Genesis 18 – Hope Filled Laughter

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I’m going to invite you to Genesis. Chapter 18 is where we’re at together today, Genesis chapter 18. And we’re going to engage in this chapter. We’re going to look at chapter 18 and jump over to chapter 21, because the really the conclusion for the first 15 verses of Genesis 18 is in Genesis chapter 21. But coming to this passage, it’s an interesting title for today. If you’ve grabbed sermon notes, we’re going to be dealing with laughter. And not just any kind of laughter, hope filled laughter. You can tell a lot about a person through the type of laughter that they bring, right? There’s some sadistic laughter like, I don’t know, the Joker off Batman. Anytime you hear that kind of laughter, that’s don’t be friends with that person. Right? That’s there’s some there’s some hope for people, but not the Joker that just that is not a healthy laughter. I should not say don’t be friends with people, but that’s not a healthy laughter. And then and then there’s a kind of laughter where you’re just cynical in it. You don’t really believe it, but what else can you do but laugh? There’s joy filled laughter. You can you can tell a lot by a person in their laughter. And so today we’re going to talk about the idea of laughing through through really the picture of Sarah. And we’re going to see how the Lord took her from this cynical place of laughter to finding this joy filled place of laughter and examining our own lives.

And and if you come here this morning, maybe you’re full of joy. Great. And we’re going to continue that pattern. Or maybe this today you’re here and you’re like, man, I would love to laugh, but I don’t feel like I’ve laughed in a while. Looking at this story of Sarah, I think helps us think outside of ourselves to something greater God God desires to do. Oftentimes we get stuck in and of ourselves, and we we start to fixate on our problems and we forget about the world around us. And a great God who’s bigger than the struggles we face. And through the story of Sarah, we we start to see that unfold. In fact, in Proverbs 31, you find in Proverbs 31 the godly woman described there. And by the way, ladies and guys, I don’t think it’s a real woman. Just so you know, I think it’s a fictitious woman, but it’s describing what what a godly woman could be in the Lord. And when you think of goals in your life of objectives, you know the kind of person you want to be. She certainly I don’t think she’s real, but she’s certainly a standard to to shoot for. But in Proverbs 31, it describes the way she views life through laughter. It says in verse 25 that she is a of strength and dignity, that that clothes her, and she laughs at what is to come.

She laughs at the time to come, meaning she’s a lady of such great confidence that no matter what is before her, she’s found herself secure in the Lord. She knows who she is, and so she’s able to approach adversity because of that. And we’re going to see a similar thought through the idea of Sarah today, how the Lord takes her from this place of brokenness to this place of joy, and to discover hopeful laughter, even in our own life. And point number one in your notes is this if we want to find that hope filled laughter, number one, recognize hospitality opens the door of opportunity with the Lord. Hospitality opens the door of opportunity with the Lord. I want to draw just an important point out of out of these first eight verses. This is a narrative story, right? And I want you to know the intentions of these first eight verses are predominantly different than the highlight I want to make within it. Meaning Genesis chapter 18 Abraham is about to encounter some angels that are ultimately going to talk to Sarah. They’re really coming for Sarah. And the whole point of this is to set the set the tone for what’s going to happen in Sodom and Gomorrah, which we’re going to look at next week. So Genesis chapter 18, these angels are being introduced in the life of of Abraham and Sarah. But these angels are going to ultimately go on to Sodom and Gomorrah.

So that’s the primary basis for that. We’ll deal with that later. But what Abraham does here is so important that I don’t want to skip over it, because it’s something that we want to develop within our own culture in regards to the idea of hospitality. And it’s not to say it doesn’t exist here, but we want to keep it a part of who we are as God’s people. And you see, it emulated in the life of Abraham, and it’s through this that God starts to work in this story in the midst of brokenness. In Genesis chapter 18, verse one. And the Lord appeared to him, referring to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre, any time Abraham is anywhere, if you read him in any other place but mamri, it’s like something bad is about to happen. But memory is this place of showing submission to the Lord. Abraham came to this place as a place of worship and desiring to connect to God. So when we read about Abraham’s life and this this location, it seems to be godly. Things are about to happen. And if Abraham goes anywhere, anywhere else, something bad is about to happen. But here in this story, it tells us the Lord appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre. Now I want you to know in the beginning of Genesis 18, that opening phrase is sort of an encapsulating idea to the rest of the 15 verses we’re going to read.

