Our age is the age of the specialist. You don’t no longer have just the general doctors anymore. You have cardiologists, podiatrists, on and on and on. It's the age of the specialist. Well, God is a specialist. He specializes as has often been said in impossibilities. When we bring God into the equation, we can no longer talk about an impossible situation. Although there are limitations to our own abilities, when you talk about God, there is nothing that is too hard for Him and God brings this up to Abraham and Sarah quite distinctly in this chapter. We find in verse 1, that Abraham is sitting the door of his tent, waiting. I think it's safe to say that he has learned his lesson from the last episode when he was helping God out. I have this week gone through every promise of God to Abraham; every single time God appeared to Abraham and I looked at those promises and I noticed that each time the promise becomes more spectacular, more grandiose. God unfolds His plan and so that it blossoms. At first God just says, "I'm going to make you a blessing and you're going to have a new land. Get out of here." The next time He says, "I'm going to bless you, you're going to have this land, and your descendants will walk through this land." Next time, He says, "Your descendants will multiply as the dust of the earth." And God unfolds his promise more and more, it becomes more spectacular. There's only one problem: it hasn't happened yet. And we get to about the sixth time that God speaks to Abraham in Chapter 17. Look over there with me, and notice how young Abraham is now. "When Abram was ninety-nine years old." You see the odds are stacking up against him. "The Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, 'I am Almighty God. Walk before Me and be blameless and I will make My covenant between Me and you and I will multiply you exceedingly.' Then Abram fell on his face and God talked with him saying, 'As for Me behold my covenant is with you and you shall be a father of many nations.'" You see, it's not just, "I'm going to give you a son, an inheritance, you will be the father of many nations, now". "No longer shall your name be called Abram," which means "exalted dad" or "father", "but your name shall be called Abraham, which means "father of the multitude". For I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful. And I will make nations of you and kings shall come from you." Each time this promise is getting bigger and bigger and now he's ninety-nine years old and he has this beautiful promise but no kid. Let alone a nation. I just want a son. Yet I believe Abram has learned his lesson. He's not going to push, he's not going listen to ungodly counsel. He's sitting in the door of his tent, hanging out. What else can you do. "I'm ninety-nine years old, I've tried to help God out once, I'm just going to wait." In Chapter 18, the story revolves around three people: Abraham, Sarah and the Lord. We have God coming in disguise, we have Abraham in a hurry serving His Lord and we have Sarah in doubt until God busts her wide open.
There has been a problem going on that I haven't addressed and I want to do that before we jump right in. Have you noticed that every single time that God speaks His promise to Abraham, that it's only Abraham that is involved? Sarah does not ever hear directly from God once. She gets her information second-hand. Hubby comes home and says, "Honey, you wouldn't believe what happened today!" "Yeah, God spoke to you again, didn't He?" "No, but you wouldn't, this time He said I'd be the father of many nations." "Great. Abe, you're ninety-nine years old, now." I'm sure this has caused tension between Abraham and Sarah and by way of introduction I'd like to read a supposed conversation that Gene Getz says might've happened:
SARAH: Well, what you do think He said this time, Abe?
ABRAHAM: Well, we made a mistake, Sarah. A bad mistake. I should never have tried to produce a child by Hagar. God told me very clearly that you are supposed to be the mother of my son, of the promised seed.
SARAH: Me? Now I know you're crazy, Abraham. You know I can't have children. I have never been able to. And even thirteen years ago, it would have been impossible.
ABRAHAM: Well, that's where we made our mistake, dear. It's not impossible with God. He is God Almighty. He can make it possible, even right now.
SARAH: Abraham, have you lost your senses completely? You've even forgotten how old I am! And look at you!
ABRAHAM: Well, you're ninety years old, Sarah. And I am ninety-nine. I know that! And so does God. In fact, that's been part of His plan all along. Our son is to be a miracle baby, a child born in old age.
SARAH: Yeah? How do you know that?
ABRAHAM: God told me.
SARAH: God told you! Abraham, I'm fed up with this whole thing. I tried to help God out once. I tried to help you out. Remember? I gave you Hagar, my own personal slave into your arms. And what did I get? When she became pregnant, she made fun of me. She laughed at me. And when I drove her out—with your permission, Abraham—God appeared to her and sent her back with that wild kid of yours. You know, Abraham, I'll bet she made that whole story up. God didn't appear to her. She just wanted back in our household. Why, I'd like to—
ABRAHAM: Sarah! Sarah! Calm down.
SARAH: I'm sorry, Abraham. I'm so confused. I meant well. But it just didn't turn out right. I guess I'm terribly bitter.
ABRAHAM: I know how you feel honey. It's been a rough thirteen years for all of us. God hasn't forsaken us, Sarah. I just misunderstood Him. It's mostly my fault.
(Huh, you're right. That's my comment. )
SARAH: I want to believe you, Abraham. I want to believe that God really will work a miracle but right now, I just can't.
We can understand her skepticism, can't we? I mean, God didn't speak to her directly. Her hubby comes home and tells all of the great visions he's heard. And probably that helped fuel the last incident of Hagar and Abraham having Ishmael. God now chooses a whole new approach, one that will include Sarah. He wants Sarah to make sure that she hears His voice as well as her husband's so He comes in a new approach and in the mean time, we see Abraham sitting in the door of his tent. Look at verse 1 Chapter 18, "Then the LORD appeared to him by the terebinth trees of Mamre, as he was sitting in the tent door in the heat of the day. And so he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing by him; and when he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them, and bowed himself to the ground." Now we are told clearly who appeared to Abraham. God, Himself, showed up at his tent. Or at least spoke to him. And yet there's three men when he lifts up his eyes that he sees on the horizon. It's a hot day and believe me, it's hot down in those parts. It can get to 125 degrees in the shade, and there is no shade. He looks up and he sees these three guys. Who are they? Well, quickly look down at verse 16, "Then the men rose from there and looked toward Sodom, and Abraham went with them and sent them on their way." Verse 22, "Then the men turned away from there and went toward Sodom, but Abraham still stood before the Lord." Verse 33, "So the Lord went on His way." Heh, "See ya, Abraham, I got to go now." And as soon as He had finished speaking with Abraham and Abraham returned to his place, look at the next verse. "And now the two angels came to Sodom in the evening." Some see in these three men at Abraham's tent door the Trinity- a picture of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. However, it seems that one of these characters is the Lord somehow in human flesh. We won't get into a study of that but it's called a Theophany or a Christophany- the appearance of God before Christ came in human form. We see mention of this many times in the Old Testament and probably two angels that who were with him, the two that later went on to Sodom. It says, "The Lord appeared," in verse 1, but Abraham looks up and he see three men. You know, there's a Scripture that I always keep tucked in the back of my little gray matter that says, "Be careful to entertain strangers, for some have entertained angels without knowing it." And I always think about that when I see some stranger or some strange person and wonder, "Is this a test? Could they be an angel?" Well, Abraham is entertaining more than just angels, he's entertaining God Himself, and I believe he doesn't know it- yet. He will in a few verses. He looks up, sees three guys, he becomes very hospitable, but he does not know that it is God who comes to him. God is in disguise, if you will, incognito. He doesn't recognize that it's the Lord, he just sees these three visitors who are coming.
Couple of lessons I want to share with you before we move on into the next several verses. And that is, number one, there are seasons, when the Lord makes Himself real to us and known to us, aren’t there? It doesn't happen every single day where you really sense the presence of God strongly or He speaks to you as clearly as perhaps other times. But there are special times, have you ever notice that the Lord just seems closer, as if the Lord just walked into the room? You think, "I really feel the presence of God in a fresh new way." Now, theologically, we know that He's always there. And yet, there are times when His presence seems more obvious. Then there are times when He seems not so close. He seems distant, far away. And we have to rely by faith. "He will never leave me or forsake me. I don't feel Him right now. I feel like God took a vacation to Hawaii and left me here. And yet I know He will never leave me or forsake me." Both of those times, folks, are times of testing. God tests us with His absence, when we don't feel Him, to see how we'll respond to Him and to His promises. But God also tests us with His presence. And that is exactly what is happening to Abraham. God comes near to him in a way that he doesn't recognize and God is testing Him and Abraham passes this test with flying colors.
