Ministry to the Lord.

L. B. Hogg.

There are many valuable lessons to be learned from the life of Abraham, the father of the faithful. We find activities common to saints, not the least of which is the one recorded in Genesis 18:1-8, to which we desire to draw attention. It is a detailed example of Luke 8:23, "and certain women .... which ministered unto Him of their substance." Not often do we find this; numerous occasions there are of the Lord ministering to others, for "I came not to be ministered unto, but to minister." Even the twelve were guilty of selfish desires. How happy to be as the women, so the appreciating recipients of His boundless grace and salvation, that we both follow and minister to Him. From Gen. 18. we learn the remarkable fact that the Lord seeks the company of those who, appreciating Him, are ready to accept an opportunity to minister to Him. We read "comfort ye your hearts . . . for therefore are ye come to your servant." The moral fitness of Abraham is most important to note. He was called out; obedient; and sojourner; looking for a city (see Heb. 11:8-10); and, circumcised (flesh mortified) Gen. 17. His competence to meet His Lord's desire is seen also in the way he serves, as also the food he provides. The manner of ministering is delightful. His readiness, also that of his household, is noted. "He ran," v. 2; "hastened," v. 6; "make ready quickly," v. 6; "ran," v. 7; "hasted to dress it," v. 7. Paul urges this spirit in 2 Cor. 8:11.

Abraham's recognition of his visitor is striking, for despite the disguise, Abraham seems immediately to discern who it was, for he addresses Him by a title which in scripture is given to none but God. The provision for the meal showed his knowledge of the Lord's taste. Water to wash the feet provided, three measures of fine meal were in requisition. This sets forth the Person of the Lord as the One in whom dwelt all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. He was God manifest in the flesh. What praise there is as our hearts fill with a sense of the exceeding preciousness of this truth. In contrast, the parable in Matthew 13. shows the three measures of meal permeated with leaven, foretelling the pollution of this mystery of godliness by the responsible insubject church. Abraham then calls for a calf tender and good. This speaks of the work of the Lord Jesus and His character as a servant. In Luke 15 a calf fatted is the food of the Father and His now living son. How precious the communion there intimated as they feed upon the accumulated excellencies of the One who so willingly undertook, even to death, the will of God. But if in Luke the thought of "fatted" is presented, in Genesis we have the ideas of tender and good. Isaiah points to this when he writes, "He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant." What tenderness and goodness are seen in our adorable Lord as He walked here as man. Isaiah surely states God's estimate of Christ, and we gather that Abraham too appreciated this in presenting the calf tender and good as fitting food to his heavenly visitor. To arrive at the meaning of the third provision, milk, we are helped by the description of Israel's inheritance, "a land flowing with milk and honey." Our heavenly inheritance is the place where there flows without limit, throughout its vast extent, the "unsearchable riches of Christ." May we possess like spiritual substance, and follow in Abraham's steps, offering to our Lord that which is due. The order taken by Abraham indicates spiritual growth, for firstly we have the Person typified, secondly His work, and thirdly the riches of the inheritance. How proper!