And so it’s this, this big idea that the Lord appeared to him. But here’s what is interesting. I don’t know that Abraham necessarily knew it was the Lord. Until you get to verse ten. And the reason I don’t think Abraham necessarily knew it. It was the Lord is because Abraham is doing in this situation what was customary for his culture. He’s responding to this person as, quote, the Lord or a Lord, but he’s also simply doing what the culture of his day, how they would have interacted, and the idea of honoring someone or recognizing them as a Lord was customary for people in general. But I think by the time you get to verse ten, he knows it’s the Lord, because God shares something very personal to Abraham, that he and Sarah are going to have a child. And when God says this to Abraham in Genesis 18 verse ten, I don’t think that this was something that Abraham just publicly declared to people, meaning, you know, we’ve read in Genesis multiple times where God has promised Abraham, you’re going to have a kid, right? But it doesn’t tell us. And then Abraham declared this to the world. In fact, I don’t think Abraham and Sarah may have shared this with very many people. You’re going to see here in a moment. I don’t even think Abraham and Sarah are really talking about it that much.

I think that Abraham and Sarah are aware that God said that promise to them. Abraham is certainly more aware because all communication at this point has been to Abraham. But I think they would have kept this very personal to themselves for a few reasons. One, when you’re 100 years old, about to have a baby, people might think you’re crazy if you say that. Like, that’s not a that’s not a typical conversation that you’re you’re going to have with people. And two, there might have been a little bit of fear of what if I put all our trust in this and we’ve moved to this different place in the world because God told us to, but God doesn’t fulfill it. I can’t say for sure that that’s the case, but by by the Abraham Sarah interaction you’re going to see here, I think it’s certainly possible. But Abraham, it tells us that the Lord appeared to him, and this is how it unfolds. As he sat at the door of his tent in the heat of the day. So God appeared last time in darkness to Abraham. Now he’s coming in the middle of the day to appear to Sarah. And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing in front of him. These these angels seemed to appear in in a man like state, like they take on the appearance of a of a human being. So nothing out of the ordinary as they’re coming to Abraham.

Right. When you read in Scripture, it’s interesting how angels appear. Angels sometimes appear in crazy ways. When you read the Bible, and other times they look very human in how they interact with us. I think sometimes it’s to draw us our attention to certain characteristics. When angels are described in unique ways, it’s to draw our attention to something about those angels. When angels appear humanly, it’s to help us understand they’re wanting to interact with us. And the point of the message is more important than just simply their appearance. I mean, there are some angels, wild looking angels like you get to the end of revelation. There’s one angel that puts his foot on a mountain and another foot in the sea. I haven’t peed my pants since I was a toddler, but I have. I’ve thought in life that if I ever see that, that will be the next time for me, right? That is a wild angel. But here in this story, you see them showing up, very personable, having human appearance. And when he saw them, he ran from the tent door talking about Abraham to meet them, and bowed himself to the earth and said, oh Lord, if I have found favor in your sight, do not pass by your servant. Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree, while I bring a morsel of 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. And Abraham went quickly into the tent to Sarah, and said, quick, three says of fine flour, knead it, and make cakes. And Abraham ran to the herd, and took a calf tender and good, and gave it to a young man, who prepared it quickly, then took curds and milk and the calf that he had prepared, and he set before them, and stood by them under the tree while they ate. Abraham’s hospitality is what the Lord starts to use as a door of opportunity and ministering to the life of Sarah and Abraham in this passage. But here’s what I want us to recognize in this story. Abraham is he’s certainly doing what was customary for his culture, a good Bedouin individual. They they saw anyone that would come through that have a need. It was their responsibility to care for them. And I think it’s a great, godly thing to do. But Abraham does more than just simply care for them. He goes above and beyond. And you see this through the story. In the hospitality Abraham demonstrates. He doesn’t just tell Sarah, hey, whatever you’ve got on the oven, let’s just peel off a little bit and share that with our friends. He says to Sarah, no, we’re going to start this from scratch. We’re going to make a full meal for these people, and we’re really going to lavish on them to the point that when Abraham finally brings them the meal, this was probably a full day affair, that when Abraham finally brings the meal, it tells us Abraham doesn’t even sit down to participate in the meal.

