The Birth of Isaac
Genesis 18:1-15, 21:1-7
All the families of earth will be blessed because of you. (Genesis 12:3)
Genesis 18 begins by telling us that God appeared to Abraham. But it would take some time for Abraham to realize the identity of his visitors. Three humanlike figures showed up at Abraham’s camp, and he showed extravagant hospitality. This gesture was similar to the over-the-top welcome the father offered to the prodigal son. It’s important to note that Abraham was unaware of the true nature of the visitors when he was showering them with this extravagant hospitality.
The visitors asked about Sarah. Probably keeping with cultural norms, Sarah was maintaining her distance from the strange men, but she was still within earshot and heard one of the men talking about her. And what she heard made her laugh out loud. She believed what the man said is downright impossible. Her skepticism is easy to understand. It would have been a miracle to bring about a pregnancy in a woman of her age who was well past childbearing years. Perhaps even more, Sarah could not imagine something miraculous happening to her. But God did plan to do something wondrous through Sarah, whether or not she believed it could happen. This aspect of the story puts us in our place and removes the burden of thinking everything depends on us; God is in charge and fully capable of making things happen.
Indeed, within a year, Sarah gave birth to a boy. She named him Isaac, which means “laughter,” reminding us of her earlier laughter at the seemingly absurd idea that she would become a mother in her old age.
• Nothing is too difficult for God.
• We should always be kind to others.
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