The Lord appeared to Abraham near the trees of Mamre

Genesis 18: 1


Reading:  Genesis 12: 7; Genesis 17:1; Genesis 18:1-17; Hebrews 13:2.

The Lord appeared to Abraham three times. The account we read in Genesis 18 is a clear example of a theophany, a Divine revelation in which God’s presence is made visible to a human being. There were visible revelations of God before Jesus took on human form and God is not limited in the ways in which He chooses to reveal Himself. The most obvious and common way in which He has revealed himself is through His Written word, but He also uses prophecies, or various signs and wonders.

The most common name used for God in these theophanies is the “Angel of the Lord”. There are many times throughout the Bible where God’s presence became perceptible to humans, and there were a number of people who saw the “Angel of the Lord”. Notice in this appearing we’re reading about in Genesis 18, how the “three men” left and Abraham walked with them, then verse 17 says the Lord himself asked the group about whether or not He should keep the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah hidden from Abraham.

This story tells us two things that are very important to focus on. Firstly, God makes himself very perceivable, clear and evident, when He is about to do something on the Earth. He always reveals His plans to His people before He acts. Secondly we must reflect on the fact that even though God appeared to Abraham these many times, it didn’t wash away Abraham’s capacity to be evil and manipulative.

You can go and read all about that in Genesis 20 – I call it the Abimelech saga.


Lord even more than You appearing to me in physical form, I thank You for Your love, acceptance and forgiveness. Help me to humbly receive Your kind outreach to me in any way that You choose to reveal Yourself to me.



Share with the family what a theophany is and then look at some of the theophanies recorded in the Bible.

The word theophany is a combination of two Greek words, meaning God and appearance.

A theophany is an appearance of God. More precisely, it is a visible display to human beings that expresses the presence and character of God. Examples include the thunderous display at the top of Mount Sinai (Ex. 19); the burning bush (Ex. 3); appearances to Abraham (Gen. 15:1; 17:1; 18:1), Isaac (Gen. 26:2), and Jacob (Gen. 28:13); the cloud of fire in the wilderness (Ex. 14:19; 40:34Num. 9:15-23); Micaiah's vision (1 Kings 22:19-22); Isaiah's vision (Isa. 6); Ezekiel's vision (Ezek. 1); and John's vision of God on his throne (Rev. 4-5).