He stands up beside them just to make sure their needs are met. And he’s just caring for their every need as he cares for them in where they are in life. Abraham is just willing to meet them in where they are in their life to to minister to them. And you know, what’s interesting about the story of Abraham is this is common throughout Scripture, and this is actually even commonly referred for for God’s people. This is what God desires for his people to do. In fact, when you read the stories like you find in the Gospels, anything Jesus does incredible in ministry, it tends to happen around a dinner table at Jesus. As he’s ministering to people, he’s breaking bread with people. This is where Jesus shares intimately the the stories of who he is and why he’s come and his care for others as they engage in relationship over a meal. Jesus is is meeting the needs of people over fellowship, and this is something that’s practiced culturally in Christ Day. It’s still practiced in some cultures better than others. But this is also to be an identity of who God’s people are.

In fact, when you turn to passages in the New Testament, it tells us to be the the same type of people. In fact, in Hebrews chapter 13 verse two, it says, do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unaware. Right. It’s kind of a similar passage here. Abraham in Genesis 18 is ministering to people. And and it turns out they’re angels. And then you find in Hebrews 13 Hebrews says kind of the same thing. But let me just encourage you to this passage, because I found in Hebrews 13, Christians sometimes get super weird, okay? Like sometimes we fixate on the wrong things. And, you know, sometimes, sometimes I find Christians might read Hebrews chapter 13 and completely missed the first half of the verse, only to focus on the second half of the verse, and then they start to say crazy things after that. Sometimes, like maybe if I toned it down as an example, I would say, you know, sometimes I’ve heard Christians be aware of verse like this and they’ll say things like, and I don’t maybe this did happen, okay, I don’t know. But but they’ll say things like, and I was driving down the road and, and I saw someone in need and I handed something to them and, and then I looked at my rear view and they were gone. Like they just floated away, like it was some kind of something. And maybe it happened all right.

Maybe it did, but. But can I just tell you, the point of this passage is not to fixate on angels. The point of this passage is to consider hospitality in your life, to meet people where they are and love them the way that Jesus would love them. This, this word angel actually really just translates as messenger. And so what he could be saying in a very broad sense, is just be kind to people. You never know when you might be helping a messenger of the Lord to go out and continue to proclaim his name. You may not know how you might minister to someone in a way that that helps them leverage further in their lives to to glorify God where they are. And so he’s saying, show hospitality wherever you are. And the reason that we’re called to do this as believers, it tells us again in Romans chapter 12 verse three, seek to show hospitality. So it’s not something you just do. It’s actually a pursuit of your life. And the reason we do this is because it’s a reflection of how God enters into our life. The Bible tells us that you were alienated from Christ. I mean, you didn’t belong, and the only reason you found a place in the Lord is not because you ran after him, but rather he ran after you. I mean, that’s the point of Christmas. So while you were a stranger to God and he didn’t owe you anything, he pursued you with his life.

