Linger with God

A Faithful Friend

Linger. It means to stay in one place longer than expected, or to dwell in contemplation, thought, or enjoyment. We may linger with a friend over coffee, linger in an art museum, or linger on vacation, but how often do we linger with the Lord? What might that look like? Listen as Jennie Riddle describes how Genesis 18 has inspired her time with the Lord. 

Jennie Riddle is a songwriter, worship leader, and conference speaker. She is a three-time Dove award winner, top 10 CCLI songwriter, and two-time gold certified songwriter. She is best known for authoring “Revelation Song,” along with several other songs including “Hope of the Broken World,” “Mystery of Faith,” and “One True God.”

What comes to mind when you think about lingering with the Lord? In what ways do you linger with Him?
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Read the story below before considering the following questions.  

Genesis 18:1-21 (ESV)

1And the Lord appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the door of his tent in the heat of the day.2He lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing in front of him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them and bowed himself to the earth3and said, “O Lord, if I have found favor in your sight, do not pass by your servant.4Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree,5while I bring a morsel of bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on— since you have come to your servant.” So they said, “Do as you have said.”6And Abraham went quickly into the tent to Sarah and said, “Quick! Three seahs of fine flour! Knead it, and make cakes.”7And Abraham ran to the herd and took a calf, tender and good, and gave it to a young man, who prepared it quickly.8Then he took curds and milk and the calf that he had prepared, and set it before them. And he stood by them under the tree while they ate.

9They said to him, “Where is Sarah your wife?” And he said, “She is in the tent.”10The Lord said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife shall have a son.” And Sarah was listening at the tent door behind him.11Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in years. The way of women had ceased to be with Sarah.12 So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I am worn out, and my lord is old, shall I have pleasure?”13The Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?’14 Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son.”15But Sarah denied it, saying, “I did not laugh,” for she was afraid. He said, “No, but you did laugh.”

16Then the men set out from there, and they looked down toward Sodom. And Abraham went with them to set them on their way.17The Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do,18seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?19For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice, so that the Lord may bring to Abraham what he has promised him.”20Then the Lord said, “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is very grave,21 I will go down to see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry that has come to me. And if not, I will know.”

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Jennie interpreted the three men in this passage to be God. She explained how uncommon it would have been for an elderly man like Abraham to run toward guests and bow before them. His welcome and generosity showed that these men were worthy of great respect. Jennie also explained that the discourse in this passage shows how God chose to linger with Abraham and talk to him like a friend.  

What is most striking to you about this passage and why? What did you learn?
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Is it hard for you to believe that God wants to linger with you and know you like a friend? Why or why not?
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How could you be more intentional about lingering with the Lord? In what ways might you benefit from lingering?
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Our God is jealous for our time and attention. May we open our schedules and hearts to God with as much generosity as Abraham opened his home. May we truly linger in His presence until our souls are refreshed and the Word is alive in our hearts.