My nine-year-old daughter remembers everything I say—at least when it comes to fun events or potential treats. I have to be very careful how I communicate to her, lest they be misconstrued as certainties. It’s painful to hear her disappointment when she says, “But Mom, you promised!” Promises are an important relational contract, and the ways in which we keep them—or don’t—go a long way to building or destroying trust. As fallen creatures, we struggle to keep the promises we make. But trustworthiness is fundamental to the character of God.
Genesis 18 is a stunning account of a theophany (a visible manifestation of God). It also demonstrates God’s post-fall relationship with His children as He continued to pursue them despite their sin. Three “men” came to visit Abraham and Sarah, and based on Abraham’s direct address of “Lord” (“Adonay”), we deduce that he recognized one of them as God. Immediately, Abraham ordered his household to prepare a feast. During the meal, the visitors asked: “Where is your wife Sarah?” (v. 9). As divine beings, they knew her location, so they were not asking for information. Rather, they were leading to the point of their visit. In the next line, the visitor named “the Lord” made the bold promise that—within one year—Sarah would have a child.
Remarkably, in this instance, Abraham expressed no doubt. Sarah, however, laughed (v. 12). Did she laugh in astonishment? A lack of faith? The passage does not explain. However, her laughter does highlight the irony behind Isaac’s name (“laughter”). The query leads to the climactic, rhetorical question: “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” The word here for “hard” indicates an endeavor beyond human capability. And the answer to the question is a clearly-implied “No!”
>> How do you receive God’s promises? Do you laugh in disbelief? In what way do you need to be reminded today that nothing is too hard for the Lord?
When we doubt, may we be reminded of Sarah’s laughter at God’s promise. Father, comfort and reassure us with the question you asked Sarah: “Is anything too hard for the Lord?”