And that’s what transforms you. In fact, the word hospitality, it’s two Greek words which I wrote here at the bottom. And I know this is kind of nerdy for a second, but I just want you to see it. Those first four letters of Greek, that little circle with a line through it that’s p-h. And then I l o filho. That’s where we get the word Philadelphia. It literally means brotherly love. And then the last five letters there, that’s xenon, which means stranger. And so the word literally translate a friend of foreigners, a friend of strangers, a friend to someone that doesn’t belong. That’s who God calls us to be. And one of the most beautiful things about it is it’s a reflection of what God has done in your own life, being demonstrated in a very tangible. Away. It’s why we find it so essential to make it a part of our culture here. I would tell you, as a church, for us, there’s four things on a Sunday morning that we want to focus on. And in order to encourage you, there’s more. There’s more than four things. But we start with four things. We talk about our Sunday morning message. We want it to be truthful from God’s Word. We want music that inspires our heart to pursue after the Lord. We want to care for for our children.

Because one of the best ways to love a family is to minister to kids and to to to show the love of the Lord in their lives. And we want to have good hospitality. We want to care for one another in the way we come through our door. And that doesn’t mean we all look around and look to someone else to do that. It means we take responsibility in it, because this is who God has called us to be. It’s a reflection of the nature of who God is a friend of strangers in the way that he ministers to our heart. One of the most beautiful things you can do in this life is seen in how you care for people beyond your comfort circle, because that’s what God has called you to. It’s a mission Jesus came on for us in this world, on mission, for those that were alienated, for him, foreign to him, in order to bring us in, to help us belong. And the same is true for you in the way that you pursue relationships. Now, let me just tell you, statistically, one of one of the one of the greatest ways that we have in this world, for someone to come to know Christ is through personal relationship. The most powerful tool you have to bring someone to Jesus is personal relationship. And the reason is, is because you have in personal relationship to show the genuineness of your walk with God.

Now that doesn’t mean for you that you go make friends with every stranger on the planet because, well, you have a responsibility to make everyone come to know Jesus, right? People don’t like to be treated like projects. We want to love people wherever they are, no matter how they choose to respond to us or not. But but here’s what happens in those relationships. In those relationships, you naturally share what you love. What you love comes out in your conversation. And sometimes as Christians, we might fool ourselves in the fabrication of our walk with Jesus. Stronger than it really is. Does that make sense? Like if you walk out of church on Sunday and you never talk about Jesus until next Sunday, probably there’s a need to strengthen your relationship with Jesus. How deep is the love for Christ, really? Because you talk about what you love. You spend time with the things that you love, and you naturally share the things you love. That felt a little harsh. I don’t mean to chastise us in that, but. But I want you to know that if you genuinely have a walk with Jesus and it enriches your soul as you interact with people, regardless of what they do or don’t do, you’re going to talk about Jesus because he’s enriched your soul and changed your life, and you have the opportunity to share that and the lives with other people. And so rather than treat people like projects, you just naturally become an outflow of who you are in Christ.

And this is what you see demonstrated in the heart of Abraham, which really sets a precedent for all of God’s people that we would be a hospitable people and is through hospitality. God opens the door of transformation. Number one reason people come to church a friend invited them. Number one reason people stay in a church is because they make a friend. You want to be connected, you want to know that you matter and you want to belong. And this is exactly what you see in the life of God. In the story that Abraham is opening a door of hospitality. It’s truly the Lord who’s pursued him. And so, point number two in your notes, let me give you this. A wonderful God meets us where we are. A wonderful God meets us where we are. And I’ll show you why I use the word wonderful in just a moment. But in verse nine, the story goes on. They said to him, talking about the angels, where is Sarah, your wife? And he said, she is in the tent. And the Lord said, I will surely return to you about this time next year. And Sarah, your wife shall have a son. And Sarah was listening at the tent door behind him. Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in years. The way of women had ceased to be with her.

