Title: Is Anything Too Hard for the LORD?
Text: Genesis 18.1-15
Introduction: Hebrews 13.2 – Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. I think this is what Abraham just might be doing as we enter into Ch. 18 of Genesis – entertaining angels. No, to be clear, the Scripture says: rd v1, the 1st four words. And the LORD appeared.
That is the 1st point tonight. I’ve divided this chapter into Five (5) parts:
– The LORD Appeared
– The LORD Answers
– The LORD Asks
– The LORD Announces
– The LORD Asks again
Transition: Let’s begin with the 1st action of God…
I. The LORD Appears (1-5b)
exp.: Rd v 1; I don’t think Abraham totally grasped his experience until the end of the supper, but we’ll get to that. Let’s begin with the introduction, a sort of narrative to begin the story.
So the setting is that the morning work has been done and Abraham is sitting outside his tent in the heat of the day, probably resting.
ill.: This is what we might call a modern day siesta. Back in Cotulla, the men would work in the summer from just before you could see outside until lunch. After lunch, as the heat hit it’s highest mark for the day, the men would retreat to shaded areas to work or take a siesta to escape the sun’s brutal onslaught. Then, sometime later in the afternoon, men would return to work and work until they couldn’t see again.
I don’t know if that is what is happening here, but it sounds like it. Rd v 2a; So, he looks up and there are three men standing in front of him. Maybe he dozed off; probably not. This seems to me to be a clear statement of the Divine (cf.: John 20.19, 26). Look at
- Abraham’s Response: rd v 2b; he saw, he ran, he bowed; Then, look at…
- Abraham’s Request: rd v 3-5b; Stay and Refresh yourselves; v 3 is sg; v 4-5 is pl; the Trinity? Yahweh for sure. The word is Malachi in the plural, Malachim; water, to drink and get cleaned up; rest and get something to eat;
Transition: and the LORD answers
II. The LORD Answers (5c-8)
exp.: Rd v 5c; they (pl); Now Abraham gets to work; look at Abraham’s Response:
- He went quickly to Sarah:
i. Make Cakes: 3 Seahs – 2 Seahs would have filled the trough that took 12 Jars of Water at Mt. Carmel.
ii. That is a lot of cake; 5 seahs fed the army of David by Abigail; 1 Samuel 25.18; 1 Kings 18.22; Next,
- He ran: got a calf from the herd, gave it to a young man to prepare. Tender And Good; That’s a lot of meat; have you ever had veal at a steak house? Oh, my…
- He prepared: a meal; a covenant meal; Hughes: The divine visitation and feast was nothing short of a covenantal meal. This is the only place in Scripture before the Incarnation that the Lord ate a meal with a human being. What an honor. It reminds me of The Last Supper. After supper he took the cup and introduced the New Covenant!
- He served: rd v 8; He stood by waiting to do serve them; This wasn’t just a meal, it was a banquet;
Transition: I don’t know if they finished eating before they ask him a question; that’s part three.
III. The LORD Asks (9)
exp.: rd v 9a; Where is Sarah? I think this is important because it directs the topic of the conversation to her. What is going to be said by God will be said for her benefit. Abraham has to see these are not normal men passing through. These men use the new, covenant name, “Sarah”. Now, Abraham’s Response is: rd v 9b; I think it’s possible that she is right behind you. I think from the verses below that they have eaten outside, but it possible they were seated comfortably in Abraham’s tent. From the following verses, we figure she’s right there, just out of sight behind a tent curtain.
Transition: Now comes the re-affirmation of the covenant promise Abraham has already received and that’s part 4;
IV. The LORD Announces (10)
exp.: rd v 10a; Note: who is speaking here? Yahweh. He will return next year. Here we have the covenant promise repeated. Nothing new here for Abraham; but look at how verse 10 ends; rd 10b; She’s probably as close as she can get, eavesdropping on her husband’s guests; Maybe, her attitude is one of humility like her husbands. Maybe she’s listening in so that she might spring into action (however a 90 year old woman springs into action) should something be needed. Now, in this moment of listening in – which I think is ok (it appears this is for her anyway) – she’s told she’s going to have a son. This is something else that I imagine caught Abraham’s attention to the fact that these are normal men. Not only did they use her covenant name, but also they repeat the covenant as promised in Chapter 17, almost word for word.
How fitting for this statement to go along with a covenantal meal (i.e.: the Lord’s Supper)! Here, an animal is sacrificed.
Question: How is it she hasn’t heard this?
- Maybe Abraham never told her what had happened previously.
- Maybe He was unable to convince her what God had said. (17.16, 19);
Now, the text takes a break from the story and gives us a narrative note – like the Narrator is taking over; rd v 11; Moses makes two points here: 1st, the couple is very old, and 2nd, just in case you didn’t get it: Sarah is too old to have children. She has endured menopause and is no longer menstruating. It’s physically impossible for her to have children. So, look how she responds.
- Sarah’s Response: rd v 12; Sarah laughed to herself; this is important; next, she says to herself: “After I am worn out, and my lord is old, shall I have pleasure?” Now something interesting happens here; rd v 13-14
V. The LORD Asks (13-15)
- Sarah is Reproved: Why did Sarah respond this way?
– Is anything too hard for the LORD? Then, he answers his own question.
– I’ll be back in a year and Sarah shall have a son.
Now there is an interesting conclusion. It is very abrupt. Rd v 15; Sarah lies and says she didn’t laugh. She can do that because no one heard her. Remember, rd v 12 again: So Sarah laughed to herself. She didn’t think anyone heard her, after all, it was internal; She says she lied out of fear; This is her 2nd sin, the 1st was disbelief.
Here is a valuable principle she learns, and we’d all do well to learn it, too. God sees inside. He hears our thoughts! Psalm 19.14; 94.11; 139.2, 23;
Transition: So, what will you take home with you tonight?
Observations & Implications: