Eternity Daily Bible Study

The Life Of Abraham


Number:563

Verses: Genesis 18:9-15

Topic: Sarah Laughs

Date: 23rd January 2006

 

Genesis 18:9-15 MKJV And they said to him, Where is Sarah your wife? And he said, Behold, in the tent.  (10)  And He said, I will certainly return to you according to the time of life, and lo, Sarah your wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard in the tent door which was behind Him.  (11)  Now Abraham and Sarah were old, far gone in days, and it had ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women.  (12)  Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After my being old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?  (13)  And Jehovah said to Abraham, Why did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I, who am old, truly bear a child?  (14)  Is anything too hard for Jehovah? At the time appointed I will return again, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.  (15)  Then Sarah denied, saying, I did not laugh; for she was afraid. And He said, No, but you did laugh.

 

God tells Abraham that Sarah will have a child in her old age, and Sarah laughs, to which the Lord replies “Is anything too hard for Jehovah?” - a rhetorical question which expects “No” for an answer.

 

Isaac means “to laugh” or “to cause to laugh” because, on different occasions both Abraham and Sarah laugh at the possibility of their having a child in their old age, and, when Isaac is born others laugh at Abraham and Sarah having children so late in life. God does that which causes laughter - the sudden and the surprising, and the ridiculously impossible.

 

The fertility of a woman in her nineties is a “ridiculous” idea, it is plainly absurd – but God is the God of the absurd and the impossible. Here are just a couple of examples:

 

Albania was the world's first completely atheist state which killed thousands of Christians by putting them in barrels and dumping them in the bay of the local sea. The government boasted that there were zero Christians in Albania. However, one Christian did survive - a small woman who was a schoolteacher and she joined the Roman Catholic church. Now women in the Catholic Church have only one role -as nuns.  Eventually this woman went to India to work among the poorest of the poor in a large tough city noted for destroying Christian witness – Calcutta. Of course that woman was Mother Teresa. Now what are the odds of an obscure Albanian, a woman in the Catholic church, doing lowly work among lepers – becoming world famous and powerfully influential? Ridiculously small? But God did it!

 

In the sixties Birmingham, Alabama was noted for its racism, and one little African-American girl, a Presbyterian minister’s daughter, grew up and did her schooling at the worst possible time – during the reign of Sheriff “Bull Connor”. That girl is now the American Secretary of State - Condoleezza Rice. At that time if you had said “An African-American girl from Birmingham, Alabama will become Secretary of State” everyone would have said “Ridiculous!”. But God does the laughable, the ridiculous and the impossible.

 

God does such things not because He is a divine prankster but because He wants us to “think outside the box” and to consider possibilities that are far beyond human calculation. God wants us to believe in Him and in His surpassing power!

 

Paul caught a glimpse of this when he wrote to the church at Corinth:

1 Corinthians 1:25-29 MKJV (25) Because the foolish thing of God is wiser than men, and the weak thing of God is stronger than men.  (26)  For you see your calling, brothers, that not many wise men according to the flesh are called, not many mighty, not many noble.  (27)  But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; (28) and God has chosen the base things of the world, and things which are despised, and things which are not, in order to bring to nothing things that are; (29) so that no flesh should glory in His presence.

 

Mother Teresa in her simplicity, poverty and weakness was more powerful than some of the richest and most powerful men in the world because: God has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty.

 

Moses must have looked ridiculous saying to Pharaoh “let my people go!'  and John the baptist must have looked ridiculous as the “voice crying in the wilderness” and even Paul says that he was a “fool for Christ's sake”:

 

1 Corinthians 4:9-13 MKJV (9) For I think that God has set forth us last, the apostles, as it were appointed to death; for we have become a spectacle to the world and to angels and to men.  (10)  We are fools for Christ's sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are honorable, but we are despised.  (11)  Even until this present hour we both hunger and thirst and are naked and are buffeted and have no certain dwelling place.  (12)  And we labor, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it; (13) being defamed, we entreat. We are made as the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things until now.

 

God uses Gideon to defeat the Amalekites and David to defeat Goliath and so on and so forth. If diligently doing God's will ends up with our being in some “ridiculous” situation where the whole world laughs at us and we are a “spectacle to men and angels” then we can be well assured that some mighty miracle will soon take place because God does not let His servants be put to shame! (Now this does not satisfy mere silliness, sin and lack of wisdom, it only applies to being a holy fool that is - “a fool for Christ!”.)

 

Abraham was indeed one such “holy fool” hearing voices from God, having dreams and visions, wandering in tents, seeking a Promised Land and having a child with Sarah when both were in their nineties - and finally being prepared to sacrifice that child in response to a mystical vision from God. Abraham is either a very foolish old man who hears voices, or a very great man of God, the founder of Judaism, Christianity and Islam and the father of many nations. The results vindicate his holy folly. The miracle of Isaac must have shut many mouths of all who thought him strange. Here was something truly extraordinary! Abraham was not crazy or delusional, the child arrives, Sarah is pregnant. Isaac was a sign God was with Abraham, the man they laughed at -  and Abraham's God was doing amazing things!

 

Blessings,

 

John Edmiston (johned@aibi.ph)

 

 

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