Hyperbole alert – I may have overstated that title – all the Bible stories are excellent! But for at least two reasons this one is great. I love Genesis 18, which Ray Stedman called “When God Comes to Dinner.” I just love the picture of God coming to dinner as a man.
First Reason this is a Great Story: Angels show up. And so does God.
Abraham is hanging out one day, and three men walk up and have dinner with him. They start talking, and as the conversation unfolds, it becomes apparent that one of the men is actually God in disguise (some would argue the pre-incarnate Christ, but that’s a subject for another time). The language changes from “they said” to “the Lord said.”
Boggles the mind.
|This story is not in Genesis 18. But I am Laughing Out Loud at it right now.|
Now Hebrews 13:2 says we should show kindness to strangers because you never know – you could be in the presence of an angel. Whoooaaa. You could be buying a Big Mac or a Venti coffee from a guy and he’s actually an angel. A real life angel who FLIES through space and time and has actually been in the presence of God in a way I haven’t (Although he probably covered his eyes and feet (Isa. 6:2)). But that thought is a big hairy audacious deal.
Now to be clear, the other two men who come to see Abraham are, in fact, angels. So Abraham encounters not one, but two angels. And you gotta admit, any Bible story with angels is a great story.
But wait! It’s a lot more than that. The third person is God Himself! How amazing to be talking to someone and realize all of a sudden, “hey, this is not just some regular guy, this is like, THEE guy, the ONE, that like, MADE me!” Remarkable.
Abraham had an awesome day that day (except for the fact that God told him He’s going to destroy cousin Lot’s town of Sodom).
Second Reason this is a Great Story: God says –
Nothing is too hard for Him.
God tells Abraham that next year Abraham and Sarah will have a boy. Sarah overhears from inside the tent and laughs to herself (she’s 90). Silently. And God hears the silent laugh (that is sooo like God…hearing even silent things).
And the Lord asks Abraham (and somehow Sarah gets in on the conversation) why Sarah laughed. And here’s where I laugh:
Genesis 18:15 But Sarah denied it, saying, “I did not laugh,” for she was afraid. He (the Lord) said, “No, but you did laugh.”
Hilarious. “No, but you did laugh.” So matter of fact. So straight up. And I read it as said completely emotionless and deadpan.
|Actually, average person would have to wear flame retardant pants 11 times a week.|
Sarah lies because she’s afraid.
Before we think too poorly of Sarah, according to one Notre Dame study, the average person lies 11 times a week, even though it’s not God calling them out. But God hears it every time, just like He heard Sarah’s silent laughter.
In the face of Sarah’s disbelief, God asks a rhetorical question. In verse 14 He asks “Is anything too hard for the Lord?”
Great question. Yay God!
If God spoke our entire world into existence, then making a barren woman pregnant is pretty much a cakewalk*.
And apparently, Sarah considered this, because somewhere between her lying and cynical disbelief and childbirth, Sarah believes. But you only know this by reading ahead. How far ahead? Like 58 whole books ahead to Hebrews.
Hebrews 11:11 says: By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age since she considered Him faithful who had promised.
Somewhere between Genesis 18:15 and Hebrews 11:11 Sarah must have considered that question “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” And she came to a most excellent conclusion: no. Nothing is too hard for the Lord. And He keeps His promises. Even the seemingly impossible ones.
Nothing is too hard for the Lord. So you believe.
Believe and ask the question: What in your life is too hard for the Lord?
- Your marriage?
- Your attitude?
- Your heart?
- Your friend who is far, far from God?
- Your kids?
- A sin that you cannot overcome?
- Your circumstances?
- Your grief?
- Your pain?
- Your home?
- Your job?
- Your country?
What if? What if when God said, “is anything too hard for the Lord?” He was speaking a truth that applies not just to Sarah, not just to Abraham, but a universal truth that applies to you too? What if you woke up tomorrow, or next week or even next year, to discover that nothing is too hard AND He keeps His promises?
For all the promises of God find their Yes in Him (Jesus). That is why it is through Him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory. 2 Corinthians 1:20
God shows up. And nothing in your life, nothing, is too hard for Him.
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