What’s like a crackling fire on a snowy day?

Published 11:11 am Thursday, April 27, 2023

By R.A. Tea Mathews

When I’m in town, I look forward to eating lunch with two friends: a woman I’ll call Millie and a police officer.

We don’t plan this; we’re just at the same place at the same time—a cafeteria that doesn’t get quiet until nearly 1:00.

Email newsletter signup

Who knows what we’ll talk about. If it’s a Bible discussion, I’m all in. However, it’s usually another topic, perhaps about people I don’t know. But I’m comfortable listening. Truly, the conversation doesn’t matter—I just like being with them. 

Why?

I asked myself that question this morning, and the answer made me think of Abraham and Moses. 

Both men were chosen by God and lived some 500 years apart.  Abraham, then known as Abram, goes back the furthest, living over 4,000 years ago. The two were called to journey to the same place. Was that:

  1. The Promised Land
  2. Canaan
  3. The land flowing with milk and honey
  4. All of the above
  5. Only No. 1 and No. 2

Lock in your choice and here’s the Scripture:

Now the Lord said to Abram, ‘Go from your country … to the land which I will show you; and I will make you into a great nation’ … So Abram went away as the Lord had spoken to him … and they set out for the land of Canaan…” (Genesis 12:1-5)

When God approached Moses, He said, “I have come down to deliver (the Israelites) out of the hand of the Egyptians … to a land flowing with milk and honey…” (Exodus 3:8)

The correct answer is No. 4, all of the above.

Once Abraham reached Canaan, he built an altar to God. Why?

  1. Because the Lord appeared to him
  2. Because he had reached Canaan
  3. So the Canaanites would know this was God’s land
  4. All of the above
  5. None of the above

Lock in your choice. Here’s the Scripture: “And the Lord appeared to Abram and said, ‘To your descendants I will give this land.’ So he built an altar there to the Lord who had appeared to him.” (Genesis 12:7)

The correct answer is No. 1, because the Lord appeared to him. This is a great moment in Scripture. Do you see why?

It reminds me of Moses. God wrapped Himself in a cloud and appeared to Moses day after day. I am not kidding. Look at the passage:

“And it came to pass, as Moses entered into the tabernacle, the cloudy pillar descended, and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the Lord talked with Moses.” (Exodus 33:9)

It’s just amazing!

But God didn’t come to Abraham in a dream or a vision or even a cloudy pillar. Scripture says, “The Lord appeared to him.”

Could this be anyone other than Jesus in the Old Testament? Let me show you a second time, many years later, when Scripture says that the Lord came to Abraham: 

“Now the Lord appeared to (Abraham) … When (Abraham) lifted up his eyes and looked, behold, three men were standing opposite him.” 

Scripture says two of the men were angels and the third was the Lord. It wasn’t a vision because the men ate the food Abraham gave to them. (Genesis 18:1-19:1)

Who else could it be except the Lord Jesus in the Old Testament? 

But what do Moses and Abraham have to do with me looking forward to lunch?

Because Millie is special to God as is the police officer. In fact, I wrote a newspaper column about him years ago: “A Reluctant Captain Relies on His Captain.” 

Yet they are different: The captain has a quiet way of putting down his foot, while Millie will give you a lot of explanation. I’ve never seen her give in. 

Except once. 

Years ago, Millie had done something I disagreed with.

“I made that decision,” she said, “because I’m not going to let anyone treat me badly.”

“You were humiliated?” I asked.

“Yes.”

“You gave up your witness because you couldn’t be humiliated for the Lord?”

And Millie stopped. 

There are people who can’t be budged. When confronted with the sacrifice of our Lord, they cannot stand down. 

Those who can’t be convicted, do not walk with the Lord. 

You and I will never get to lunch with Abraham or Moses, but the next best thing is spending time with utterly devout Christians. In fact, my time with Millie and the captain has the feel of a crackling fire on a snowy day. It’s warm. It’s nice.

Choose your friends wisely and give thanks to God for their presence in your life!

The Rev. Mathews, BA, MDiv, JD, is a faith columnist and the author of “Reaching to God.” Contact her at Hello@RAMathews.com to join her 1-Minute Bible Study.

Copyright © 2023 R.A. Mathews. All rights reserved.