Summary of passage: The Lord appeared to Abraham among three visitors one day while Abraham was resting in the heat of the day. When Abraham saw these men, he hurried to greet them and bowed low, knowing one was God for he says, “my lord” while addressing them.
Abraham entreats them to stay and he washes their feet and brings food and drink for their comfort.
They agree to stay.
So Abraham bustles about, hurrying the preparations. The men ask Abraham where is Sarah. God Himself tells Abraham (again) that Sarah will have a child this time next year.
Sarah who was eavesdropping laughs (stupid move), believing she is worn out. God asks Abraham directly, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” Then God says He will return this time next year and Sarah will have a son.
Then Sarah denies she laughed when confronted (again, stupid). For God knows our hearts.
3) Verses 10 & 14; Genesis 17:21
4a) In 19:1, 2 angels appeared to destroy Sodom. So here I’d say two men were angels and one was the Lord himself. Verse 18:1 says “appeared” as if out of thin air. It specifically says “The Lord appeared” so God was one of them. But it was God in the form of Jesus Christ because John 1:18 & 1 Timothy 6:16 says that no one has ever seen God Himself.
b) He bowed low to the ground, offered them water and food, and washed their feet.
5a) She was afraid and Sarah only thought she was too old. She never spoke the words out loud. Only God knows our thoughts.
b) Hebrews says, Yes, Sarah did believe and seems to say she wouldn’t have conceived if she hadn’t. Perhaps this is why it took so long for her to conceive. She doubted and she doubted and until finally her heart turned. God was testing her.
c) She had to believe that what the Lord said He would do, He would do. Believe in your heart.
6) You have to believe nothing is impossible with God. That He will allow a virgin to conceive (Luke 1:37-8). That He will make us new as if we were born again once we believe (John 3:4-5). Jesus explains to his disciples that all things are possible with God, even a camel passing through the eye of a needle and all can have salvation with faith (Mark 10:24-27). God will allow a 90 year-old woman, Sarah, to conceive for nothing is too hard for the Lord (Genesis 18:14).
Conclusions: Great lesson for me! If you have any doubt in your heart, God will not come through. It seems to me Sarah doubted and doubted and God repeated and repeated until finally she believed. And she was scared to believe. But she did. And I bet that very day she conceived.
God holds up His end of the deal. He says, “Look, it’s this simple: believe.” And man says, “Give me a second to think this through.”
God says ok, for He has all the time in the world. We, on the other hand, only have limited time to accomplish His purposes.
It’s hard for us but not God. Yet we think it’s God holding us back when it’s really us–due to our unbelief.
End Notes: God again, less than 3 months later, comes IN PERSON and REPEATS His promise to Abraham. Why?
1) God repeats His promises over and over again because dumb man NEEDS to hear it–to strengthen his faith. Romans 10:17: “Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ”. Or God Himself in the personage of Christ if you are so lucky to receive such a message.
2) Some scholars think Abraham and Sarah were not having sex for whatever reason so God needed to reinforce His will personally. In other words, they did not believe God (they were doubting His word) and were doing nothing to fulfill God’s will for their lives.
Also to note: God read Sarah’s heart. Even though she didn’t laugh out loud, God heard her. God knows our heart as well and we should live as if He hears our every thought.
Even though Sarah and Abraham both laughed at God and His promises, God did not respond in anger nor did He punish their unbelief. He remained (and remains) faithful to them and to us. He never abandons us like we do Him.
God never changes despite the whims of man. He loves us always and forever.
Note in verse 13: “The Lord said to Abraham”. God correctly addresses Abraham about his wife’s unbelief and about her reaction for Abraham is the head of the family and is therefore responsible for his wife’s belief (and in this case, unbelief).