There's another lesson and that is, we don't always recognize the ways of God's approach. Remember the two on the road to Emmaus? Member that story, one of my favorite in Luke Chapter 24:2 after the resurrection are walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus and a stranger comes up to them. It is the Lord Jesus Christ incognito. And He plays it real cool. Walks up them and He goes, "Hey, what are you talking about? What conversation are you having one with another? And why do you look so sad?" And they turn to Jesus, the God of the Universe, the Creator and they say, "Hey are you a stranger here in Jerusalem? Don't you know the things that have happened?" Can you imagine saying that to God? "Hey, are you a stranger? Don't you know the facts?" And Jesus goes, "What things?" It was a test. He drew near incognito and with His presence He was testing them until later on He unfolds the whole purpose of His being there. Now that's how God tests us. He comes in ways that we don't always know, testing us with His presence. You see, what good would a test be if I'm about to tell you you're going to have a test. If I say, "Okay, now I'm going to slug you real hard. I'm just going to test you to see if you're going to lose your temper." Well, that's easy. Now you could really grin and bear it, perhaps. But you know it's a test. But if out of the blue someday I just slug you, I won't do that, don't worry, now that's a real test when you don't know about it. Then you're really tested. You're not ready for it. Never forget a chemistry teacher I once had. Now I was looking forward to taking my first semester of chemistry. I figured I can't be all that bad. I've heard good things about the class, I need to take it. I had this built-in resistance to chemistry but I figured I'm going to just go for it. I'll do a good job. I psyched myself up. Got into the class the first day. The professor says, "Take out a piece of paper and a pencil. You're having a test." The first day, we never had a lesson. Just, "You're going to have a test." And I failed the test! It took me off guard and I resented him ever since (laughter). Oftentimes God will test us that way. It's when you're not expecting it. The phone rings. You just want to settle down to a nice calm Saturday. You've been busy all week. The phone rings and its, "Can you help me please right now?" And you have to change your whole plans, perhaps even put an appointment on hold. Or the car is broken down. You're busy washing dishes, food on the stove. Your kid's yelling at the top of his or her lungs and then you get a phone call from the neighbor saying, "I'm sick. Could you watch my kids today? Ugghhhhh. Those are oftentimes the testing's of God. Abraham passes. Now look at verse 2. Look at Abraham's response. And look at these action words. "So he lifted up his eyes and looked and behold, three men were standing by him. And when he saw them he ran," or he was in a hurry, "He ran from the tent door to meet them and bowed himself to the ground and he said, 'My Lord, if I have now found favor in Your sight, do not pass on by Your servant. Please let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. And I will bring a morsel of bread, that you may refresh your hearts. After that you may pass by, inasmuch as you have come to your servant.' And they said, 'Do as you have said.' So Abraham hastened (or he hurried) into the tent to Sarah and said, 'Quick, make ready three measures of fine meal; knead it and make cakes.' And Abraham ran to the herd, took a tender and good calf, gave it to a young man, and hastened to prepare it. So he took butter and milk and the calf which he had prepared, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree as they ate." This guy just figures, "I have three visitors, I'm going to treat them right." He hastened. And he says, "Come on in. Wash your feet." Now that sounds kind of strange to us. Somebody knocks on the door, "You know, come on in. Wash your feet though before you come in." Although that was a custom of the day. They had sandals, not shoes, their feet were pretty dirty. He offers them refreshment. And he did it personally. He did it personally. Remember, he had over 318 servants we read a few weeks ago in his household and yet he himself selects an animal from the herds and gets it prepared. He got involved personally.
