Daily Thought for: 24th November
BE NOT FORGETFUL TO ENTERTAIN STRANGERS
Hebrews 13. 2; 1 Peter 4. 8-9.
Throughout the epistle the readers have been instructed concerning things that are no longer needed. The sacrifices, ceremony and ritual which accompanied the law as a means of acceptance with God have now been superseded by One who is far better. In chapter 13, however, the apostle reminds them of certain things that remain and continue.
In verse 1, the exhortation to love fellow believers is not limited or changed by dispensational boundaries and legal requirements; it continues!
Likewise, examples of the continuing need to respond to others in various circumstances are touched upon in the verses which follow.
In the book of Deuteronomy we learn that we have a God who is interested in the stranger, the fatherless and the widow - those disadvantaged ones who were so often dependent on the kindness of others, Deut. 10. 18-19; 24. 19-21.
In today’s readings, the believer is expected to recognize the needs of others, and to be prepared to meet those needs in whatever way possible. If hospitality is needed, whether to friends or strangers, then the believer’s home should be available. The exhortation to all believers, Rom. 12. 13, and to elders in particular, 1 Tim. 3. 2, is that they be ‘given to hospitality’. Peter says that we should ‘use hospitality ... without grudging’, 1 Pet. 4. 9. The reference to ‘angels’, Heb. 13. 2, takes our minds back to Genesis chapter 18, where Abraham made provision for the three ‘men’, who were clearly heavenly visitors yet who readily accepted Abraham’s hospitality. In chapter 19, the backslidden Lot is approached by two angels, but such is his lack of spiritual vision that he sees them only as men. He offers hospitality, which is at first refused, doubtless because heavenly visitors would find no resting place in Sodom!
As believers in the Lord Jesus we do well to follow the example of Martha, Luke 10. 38; Lydia, Acts 16. 15, and Mnason, Acts 21. 16 - not forgetting a man in Damascus called Judas, who opened his home for three days to the newly converted Saul of Tarsus, Acts 9. 11! Would we do likewise?