December 17, 2012
THE LAST LAUGH
“Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord?” (Genesis 18:13)
One of the greatest stories of faith is that of Abraham and the visitors who came to assure him of the promise of God. He is told….”and by the way….you will have a son by your wife (not your wife’s servant Hagar), and it will happen at about this time next year!”
We are not told that Abraham doubted. Just as he responded when he was asked years earlier to move, the Scriptures just succinctly state, “so Abram left.” It is a wonder to me how simplistic and trusting he was. Sarah is more typical of our normal reaction – “I’ve wanted children for 90 years of my life, we’re living out in this tent in the middle of the wilderness, I’m getting old and creaky and now I’m going have a child? Yeah, right!” Does that sound similar to how we respond to things? But do you know what I love about the story? God calls her out! The Lord, in the appearance of three men in the narrative, says of Sarah (who is listening silently inside the tent to the Lord’s promise), “Why did Sarah laugh?” The text goes on to state, Sarah was afraid so she lied and said, “I did not laugh.” (Gen. 18:15a)
Sarah acts just like Adam and Eve in the garden, just like Cain out in the field—she tried to cover her tracks. She works for excuses and self-justification! Why is that so easy to want to do? We hate to simply admit wrong and deal with our own shortcomings and failures to trust God at His Word. I would submit it is one of our most common failures. God ordered this world and promises life and joy to all who would diligently obey as Abram is noted to have done. But so often we play the part of Sarah – we just want to look like we are in agreement, rather than be fully committed and dedicated to acting out our faith in God’s plan for our lives!
But God calls her out, even after her excuse and self-justification. “But He said, “Yes, you did laugh.” (Gen. 18:15b) God isn’t letting it go…. He does know all and that ends the discussion. As a parent, I’ve labored with my wife to work with our kids to not feel the need to give the reason for actions we correct or discipline, rather to say…”okay dad,” or “all right,” without another explanation — even though there’s a burning desire in each of us to say why we have acted foolishly or sinfully. God desires that same attitude in my life and yours.
The last laugh in Sarah’s story is beautiful. One year later Isaac is born to a 100 year old father Abraham and Sarah. She then states ironically, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” (Genesis 21:6)
What is God prompting you to do in your life that seems a bit “laughable?” Think again, is anything too hard for the Lord?”