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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Entertained an Angel Lately?

Hebrews 13:2 is one of those verses that has always intrigued me. Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

The idea of entertaining angels isn’t a new one. Remember Abraham? He and Sara gave a meal to two angels and the pre-incarnate Jesus. (Genesis 18: 1) Did Abraham know they were angels? I don’t know, but he seemed to know that Jesus was Lord. I find it interesting that Abraham fell to the ground in a very deep bow when they approached. It’s also interesting that they could eat meat and bread. These weren’t exactly see-through ghosty guys.

A chapter later, these same angels visit Lot in Sodom. Lot doesn’t seem to have a clue that they are angels. He honors them as guests and tries to protect them from the onslaught of sinful men all around his house. In turn, the angels end up saving Lot, by pulling him into his own home. The next day, these angels take Lot, his wife, and his two daughters by the hand and rescue them from the destruction of Sodom. The angels looked like men, acted like men, and they were strong. Lot definitely entertained them unaware—at least at first.

I know a very few people who have actually seen someone who helped them in a very particular way, and later that person couldn’t be found. Was this an angel? I don’t know, but at the very least, it was someone used of God.

The word angel in Hebrews 13:2 means: a messenger, an angel, someone sent by God.

Commentaries don’t give us any instances in Scripture besides those with Abraham and Lot, but I found an interesting application for this passage. The author cited the blessings available to Christians who entertain strangers in their homes. Many times, having servants of God—evangelists, preachers, musical groups, young people, etc.—in your home gives you a blessing and also impacts and blesses your children.

When I was young, my parents often entertained servants of the Lord. I think it prepared my heart to want to serve God as well. It’s great to get to know people who are serving God and are normal human beings with a sense of humor and interesting stories to share.

I have had the privilege of entertaining some precious people in my own home. Probably the most amazing person I have entertained was a lady that a friend had recommended to come and speak to our ladies. Three churches of women assembled together for the special meeting. The woman speaker was quite ill when she arrived at our house—about an hour before we needed to leave for the meeting. She had no strength. I feared for her health. How was she going to be able to speak to all these women?

Let me back up a little. The featured speaker was a lady who, when she was younger, was jailed for her faith. She was persecuted because she taught children God’s Word. She was arrested because she led a children’s choir. She suffered in many ways for her faith in Christ.

Fast forward to our meeting. When Silvia got up to speak, she spoke powerfully! God spoke through her to our ladies. It was one of the most incredible experiences I have ever had—the Holy Spirit enabling her to do what she could never have done on her own. Afterwards, we drove home. She felt so badly that she ate a little bit of chicken soup and went to bed. The next morning, we had some time to share together, and then she was gone.

I felt like I had met someone truly special. I’d been privileged to get to know a lady of whom the world was not worthy (Hebrews 11:38a).

Now, Silvia would be the first to say she isn’t an angel. Indeed, she’s written several books* that tell about her life, revealing a very alive, feisty spirit. But, this dear lady is a special saint (in the biblical meaning of saint), and it was a blessing to entertain her in our home.

Have I ever entertained an angel in my home? If I ever did, I remain unaware! But, I think I’ll keep my house open to strangers, my heart open to what they can teach me, and my eyes open . . .
                                  just in case!

*Silvia Tarniceriu’s life story is in two books, God Knows My Size (by Harvey Yoder) and God Knows My Path by Silvia herself.


  1. Thanks for telling me about these books -- I will definitely look them up. And what a marvelous testimony.

    Getting ready to have people in is stressful to me, but I am always glad once they're there.

    1. You'll be blessed by her story. It is, without doubt, inspirational and challenging.


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