In Genesis 18:1-15 we hear about the three men who visited Abraham. God was among them and he told Abraham that he and Sarah would have a baby within a year.
When they heard this news Sarah laughed.
This story has been very focused on Abraham, but Sarah has a role that can’t be devalued.
A lot of people today are offended by the ancient patristic cultures. In this story, we see a picture of God interacting within the context of that culture. The Bible is the story of God working within the framework of broken human history to restore humanity to its original unbroken state. Just because we see these roles working out like this in the culture of Abraham and Sarah, does not mean that they are prescriptive for how we should act today.
For Abraham to view Sarah as a necessary part of God’s story seems so absurd it’s even laughable to him. But it’s not laughable to God.
- In fact, when you trace it back to the first calling like that, you see that God is always very intentional about protecting Sarah, guarding her, and guiding her, even when Abraham fails to do so.
- Sadly Sarah and Abraham alike have become victims of their culture. They have believed the lie that Sarah could not possibly be central to the story. This is something they’re both guilty of.
- Even when they both mutually give up and say, “Okay Abraham, it looks like what God really needs is just your seed”, God says, “No. It’s not just Abraham that I’m after. I care about you.” God wants to bring the Messiah into the world through Abraham AND Sarah.
The purposes of God Almighty are not threatened by what the world calls weak and powerless.
- God called Sarah as much as he called Abraham, and Sarah was just as central to God’s plan as Abraham.
- Just like Abraham God was inviting Sarah to see this, and to believe it. God was inviting her into an involvement in his plan – To God, she was so much more than just Abraham’s wife that might purchase some advantage in Egypt.
- Sarah responded to this like a lot of us might. With a false humility that says, “I’m not good enough.” She stubbornly refused to lay hold of the faith required to believe that God was bigger than the cultural systems around her, or her own inadequacies within that system. All of this God flatly denied. Sarah. You may laugh, but I need you to answer this question. “Is anything too hard for the LORD?”
God has a plan for all of us. His plan isn’t contingent upon cultural norms or practices today. His plan is his plan, and he’s inviting all of us to be a part of it.
We long to be like those we perceive as powerful and strong instead of being who God calls us to be. When we are who he calls us to be we can experience his wisdom and strength and God will be glorified in us.
Genesis 18:1-15 New International Version (NIV)
The Three Visitors
18 The Lord appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day.2 Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he hurried from the entrance of his tent to meet them and bowed low to the ground.
3 He said, “If I have found favor in your eyes, my lord,[a] do not pass your servant by. 4 Let a little water be brought, and then you may all wash your feet and rest under this tree. 5 Let me get you something to eat, so you can be refreshed and then go on your way—now that you have come to your servant.”
“Very well,” they answered, “do as you say.”
6 So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah. “Quick,” he said, “get three seahs[b] of the finest flour and knead it and bake some bread.”
7 Then he ran to the herd and selected a choice, tender calf and gave it to a servant, who hurried to prepare it. 8 He then brought some curds and milk and the calf that had been prepared, and set these before them. While they ate, he stood near them under a tree.
9 “Where is your wife Sarah?” they asked him.
“There, in the tent,” he said.
10 Then one of them said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.”
Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, which was behind him. 11 Abraham and Sarah were already very old, and Sarah was past the age of childbearing. 12 So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, “After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I now have this pleasure?”
13 Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’ 14 Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”
15 Sarah was afraid, so she lied and said, “I did not laugh.”
But he said, “Yes, you did laugh.”