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Is Anything Too Hard For the Lord?
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,
Gen 18:
Much later in answer to Jeremiah’s prayer for understanding, the word of the Lord came to the prophet Jeremiah.
Jer
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.
Lk 18:
Lk
With no sense of his own sin, the young ruler answered,
Lk 18:21
Please note Christ’s command, the ruler’s response and Christ’s comment.
Lk 18
Lk 18:23-
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.
Lk 18:
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.
Lk
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
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
feet washed
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.
- 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.”
Sarah listening
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.
Heb 7
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.
Christ emphasized what His Father was able to do.
The Apostle Paul wrote that eventually Abraham came to trust in the LORD’s power.
Paul also wrote,
BUT, the Word also reminds us.
The LORD can renew all who come to Him in faith believing, BUT He cannot renew those who refuse to be renewed.
ILLUSTRATION:
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.
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