YHVH put it on my heart to study Hospitality in His Word. I wanted to understand a little better what HIS idea of hospitality is. This is some of what I learned.
Lets start by pondering this question: Is there a difference between hospitality and entertaining? I believe there is. Entertaining is something we do to glorify ourselves. We want to show a great décor, beautiful setting and decorations, creative centerpieces, and original food. We want to express ourselves when we entertain. Like an actor or dancer on a stage…we want “them” to be impressed. Entertaining comes with formal invitations to privileged guests and specific time slots. It has an agenda and assumes something from its guests.
This shouldn’t be confused with hospitality. Hospitality is what we do to glorify YHVH. Yes, it can be nice and special, but the focus and attitude are quite different. Hospitality is showing a heart for your guests. It is an attitude of service and sacrifice. It is making your guest feel at home instead of having “gone out”. It is relaxing and invigorating to both you and your guests. It is generous and without pretention. A hospitable hostess is more interested in expressing YVHV than she is in expressing herself. Hospitality is not limited to a small time slot or to “invites only”. Hospitality is gracious and open to whomever YHVH sends your way; whenever He chooses.
There are so many examples of hospitality in Scripture, here are a few:
Gen 18: 1Now YHVH appeared to him by the oaks of Mamore, while he was sitting at the tent door in the heat of the day. 2When he lifted up his eyes and looked, behold, three men were standing opposite him; and when he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them and bowed himself to the earth, 3and said, "My Lord, if now I have found favor in Your sight, please do not pass Your servant by. 4"Please let a little water be brought and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree; 5and I will bring a piece of bread, that you may refresh yourselves; after that you may go on, since you have visited your servant." And they said, "So do, as you have said." 6So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah, and said, "Quickly, prepare three measures of fine flour, knead it and make bread cakes." 7Abraham also ran to the herd, and took a tender and choice calf and gave it to the servant, and he hurried to prepare it. 8He took curds and milk and the calf which he had prepared, and placed it before them; and he was standing by them under the tree as they ate.
Wow…How would you like a visit like that?? Abraham didn’t have the convenience of being able to whip something out of the fridge. He has to have an animal slaughtered, and bread made…but what followed was amazing. If you finish the chapter you’ll see, YHVH is a God of relationship, He accepted Abraham’s hospitality and than blessed him and Sarah mightily. Abraham also had a voice to petition YHVH for the mercy for any righteous men who may reside in Sodom!
Gen 19: 1Now the two angels came to Sodom in the evening as Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. 2And he said, "Now behold, my lords, please turn aside into your servant's house, and spend the night, and wash your feet; then you may rise early and go on your way." They said however, "No, but we shall spend the night in the square." 3Yet he urged them strongly, so they turned aside to him and entered his house; and he prepared a feast for them, and baked unleavened bread, and they ate.
Lot was very generous and hospitable to these two angels. So much so that He offers his two daughters to an angry mob for the sake of their safety!! He took the care and protection of His guests very seriously, to say the least! I must admit; these actions are beyond my comprehension. I have read that in the customs of the day (and still in many regions in Eastern Culture); when someone came under your roof, you were to protect them at ALL costs. It is even said that your sworn enemy would be safe under your own roof for that reason. The home dwellings were safe havens, sanctuaries for whoever entered.
Lev 19: When a stranger resides with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. 34'The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt; I am the LORD your God. 35'You shall do no wrong in judgment, in measurement of weight, or capacity. 36'You shall have )just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin; I am the LORD your God, who brought you out from the land of Egypt. 37'You shall thus observe all My statutes and all My ordinances and do them; I am YHVH.'"
Some people think that Yahshua (Jesus) came up with “loving your neighbor as yourself”, as a new concept, but here it is plainly written in Torah as a principal we are called to live by. We must not only extend hospitality to people like us, who we have all kinds of things in common with, but with “strangers” as well. We mustn’t forget that we have all been strangers to YHVH…yet He has loved us as we are. We are to do the same to strangers.
