.’” Genesis 18:1, 10

Abraham had incredible promises from God. He was to be the father of a great nation (Genesis 12:2), have more offspring than the dust of the earth (Genesis 13:16) and offspring more numerous than the stars in the heavens (Genesis 15:5). But a lot of time had passed since he received those promises. A famine had taken them to Egypt. His business had grown so much (large herds) that he and Lot had to divide the land. He had gone to battle to rescue his nephew from enemy forces. Twenty four years had passed since God gave him that first promise. Abraham was now 99 years old and he and Sarah have lost hope. Can you blame them? It had been a long time and they are way too old to have children. That’s the last thing on their mind. Abraham is just trying to find some relief from the desert heat sitting in the door of his tent.

We all know what that’s like – to lose hope. It’s easy in the face of rising prices, aching bodies, continuous fighting and long nights. But the Lord didn’t leave Abraham without hope. The Lord comes to him to remind Abraham of his promises – to fill him with hope once again.

What a joy this time of year is as the Lord sends His messengers to fill us with hope. As we read our Bible or go to church we hear the angel Gabriel telling a priest, who had lost hope, that he will soon have a son who will prepare the way for the savior of the world. We’ll hear the angel Gabriel telling a young girl, named Mary, that she will conceive and bear a son and call his name Jesus. We’ll hear an angel tell the shepherds “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”

The Lord doesn’t leave us without hope. He sends His messengers who remind us that just as God has always kept His promises so He will keep His promises to us today. That just as Jesus came on that first Christmas to save a world lost in sin, so he comes today in the word and sacraments to save you and me and he will come again to deliver those who have hoped in him and bring them to their heavenly home where they will see with their eyes all that they had hoped in.

Rev. Matthew Sorenson is the pastor at St. John’s Lutheran Church. He can be reached at pastor@stjohnsfarmville.org.