The story in Genesis 18:1-15 is very interesting, and one that can be a great deal of fun to teach.
God had promised a son to Abraham, but Sarah was not able to have children. Abraham listened to Sarah and made a mistake in allowing himself to have a son through an Egyptian handmaid named Hagar. Thus, the Arab nation was born from Abraham through Ishmael. One day, while Abraham was sitting in the door of his tent in the heat of the day in the plains of Mamre, God appeared to him with three men standing next to Him. When Abraham saw them, he ran to meet them and bowed down before them. It is interesting to notice that, when he saw the Lord, he immediately showed humility and graciousness. He bowed himself to the Lord and asked Him not to pass away, but to stay and rest while he got them water to wash their feet. He also offered to feed and comfort them while they were there. He ran into the tent and told Sarah to prepare a meal to give to the young men who were with the Lord. He brought them food, and they ate. After they had finished eating, the three men asked about his wife Sarah. Then God told Abraham something very shocking. He said that Sarah was going to have a son. Abraham did not know that Sarah was standing behind him at the tent door listening to what was said. When she heard what was said, she began to laugh because she was ninety years old and Abraham was already one hundred. Both of them were past the time of having children.
When Sarah laughed, God questioned Abraham as to why she was laughing and asked a very interesting question.
It is found in Genesis 18:14, Is any thing too hard for the LORD?… When Sarah realized the mistake she had made, she immediately denied that she was laughing because she was afraid. God told her that He knew she had laughed. This is a very fascinating story, for we see God interacting with Abraham and Sarah; and we see their reactions to God. There are several very interesting lessons to learn from this story.
This principle is one of the most important in all of God’s Word. Abraham had already taken matters into his own hands once and made a terrible mistake. Now, he has learned to wait. In fact, he has waited for thirteen years and heard nothing from God. Ishmael was already thirteen years old. Perhaps, in some ways, Abraham had already given up; but perhaps he really did believe that God was going to come through with His promise. His impatience had turned to patience. God was now ready to explain His plan. Many Christians get ahead of God and rush what God has for them. Young people want to do some things too soon and, therefore, rush after that instead of waiting for its perfection as God had intended. Many adults, wanting to do something for God, rush off rather than waiting for God to guide them into doing that which He has for them to do.
ABRAHAM DID NOT LOSE HIS REVERENCE FOR GOD.
Abraham could have become bitter. He was one hundred years old. He had left his homeland. He had gone through things he would not have had to experience had he not made the decision to leave and follow the Lord. Now, many years later, he was in an unknown land away from his boyhood home. He has had many difficult experiences. He was very old, and still there was no child. Yet, immediately when he saw the presence of the Lord, we see the great reverence, respect, and humility in his reaction to God. What a great lesson! Never get disenchanted with God. Many, many Christians have left the Christian life because of a time of seeming absence of God. They became bitter toward God. God was always there. He was simply waiting for His good timing to be able to work in their lives. Do not get bitter. Wait, and God will speak.
THE FULFILLMENT OF GOD’S PLAN IS OFTEN HUMANLY IMPOSSIBLE.
One of the great statements in all of God’s Word is Genesis 18:14, Is any thing too hard for the LORD?… Abraham and Sarah could not see how it would be possible to have a child. Sarah was so overwhelmed with her doubt that she laughed at the Word of God when He said He was going to give her a son. However, the question comes back. Is there anything too hard for God? Nothing is impossible to them who believe. Without faith, it is impossible to please God. God wants us to believe that He can do anything. God wants us to believe that He is such a great God that anything He promises, He can and will do. May we learn to believe that we have a God who is greater than our limitations, for there are no limitations with God.
Abraham and Sarah had a son because God promised they would. What a wonderful story of God coming to them and giving them His plan after many, many years of waiting! Let us be reminded that God always keeps His promises, no matter how difficult or impossible it may seem to us.
Pastor Neal, through his preaching and his counseling, displays the compassionate heart of a pastor, follows the true leading of the Holy Spirit, and expresses a fervent desire to see lost souls come to know Christ. It is his ultimate desire to see the greater Jacksonville area reached for the cause of Christ and for revival to come to Northeast Florida.