Not everyone likes the surprise drop in of friends or neighbors. We tend to want to know in advance that we will have a visitor. Why? To be ready, of course! Who wants the chaos and mess of their home life exposed? This is what makes the following account of Abraham and Sarah so relevant and inspiring. When the Lord (yes, God in human skin) showed up unannounced, Abraham scrambled much like we do before answering the door—giving directives to nearby offspring, slinging dirty dishes into the sink, and quickly plumping all those pillows on the couch! But Sarah’s unpreparedness was less superficial, more deep-rooted. Rather than laundry piles, her visitors walked in on disbelief and a cynic’s heart.
- If Jesus knocked on your front door, would you hide your stacks of papers or your attitude first?
READ THE WORD: GENESIS 18:1-15 (ESV)
18:1 And the Lord appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the door of his tent in the heat of the day. 2 He lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing in front of him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them and bowed himself to the earth 3 and said, “O Lord, if I have found favor in your sight, do not pass by your servant. 4 Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree, 5 while I bring a morsel of bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on— since you have come to your servant.” So they said, “Do as you have said.” 6 And Abraham went quickly into the tent to Sarah and said, “Quick! Three seahs of fine flour! Knead it, and make cakes.” 7 And Abraham ran to the herd and took a calf, tender and good, and gave it to a young man, who prepared it quickly. 8 Then he took curds and milk and the calf that he had prepared, and set it before them. And he stood by them under the tree while they ate.
9 They said to him, “Where is Sarah your wife?” And he said, “She is in the tent.” 10 The Lord said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife shall have a son.” And Sarah was listening at the tent door behind him. 11 Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in years. The way of women had ceased to be with Sarah. 12 So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I am worn out, and my lord is old, shall I have pleasure?” 13 The Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?’ 14 Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son.” 15 But Sarah denied it, saying, “I did not laugh,” for she was afraid. He said, “No, but you did laugh.”
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- How did Abraham greet his guests (vss. 1-5)? What does this indicate about the state of his heart?
- After the Lord ate, what did he say to Abraham (vs. 10)? How did Sarah respond?
- What do you hear in Sarah’s response in verse 12? What words have you prayed lately, and do they say what your heart really feels?
- Sarah’s laughter exposed her inability to believe God’s promise could come true. What emotions, actions, or thoughts expose your struggle to believe God’s promises can come true in your life?
- What specific things are you struggling to trust God with today?
RESPOND TO GOD
The Lord came to give Abraham and Sarah the very thing they had waited a lifetime for. He wasn’t there demanding hospitality. And isn’t that true in our lives right now? He’s knocking, and we’re too busy scurrying frantically about doing stuff he hasn’t asked us to do, or cleaning up our dirty messes, or hiding how we really feel, or even doubting he’ll show up at all, and we miss the blessing. The blessing that God came to visit us today to tell us something we’ve been waiting to hear. Whatever is going on with you right now, answer the door and let the Lord in. He’s not coming to judge your housekeeping skills, or put one more item on your “to-do” list. He is coming to encourage you with good news and to remind you that nothing is too hard for him.
- Write this on a notecard and carry with you today: “Is anything too hard for the Lord?”
- Thank God that he knows your fears and doubts and the dark places in your life, and that he loves you anyway.