July 17, 2022: 9th Sunday after Pentecost

Let us pray: Dear Lord Christ, we know that as the King of all creation, You can do anything.  We also know that as our loving Savior, You have done the seemingly impossible in taking on our flesh and both living and dying to save our souls.  So today we ask You to exercise Your power in our lives in all those “little areas” that loom so large on our consciousness.  Listen to our prayers for help each day and act on them with our very best interest at heart.  And cause us to trust that You are and will do this every single moment of our lives.  Amen


TEXT:  Genesis 18: 1-14

Fellow Redeemed Sinners:

          Have you ever laughed at God?  Have you ever listened to the prayers in church and inwardly laughed at some of the specific things asked for?  Have you ever thought: God is too big to care, too busy to act, too far-removed from the details of our lives to get involved?  Well, if you have, you’re in good company!  For in the book of Genesis we see both Abraham and Sarah, his wife, laughing at God.—Abraham in chapter 17 and Sarah here in chapter 18.  And the reason they laugh at God inwardly is that in both cases He has promised to fulfill His long-standing pledge to give them a legitimate heir, a child, a natural born son.  Both of these Christians laugh because it seems just too hard, too difficult, to be true.  After all, Abraham is approaching 100 and Sarah is almost 90 years old!  And yet, yet, God does the seemingly impossible, doesn’t He?   And this begs the question in our own lives:



          What’s included on your prayer list?  What items do you specifically ask the Lord for?  Job improvement?  More money?  Kids who behave?  Extended families who get along and don’t always fight each other?  Do you ask Him to alleviate your cancer, heart condition, or get you through a dehabilitating disease?  And just because you haven’t recognized immediate improvement in any of those areas, have you concluded: 1. God doesn’t care. 2. He’s too busy.  Or, 3. It’s just too much to ask for?  Put more succinctly, Is our God far-removed from daily life, or is He up close and personal?  Do you turn to Him only when things get out-of-hand in your life, or do you share everything with Him because you view Him as your Best Friend?  Do you laugh at those who really believe God changes the course of human history to protect and preserve one single Christian—as one person I knew many years ago laughed at that notion?  Or, do you really believe that He cares that much for you?  Well, let’s examine our lesson and see how it answers all these questions.

          Abraham was almost 100 years old.  Sarah, his wife, as about 90.  For over 26 years they have been waiting for God to fulfill His promise to send them a natural son, an heir, through which God would also, someday, provide the Messiah and thus save their souls.  In human terms they were old, worn out, and just waiting out life.  They knew of God’s goodness and compassion.  They had experienced it first-hand.  Think of how God had called them out of the Babylon area, had them pull up stakes and go to the Holy Land.  Think of how God had given them tremendous wealth.  Think of how God had even appeared to them at various times over the years and talked to them.  You’d think they would never laugh at anything God said.  And yet, age had dimmed their trust a bit.  Unfortunately, life had taken the edge off their faith and they succumbed to the human fiction that some things are just too hard for the Lord to do.

          And then, one day, the Lord appears to Abraham.  The Angel of the Lord, pre-incarnate Christ comes to him with two angel escorts.  Does Abraham immediately recognize the Lord?  Well, the English text seems to say so (he calls him: Lord), but the original Hebrew text is a bit more ambiguous.  For “lord” is often used much like “sir” in Hebrew.  So, perhaps Abraham was just being polite in his greeting.  However, it soon becomes apparent just Who this Visitor is due to His message and knowledge of their situation.  Likewise, in chapter 19 of Genesis we see these same two angels going on to Sodom to rescue Lot and his family for that den of moral poison.  So, right here, the Lord acts, He intrudes into human history to help His faithful!

          After Abraham personally oversees a meal preparation, this retinue asks specifically about Sarah.  “Where is your wife Sarah?”  Then the Lord (Christ) said, ‘I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.”  You can imagine Abraham snapping to attention upon hearing this!  Thoughts of: how? and  what? Must have crossed his mind.  Meanwhile Sarah is outside the tent listening.  She also had some inner thoughts which the commentator Leupold aptly translates this way: “So Sarah laughed to herself and said (this is going to happen now?) ‘After I have become worn out, have I enjoyed sexual delight and my lord  too  is an old man?”  Post-menopausal Sarah recognizes that humanly speaking sex and procreation and a son is not in the cards.  She’s incredulous.  But, the Lord shows His omniscience and then adds: “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’  Is anything too hard for the Lord?  I will return to you at the appointed time next year and Sarah will have a son.” 


          Well, the rest is history.  God kept His Word.  He delivered on His promise because nothing is too hard for the Lord!  And because of all this Abraham and Sarah were saved.  A nation of believers was spawned and grew into what we know of as the Holy Christian Church.  For from Isaac (remember his name means “Laughter”) ultimately came the Messiah.  Yes, the Angel of the Lord eventually was born from this line of Abraham to Isaac to Jacob and on down to both Joseph and Mary.   Think about that.  Right here the pre-incarnate Christ has His own suffering and death and resurrection in mind to save us when He speaks to Abraham and promises this son!  As St. Paul says today in our Epistle from Colossians: “…the word of  God in its fullness—the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints.”

          You and I are those saints.  And this mystery of: how can this happen? Has been disclosed to us through a manger and a cross and an empty tomb.  Think of the depth of God’s love shown therein and then ask yourself: “Is anything too hard for the Lord?”  The only answer there is, is: Obviously NOT!

          So, as you talk to God and ponder the ageless truths of His Word, don’t be afraid to be bold in your prayers.  Don’t grow weary and set your own timetable for Him to follow.  Don’t succumb to laughter, the human, mocking kind, when it comes to God.  Instead, laugh for joy that God can do anything and has!—Both to save your soul and make your life blest!  Amen


Pastor Thomas Fox

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