I can't pass up the chance to tell you about an experience that I had last year when I visited a Bedouin tent in Israel. I always wanted to see what it was like for Abraham. And what kind of hospitality they would offer me. And so I rigged up a special meeting between myself and these Bedouins who lived out in the desert close to Jerusalem. And I was going to visit their tent and spend the day. And, uh, my attention was drawn to this because I read in a commentary this week something that was, well, it just wasn’t quite right. Uh, Steadman says, "Abraham soon had a wonderful meal ready. He had cottage cheese, salad with figs cut up nicely, a tall glass of cool meal, uh, hot veal cutlets, uh, breaded and chicken-fried just the way they are most tender, and fresh hot bread right out of the oven running over with melted country butter, a nice dish of Sarah's preserves and to top it off, to top off the meal, there was the gracious hospitality with which the guests were saved, or served, excuse me. As they ate, Abraham visited with them." Good try, but if you ever visit a tent in Israel you know it's different. And you're, you're told to eat everything that they put in front of you. If you don't it's an insult. A grave insult. They take it personally. I said, "No problem, iron gut." (Laughter) I sat inside the tent and I did not get a uh, cottage cheese salad with figs, I got this stuff that (laughter) well I don't know how to describe it except if you took milk and added yogurt and let it sit for about two weeks without refrigeration it became curdled, a nice amount of mold on it. To them it's a delicacy and, uh, this guy had just recently got married and she served this to me and my first thought was, "You've got marriage problems, man." (Laughter) Although to them it is a delicacy it was prepared, they wanted to treat me right, they even said, "Stay for dinner." I said, "Got an appointment, (laughter) can't make it." They wanted to slaughter one of the sheep. Nonetheless, Eastern hospitality is wonderful. They go out of their way to give you their best. You might not think it’s the best, but it's their best. They’ll select something from the herd, they’ll bring it and serve it to you. And Abraham is playing the perfect host to his guests, giving them the special meal. It's just a simple case of hospitality and serving the Lord when you don't know it's the Lord. Now I'll admit, we don't have the Lord in human flesh today to say, "Hey, come on over for a meal. Jesus, sit down, I'll prepare you a good meal." In fact, I'm sure at this point Abraham and Sarah did not know who these visitors were. I'm sure if Abraham knew, he would've acted much differently. It wouldn't just be, "Hey, you know, let's make a nice meal. Sarah quick, uh, a couple angels and God are going to have dinner with us tonight." I'm sure he didn't know. Yet, there is an application for us, because we can never forget the parable that Jesus spoke in Matthew 25 concerning the judgment time when He'll divide the nations into two groups and He'll treat them depending on how they treated what He calls His brethren. Listen to what Je-Jesus says. "Then He will say to those on the left hand, 'Depart from Me you cursed into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in; I was naked, you didn't clothe Me; I was sick and in prison and you didn't visit Me.' Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come you blessed of my Father. Inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick, you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.' And they will say, 'When did we see you sick?'" They're amazed, see? They think, "Oh, we're all part of the same gang." "'When did we see you sick, or in prison, or come to you?' And the king will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to the one of the least of these my brethren you did it to me.'" Now listen to what the Holy Spirit says through his servant James several books later, "Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble and to keep oneself unspotted from the world." The one who really belongs to God doesn't have to be talked into hospitality or good works. He looks for opportunities. You don't have to say, "Please, please, please serve. Oh we have this need, please." And heaping guilt upon a person to make him serve a position in the body. A person who truly belongs to the Lord looks for needs, looks for opportunities to serve. That's part of the character of the person. You see, reputation and character are two different things. Reputation is what you do when everybody's looking. Character is what you do when no one sees. The truth is, God sees. God always sees what's going on.
As I was a young Christian, I was, became a Christian when I was eighteen. I didn't quit smoking cigarettes till I was twenty. Ah, I wasn't a big deal, you know. Just, I had the freedom and the liberty in the Lord and came a point in my life where my brothers and sisters who were very gracious with me, they never put a guilt trip on me saying, "You better quit smoking or you're going to hell," because that's just not the truth. They just let the Lord do His thing. The Lord was speaking to my heart, quit smoking. I said, "Yeah, okay, yeah right, do it, don't worry about it, I'll get it." I felt clearly the Lord telling me to quit. So I did, finally. I was having a tough time with it. And there was an evening where I decided I, you know, getting lonesome for a cigarette. So I pulled one out, lit one up (makes smoking sound) "Oh, that's great." It was a Thursday evening. A friend of mine had left out of town about a week before and she was going to be gone for a couple weeks and she came back home. Nobody knew about this. She didn't even know that I had smoked because when I met her I had quit; made that covenant before the Lord. She walks up to me she says, "Skip, I've been praying for you." "Oh, thank you praise the Lord. Glad to hear it." "The Lord laid you on my heart last Thursday night." "Oh, He did? (Laughter) I'm glad He did that. And you were faithful to pray for me." "Yeah, I was. Skip, do you smoke?" "(Stammers) No." I walked away going, "Lord you figged on me, You ratted on me!" She never knew that. But the Lord was getting my attention to show me He sees and my character is something He wants to develop, not my reputation. My character. Who I am, what I do when nobody's looking. It's easy to have a reputation of godliness. God was just pointing in my direction something he wanted to do in my heart. I finally said, "Lord, I yield I obey." Wasn't easy, but I did it.