That’s the way of women is like saying she can’t have kids anymore. Okay? And verse 12 goes on. So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, after I am worn out and my Lord is old, shall I have pleasure? The Lord said to Abraham, why did Sarah laugh and say, shall I indeed bear a child now that I am old? Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you about this time next year. And Sarah shall have a son. But Sarah denied it, saying, I did not laugh, for she was afraid. And God said, no, you did laugh. Sarah said so this is a bad idea. Let me just say, it’s never good to laugh at God or lie at God. Like Sarah gets one opportunity with a confrontation with the Lord here, and it’s supposed to be a good confrontation, and she chooses laughter. Like if she goes back over the history of her life, I’m going to just say this is probably she would begin to describe this as probably her low moment. God showed up one time and I laughed in his face. Right. And then to make it worse, I lied. Just so you know, in case anyone is uncertain about this, God knows everything about you. He even knows the thoughts you think before you think them, and the words you will say before you say them. There’s nothing you can hide from the Lord, which makes it incredible that God would pursue us anyway.

But here’s Sarah laughing to herself in the story. But here’s what I want you to know in verse number nine, verse number nine. It starts with us that God becomes personal to Sarah. Guys, can I tell you just how important that is? And you cannot live your relationship with the Lord vicariously through someone else. You have got to know the Lord personally. And what I mean is, just because your parents went to church doesn’t make you a Christian. The way of Jesus is the same for everybody. It’s through the cross of Christ and what he’s done for us. Hey, God desires to know you personally and to make himself known in your life personally for you to surrender yourself to him personally, to walk with him personally. And this this is what you see in the life of Sarah in verse nine, that God pursues her personally. But then you see how Sarah begins to react. It tells us in this verse, verse 12, that she laughs at the Lord. Now a question, why would Sarah laugh? Because when I when I consider what God has done, even in just the last chapter, chapter 17 and verse 17, God had already come to Abraham and Sarah. Remember. Remember how it breaks down. Chapter 16, 17 and 18. Chapter 16 Sarah and Abraham are like, we’re like 90 and still don’t have a kid.

God promised a kid, what are we going to do? They come with this idea. I’ll give, Sarah says. I’ll give Hagar to my husband. He’ll have like a second tier wife. They can have a baby. And then we’ll finally have a baby. Like we’re going to help God. And that’s their concocted plan. It’s a terrible plan. But they did it anyway. And then in chapter 17, God shows up and and God says, look, Sarah’s going to have a baby. Abraham. Not not this. Ishmael is not the baby. I promise Sarah is going to have a baby. And Abraham is like, you’ve got to be kidding me. Why can’t Ishmael just count? That’s that’s what he says. It’s somewhat like that in a more biblical way. That’s my interpretation. But in Genesis 17, verse 16 and 17, that’s where Abraham has an interaction with God. He says, why not Ishmael? And Abraham laughs at God when God says this to him. And then you get to chapter 18 and here you find Sarah now laughing at God when God says that to Sarah. My question looking at this is why in the world is Sarah laughing? Why would this catch her off guard? Sarah should already know in Genesis chapter 17 that God had already said this unless Abraham and Sarah aren’t even talking. And that’s why I think is happening in this story, is Sarah is hearing this for the first time. And you imagine in chapter 17 when Abraham finds out after he had a baby with Hagar, that that’s not the way God wanted it to work, how he’s going to go back now to Sarah and just say that to her.

But rather than say anything, he just didn’t he didn’t say anything at all. And now in chapter 18, God comes to Sarah directly and he tells her the promise. So part of Sarah’s laughter in the story is an indication of the relationship that Abraham and Sarah might have in this passage, that they’re not communicating this with each other. And not only are they not communicating this with each other, they’re probably not sharing this with very many people, if anyone at all. And this is how Abraham most likely knew it was the Lord, is that it was only God that really knew the intimacy of this promise, because they kind of kept it hush within their own little circle because they thought, man, if this gets out at 100 years old and 90 years old, people are going to think we’re nuts. And so they kept that relationship with God personally. And now Abraham’s not even telling Sarah. And so when Sarah hears this, she laughs about it. But not only does she laugh at the idea of hearing this for the first time, her type of laughter is an indicator of where her spirit is in this moment. I mean, her laughter is one that is cynical.

