Shall I hide (asks God)

Genesis 18:16-18 records God’s introspection as God ponders as to whether he should tell Abraham about the impending judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah or not. Subsequently we learn that God reveals his plan to Abraham. Why? Because the Scripture says that the Lord knew Abraham – that Abraham will command his children and his household to keep the way of the Lord and to do justice and judgment (Genesis 18:19).

Points to ponder:
Can this be said of you and me? If the Lord introspects as to whether he has to reveal to us his plans, would he be able to come up with ” will command his children and his household to keep the way of the Lord and to do justice and judgment.” Will that be affirmative?

Genesis 18:16-19 (KJV)
16 And the men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way.
17 And the Lord said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do;
18 Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?
19 For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.

Lying is no laughing matter

When the Lord asked Abraham as to why Sarah laughed, when she heard of the promise of a child that she would bear, the Bible records that out of fear, she lied to the Lord saying that she did not (Genesis 18:15). To this the Lord does not react angrily but reaffirms that even the hidden laughter of Sarah was not hidden from the Lord. In fact, by denying what the Lord was stating was making God a liar, which Apostle John reaffirmed in 1 John 1:10 which reads “If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

From this account we can learn a few things
1. Fear causes us to lie, but since those who live according to God’s spirit have no condemnation in Christ, there is no need to fear, which means that there is no need to lie (to God).
2. One cannot lie to God and get away with it, because he is omniscient.
3. Lying to God and denying that we have not sinned, when we have, makes God a liar (1 John 1:10) and God is not a man that he should lie (Numbers 23:19).

Lying to God is no laughing matter.

Points to ponder:
The Bible states that the father of lies from the very beginning is the devil (John 8:44). Jesus said that he and the Father are One and that he is The Truth (John 14:6). In him, there is no condemnation (Romans 8:1) i.e., no need to fear.
Are you living in fear or with a sound mind without timidity? (2 Timothy 1:7)
We may be able to lie to man and get away with it, but we cannot lie to God and get away with it?
Lying to God makes God a liar and since he is God, the personification of Truth itself, he cannot lie and this is no laughing matter.

Genesis 18:15 (KJV)
15 Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid. And he said, Nay; but thou didst laugh.

John 14:6 (KJV)
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

2 Timothy 1:7-10 (KJV)
7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;
Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,
10 But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:

Is anything too hard for the Lord?

When I was a child, I used to sing the song by Kay Chance, relatively more often than now. The song is entitled, “Ah, Lord God” and the words are taken from the Jeremiah 32:17. The lyrics go as:

Ah Lord God, Thou hast made the heavens And the earth by Thy great power;
Ah Lord God, Thou hast made the heavens  And the earth by Thine outstretched arm.
Nothing is too difficult for Thee, Nothing is too difficult for Thee;
O, great and mighty God,  Great in power and mighty in deed,
Nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing, Nothing is too difficult for Thee.

These words that were given through prophet Jeremiah, are indeed the answer to the question that the Lord posed to Abraham and Sarah, when he asked them (and through them – us) “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” (Genesis 18:14).

Jesus takes this one step further and makes it evidently clear by not just his words (Luke 18:27), but his works of making the blind see (Mark 8:22-25), the deaf hear (Matthew 7:31-37), the mute speak (Matthew 7:31-37), the lame walk (John 5:1-13) and the dead rise (Matthew 11:1-5; John 11:1-45), expressing that not only is nothing too hard for the Lord, but that there is nothing that is impossible for God.

Points to ponder:
Question: Is there anything too hard for the Lord?
Answer: Nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing.
Explanation: The things which are impossible with men are possible with God (Luke 18:27)

Genesis 18:14 (KJV)
14 Is any thing too hard for the Lord? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.

Jeremiah 32:17 (KJV)
17 Ah Lord God! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee:

Luke 18:27 (KJV)
27 And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.

Sarah’s hidden laughter

When the Lord promised Abraham that at the appointed time, he would return to Abraham and Sarah his wife shall have a son, Sarah who heard this promised laughed within herself saying, “How shall she and her husband (whom she respectfully referred to as her lord) have this pleasure?” since she had gone past the age of child bearing. So for Sarah to have a child would be nothing short of a miracle.