Now look at verse 9. "Then they said to him," now Sarah is coming into the picture. Now notice what they say, notice the question, "'Where is Sarah your wife?'" Ah, now something at this point triggers in Abraham's mind because there's been a name change that took place last chapter. We haven't read it publicly, but I'm sure you read it, where God changes Abram's name to Abraham, we read that, and Sarai's name to Sarah. The only people that knew that name change were God, Abraham and Sarah. There were the only one involved in the conversation. Now, this stranger says, "'Where is your wife Sarah?' And he replies, 'Here, in the tent.' And He said, 'I will certainly return to you according to the time of life, and behold, Sarah your wife shall have a son.' And Sarah was listening in the tent door which was behind him." Now, all of a sudden, He's going to reveal Himself, who He really is, this stranger. Again, remember the two on the road to Emmaus? Jesus came incognito, they didn't know who he was until He broke break with them and by that familiar action of breaking bread the way Jesus always did it, He must've had a certain way, they recognized that it was Him. And now through this process of revelation, "Where is Sarah, your wife?" "Uh, over there." And now this stranger who is the Lord reiterates a promise that only they knew about. "And the promises I will return to you according to the time of life and behold Sarah, your wife, she's going to have a son." Now, God got her attention, I'm sure when He said, "Where is Sarah?" Probably close enough to the tent door. You know, whenever you hear your name, if you in a crowd of people and people are talking, you don't know what's going on, somebody will say your name, your ears pick up on it. They're tuned to hearing your name. And I'm sure as she's scrubbing the pots and pans she hears her named mentioned by a stranger. And so she listens. And God, once He has her attention, shares something to both of them. Because she had never heard the voice of God directly before, only Abraham, so he says, "I'm going to return next year and Sarah, your wife, will have a son." And she was struck. Look at her reaction. "Now Abraham and Sarah were old, well advanced in age; and Sarah had passed the age of childbearing. Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, 'After I have grown old, shall I have pleasure, my lord also?'" She looked at her ninety-year old body, looked at her face in the mirror, saw the wrinkles, the grayed hair, the stiff joints and she thought, "Ha, that's a good one. I'm going to have a kid. That's a punch line, that's funny." It was the laughter of unbelief. (Sighs) Sarah laughed, notice, within herself saying, "After I have grown old, shall I have pleasure, and my lord," that is, Abraham," have pleasure also?" Let's keep going. Verse 13. "And the LORD said to Abraham, 'Why did Sarah laugh, saying, 'Shall I surely bear a child, since I am old?'" Now, she did it to herself. She just went, (laughs to himself). Tent doors closed, she's out of sight. She laughed to herself. No audible sound. And the Lord sent to Abraham another clue of who this gentleman is. "'Why did Sarah laugh, saying, 'Shall I surely bear a child, since I am old?'" That's her thoughts inside of her mind. "Is anything too hard for the LORD? At the appointed time I will return to you, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.' But Sarah denied it, saying, 'I did not laugh,' for she was afraid. And He said, 'No, but you did laugh!'" She made no sound at all, the Lord picked up and all of a sudden her heart's being exposed. "Ah, but you did laugh." You know that that was the same way that Jesus approached Thomas, member, in his unbelief? Here's a room filled of disciples and Thomas the doubter's there. Jesus isn't even around, he thought. He goes, "Oh, I won't believe until I stick my finger in His side and touch the wounds in His hand and in His feet." Jesus appeared several days later and said, "Hi, Tom. Remember those things you were saying the other day about putting your hand and your fingers inside My wounds and My hands? Behold." At that time, Thomas knew that Jesus overheard the conversation though His physical presence wasn't there and he said, "My Lord and my God. I know now who You are." And his heart is being revealed. And now, Sarah's heart is also being revealed.