She she’s laughing because she thinks it’s a bit ridiculous. And honestly, she’s a little hopeless in the matter. Maybe a lot of hopeless in the matter. And she describes in this passage where that comes from, she she tells us, verse 12, why she’s laughing. She says, I’m worn out. My, my Lord is old and shall I have this pleasure? She says, I’m tired, he’s old and I really am. I going to have that kind of joy in my life? You know. And let me just say to you, no matter where you’ve come from in this world, no matter what you’ve gone through, as long as you have breath, God’s not finished with you. God desires it. It doesn’t matter how old you are. It doesn’t matter the circumstances you’re going through. God can do some incredible stuff in your life and desires to do that as you walk with him and know him. This picture of of hospitality, it begins with really surrendering your life to the Lord and hospitality to understand that the only reason that I would extend myself to to a stranger is by truly understanding the depth of the way God has extended himself to me. And the only way I’m going to do that is to understand the the grace of God poured into my life and being surrendered to that, and therefore let the goodness of God flow out of me. But but, Sarah, and this, this passage, she’s she’s identifying God.

I’m tired. He’s old. I’m not old. I’m only having my 64th 29th birthday. At this point, I don’t know how many birthdays she’s had, but. But ladies don’t get old, right? Just the guys do. But she’s acknowledging these obstacles, and then she uses this word pleasure. And at first glance, some might think that she’s referencing the idea of having a kid. The pleasure of having a child. And let me just say, I don’t want to get too graphic here, but but I’ve been there for a few of my wife’s the births. Right. And and I don’t know on that day that that word would be used to describe that moment. Right. That is not that’s not the best word. But but here’s, here’s what’s important to see with this word pleasure. This word pleasure is not actually in reference to a child. This word pleasure, it’s not used very much in the Hebrew Old Testament. In fact, this may be the only time it’s used in the Hebrew Old Testament. And it’s actually a word in reference to sexual intimacy. And here’s what she’s saying. This is not even possible. Let me give you a few reasons why. I’m tired. He’s old, and we’re not even close anymore. What Sarah is saying is more than God. In order to intervene in this moment, you’re going to have to do more than a miracle. Give me a child. You’re going to have to repair a relationship.

Because Abraham and I were not even close. And maybe we’re barely even talking, if at all, because he didn’t even share this promise with me, which you would think would be an important one to say. So, God, before we can even have a kid, you’ve got to do a work in our relationship that we would desire to have that intimacy and joy that with each other in order to see what it is that you desire to produce. And I love what God does here, because God takes Sarah’s attention off of herself and her situation, and he puts it on himself. And it’s a beautiful reminder for all of us because we have the tendency of doing this when we get to this place of depressed, being depressed or struggling, our world just becomes all about us and we become internal in that we fail to see the opportunity of hospitality and what God desires to do beyond us as God desires to meet with us. And that transformation in our own life transforms the way that we engage in relationships in our lives. And it’s not simply just we’re not about manipulating people. I told us this we’re not hospitable just simply because we want to manipulate people. That’s not what it’s about. It’s about honoring God in the way that he has honored himself in our lives, regardless of what people do or don’t do. But God in this moment wants to open our eyes to something greater.

And so he says to her in verse 14, look at this. Is anything too hard for the Lord? Some translations carry the word difficult, but. But the real Hebrew word is a is a much more beautiful word than that. It carries the idea of being wonderful. Wondrous. Is anything too too wonderful for me to be able to, to to not do? This is what he’s saying to Sarah. Do you not understand who I am in light of the situation? And so he’s he’s wanting Sarah to to open her eyes. The Lord is larger and more beautiful. He’s saying than than the struggles of life that we we face. And God is reminding her in this moment. He’s not just about giving her a kid, but rather restoring their relationship. And I love in verse 15 how Sarah responds to this. She tells us why she lies to the Lord and all the hesitations, why she gave to God, and says in verse 15, she was afraid. She was afraid. And sometimes we have the tendency of doing that in our life, not following God, because we are trusting in a circumstance or a struggle more than we’re looking to him. And she was afraid. But in the promises of God, it’s running to the fire where we find the goodness of who God is. It’s willing to take a step out in the struggle to see God our.