Lev 25: 35'Now in case a countryman of yours becomes poor and his means with regard to you falter, then you are to sustain him, like a stranger or a sojourner, that he may live with you. 36'Do not take usurious interest from him, but revere your God, that your countryman may live with you. 37'You shall not give him your silver at interest, nor your food for gain. 38'I am YHVH your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt to give you the land of Canaan and (Y)to be your God. 39'If a countryman of yours becomes so poor with regard to you that he sells himself to you, you shall not subject him to a slave's service. 40'He shall be with you as a hired man, as if he were a sojourner; he shall serve with you until the year of jubilee. 41'He shall then go out from you, he and his sons with him, and shall go back to his family, that he may return to the property of his forefathers. 42'For they are My servants whom I brought out from the land of Egypt; they are not to be sold in a slave sale. 43'You shall not rule over him with severity, but are to revere your God.
Here we see “hospitality” is so much more than giving a friend tea and cookies when they come over. Yes…it is that, however…it is also a responsibility for Israel to take care of one another. To shelter one another in times of need and to do so in a way that does not demand unjustly of that person. Not to take advantage of their vulnerable state, but to help them. Not only to give them a place to stay and nourishment, but also to employ them! This is the Biblical Hebrew perspective of hospitality…quite different than “ western entertaining”, wouldn’t you agree?
One of the principals we try to live by and to instill in our children, is not to get attached to wordly things/ possessions. We try to remind them that all we have is YHVH’s and that He has made us stewards of His things. This motivates us to take greater responsibility toward the stewardship of our things, while at the same time it instills a temporal reality that at any given time, YHVH may call us to give what we have to another, or sell it or lend it. It frees us to better serve without the weight worldly attachments. It helps us not to get to set in our ways or “comfortable”. It reminds us that our treasures are stored in Heaven. (Matt 6:12) It lays the foundation for us to live generously or you might say…hospitably.
In another instance, an old man pleaded with the men of his town not to harm a traveling Levite because "this man has come into my house" in Judges 19:23.
You can really see the magnitude of importance of living generously and “offering hospitality” in the story of David (and his minion) and Abigail and all the repercussions around the stingy heart of the land owner in 1 Sam 25.
There are lots of nuggets of truth found in Proverbs that could be applied to Hospitality and living generously. One that I found very interesting in the balance of things was in Proverbs 25:17, where it counsels us as a guest: “Let your foot rarely be in your neighbor's house, Or he will become weary of you and hate you.” Our friend Jacob puts it another way, “Strong fences make good neighbors.”
One of the most despicable acts in the ancient world was to eat with someone and then betray them. There a few brief mentions in Obadiah 7; Psa 41:9; and of course Judas is displayed doing this in our Messiah’s last hours.
1 Peter 4:9-10 “Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms” I think this verse says it so well. While hospitality has many common threads of generosity, provision and thoughtfulness toward our guests…it looks different in each home; As different as those individuals that offer it. Genuine hospitality is not a cookie cutter form of Martha Stewart Living…it reflects the giver’s heart, resources, and willingness to serve…and that is very different from household to household.
Read this in the context of Hospitality. As it is described how we should live in community and treat one another in Romans 12: 1Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. 3For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. 4For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, 5so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; 7if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; 8or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness. 9Let love be without hypocrisy Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. 10Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; 11not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, 13contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality. 14Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly Do not be wise in your own estimation. 17Never pay back evil for evil to anyone Respect what is right in the sight of all men. 18If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. 19Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, "VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY," says the Lord. 20"BUT IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM, AND IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM A DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP BURNING COALS ON HIS HEAD." 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Luke 10:38-42, the short mention of Martha and Miriam - we are reminded of the difference between true hospitality and worldly entertaining. We are reminded that the people within our gates, are more important than the “things” we do to entertain them.
Luke 14:7 And He began speaking a parable to the invited guests when He noticed how they had been picking out the places of honor at the table, saying to them, 8"When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast do not take the place of honor, for someone more distinguished than you may have been invited by him, 9and he who invited you both will come and say to you, 'Give your place to this man,' and then )in disgrace you proceed to occupy the last place. 10"But when you are invited, go and recline at the last place, so that when the one who has invited you comes, he may say to you, 'Friend, move up higher'; then you will have honor in the sight of all who are at the table with you. 11")For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." 12And He also went on to say to the one who had invited Him, "When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, otherwise they may also invite you in return and that will be your repayment. 13"But when you give a reception, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14and you will be blessed, since they do not have the means to repay you; for you will be repaid at )the resurrection of the righteous." 15When one of those who were reclining at the table with Him heard this, he said to Him, "Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!"