Although some commentaries suggest that Sarah laughed out of astonishment and amusement, the Scripture only gives us insight to the fact that she laughed in a questioning manner – “How can this be?” for the Lord tells Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh, saying shall I of a surety bear a child when I am old?” This is further corroborated by the fact that Sarah denies her laughter for she was afraid. However, you see the Lord question, but not rebuke Abraham or Sarah. Instead the Lord reveals to them a glimpse of his character – that he indeed is a miracle working God – making the barren fertile and that there is absolutely nothing that is too difficult for the Lord. Upon this revelation, I believe that Sarah believed in the promise coming true, for the Scripture records that through faith, Sarah in her old age, past her child bearing age, received strength and was able to bear a child, for she understood that the one who had promised is faithful (Hebrews 11:11)

Points to ponder:
When God reveals his plan for our life, we may find it astonishing, amusing, and even unbelieving, often evoking a natural human reaction and response to laugh within ourselves, but let us not fail to recognize like Sarah, that when God promises, it is an sure deal – a ‘Yes’ and ‘Amen’ for nothing is too hard for the Lord. This is not a laughing matter, but a matter of faith. Do you believe?

Genesis 18:10-15 (KJV)
10 And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him.
11 Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women.
12 Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?
13 And the Lord said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old?
14 Is any thing too hard for the Lord? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.
15 Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid. And he said, Nay; but thou didst laugh.

Hebrews 11:11 (KJV)
11 Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.

Time of (your) life

Punk Rock band, Green Day’s popular song, “Good riddance (Time of your life)” has the following lyrics repeat quite a bit throughout their song – “It’s something unpredictable but in the end it’s right. I hope you had the time of your life.” While this song was quite popular during its day (late 90s) and its music is kind of romantic, the change I would like to make to the lyrics, is as follows:  “It’s something predictable (not unpredictable) and (not but) in the end it’s right. I know (not hope) that I would’ve had the time of my life” and instead of Good Riddance entitle it Good Relationship (Time of my life). Let me explain.

The Bible states in Genesis 18:10 and Genesis 18:14 that the Lord told Abraham, that the Lord will certainly return to Abraham according to the time of life and that Sarah, Abraham’s wife shall have a son. Sarah laughs in her amusement of what she felt was absurd, failing to realize that when the Lord returns, it will be according to the time of life – as he has planned – and even the improbable is a surety and the impossible possible.

Points to ponder:
When the Lord returns to us, it is Good relationship and it is the time of our life. That is not unpredictable and in the end it is right – I know that with God with us (Emmanuel), we would have had the time of our life. Do you have the time of your life? In other words, is the Lord in your life?

Genesis 18:10, 14 (KJV)
10 And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him.

14 Is any thing too hard for the Lord? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.

Sarah thy wife

When the Lord and the divine visitors question Abraham, they asked “Where is Sarah thy wife?” To the cursory reader, while this may seem like a very simple and direct question regarding the whereabouts of Sarah, in-depth scrutiny reveals quiet the contrary.

First note, how the Lord refers to Abraham’s wife as Sarah – the new name she was given by the God (Genesis 17:15) and not Sarai – her birthname given to her by her earthly father – Terah (Genesis 11:27; Genesis 20:12). Second, did you notice, how the Lord is stating the obvious apropos Sarah’s relationship to Abraham as his wife. We do not know of any other Sarai who was renamed Sarah except for Abraham’s wife at that time. Then why would the Lord need to explicitly refer to Sarah as Abraham’s wife?

To answer this, we would need to rely solely on God’s word and other sections in the infallible Scripture can give us some insight. Abram (before he was named Abraham) had told a half-truth i.e., lied to the Pharoah of Egypt about his relationship with Sarai (before she was called Sarah) stating that she was his sister, for the fear of his life (Genesis 12:11-20). Additionally, Abram, at the consent and act of Sarah herself, had taken her Egyptian maid Hagar, to be his wife not concubine (Genesis 16:3). The Lord leaves no question unturned – that it is Sarah, not Hagar who is “Abraham’s” wife through whom his promised Seed (Galatians 3:16) would hail.

Points to ponder:
From these we can learn a few things –
1. God calls us by our new names and not our old. When we belong to Christ (we are Christ ones or Christians) and God sees us as his children and not as the children of the devil (John 8:44) under whose power we live (1 John 5:19) since natural birth (Psalm 51:5) until we are born again spiritually (John 3:3-7; 1 Peter 1:23). What is your new name for those who are in Christ – those who have received him and believed in his name – those who are a new creature (2 Corinthians 5:17); they are the children of God (John 1:12).
2. The Lord reminds us and reestablishes our relationship. Due to our meagre understanding of the power of God, we may choose to establish our own earthly relationships, but only the relationship that God has promised and provided will stand. Just as Sarah was the wife of Abraham, bearing the children of freedom and not of slavery to the law (Galatians 4:21-31), those who are the children of God, born again, by believing in Jesus are children of freedom and are free indeed (John 8:36).
What is your new name?
Is your relationship with God – a Father-Child relationship?
Can God say <put your name here> my child?