Are you faithful or who are you? Teach me on this journey. That’s where Sarah is going through. She’s going on a journey in her own life to learn the goodness of who God is, and the faithfulness to the promises that he would deliver. I mean, if I were to ask you this morning, what is God like? Who is God like? How could you even define that? Right? And there’s a few ways you could, like, you could turn some verses in the Bible that talk about who God is by definition, and just read those verses. You could describe it experientially as you’ve come to discover the Lord. But what’s important is that you know him as God has come to Sarah personally. And verse nine, that you take that same step of faith to know God, that you meet him personally, you walk with him. In the New Testament, the the most popular verse the New Testament authors quote comes from Exodus chapter 34 and the verse that they chose to quote most often out of any Bible verse in the Old Testament is a verse that deals with the identity of God. Because when our hearts rest more secure in the identity of who God is beyond the circumstances that we face, then we’re able to take a step in situations that seem difficult to us, even when we laugh in the face of God. I love it, even laughing at God. He doesn’t give up on Sarah.

He still pursues her. In Exodus 34 verse six, it says this the Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. Understanding who God is beyond our circumstance. Gives us the opportunity to hope and to move forward. And point number three in your notes is this. Then God brings joy to our sorrow. God brings joy to our sorrow. It’s kind of interesting how this story is told in Genesis 18, because in verse 15, that’s where it really stops in the saga with Sarah. But you have to skip all the way to chapter 21 to see then what God does. And in chapter 21, verse one, look at this. The Lord visited Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did to Sarah as he had promised. God is a God of faithfulness. You know, I think about when anyone comes to know the Lord and learn about the Lord. Out of all the characteristics of God that you could discover. And there’s many important characteristics of God that you could discover. I think one of the most important is the immutability of God. Meaning God doesn’t change. Malachi three chapter six says, I am the Lord, I change not. Therefore you children of Israel are not consumed. Meaning God just doesn’t go off the cuff emotionally. He is consistent with who he is. He is faithful. And that’s so important for really every human being to know.

Out of everything in life that you could put your trust in, what we need is something that’s secure, something that’s reliable, something that’s dependable. Our soul longs for that. So much inconsistency in relationships and the way life goes. You need one thing that is consistent, and it’s the Lord. The Lord is that consistency in your life. And so that’s why we say, as God’s people, there’s no time in God’s Word that’s wasted time because God’s Word endures forever. The Bible tells us heaven and earth will pass away, but your word endures forever. The things that God says, the way that he presents himself, the truth that he stands upon, is something that you can rest your soul in and hold secure. And so God shows up and and Sarah’s life and he and he demonstrates this in verse two. And Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, and at the time of which God had spoken to him, Abraham called the name of his son, who was born to him whom Sarah had borne him Isaac. And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him. Verse four goes on or five. Excuse me. Abraham was 100 years old when his son Isaac was born to him. And Sarah said, God has made laughter for me. Everyone who hears will laugh over me. And she said, who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.

And here you see again Sara laughing. But this time the laughter is different. It’s a laughter of joy. It’s a laughter of hope. It’s a laughter of seeing a God who fulfills his promises. Sarah goes from this place of despair, encountering the goodness of God, and her demeanor changes because of what God has, has done in her life. And here’s the beautiful thing I think in this entire story, the the name Isaac becomes a representation for us because the name Isaac literally translates as laughter, but it’s also a demonstration of of a transformation that happened in the heart of Sarah. Because or through that laughter. And what I mean is, if you go back to Sarah’s life and you say, okay, Sarah, describe for me what’s your darkest day? When was thing one? Were things the hardest for you? I don’t know exactly when Sarah would say it, so I’m a little speculative in this, but let me just give you my guess. I think it’s the beginning of Genesis 18. I think it’s when she’s getting on in years, and she had this promise from God all the way back from Genesis 15. But yet years have gone by. More than two decades have gone by. And that promise hasn’t been fulfilled. And they left their hometown, their family, their friends, and they journeyed to this place.