Folks, there are different kinds of laughter. Not all of it is lighthearted and innocent. There is the laughter that is cynical where you go, "Heh." There is the laughter that is scornful, where you look at a person and go, "Ha ha ha." Or the laughter that is arrogant, you go, "Ha ha ha ha, ooh." And there is Sarah's laughter, which is unbelief. Now I want, I want to compare something with you, I want you to turn back to Chapter 17 for just a moment and look at verse 15. "God said to Abraham, 'As for Sarai, your wife, you should not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. And I will bless her and also give her a son by her. I will bless her, she shall be the mother of nations. Kings of people shall come from her.' And Abraham fell on his face and laughed and said in his heart, 'Shall a child be born to a man who is 100 years old?'" He was ninety-nine at that time. "'And shall Sarah, who is ninety years old bear a child?' And Abraham said to God, 'Oh, that Ishmael might live before thee.' And God said, 'No, Sarah, your wife, shall bear you a son and you shall call his name Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant and with his descendants after him.'" Why didn't God rebuke him? Because, I believe, his laughter was not one of disbelief. Obviously, because he says, "Oh, oh that Ishmael might live before you." He believed in the promise and he is saying, "Look, just let Ishmael take the promise over. My wife's old, I'm old, we're tired of this." "No, I won't let that happen." His was a, a laughter of, I believe, sheer joy and belief. How do I know that? Well, listen to the words of Romans Chapter 4, "And being not weak in faith, he did not consider his own body already dead, since he was about 100 years old, and the deadness of Sarah's womb. He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised was also, he was able to perform." In contrast to that, we have Sarah who's laughing in disbelief because the Lord rebukes her. Have you ever had the experience of Abraham where you just, out of sheer joy and exhilaration laugh before the Lord? God does something and you go, "Oh that's great!" and you just start enjoying it and you start laughing about it. Sarah, on the other hand, has a laughter of disbelief, because the Lord says, "Why did she laugh?" Saying in her heart these things. And it says she was afraid because she knew her heart was exposed to that. However, there's a word of hope here. Listen to how the New Testament paints a picture of Sarah. Listen to this. "By faith, Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed. And she bore a child when she was past the age because she judged Him faithful who had promised." And you think, "Now, wait a minute. How do you figure that? She is rebuked by the Lord for a laughter of unbelief." Hebrew Chapter 11 says, "She believed the Lord." "She judged Him faithful who had promised." When did that happen? Well, turn with me over to Chapter 21 of Genesis. Brief look. Chapter 21, she has a son and it's a whole different kind of laughter, much like her husband's. "And the Lord visited Sarah as He had said and the Lord did for Sarah as He had spoken. For Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age at the set time of which the Lord had spoken to him. And Abraham called the name of his son who was to be born whom Sarah bore to him, 'Laughter'." That's what Isaac means. "And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old as God commanded him. Now Abraham was 100 years old when his son Isaac was born to him. And Sarah said, 'God made me laugh so that all who hear will laugh with me.' And she also said, 'Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children, for I have born him a son in his old age.'" You see, it's a different kind of laughter. She laughed, God rebuked her and God asked her a question that, I'm sure, sat in her heart and she thought about it and she thought about it and she thought about it until finally her faith finally grew and she had a kid and she laughed all over again, but it was a laughter of joy, it was a laughter of faith and exhilaration, like Abraham had.
