1The Lord appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the entrance of his tent in the heat of the day. 2He looked up and saw three men standing near him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent entrance to meet them, and bowed down to the ground. 3He said, “My lord, if I find favor with you, do not pass by your servant. 4Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. 5Let me bring a little bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on—since you have come to your servant.” So they said, “Do as you have said.” 6And Abraham hastened into the tent to Sarah, and said, “Make ready quickly three measures of choice flour, knead it, and make cakes.” 7Abraham ran to the herd, and took a calf, tender and good, and gave it to the servant, who hastened to prepare it. 8Then he took curds and milk and the calf that he had prepared, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree while they ate.
9They said to him, “Where is your wife Sarah?” And he said, “There, in the tent.” 10Then one said, “I will surely return to you in due season, and your wife Sarah shall have a son.” And Sarah was listening at the tent entrance behind him. 11Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in age; it had ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. 12So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I have grown old, and my husband is old, shall I have pleasure?” 13The Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh, and say, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?’ 14Is anything too wonderful for the Lord? At the set time I will return to you, in due season, and Sarah shall have a son.” 15But Sarah denied, saying, “I did not laugh”; for she was afraid. He said, “Oh yes, you did laugh.”
1The Lord dealt with Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah as he had promised. 2Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the time of which God had spoken to him. 3Abraham gave the name Isaac to his son whom Sarah bore him. 4And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him. 5Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. 6Now Sarah said, “God has brought laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh with me.” 7And she said, “Who would ever have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.”
Genesis 18:1-15, 21:1-7
Reading Scripture to Know:
- What is happening/being said? (Observation)
- Why is this happening/being said? (Interpretation)
- What does the rest of Scripture say about it? (Evaluation)
- What does it mean? (Understanding)
- What does it mean for us? (Application)
Reading Scripture to Grow:
- What words or phrases stand out to you? Why?
- Where do you hear the voice of God in this Scripture?
- How do you see the character of God reflected in this Scripture?
- How does this Scripture reveal God?
- How does this Scripture expose humanity and its need for God?
- How does this Scripture speak to what is happening in your life?
- How does this Scripture speak to what is happening in our world?
- What might God want to communicate to you (us) this week through this Scripture?
Scripture Reads Me:
- This passage makes me feel…
- This passage makes me think about…
- This passage reminds me of…
- This passage teaches me that God is…
- This passages teaches me that I am…
- This passage challenges me to…
Reflection: So Sarah laughed to herself…
What makes you laugh? Different situations can make us laugh – surprise, shock, joy, etc. What makes Sarah laugh in this passage is the surprise that come with announcement of the unexpected, mixed with her doubt that anything so wonderful could be true. God does not chastise her for her laughter, as it seems God playfully ribs her when she denies her laughter. Obviously God is not upset with her laughter, for God fulfills the promise made to her in the proper time. By the time baby Isaac comes along, Sarah and Abraham are able to laugh at God’s playful promise in a way in which doubt and surprise are replaced by joy.
God does not mind if we are startled by the divine will and promises. I see Sarah and God’s interaction as more of a response of “You will see that I am for real” than a response of “How dare you! You should not laugh at what I say!” God wants to defy our expectations! God wants to turn our surprise and doubt into joy and trust.
Often we do not feel like laughing. We come to God with deep hurts and sorrows. We feel as though nothing could make us feel joy, even being in God’s presence. In these situations, our laughter might only be able to come out as a scoff. Sarah might have felt this way after years of disappointment. The good news is that God does not judge our scoffs; instead God opens us to promise and hope. For God, like a parent in the presence of the newborn child of promise, looks at each one of us and laughs in unspeakable joy.
Prayer Focus: When Abraham saw them, he ran from the tent entrance to meet them, and bowed down to the ground. He said, “My lord, if I find favor with you, do not pass by your servant.”
Practice humility in your prayers this week. Just as Abraham ran to God, come to God with a racing expectation. Try literally bowing to God and see if your posture affects your mindset and feelings. God does not desire us to grovel in the divine presence, but there is a sense of awe that we often ignore in the presence of God. Pray for God’s favor and ask God to show you what that truly means. Recognize what a blessing and privilege it is to have an audience with the Almighty. Stay in God’s presence – do not let the moment pass you by.
Meditation Focus: Is anything too wonderful for the Lord?
What would your answer be to this question? We tend to believe that signs and wonders were reserved for the past, especially ancient times, and that such things could no longer happen. We say more about ourselves when we claim such doubt than we say about God. Perhaps we do not believe God is still in the business of doing wonderful things, but that does not mean God is not willing or able. Perhaps we are not ready to receive. Let this question echo in your mind this week: Is anything too wonderful for the Lord? And then identify what wonderful thing you need in your life. Then let the question echo in your mind again, this time replacing the word “anything” with the need you have: Is ____________ (the need I have) too wonderful for the Lord? Then listen for God’s answer as God leads you into the wonders of the divine.
Journaling Focus: The Lord appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the entrance of his tent in the heat of the day.
It is interesting to see where God shows up. Sometimes it is in the mountain with a powerful display of brilliant light and booming thunder, sometimes it is in the majesty of a heavenly throne, and sometimes it is in less remarkable circumstances. Yet wherver God shows up the result is a life-changing encounter. In this story, God basically shows up at Abraham and Sarah’s front door. What would you do if God showed up at your front door. Imagine such a scene and write down your impressions. Perhaps you would even like to write a short dialogue of this meeting. What do you say and What does God say to you?
Take the opportunity to laugh. God has blessed laughter. Read a humorous story, watch a funny show, talk with old friends, sit and remember good times. Allow God to bring healing and new insight to you through laughter.
Breath Prayer: Father, transform our sorrow into joy.