Genesis 18:14 Is anything too hard for the LORD? I will return to you at the appointed time next year and Sarah will have a son.
Sarah laughed. I laughed too when I read this today. As she stood outside the tent, she heard the Lord say that she would give birth to a son. She was an old lady by now, so naturally this struck her funny bone. “That’s a good one, God!” But then she got caught laughing like a 1st grader getting caught passing gas: “it wasn’t me!” Have you ever tried telling God you didn’t do something that you did? “I didn’t laugh, God. Really, I didn’t.” Uh… yes you did. Don’t try to pull one over on God, okay?
I can understand why she thought this whole idea was humorous. God had promised her and Abraham long ago that they would have a child. However, that ship had sailed, time was up, game over. At least that is what it looked like in the natural. Yes, when God shows up in your nineties and tells you to start building your family, you might think he is joking. After all, why would God say something impossible like that? Why would He be crazy enough to utter the ridiculous? Doesn’t He know how things work?
Is anything too hard for the LORD? That’s what He asks Abraham. Now it seems God likes to operate in the rhetorical. He asks questions that aren’t really questions. In other words, He was saying this: nothing is too hard for me. Who made your body, Abraham? God. Who creates life, Abe? God. Who supernaturally appeared before you in your tent? That’s right – God. Listen: when the supernatural God speaks to you, assume He is able to do something supernatural! If the creator of the heavens and the earth wants to create, He can and He will create. If He says He is going to provide your every need, believe that He is able to do so. If He says that Has this situation under control, take Him at His word. He’s God… and nothing is too hard for Him.
*Do you have something in your life that you think is too hard for God?
Genesis 17:5 No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations.
You don’t call a boy a man. You don’t call a caterpillar a butterfly. You don’t call a construction site a house. These are things in their unfinished state; they are growing, transforming, being built. They are in essence – in process. Abram was in process, too. Here’s a guy in his nineties being promised that he will have many descendants through his wife Sarai. She was in her nineties, too, and hadn’t given birth to a single child.
Yet, God renamed him Abraham before anything happened. He called him a father of many nations when he wasn’t even a father of one nation. God essentially called a caterpillar a butterfly and a construction site a house. He called a childless couple a father and mother to nations. It’s like He knew something they didn’t. It’s almost as though He had some idea of what was going to come. Oh, yes, that’s right… He’s God; He does that.
You see, God sees things how they could be, not how they are. He sees things the way He designed them, not how they are currently functioning. With Abraham and Sarah, His destiny for them was to be the Father and Mother of nations. Just because they hadn’t seen it yet, didn’t mean that it wasn’t their destiny. I love that in this verse, God calls him a father ahead of time. It reminds me that I need to start speaking out the prophetic identity that God has placed in my life. You need to start speaking yours out too.
*What is God saying to you that you have a hard time believing? In what places do you need to start declaring out who He has called you to be?
Genesis 16:1-2 Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian maidservant named Hagar; so she said to Abram, “The LORD has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through her.” Abram agreed to what Sarai said.
Um, does this seem like a bad idea to anyone besides me? Here’s the deal: God promised Abram that he would give him more descendants than he could count. Now naturally, you would need at least one child to get that process started. Sarai’s clock was ticking and it just didn’t seem like it was going to happen. Maybe God forgot what He had said. Maybe He was just messing with us. We better take matters into our own hands, just in case God doesn’t come through. Ya, not the best faith filled strategy.
Let’s say that God promised you financial freedom. Now it’s been two months since He gave you that word, yet nothing seems to be happening. You are still stuck in the same dead end job. The bills keep piling up and the car broke down. Like Abram and Sarai, you wonder if God forgot about His promise. Maybe He didn’t really mean it. So you decide that God needs some help with the delivery. You daily begin purchasing lottery tickets and keep on losing. Then one day it happens. You win $1,000. It wasn’t the million you were hoping for, but it will do.
That’s essentially what Abram and Sarai did with God’s promise. They didn’t see a result, so they took matters into their own hands. Listen: God doesn’t need your help to make His promise happen. He probably just needs your patience. God knew what He had in store for Abram and Sarai; they just didn’t want to wait for it. I wonder sometimes if we treat His promises in the same way. I wonder if we grow weary of waiting and take matters into our own hands. Ishmael is cool and all… but I think we should wait for Isaac. After all, HE was God’s true promise.
*When God gives you a promise, do you wait for it or take matters into your own hands?
Genesis 15:1 After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.”
There was a movie that came out in 2005, called Wedding Crashers. I didn’t see it, but the premise was that these two guys crashed weddings of total strangers in order to meet women. Party crashers can ruin a party. They aren’t invited, they don’t really know anyone, and they mess things up. Let’s pretend you are throwing a party and there is someone you intentionally don’t invite. You don’t invite them because you have a history with them that is less than pleasant. They hurt you, they slandered you, they are mean. Whatever the reason, they aren’t invited. But somehow they hear about your little shindig and show up. How do you feel about that?
Abram had someone crash his party. In the previous chapter, he had just made a bold stand against the king of Sodom. He turned down a big gift and put his faith in God. It’s a big thing to say no to a king and a bigger thing to trust that what you can’t see will come to pass. And right in the middle of this party of faith, fear tried to crash the party. Maybe he made a mistake. Maybe he should have taken the money from the king. What if he made the king mad? What if God didn’t come through? Yes, fear crashed his party.
That’s when God showed up like a bouncer and kicked fear out: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.” He spoke directly into that fear and addressed the places it was messing with Abram. Fear told him that he would be harmed, but God told him that HE was his shield. Fear told him that he just made a huge mistake by passing up on the money, but God reminded him that HE was his reward. It’s like God said, “Excuse me fear, I need to see your invitation to this party.” Fear didn’t have one so God kicked him out.
*Is fear crashing your party? What will you do when it comes knocking at your door?