God has shown up once more to renew the promise! Not only did God renew the promise of making Abram and Sarai the parents of multitudes, (original promise in Genesis 15:5 “He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspringd be.”) God also changes Abram’s name to Abraham and Sarai’s name to Sarah. This is the first time in the bible that God changes someone’s name but it’s not the last. These name changes excite my heart; it shouts of something new! It’s almost as if God wants Abraham and Sarah to see themselves in a new light. To refer to themselves by a new name implies that they have a new identity. They have a new destiny. Maybe what they thought would be the outcome of their lives is no more. Now they have new dreams and renewed hopes to trudge into the unknown future with.
This passage strengthens my faith and makes my heart swell! If God could forgive Sarai’s mistakes and repeat a promise they thought would never come to pass then whose to say he can’t do the same for you and me?!
I hope this thought encourages you as much as it has encouraged me!
Nevertheless, I know the ending to this story. Sarah does not, so it doesn’t surprise me the way she responds to her heavenly visitors and the message they share with Abraham.
Let’s read the passage and discuss the three actions Sarah takes.
Genesis 18: 1-15.
Quick paraphrase, three angels show up at Abraham and Sarah’s. Abraham is very hospitable so he invites them in to rest, wash their feet and eat. He immediately gives word to Sarah and the servants to prepare some yummy goodness to bless their visitors with. The angels get straight to the point, 9 “Where is your wife Sarah?” they asked him. “There, in the tent,” he said. 10 Then one of them said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.”
Now I just have to point out how interesting it is to me that they asked Abraham about Sarah’s location. A part of me feels like they already knew where she was and they wanted her to overhear that they knew she could hear the conversation.
Why do I think this?
Let me show you with verse 10 “…Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, which was behind him…”
#1 Sarah eavesdropped.
Tsst tsst tsst. But. Don’t we do this at times? Don’t we try to listen in on God’s conversations with other people looking for some clue, hint or something that will give us the link we think we are missing? Don’t we ever ask our friends or loved ones… “So what did God say to you…?” and we do our best not to add, “about me” at the end of that question. I know I have. And if I don’t it’s only because I don’t want them to think I’m rude.
What she does next convicts my heart even further.
12 So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, “After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I now have this pleasure?”
#2 Sarah laughed.
Uuufff. Talk about a spiritual punch in the face! How many times does God lay a promise on our hearts and our reaction is to laugh in his face? Whenever we respond in this manner we are literally saying, “I do not believe that you will keep your promise, God.” I can’t imagine how this grieves our Heavenly Father. He wants so badly to bless us and we prevent the blessings from flowing because of our disbelief and lack of faith.
Sarah’s third action is the kicker. It wasn’t enough for her to eavesdrop and laugh but then she….
15 Sarah was afraid, so she lied and said, “I did not laugh.”
#3 Sarah lied.
This girl had angst. OK. She reacted out of fear but that doesn’t excuse her for lying! Does that sound judgy? Like I have a right to judge! Seriously, am I the only one who gets freaked out at times and doesn’t know what else to do but lie? When your dreams are so big that they scare you out of your wits isn’t it easier to just lie and say, “Naw, I’m good where I’m at.”? Call me crazy but I completely get Sarah. She was pushing 90 when these angels came to visit. She did not believe her body could handle it but next week we will see how God had other plans.
To close this out, let me say how one of my favorite parts of the entire passage is when the angel responds to Sarah in verse 15… But he said, “Yes, you did laugh.”
I love this for two reasons:
1. He confronted her. He didn’t let her slide. He told her to her face that he knew she was lying.
2. He doesn’t take the promise back. I’m sure he understood her fear the same way God understands our fears today.
Memory Verse: Proverbs 3:25-26
Proverbs 3:25 You need not be afraid of sudden disaster or the destruction that comes upon the wicked, 26 for the Lord is your security. He will keep your foot from being caught in a trap.
Prayer for you:
Heavenly Father I pray that you may grab hold of every reader. I pray that you may reveal to them the dreams and promises you’ve placed on their hearts. I ask you Lord to remind them of these promises. That no matter what they have done or not done they may be confident that nothing can separate your love from them. Help us to accept your promises with confidence instead of incredulous laughter. Help us to not be afraid of your path for us but strengthen our faith that we may chase after you and your plan with reckless abandon. Thank you Lord because you hear our prayers and move behind the scenes. In Jesus’ name, Amen.