Read This Week: Genesis 18
Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, which was behind him. Abraham and Sarah were already very old, and Sarah was past the age of childbearing. So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, “After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I now have this pleasure?” Then the Lord said to Abraham, “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.” – Genesis 18:10-14 NIV
Genesis 18 is packed with intrigue and two distinct accounts that are significant moments in Abraham’s life. One is filled with joy and anticipation of a miraculous and inconceivable promise of his son, Isaac, and the other is a solemn foreshadowing of judgment and destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. As we read, one can’t help but notice the juxtaposition of events and the swing of emotions that Abraham goes through. It is not unlike our lives where, within the same day, week, or month, we can experience the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. But we rely on the same God amid the subtle and drastic changes in our circumstances or outlooks. His promises are true regardless of what happens along the way and nothing is too hard for Him.
The section opens with Abraham sitting at the entrance of his tent. Suddenly, three men appear before him, and though we don’t know if Abraham immediately understands the identity of these visitors, he does recognize their divine nature because he falls on his face in a posture of deference and honor. He then gets up and offers the comfort of his house. He welcomes the guests with humility and respect, offering them water, food, and rest. In a time when hospitality was a deeply ingrained cultural value, Abraham’s actions demonstrate his reverence for God and his willingness to care for the needs of others. His actions serve as a model of Christian love and kindness, emphasizing the principle of treating strangers with kindness and respect.
After Abraham had served his guests, they delivered a promise to him that God had already made – he would have a son and an heir with his wife, Sarah. It seems that the Lord repeated this promise to Abraham in a relatively short time since He had just done so in chapter 17, but we need to hear God’s promises over and over. It encourages our hearts and develops our faith. It builds our confidence in His provision and keeps us close to the truth and effectiveness of His word. It also helps us in our weakest moments of unbelief. A child of their own is what Sarah (and Abraham) wanted the most of their lives, yet they found it hard to believe God’s word when He said it again. So being the good Father that He is, God reassures them of His pledge.
The foretelling of Isaac’s birth has profound implications and signifies the awesome power of God to bring life from barrenness, reinforcing the themes of redemption and salvation that we see throughout this narrative and the whole of Scripture. Isaac’s birth becomes a symbol of God’s sovereignty and faithfulness, reminding believers like us of the limitless possibilities when we put our trust in Him. In verse 14, God says is anything too hard for the Lord? He then proceeds to declare that He will return to Abraham in the next year, and Sarah will have a son, thus proving what is obvious that, in fact, nothing is ever too hard for Him, not in their day or ours.
Chapter 18 is a testament to the enduring significance of God’s covenant and the belief that nothing is too difficult for our Father. After reading this, we should be inspired and emboldened to continue to be committed to our journey of faith, as we trust in the everlasting promises and always remember that we serve a risen Savior who overcame sin and death and nothing can be presented to Him that He cannot overcome.