Warm Hospitality

“‘My lords,’ he said, ‘please turn aside to your servant’s house. You can wash your feet and spend the night and then go on your way early in the morning.’ ‘No,’ they answered, ‘we will spend the night in the square.’ But he insisted so strongly that they did go with him and entered his house. He prepared a meal for them, baking bread without yeast, and they ate.”—Genesis 19:2-3 (NIV)

I don’t know if the author of Hebrews was referring to today’s verses of Scripture when he reminded us about the importance of practicing hospitality, but the two passages are clearly interrelated, and I believe the Lord wants us to see something important in them. In Hebrews 13:2, we’re told when we show kindness to strangers, we may unknowingly be entertaining angels, which is exactly what Lot did in Genesis 19. 

As we discovered yesterday, Lot was sitting at the entrance to the city when he encountered two angels who had just left their meeting with Abraham and the Lord in the previous chapter, sent to execute God’s judgment. But as Abraham interceded on behalf of any righteous people who might be found there (including his nephew Lot) and asked God to spare them, it seems the angels went looking for anyone who might fit the description—and they did. 

You see, while Sodom and Gomorrah were filled with wickedness, Lot stood out from the crowd. As Matthew Henry notes: “There was but one good man in Sodom, and these heavenly messengers soon found him out. […] Lot sufficiently distinguished himself from the rest of his neighbors, at this time, which plainly set a mark upon him. He that did not act like the rest must not fare like the rest.”

Some Bible commentators suggest that because Lot had moved his family into the city, he had compromised his integrity by immersing himself in such a depraved culture (and we’ll discover later in this chapter how much the influence of sin affected his family—his wife and daughters specifically). Nevertheless, it’s clear from today’s verse that Lot was a good man based on the hospitality he showed to strangers. He invited these men into his home where he met their physical needs for shelter, bathing, and food. While the heavenly visitors initially declined his offer, Lot persisted because he knew how evil the people around him were and was rightfully concerned for the strangers’ safety. As a result of his kindness, Lot and his family were spared from the destruction that followed later.

Lot’s story communicates the same message Jesus taught in the parable of the Good Samaritan: to love our neighbor as ourselves. When we do so—especially to strangers and “the least of these” (Matthew 25:40)—we participate in kingdom work that has eternal impact, and we may be entertaining angels or blessing the Lord without realizing it.

DIG: What was it about Lot that made him stand out in a culture that was completely evil? How does this relate to how Christians should behave in our declining society today?

DISCOVER: Why do you think it’s so important to practice hospitality as a Christian? What message does it communicate to others? What impact do you think it might have in the spiritual realm? 

DO: Whether it’s inviting a neighbor over for dinner or helping clothe the homeless, look for opportunities to physically extend the love of Christ to others. In so doing, you may or may not be entertaining angels, but you will definitely be blessing the heart of your heavenly Father.

About the Author

Rob Nieminen

Rob Nieminen is a seasoned writer and editor who has written devotionals for Calvary since 2015. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, FL. He serves in the Worship Ministry at Calvary Boynton Beach and is an avid reader, an erratic golfer, and an aspiring photographer who loves to cook and spend time with his family.