“Remember to welcome strangers in your homes. There were some who did it, and welcomed angels without knowing it” (Heb. 13:2).
“I tell you indeed, whenever you did this, for one of these poorest brothers of mine, you did it for me!” (Matt 25:40).
I always say,” You don’t really know someone until you have been to their home to visit.”
Matthew 25 is PACKED with lessons about YHVH’s heart for hospitality. Read the whole chapter in the context of Hospitality and see if The Spirit opens your eyes to the relevance and importance of living this way in the three examples He gives. I see a few basic but profound pleas: 1. Get Ready. 2. Use what I give you with great trust, faith and zeal, 3. Serve and be ready to love the unlovable!! 4. Than He throws in some wammies, just in case we weren’t listening. YHVH uses pretty clear “either- or” language here and says EITHER you do this OR you will pay the consequences if you don’t. It really seems to be one of the things which He judges very strongly. It seems to be very important to Him and His plan!
As my DH was editing my post for you folks, He was reminded of this account in John 12: 1(Jesus, therefore, six days before the Passover, came to Bethany where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2So they made Him a supper there, and Martha was serving; but Lazarus was one of those reclining at the table with Him. 3(Mary then took a pound of very costly (perfume of pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. 4But Judas Iscariot, one of His disciples, who was intending to betray Him, said, 5"Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and given to poor people?" 6Now he said this, not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box, he used to pilfer what was put into it. 7Therefore Jesus said, "Let her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of My burial. 8"For you always have the poor with you, but you do not always have Me." 9The large crowd of the Jews then learned that He was there; and they came, not for Jesus' sake only, but that they might also see Lazarus, whom He raised from the dead. 10But the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death also; 11because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and were believing in Jesus.
There could be a couple of things to learn from this in regards to hospitality. Here is Mary (AGAIN) in relationship with Yahshua, oblivious to those around her, and giving all she had. Others whose hearts were not in the same place, may appear righteous by their thought of what is better. But really, wasn’t Judas’ heart stingy toward Yahshua (the guest of honor), and masked in charity for the poor? If we wanted to really give Judas the benefit of the doubt you might say he didn’t trust in YHVH’s provision for the poor and he felt he needed to see it personally that it was taken care of. (Because where this account is listed in other gospels, Matt 26 and Mark 14, it doesn’t pin point Judas like it does here in John. But be careful…we don’t want to think ourselves as more able to provide than YHVH!) But here in John, it declares Judus’ character and heart condition as being very corrupt. It also points out his practical position of holding the purse…and of course we see evidence of this being a real issue for him in the end! So I think this is a good place to “check ourselves” here…Do we make excuses for “holding back” in areas of generosity? Do we do it in a way most offensive, by disguising our selfishness with “righteous speak”, like Judas did? It is something to be aware of…of all people I don’t want to be thinking or doing anything like Judas did!
On a lighter note: Hospitality is mentioned as a qualification for leaders in the Body of Messiah in Titus 1.
The Scriptures have so many examples of how YHVH wants us to treat one another. Hospitality is interwoven into our ability to love, forgive and live charitably. But I think I will end with this wonderful example in Acts 2, placed right during/after the Ruach Ha Kodesh (Holy Spirit) came down to help us walk this thing out and this is testimony as to what that looked like: 44And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; 45and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. 46Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, 47praising YHVH and having favor with all the people And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.
I pray this study blesses you as much as it did me.
Welcome to Home Shalom!
Welcome to Home Shalom and Shalom Farm. We pray your visit here be blessed. We are learning to walk in the Ways (Torah) of our Father YHWH and follow Y'shua, His Messiah until He returns to "set things straight". We call it a "Messi-Life". Our walk is neither tidy nor perfect, but it is filled with passion, devotion and desire to serve our King. We are learning to be humble servants, and to be good stewards of the things that He has entrusted to us: His Word, our marriage, our children, our family, our community, our health, and our farm. Hitch your horse and stay a while--our door is always open!