3rd February 2023
Read - Genesis 17:15-18:15 and Hebrews 11:11-12
Message Alan Burke
Where we are in the bigger picture is that we are now 24/25 years after the call of God and we are talking 13 years have now past since Ishmael was born, that is Abraham’s son to Hagar (Gen 16). Here we are told how v16, Sarah would indeed bear a son. Notice the response of first of all of Abraham in v17, it is one of laughter, the reason for the laughter is because he sees just how impossible it is for he or Sarah to possibly have a child together at their age, but notice also what comes after it in v18, as Abraham said to God, if only Ishmael might live under your blessing. I suspect that Abraham had settled on Ishmael as the one whom the promises would be fulfilled, but God had other plans. For it was always to be through Sarah whom Abraham would be great nation, that he would be a blessing, all the nations of the earth would be blessed through him. (Gen 12:2-3), it was through Sarah that the gracious word of God would be fulfilled.
Then in chapter 18, with the visitors that come to Abraham, as LORD spoke, v10, notice that LORD is capitalised, for this speaker of this promise to Abraham is none less than the Lord himself. It is what is known as a theophany, or rather a Christophany, for this is the visible manifestation of the pre-incarnate Christ to Abraham and as the Lord speaks, Sarah was listening to them at the entrance of the one and she laughs. Sarah had given up that dream that she once had, for her it wasn’t going to be part of her story and the word of the LORD was to her laughable. Yet when the Lord asked Abraham why did Sarah laugh, they are reminded of a wonderful truth, “…is anything too hard for the Lord?”
Is anything too hard for the Lord?
No it is not.
I get why Sarah laughed, I get why she was afraid and lied and said she did not laugh to the LORD.
Yet a year later she gave birth to a son, she laughed once more but that time it was in a very different way, it was laughter with tears of joy that streamed down her face as the promise of God was fulfilled. While Sarah may be better suited to the hall of fame of those who doubted, but here she is, for “By Faith Sarah”. Those words should give us comfort for all these men and women of faith in Hebrews were more than conquerers through Christ Jesus. For the message of Hebrews 11 isn’t be like those listed, todays message isn’t be like Sarah, rather the message to us is to trust in the promises of God. To trust in Jesus Christ!
What Abraham and Sarah learnt was that what is impossible with man is possible with God, His word is true, it was possible because God made it possible. Many years later there was another couple called Zacharias and Elizabeth who were well past the age of having children learnt that what is impossible with man is possible with God. For God likewise used them and they became the parents of John the Baptist. Mary the mother of Jesus the Christ also learnt that what is impossible with man is impossible with God as the Holy Spirit within her conceived the Saviour, the Christ, the one that Abraham, Sarah, and all those listed in Hebrews 11 had been looking for.
The coming of the Christ was a human impossibility but God made it possible. The promise that was given to Abraham and to Sarah in Genesis 12 of how the whole earth would be blessed through them comes through Christ Jesus. Galatians tells us, 6 Consider Abraham: “He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” 7 Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham. 8 The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.” 9 So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. (Ga 3:6–9). And "If you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise." (Gal 3:29)
Q67 Which is the sixth commandment?
The sixth commandment is, Thou shalt not kill. (Exod. 20:13)