Is there anything too difficult for the Lord?---Genesis 18:14
I’ve been thinking a lot about Abraham and Sarah lately. Their lives would appear to be so vastly different than mine and yours…and yet, in some ways the emotions involved in their interactions with God are strangely similar.
The backstory as a refresher for those of you, like me, who rarely turn left from the book of Matthew in your Bible…
A long, long, l-o-n-g time ago there was a man named Abram upon whom God’s favor fell. This was obviously after Noah and the flood, but years before the Hebrews were taken into captivity, this was where the Hebrews began! This was before Charlton Hesston, er, um..I mean Moses ascended Mt. Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments.
So a long time
there was Abram, who later became Abraham.
And for reasons all His own, the Lord God chose to bless him, to give him children and to begin in him a people who would bring forth the Messiah.
In Genesis 15, God tells Abraham, an old and childless man, that He would indeed give him heirs. He instructs Abraham to look at the vast number of stars in the sky, confirming to him that his descendants would be even more numerous. The promise was made, with an object lesson to boot! And the Scriptures say that Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him as righteousness.
Have you ever received a promise from God either through Him speaking to your heart or through a specific promise in His Word?
Has He ever made it so clear to you that it was as evident as the stars in the sky on a brisk autumn night?
Did you (do you) know that after that promise was given that nothing… nothing would ever be the same?
Ok, that was the Divine first part of our story, now comes the human side, the part where you and I live daily. In re-reading the text, I’m unsure if Abraham told his childless wife, Sarah about the first encounter with God, but in an oh-so-like-me maneuver Sarah decides to help God out. Because God wasn’t moving fast enough to provide a baby, because their entire lineage is on the verge of extinction, Sarah has a big (wrong) idea.
She gives her slave, Hagar to sleep with her husband to hopefully produce an heir. Sounding like a soap opera yet? It does get even “soapier”…as Hagar conceives a child with her master…and it all gets messier, but that is a devo for another day.
In what ways in your life do you try to help God with ways that are your own?
Have you ever gotten ahead of God…running too far, too fast, impatient for Him to catch up, demanding Him to live by your time-table?
As Dr. Phil would say, “How’d that work out for ya?”
So the child of Hagar and Abraham, Ishmael, is born, but this was not the son of the promise.
God still had Isaac in mind,
to be born of a woman too old to conceive
from a man who was now, at least thirteen years later, too old to help her.
God wants them to know this was all about HIS promise.
Both Abraham and Sarah have interesting responses to being reminded about the promise of their offspring to come. Abraham, in chapter 17 and Sarah in chapter 18 both LAUGH at the idea of the dream coming to fruition.
Was it an ironic “yeah, right!” laugh?
Was it a joyful belly laugh?
Was it a sarcastic, even scoffing chuckle?
God calls Sarah out after her comic interlude, confronting her on her laughter, saying “Is anything too difficult for the Lord?”
Have you ever later scoffed at the promise God earlier birthed in your heart?
Has the time that has passed made you skeptical of it coming true?
Have you ever just joyfully guffawed at the beautiful outrageousness of His plans for you?
Or is the promise God gave you too difficult for Him to accomplish?
Promises of God…
dreams, hopes and plans,
these can be confusing, tricky things.
We need to know they are indeed from God and then believe that He is true to His promises, true to us. Today I hope you will remember the promises of God, both from His Word and what the Spirit has uniquely breathed into your heart.
And tonight I hope you will look toward the Heavens,
see the stars
an old man,
a childless woman,
a child of promise
and a promise fulfilled…
In the life of Abraham, Sarah and Isaac…in YOUR life-is there anything too difficult for the Lord?
(copyright Kathy A. Sprinkle)