Vs 9: Where is Sarah? This reflects the same questions as Gen 3:9 & 4:9. The question could be similar in how the question was asked. God knew where Sarah was but could he have been asking Abraham, “Where is Sarah spiritually?” Is she on board with this promise? Sarah was in the tent listening to the conversation. She was probably staying out of sight since wives hid themselves when the husband was entertaining.
Vs 10 – 3: God speaks about Sarah giving birth to a son. In fact He is more specific as he tells Abraham she will have a child at this time next year. Sarah’s response is similar to Abraham as she laughs to herself in her heart.
Sarah is well past menopause and she probably had given up hope of ever mothering a son. Her laughter and heart response tell us that Sarah did not believe God was going to follow through with his promise. Her laughter was probably based in hopelessness and cynicism. There is a part of me that is sympathetic towards her. She had been continually told of this promise for years and absolutely nothing has happened. Sarah’s laughter could have been a defense mechanism because she may not have wanted her hopes to get high just to have them crushed if God didn’t do what he said.
The Lord replies in astonishment that Sarah would even consider laughing about his promise. He can’t believe that she would doubt his promise The Lord then rebukes Sarah for her unbelief and she denies that she laughed and doubted.
So as we look at this passage both Abraham and Sarah laugh when told by God she will give birth to a child. However Abraham was not rebuked for his response and Sarah was. Why is this? I think the right response is Abraham laughed out of gratitude, reverence and joy and Sarah laughed out of bitterness, spite and unbelief. Nowhere does it say that Abraham did not believe God was going to fulfill his promise. However Sarah may have refused to believe. It was all a matter of the heart.
Vs 14: The Lord rebukes Sarah and then a question is asked, “Is anything too hard for the LORD?” It is a rhetorical question because the obvious answer is, “NO, nothing is impossible with God”. This question is also a great reminder to us during times when our faith is wavering or our trust in God is waning. Do I and you truly believe nothing is impossible with God?
This was a question my wife and I were forced to ask ourselves early in our marriage. She was told before we were married that having children naturally was something that most likely was not a possibility for us. My wife actually asked me before we were married if I would be ok adopting if we couldn’t conceive?
Once we were married she had a procedure and the doctor told us that IF pregnancy were to occur, there was a small window of opportunity and that time was now; although nothing was guaranteed. Both of us were not planning on having children this early in our marriage but if we wanted them now was our only possible chance. We Tried many times with no success. There was frustration, questioning and even times of giving up hope.
One day God led me to I Samuel 1 and the story of Hannah, the mother of Samuel. She prayed and asked God for a child and promised to dedicate him to His service. I felt led to do as Hannah did. I prayed and I believed God was able to give us a child because God could do the impossible. As I look at the four children we have today I am happily reminded that NOTHING is impossible with God.
I think many of us can relate to both Abraham and Sarah as they struggled in their faith. Abraham knew his God and he believed God was going to fulfill his promise. Maybe you are facing a situation or have been waiting on the promise of God in your life. You may be feeling a bit hopeless, maybe a bit concerned that God isn’t going to do what he has said or you may even be on the verge of losing faith. But I think it is important to know and understand the process we go through in understanding and trusting God.
- There is frustration in waiting. God is not on our schedule. All things happen according to HIS plan and purposes and not ours. We can inevitably get frustrated as we wait or try to figure out what God is up to but we must patiently wait and trust.
- Resist the temptation of unbelief. Like Sarah In our frustration we can quickly fall into the trap of hopelessness and unbelief. We must continually be reminded that God is faithful to finish what he has started. We do this by keeping in constant communication with and worship of God. It is also important to know and accept that since God does not work in our time frame he does not necessarily work according to our wishes either. It is true though if we delight ourselves in the LORD he is faithful to give us the desires of our hearts. However we cannot focus so much on our desires as we must on delighting in Him. God is sufficient; He is a kind, loving, gracious, sovereign and loving Father. We must resist the temptation to believe that God has given up on us or that he has turned his back on us. God is a faithful Father who delights in his children, so let us rest in Him and trust.
- The pain and joy of correction. The Lord disciplines those whom he loves. If we allow unbelief to settle in our hearts God will confront, rebuke or discipline. Not because he is angry but because He loves us. God was not mad at Sarah, he loved her and he confronted her out of love. If God didn’t care he wouldn’t correct. I understand (and know from personal experience) that correction or rebuke is never a joyful process to go through but after the fact I am grateful that my Father does care enough for me and He loves me enough to correct and call me back to him.