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October 17, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“Then they said to him, ‘Where is Sarah your wife?’ So he said, ‘Here, in the tent.’ And He said, ‘I will certainly return to you according to the time of life, and behold, Sarah your wife shall have a son.’ (Sarah was listening in the tent door which was behind him.) Now Abraham and Sarah were old, well advanced in age; and Sarah had passed the age of childbearing. Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, ‘After I have grown old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?’ And the Lord said to Abraham, ‘Why did Sarah laugh, saying, “Shall I surely bear a child, since I am old?” Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.’ But Sarah denied it, saying, ‘I did not laugh,’ for she was afraid. And He said, ‘No, but you did laugh!’”—Genesis 18:9-15 (NKJV)
We’re at an important point in the story of Abraham and the fulfilment of God’s promise to him to bear a son through whom He would create an entire nation. Earlier in chapter 17, God gave Abraham the promise, but it’s in today’s passage that I believe He wants to affirm it to Sarah as well.
As Abraham entertains his three heavenly visitors, they ask him where his wife is. Given that it wasn’t customary for women in that culture to eat with men, she was nevertheless nearby in the tent behind them, within earshot of their conversation. As they inquire about her, it’s likely that Sarah’s ears perked up so she could eavesdrop on what was being said. This is significant because God knew that Sarah doubted His promise to her husband, as she was way past childbearing age—a fact she finds so amusing that she laughs to herself at even the thought of it. If we’re honest, we would likely react in the same way if put in her situation, as logic clearly points out the absurdity of the circumstances.
Here’s where it gets interesting, though. God then asks Abraham why Sarah had laughed at what He said. Ironically, Sarah tries to lie about what God already perceived was happening in her own mind; that is, doubt. And then the Lord asks a piercing question that gets to the heart of the matter, one which I think ultimately brings Sarah into alignment with His plan.
As Pastor Steven Cole notes in a commentary on Bible.org, “The Lord’s word to Sarah speaks to all who struggle with unbelief (and that’s all of us): ‘Is anything too difficult for the Lord?’ The absurdity of the question gives it its punch. How could anything be difficult for the Lord, who spoke the universe into existence? And if nothing is difficult for Him, then how can we persist in our unbelief? God goes for the jugular. He makes us confront our doubt. This story of Abraham and Sarah waiting all these years for the promised son teaches us an important spiritual lesson: God brings us to the end of our strength so we will trust in His ability to do the impossible.”
If you are facing difficult or painful circumstances today that you can’t handle, ask yourself: Is this too hard for God? I pray today’s verse is an encouragement to you to allow His strength to be made perfect in your weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9), and that you will remember that nothing is impossible with God!
DIG: Why did God ask Abraham where Sarah was when He already knew the answer to the question?
DISCOVER: What do you think God wants to say to you about doubt today?
DISPLAY: If you are questioning any of God’s promises to you, go to the Father and confess it like the man in Mark 9:24 who said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” Then ask Him to meet you in the midst of your circumstances—no matter how difficult—and prove Himself faithful!
Rob Nieminen is a seasoned writer and editor who has written devotionals for Calvary since 2015. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, FL. He serves in the Worship Ministry at Calvary Boynton Beach and is an avid reader, an erratic golfer, and an aspiring photographer who loves to cook and spend time with his family.