Look at that question a little more closely in closing. Look at verse 14. "And the LORD said to Abraham, 'Why did Sarah laugh, saying, 'I shall surely bear a child, since I am old?' Is anything too hard for the Lord?'" That question eroded the callousness of her own heart. That's how He left her. He didn't give her a theological dissertation of how powerful God was. He just said, "Is anything too hard for the Lord? And listen again, Sarah, here's the promise: I'll be back next year and you'll have a kid." And He's gone. And as the weeks and months pass, she probably thought on that question. "Is there anything too hard for the Lord?" Of course not, He's the Creator. Perhaps she took long strolls at night and looked at the stars, looked at the creation and thought, "He spoke all these things into existence. Ain't nothing too hard for the Lord." And as she pondered on that questions as the Holy Spirit just began to deal with her over a period of time, then she judged him faithful who had promised and her laughter was a laughter of joy. That is a question that I believe God drops into our hearts often at times like this. We think, "It's impossible. It'll never work." "Psst, is anything too hard for the Lord?" He just dropped a bomb inside of her heart. See, she's considering her age, her eyes are upon her age and Abraham's oldness. And God directs her eyes onto Himself by saying, "Is anything too hard for the Lord? Put me in the equation, Sarah. A whole different set of circumstances. And perhaps you have had doubts, Christian, concerning certain things. "Oh, my family, my kids man, their wild indians. And I pray for them, I talk to them, but it seems impossible. They're going the other direction." Is anything too hard for the Lord? Or perhaps you've heard the Gospel and you're an unbeliever and you see other people getting saved and you can understand, well, how they can be saved, but your sins are so deep. They've never committed what you've committed. You've done so many things you're ashamed of and you think God could never forgive you for those things and how could you ever be in the company of such good people? Is anything too hard for the Lord? The unanswered question. Ephesians, Paul is painting a picture of our life. A hopeless, impossible picture, until two words are dropped in. He says, "In times past, you walked according to the prince of this world, according to the course of this world, the prince of the power of the heir, the spirit that now works in the sons of disobedience. You were by nature children of wrath, your past life was dark, it was bleak, you were hopeless." Two words he drops in, "But God, who was rich in mercy, with His great love where with loved us." And those two words change the whole equation- but God. Now, remember that when you're walking though an impossible situation and you're thinking, "This is horrible. I don't know what to do. He left me, they won't do this." But God! "Oh, yeah." Take a stroll some night. I do this when I'm facing a tough situation and I just look up at the stars. Perhaps that's what Sarah did out on the countryside. And think about God who created all of that. And think just now what we know about the world in which we live. As you're looking up at perhaps 200 billion stars, is anything too hard for the Lord? 200 billion stars. One of those stars, one of the smallest, is called the sun. You're looking up into a galaxy that's 10,000 light years wide by 100,000 light years long. And that's just one galaxy. There's a 100 billion other galaxies beside. That's pretty big. You say, "Well, how big is it?" Well, if you could sit upon a ray of light going 186,000 miles per second, it'd take you a 100,000 years to traverse the length of the Milky Way galaxy. Now, there's another 100 billion beside it. So, look at it this way. 100 billion galaxies in the Universe, one little smidgen of it is called the Milky Way that has 200 billion stars. 10,000 light years wide, 100,000 light years long. In a tiny little corner of the Milky Way galaxy is a star called the sun. Whole bunch of specks of dust are revolving around it, one is called the earth, very tiny, 8,000 miles in diameter. On that speck of dust there are thousands, millions of life forms. One is called a person, a man. Is anything too hard for the Lord? "Oh God, I'm worried." But the Bible says He measures the Universe by the span of His hand. He's a big guy. Leave it in the hands of a specialist. If your watch breaks, unless you're an expert, you'd be a fool to take it apart and fiddle with it. And once it's all busted, you take it to the watch dealer and he says, "Man, who messed this thing up?" "My wife." (Laughter) Take it and leave it at the specialist. Something goes wrong with your body. Do you operate on yourself? "I don't want to pay the high medical costs, I can figure this one out. (Laughter) I'll get the How to Operate on Yourself manual. Hmm, gall bladder surgery, page 13." You take it to a specialist. When you're facing an impossible situation, take it to the specialist. He specializes in those things. Listen to this quote, "When God is doing, or as God is going to do something wonderful, He beings with a difficulty, but when God is going to do something very wonderful, He begins with an impossibility." Totally impossible for you to figure it out, but you're attached to a God for whom nothing is impossible.
Lord, we fix our gaze upon You. We do not consider the impossibilities of the circumstances that we see around us. That is our temptation. We are human beings and we consider those things as human beings, but, Lord, lift up our eyes with that question. Is there anything too hard for the Lord? We consider all that You've done. Our problems are but a snap for You. Lord, as You come near to us and test us, either by Your absence or by Your presence, give us Your grace to be faithful in that time of testing, judging You faithful who have promised. Lord, thanks for those wide, uncrossable expanses that we call impossibilities. Thanks for them, because it is at those times we come to an end of our resources and we are often forced to rely upon You and then watch You work. I pray, Lord, that we take this to heart. In Jesus name, Amen.