The following is an excerpt of ministry on Genesis 18 where Jehovah came in the form of a man to have lunch and fellowship with Abraham:
Copied from the Life Study of Genesis by Witness Lee -
d. Living in Fellowship with God
1) Communion with God
on the Human Level
Immediately after this, he was ushered into a glorious section—living in fellowship with God (18:1—24:67). Abraham had been called, had learned to live by faith in God for his existence, and had come to know grace for the fulfillment of God's purpose. Now he has been brought into constant fellowship with God. The fourth section of his experience is found in chapters eighteen through twenty-four. Everything revealed in these seven chapters is an aspect of Abraham's intimate fellowship with God.
In the first section of his experience, God appeared to Abraham as the God of glory. In the second section He revealed Himself as the Most High God, the Possessor of heaven and earth. In the third section He came to Abraham as El-Shaddai, as the all-sufficient Mighty One with an udder. In the fourth section God came in a very different way—as a mortal man. As Abraham sat in the door of his tent during the heat of the day, he saw three mortal men approaching (vv. 1-2). In Hebrew, the word translated "men" in verse 2 means mortal men, human beings. God appeared to Abraham in such a form. At first, Abraham did not realize that one of these men was the Lord, Jehovah, and that the other two were angels.
Of these forms of God's appearing—as the God of glory, as the Most High God, as El-Shaddai, and as a mortal man—which do you prefer? Do you prefer that God appear to you as the God of glory? If He did, you would be terrified. Would you like Him to come as the Most High God? If the president of the United States were to come to me and say, "I am the most high president of the United States coming to visit a little man," I would feel uneasy. But if he were to come as a man the same as me, I would say, "Sir, how are you? Please come in and rest and be refreshed." If he were to come in this way, revealing later that he was the president of the United States, I could have a very good time with him. Of these four ways of God's appearing, I prefer that He come to me in the form of a mortal man, not in His divine glory, in His most high position, nor in His all-sufficiency.
We all need to experience our God to such an extent. At the beginning of our experience, we sense Him as the God of glory. But the more we experience Him, the more we realize that He comes in a human form, the same as we are. If God had not come to Abraham in such a human form, how could Abraham have been called His friend? Genesis 18 reveals that Abraham and God spoke with one another like friends. Abraham said to Him, "My Lord, if now I have found favor in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant: let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree" (vv. 3-4). Abraham prepared water for God to wash His feet, and God rested under a tree in front of Abraham's tent.
Very few Christians think that God would ever come in the form of a mortal man, rest under the shade of a tree, and wash His feet with the water that was prepared by a man. Which do you think is more pleasant—for God to sit on His throne demanding that we bow down to Him and worship Him, or for God to sit under a tree and wash His feet? Before the feet of the Lord Jesus were washed with the woman's tears in the house of Simon (Luke 7:38, 44), God's feet were washed in front of Abraham's tent. While Jesus was in the house of Simon having His feet washed and anointed, the priests of Judaism were worshipping God in the temple. Where was God at that time—in the temple in Jerusalem or in the house of Simon? Surely He was in the house of Simon. Likewise, where was God in Genesis 18—sitting on His throne waiting for Abraham to worship Him, or washing His feet beneath the tree in front of Abraham's tent? How marvelous it was that He was in the form of a mortal man washing His feet in front of Abraham's tent! Where is your God in your experience? Is He sitting on a throne in heaven or washing His feet at your tent? Do you prefer to have your God sitting on the throne, waiting for you to say, "Holy, Holy, Holy" to Him, or do you prefer to have Him sitting at your tent door? God came to Abraham on his level and in a human form. Since He came in this way, He and Abraham could be friends. In this chapter there is no religious worship or fear, just sweet intimacy. How wonderful! Who is your God today? Is He only the God of glory, the Most High God, and the El-Shaddai, or One in the form of a mortal man, the same as you are?
I do not say that God was a mortal man in Genesis 18; for He was just in the form of a mortal man. One of the three men who appeared to Abraham in Genesis 18 was Jehovah God. Verse 13 mentions "the Lord." In Hebrew, the Lord here is Jehovah. It was Jehovah who came to Abraham in the form of a man!
When I read Genesis 18 years ago, I was troubled by it. In this chapter Abraham certainly saw the Lord, but the New Testament says that no man has ever seen God (John 1:18). Abraham did not see God in His divine form, but God in a human form. God appeared to him as a man. It was the same when the Lord Jesus was on earth. People did not see God in His divine form; they saw God in the man Jesus. Firstly, God appeared to Abraham in His divine glory. Then He came in His most high position and as the El-Shaddai, the all-sufficient Mighty One with an udder. Lastly, He came in the form of a man. Abraham did not see the form of God but the form of man. He saw three mortal men, not realizing at first that one of them was Jehovah.
God likes to appear to us in this way. He does not come in the form of God but in the form of man, without making any declaration that He is Jehovah God. God talked with Abraham as one man talks with another. Suddenly He asked Abraham, "Where is Sarah thy wife?" This might have shocked Abraham, and he might have thought, "This man knows my wife! How could He know her? Isn't he a stranger?" Then the Lord said, "I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life" (v. 10). Abraham might have said, "Who are you? You must be the very El-Shaddai who gave me the promise of Isaac's birth" (17:19, 21). Probably Abraham was still uncertain about this until God said, "Sarah thy wife shall have a son." Sarah laughed when she heard this. No human being could have known at that time that Sarah was laughing within, but the Lord said, "Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old?" (v. 13). At this juncture, the Lord clearly unveiled to Abraham that He was Jehovah God by saying, "Is anything too marvelous for the Lord [Jehovah]?" When Sarah denied laughing He said, "Nay; but thou didst laugh" (v. 15), indicating that He was the omniscient God, the One who knows everything, even what is in man's heart. At this time Abraham was clear that this man was the Almighty Jehovah, the very El-Shaddai. In like manner, the disciples of Jesus gradually came to know that the man Jesus was God.
We all need to experience God in this way. We should not practice a religious form of meeting with God, saying, "Now is the time to worship God. I must dress up, comb my hair, and reverently walk into the cathedral where I shall be with God." If we take this way, God may not appear to us. Many times God comes to us while we are sitting at our tent door. Although we may be unprepared to worship God, we may see someone approaching and ask him to stay with us for a while. Eventually we learn that this One is God. Have you not had this kind of experience? According to religion, God visits people in a cathedral or chapel. But God often visits us in a very normal way, in a way which is extraordinary as far as religion is concerned. I like the God who appeared to Abraham in the form of a mortal man at his tent door. Many sisters have the experience that while they are cooking in their kitchens or doing the laundry, the Lord comes to them in a very intimate, human way, and they have a pleasant time of sweet fellowship with the Lord, conversing with Him as with a friend. Many brothers have the same kind of experience. While they are working on their jobs or resting at home, the Lord comes to them as a dear friend, and they have an intimate conversation with the Lord. This is the experience of the Lord coming to visit us on our human level so that we can commune with Him as with an intimate friend.
In which of the four sections of Abraham's experience are you? Are you experiencing God as the God of glory, as the Most High God, as the El-Shaddai, or as the One in the form of a mortal man? Are you living in intimate fellowship with God on a human level? How sweet it is when God comes to us not with His divine glory or in His high position but in the form of a mortal man!