Is Anything too hard for the Lord?
Is Anything Too Hard For the Lord?
Is Anything Too Hard For the Lord?
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,
Central to today’s text is the question, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?”
Throughout the Word of God, this question was asked two times in the Old Testament. In the New Testament, the question was not asked. Rather those who wondered if what had been promised was possible, were assured that nothing is too hard for God.
Interestingly enough, in each instance, the conversation did begin with a few philosophy or grad students debating is there a God and is His power limited. In each instance, God, Himself asked or answered the question posed those who questioned God’s power.
In the chapter before us, God asked and Abraham and Sarah,
The Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?’ 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.”
Much later in answer to Jeremiah’s prayer for understanding, the word of the Lord came to the prophet Jeremiah.
“Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?
In the New Testament, we have the account of the rich young ruler who said to Jesus, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Having explained that no one is good except God, Jesus told the ruler what to do.
You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.’ ”
With no sense of his own sin, the young ruler answered,
And he said, “All these I have kept from my youth.”
Please note Christ’s command, the ruler’s response and Christ’s comment.
When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”
But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich. Jesus, seeing that he had become sad, said, “How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”
Those who heard Christ’s comment asked a question and Christ answered their question. We will need to remember Christ’s answer especially when we come to the second part of the chapter before us.
Those who heard it said, “Then who can be saved?” But he said, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”
Because we will soon be focusing on remembering the birth of Christ, what to Abraham and Jeremiah was phrased a question/statement was part of the angel’s answer to Mary’s question, “How could she as a virgin have a baby?”
Holy Spirit would come upon her - power of the Most High would overshadow her.
The child born would be called holy - Son of the living God
Elizabeth, her relative who was called barren has conceived and is in her sixth month.
For nothing will be impossible with God.”
Coming back to we cannot avoid two similar questions?
Is what seems too hard or impossible for us, too hard for the Lord? - 18:1-15 - *18:14
As the events of this chapter unfold, if we had asked Abraham and Sarah that question at any point up in the events recorded verses 1 to 15, they would have said, “YES”. The record before us supports that answer. Not only would they have said, “YES, this is too hard for God”, Sarah laughed because she so totally, so completely did not understand what God could do.
Even without the rest of the story, which they did not know as yet, their “YES” is hard to understand.
God had promised and promised again that they would have child.
I will make you a great nation - 12:1
I will make your offspring as the dust of the earth - 13:16
He answered their questions and was patient when they miss stepped.
Rather than Eliezer, your very own son will be your heir - 15:4
Rather than Ishmael, I will establish my covenant with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you at this time next year - 17:21
Please note - the child to be born was named and the time of the birth given.
The events of the first part of would have followed with not interruption, the reason being the same timeline for the birth of Isaac was given - about this time next year - 18:10
He had answered their questions
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.
Before us is the account of the events that our Lord used to affirm to Abraham and Sarah that Sarah would give birth to a baby. The LORD did everything possible so they would know that what they saw was very hard, impossible was possible for the LORD.
Three visitors appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre - perhaps at the time of mid day rest
Theophany - “a manifestation of God that is tangible to human senses” - Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Theology
Christ was a theophany.
The last verse of “O Come, All Ye Faithful” expresses that beautifully.
“Yea, Lord we greet Thee, born this happy morning,
Jesus, to thee be all glory giv’n;
Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing!”
We cannot be sure at the outset that Abraham knew that one of the three was Yahweh. Afterwards, he would have know and therefore noted that the LORD appeared to him.
The word “Lord” greeting was at that time a respectful way of addressed a visitor.
By verse 13, Abraham would have known that it was the LORD speaking to him.
Hospitality - understated, lavish - cc invitation for tea is CIS churches
cakes/bread, curds, milk meat
hosts stood while guests ate under the tree - in front of the tent - vs 8, 10
Whereas is some cultures and not that long ago hospitality was a way of life that was extended out of love rather than obligation, times and have changed - culture, funds, hospitality industry.
While those changes cannot be denied hospitality should be seen as important for believers.
Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,
- I pray that would become an integral part of our DNA.