They didn’t know where they were going. And now they’re getting older and years. She’s worried if Abraham dies, what’s going to happen to her? Who’s going to take care of her because she knows Hagar doesn’t like her? Ishmael doesn’t like her. I mean, what’s going to happen to me? There’s certainly a concern in her life. But. But then suddenly God brings a child and her laughter transforms. And Isaac becomes this picture of how God takes the darkest of our days. And turns it into our triumphal stories. Through him, which is really his triumphal story. It’s this transformation that happens in the lives of God’s people. I mean, you think in your own life, what were you apart from Christ? And what hope did you have? And now who are you if you are in Christ? And I think even in my own story, the way that God has brought me from a place of brokenness and to a place of hope and security in him because of who he is. And Isaac becomes that that representation of that story in the life of Sarah, that when she looks at her son, that name is not just recognizing a child, but rather it’s recognizing the story of the Lord in her life. How God can take the most difficult things in our lives and turn it to our greatest stories of success and triumph, and our identity with him is anything too wonderful for him.

And when you read the rest of the story, then you see how this interaction changes Sarah’s behavior. She’s saying, and now when I go in this world and people see me, they’re going to laugh at me or they’re going to laugh over me. I think it’s really at me. They’re going to laugh at me because they’re going to say, look, that’s kind of silly. A 90 year old woman breastfeeding a child. That’s not that’s not what you typically see. Right. But but what does Sarah do? She moves boldly because to her that’s not where her identity is. She knows who she is now because she’s discovered who she is in the Lord. And through that then God, God is glorified in her life. Same thing happens for you as a as a follower of Jesus. People may say bad things about you because of your relationship with the Lord. They may think you’re crazy. You say you’re 90 years old, you’re going to have a kid. Sarah. But for you, you know what Christ has done. And you know who you are because of him. And in that you have opportunity to rejoice. Excuse me. Opportunity to move forward. So how does this relate to us? I got to get a drink real quick. Excuse me. How does this relate to us? Isaiah 53 gives us that. Hold on. I’m sorry. Choking. Isaiah 53 gives us that story of how it relates. Some may come to this story of Sarah.

And try to make it make all kinds of crazy things, right. Sarah got what she wanted from the Lord. She wanted a baby. You come to God. If you struggle, you get what you want. But that’s not. That’s not helpful or healthy. I think in Scripture, because when you read the Bible, you find that there are many people who pursue the Lord and they have struggle. They have struggle that follows all of their day. But here’s what I want you to know. In that struggle, you still get the joy of the Lord. And the reason for that is just as Sarah had a baby, so a baby has come for you. And that baby has taken the frown and struggle of life in order to give you hope. That’s what Isaiah 53 is. And you let me look at the story of Sarah and say, I want God to show up for me the way he did for Sarah. And the answer for you is he did. He came as a baby and he took on the struggle of life for you. And Isaiah 53 he was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief, and as one from whom men hide their face. He was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows. It’s a God who enters in our suffering. And it tells us in verse five, by his wounds we are healed at the very end.

He is a wondrous God. In fact, in Isaiah 54, the very next thing it says in relation to that it says, sing, O barren ones. Talking about Israel and the lack of fruit that they have produced. But now he’s saying, and God’s going to do something miraculous. Single barren ones who did not bear. Break forth into singing and cry aloud. You have not been in labor, for the children of the desolate one will be more than the children of the married one. And verse two enlarge the place of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitation be stretched out. Here’s what he’s saying. Saying, open the door of hospitality in your life. Let the goodness of God be made known, because he takes from the darkness of our stories, and he gives us reason to laugh. He brings Isaac from our dark places, the place of joy. And the reason he does that is because of who he is. A child who pursues you and me. Excuse me. So for for us, the story of Sarah. Is a story of the beauty of what God desires to continue to do, that God would become personal, that God would give his life, that we could have reason to celebrate.