BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 11, Day 5: Genesis 18:1-15

Summary of Genesis 18:1-15:

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.

Abraham bustles about, hurrying the preparations of bread, meat, and milk (it is God). 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, believing she is worn out. God, of course, hears Sarah and 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 out of fear.

BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 11, Day 5: Genesis 18:1-15

14a) They may not have invited the men to stay, nor feed them a meal. He selected the best calf to slaughter and brought curds and milk and baked bread. They both did the work themselves instead of servants, and we sense urgency in Abraham’s doings, indicating he knew his guests were special.

b) Personal Question. My answer: Attitude and joy, mainly. I either begrudge every moment and have a miserable time, or I have a good time and feel joy.

15) The first thing they ask is where is Sarah, so their visit was to confirm to Sarah that she would have a son. God says that when He returns, Sarah will have a son.

16) Because God heard Sarah laugh and knew she had.

17) Sarah had to believe God. We must believe God. God blesses (Luke 1:45) and rewards those who have faith (Hebrews 11:6; 11) Without faith you can’t please God.

BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 11, Day 5: Genesis 18:1-15

I love how God includes Sarah and makes sure she understands and has faith in this culture where women did not matter. This shows God loves all equally.

BSF Study Questions Genesis: Lesson 11, Day 5: Genesis 18:1-15

It is possible that Sarah never conceived earlier because she never had faith in God’s promise.

Bible scholars believe this was only 3 months since the last time God appeared because Sarah is not pregnant yet.

Here we literally see the Triune God, appearing as 3 men. So cool!

map of mamre bible

We’ve seen Mamre a lot so far in the Bible

Abraham knew it was God. At what point, we are unsure. Did God appear the same? No one knows. He could have changed his appearance at will.

Note God called Sarah by her new name. (Genesis 17:15-16).

God says His promise over and over again because dumb humans need to hear it over and over again, albeit this appearance was for Sarah, not Abraham.  Genesis 17:17-22

Romans 10:17:  “Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ”

Both knew they’d have a son only be God’s miraculous hand, which may have been why they had to wait so long because God wanted to make it clear it was a miracle.

Doubt Versus Faith

As time passes and things don’t happen in our lives as we believe they should, we doubt as we see here with Sarah and Abraham. During their childbearing years, they believed. Now, it’s hard for them to do so.

Great commentary on the tree and this passage HERE

Some scholars think Abraham and Sarah were not having sex for whatever reason so God needed to reinforce His will personally, which is why He appears here.  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.

God heard Sarah’s laugh. We should remember God hears everything. God does not punish them for their unbelief. God is faithful to His promises despite our doubt (2 Timothy 2:13). He never abandons us like we do Him.

Hard is the same Hebrew word for wonderful in Isaiah 9:6 referring to Christ.

God talks to Abraham about Sarah’s doubt since he is the head of the household. He is responsible for her faith, or, in this case, her unbelief.

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 16, Day 2: Genesis 18:1-15

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.

Questions:

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.

Powerful lesson!

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).