SGA pattern - 90% of Canada accommodation and food in the homes of ministry partners - 99% home and churches in CIS
benefits as serve you
benefits as Lord gives growth.
Question and a statement:
Where is Sarah? - she is in the tent - in that day women not often visible to strangers, especially men.
“I will return to you about this time next year and Sarah your wife will have a son.”
Human dilemma summary:
Abraham and Sarah old, advanced in years
the way of women had ceased to be with Sarah
Sarah laughed and talked to herself.
The LORD said to Abraham,
“Why did Sarah laugh and say, shall I indeed bear a child when I am old?”
“Is anything too hard for the LORD?”
At the appointed I will return to you about this time next year and Sarah shall have a son.”
Sarah’s response from inside the tent.
I did not laugh
No, you did laugh.
With that the 3 men set out from the oaks of Mamre and Abraham’s tent.
18:16-33 provides us with the answer to our second question.
2. Is it too hard for our Lord to forgiven those who repent? 18:16-33
Without any hesitation, we would quickly answer, “NO”.
Our Lord is able and willing to forgive all who repent.
Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.
That is just one many references to our Lord’s ability to renew and keep those who come to Him faith confessing their sin, receiving Christ as Lord and Saviour.
If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king.
Christ emphasized what His Father was able to do.
Bear fruits in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham.
The Apostle Paul wrote that eventually Abraham came to trust in the LORD’s power.
fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.
Paul also wrote,
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.
BUT, the Word also reminds us.
And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
The LORD can renew all who come to Him in faith believing, BUT He cannot renew those who refuse to be renewed.
Flu shot, immunizations
Polio (infantile paralysis), small pox
At the outset, some advance information - We will also need to another portion of scripture to begin to answer all of our second question.
First of all we see that,
Our Lord does not hide His ways (18:17) and the way of the Lord (18:19) - doing righteousness (18:19) - 18:16-19
God makes His ways known those who will listen and learn. For that reason, He had to tell Abraham what He was about to do and why.
His Word -
Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes; and I will keep it to the end. Give me understanding, that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart. Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it.
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
Our Lord is just and merciful - 18:20-26
Some see justice and mercy as incompatible. But they are not incompatible. With justice and laws each of would be left to do what is right in our own eyes. Without something beyond culture and consensus, the common denominator of those alive would decide what is lawful.
In the context of Sodom, there was an outcry against Sodom. The outcry was great - numerous, large . Their sin was very grave - weighty.
The Lord affirmed that He did not take this lightly and would not proceed with patience and due diligence.
I will go down to see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry that has come to me. And if not, I will know.”
In our Lord, we find a perfect balance of justice and mercy.
The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
And the Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to my cleanness in his sight. “With the merciful you show yourself merciful; with the blameless man you show yourself blameless;
2 Sam 22:
The justice requirements of our holy LORD are fulfilled in Christ.
whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The righteous will not face what the wicked do. God is just.
Far be it from you to do such a thing, to put the righteous to death with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?”
Our Lord welcomes those who intercede for those who need to repent - 18:27-33
Will you spare the city if there are 50,45,40, 30, 20, 10 righteous?
The Lord’s answer - Yes, for the sake of 10, I will spare the city.
Putting the numbers aside are we concerned enough to intercede for those in need.
Do we pray, like everything depends on God?
Do we reach out like everything depends on us?
Do we see the needs of those around us?
health and physical needs - we are our brother’s and sisters keepers
sin and death - we are called to rescue others even as we were rescued - let our light shine, be salt
Our Lord forgives those who accept the Word of God, believe God and repent - Jonah
Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it the message that I tell you.”
Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying,
Decree of the king and nobles
but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and let them call out mightily to God. Let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. Who knows? God may turn and relent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we may not perish.”
Their words and actions were sincere and honest before God.
When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it.
Reflecting on we would do well to remember two truths.
NOTHING is too hard for the LORD.
What are you, what are we facing that seems impossible?
Is it too hard for to renew us and us to replant this church?
2. Our LORD is not willing that any should perish.
God and Abraham were concerned for ALL in the city.
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
Story/testimony of Peter Deyneka Sr.