Genesis 18:9 (KJV)
And they said unto him, Where is Sarah thy wife? And he said, Behold, in the tent.

Where is Sarah?

Genesis 18:9 records the question that The Lord and the divine visitors asked Abraham after he had served them a feast and was waiting on them. The question was “Where is Sarah thy wife?”  Now does it not seem odd that the omniscient God would not know about the physical whereabouts of Sarah, for there is absolutely no place that exists in which one can hide from the seeking spirit of God – not even in the heaven (heights) nor in hell (depths) (Psalm 139-7-10). So why then was this question posed? It certainly did not seem to be rhetorical in its intent.

Although Abraham responds to this question with a reference to Sarah’s physical whereabouts – that she was in the tent – as he said “Behold (look), in the tent”, the Lord does not respond by asking Abraham to go get her, which implies that the Lord’s question was taking into account, more than just the physical. I am convinced that this was a spiritual question – a question not about Sarah’s physical whereabouts but about Sarah’s spiritual condition, much like the question that God asked Adam as to where he was (in the garden) when Adam disobeyed God and fell in his spiritual condition (Genesis 3:9).

If this is true, then one would wonder as to what was Sarah’s spiritual condition? To answer this, we need to go back a few chapters which gives the account of Abraham, Sarah and Hagar. Note, what Sarah’s understanding of God was. She believed that it was the Lord who had restrained her from bearing child (Genesis 16:10) despite the promise of God to Abraham of his own seed, from his own bowels (Genesis 15:4-5). She did not recognize at that moment that there was nothing too hard for the life-giving God who fashioned man out of the lifeless dust of the earth. I believe that the question “Where is Sarah?” was a question to find out, if Sarah was still in her misunderstanding of God.

Points to ponder:
Many of us are much like Sarah. We limit God to our understanding and at times even blame him for our barrenness in life, failing to recognize that there is nothing too hard for the Lord. He is a life-giving God and despite man’s dire conditions after the fall of Adam, he made The Way to bring life and Salvation to all mankind by giving us, Jesus his only begotten Son (John 3:16) to take away our wages of sin (that is death), giving us life. What is your understanding of God? What is my understanding of God? Now think and answer the question “Where is Sarah?” by replacing the word ‘Sarah’ with your name!

Genesis 18:9 (KJV)
And they said unto him, Where is Sarah thy wife? And he said, Behold, in the tent.

Psalm 139:7-10 (KJV)
Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?
If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.
If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;
10 Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.

Standing by (the Lord)

Genesis 18:8 states that after Abraham had served the Lord and the divine visitors, the feast that he had prepared for them, he stood by them while they ate. While this may seem like an ordinary and natural thing to do, it is important to recognize the hidden treasures in this account. First, Abraham did not stand still and stand by until he had finished preparing and serving the Lord. Second, Abraham did not try to stand out but instead stood by. In other words, he waited on the Lord to ensure that the Lord was satisfied,

Points to ponder:
There are many who serving the Lord, one mission after another, but seldom do they take time to stand still and stand by the Lord, waiting on him. In other words, there are many busybody Christians. Additionally, then there are others who seek importance and preeminence and try to stand out (and even worse try to be outstanding before the Lord) instead of standing by the Lord. If we fall into this category of Christians, let us learn from this account of Abraham’s service and resolve first, not to stand still until our work is complete and when the task ordained is done, let us take the time to stand by the Lord and see to it that he is satisfied. Additionally, let us remember to not seek self praise by trying to stand out (before men), but instead let us stand by the Lord and aim to be a God pleaser. Are you willing to stand by (the Lord) for he stands by you always.

Genesis 18:8 (KJV)
And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat.

I have a dream

As America celebrates, Martin Luther King, Jr., day for his fight for the equality of man, irrespective of race, his famous ‘I have a dream’ speech is remembered.

The Bible is rife with examples of dreamers from the Pharoah of Egypt, Jacob the Patriarch, Joseph the prince, Nebuchadnezzer the king, Joseph the husband of Mary, Herod the king, the wife of Pilate and more. At times God used dreams to warn his people and at other times he used dreams to communicate his plans.

Points to ponder:
In fact one of the signs of the last days is that when the spirit of God is poured out, the young men will see visions and old men will dream dreams. In order to dream, one needs to rest. Let us rest in the Lord and may the Lord rest on us so that his spirit can be poured into us and we can also say “I have a dream”.

Joel 2:28 (KJV)
28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: