Someone once asked St. Pachomius to tell them of a vision he saw so that they could learn from it.
“If you see a humble man with a pure heart, that would be greater than all the visions; because through that vision, you would see the invisible God. Do not ask for a better vision.”
If seeing just one godly man can have such a profound impact on a person, then how glorious would it be to see three godly men living in unbroken communion and mutually offering their lives to Him?
Reading through 1 Samuel, I was awed to read about three such men reflecting the beauty of the Holy Trinity. They are only mentioned in two verses, and to my knowledge they are not mentioned again in the Bible:
“…three men going up to God at Bethel will meet you, one carrying three young goats, another carrying three loaves of bread, and another carrying a skin of wine. And they will greet you and give you two loaves of bread, which you shall receive from their hands.” 1 Samuel 10:3-4
Who Are They?
The first thing that is said about these men is that they are “going up to God at Bethel.”
What a beautiful verse!
How great would it be to be described by nothing else but how focused you were on pursing God? These men were not described by their relationships, their occupation, or even where they came from (which was very traditional in those times) but they were simply described by their pursuit of God.
Bethel, which means house of God, is significant because it was one of the first places where God met with His chosen people. This is actually the same place Jacob dreamed of a ladder reaching to heaven, having angels ascending and descending on it and having the Lord standing above it. (Genesis 28:12-13)
It almost sounds like these three men are on their way to climb this ladder to ‘go up to’ God.
Living in Communion
I can imagine that these men held one another accountable and encouraged each other in Him as they made this journey up to God together. They were not wise in their own eyes and knew the power of having a companion so as not to travel alone (Ecclesiastes 4:12).
Truly did the Psalmist speak of men such as these:
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is or brothers to dwell together in unity! Psalm 133:1
It also seems as though these men of faith had all things in common. Surely there was one goat and one loaf of bread for each of them rather than one man having three goats and another having three loaves of bread to himself. Each brought what they had and made up for what the other lacked.
Furthermore, they had one spirit as they did anything together; it was never one of them doing an action individually. The following phrase makes this clear: “they will greet you and give you two loaves of bread.” They didn’t live in communion with just themselves, but from their abundance they were able to provide for the for needs of those they came into contact with. They only kept for themselves what they needed.
Thinking about how these men might have greeted those in their path I can only think they were genuine, warm, and heartfelt. They were the type of people to ask you how you were and would actually care to hear your response. They were the type of men that didn’t just say “God bless you” to people without actually being a source of blessing to them (as witnessed by their free gift of bread).
Worshiping in Spirit and Truth
These men were worshiping God the way He intended them to worship Him.
It’s likely that the goats they were taking with them were intended to be sacrificed – one for each of them – as a sin offering:
“or if his sin which he has committed comes to his knowledge, he shall bring as his offering a kid of the goats, a male without blemish. And he shall lay his hand on the head of the goat, and kill it at the place where they kill the burnt offering before the Lord. It is a sin offering.” (Leviticus 4:23-24)
They were not only worshipping God in their relationship with one another, with their giving of themselves physically and emotionally to others, but they were also giving God glory by living a life of repentance.
These men remind me of Melchizedek in that they also prophetically brought bread and wine to offer to God as a prefigurement of the Eucharist. They also seem to be “without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life” (Hebrews 7:3) but worship God continually.
What beautiful men!
We are all called to be like our Lord, God, Savior, and King Jesus Christ.
Along with that though, we are called to live in harmony and communion with one another and to be an icon of the Holy Trinity. It was the unity that these men had that made them special. Their relationship with one another was a reflection of God Himself.
These three men of faith are a beautiful example of perichoresis, which is a term used to describe how the three Persons of the Trinity are One God. Perichoresis is the divine dance of Love where there is a complete and mutual giving and receiving. It involves Persons in harmony having perfect consideration for each other