They said to him, “Where is Sarah your wife?”Genesis 18:9–10 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
And he said, “There, in the tent.”
One of them said, “I will certainly return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.”
And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him.
I assume some of you may be familiar with this account of God visiting Abraham. Three men (the they) come to Abraham where he had pitched his tent near the Oaks of Mamre. He makes them a meal and they eat. It is at this point that we get an indicator as to the identity of One of those.
The group asked after Sarah. But One of those made a promise to come a year later with the intent to fulfill the promise of God. God Himself made a promise to Abraham and Sarah they would have a child. And by the personal pronouns, we now know that One of these me is God.
As was the custom of the time, women remained unseen and Sarah was in the tent. She overheard the conversation.
Now Abraham and Sarah were old and very advanced in age, and Sarah was well past childbearing. Therefore Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I am so old and my lord is old also, shall I have pleasure?”Genesis 18:11–12 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
Sarah has a moment of surprise, she laughs at what God said to Abraham. This is similar to Abraham’s reaction upon hearing the same promise from God that he and Sarah would have a son.
As Abraham was challenged to stretch his faith, the promise came as God changed Sarah’s name. God was showing Abraham her importance in that promise.
Now Sarah had the same surprise. She too now heard the promise from God Himself. Sequestered away from the men, she heard for herself that she is an important part of God’s plan. Yet there is an intriguing difference in the responses each gave. Can you discern what it is?
Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed and said in his heart, “Shall a child be born to a man that is a hundred years old? Shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?”Genesis 17:17 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
Abraham laughed out loud but spoke his surprise silently. Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I am so old and my lord is old also, shall I have pleasure?”
The different reactions teach us about God.
Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Shall I surely bear a child when I am old?’ Is anything too difficult for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, at this time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”Genesis 18:13–14 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
God heard her secret laughter. Could there have been a bit of disbelief?
Perhaps, but God asks Abraham why she laughed. God then says is anything too difficult for Him?
It was her turn to exercise her faith. Now, the account turns a bit.
Then Sarah denied it, saying, “I did not laugh,” because she was afraid.Genesis 18:15 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
But He said, “Yes, you did laugh.”
Sarah denied the truth and spoke a lie right back to God. Who could do such a thing and live?
Sarah did. God corrected her.
It is an awkward turn, Sarah sins before God and lives to tell about it. God does correct her. But what is not recorded here is any confession of Sarah for the wrongdoing.
This is an important concept. Eve confessed her sin to God. Adam confessed his. Even Hagar confessed hers as she was met by God.
I think the grace of God is pictured here. The very grace that Jesus extends to all. I mean all humans by His death on the cross. It’s the fact that the penalty for sin has just satisfaction.
It’s like God silently says to Sarah, I know what you did. You are free to go.
It is in that exchange that points straight to Jesus. This is the same loving God we k ow from the New Testament. He has not ever changed. Jesus is not God 2.0.