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Genesis 18:9-15; 21:1-7
When God called Abram to go to a country He would show him, the call came with God’s promise that in Abram “all families of the earth” would be blessed. Abram and Sarai had no children, yet God promised to make Abram’s name great.
Later, when Abram was 99 years old, God promised that He would “multiply thee exceedingly.” God changed his name from Abram, meaning “exalted father,” to Abraham, meaning “father of a multitude.”
At this time, Abraham and Sarah still had no children, though a son, Ishmael, had been born to Abraham and Hagar, Sarah’s Egyptian handmaid. Ishmael was not the promised son, so how would God keep His promise to make Abraham a blessing to a multitude?
The answer came one day when three men paid Abraham a visit. When he saw them, Abraham fell in humility at their feet because he immediately knew one of them was the Lord. “My Lord, if now I have found favor in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant,” he pleaded.
Abraham wanted them to stay long enough for him to be hospitable, and they allowed him to treat them as honored guests. He understood fully, it seems, that he was hosting the Lord and two angels.
The Lord asked, “Where is Sarah thy wife?” Abraham said she was in the tent. Then the Lord said, “Sarah thy wife shall have a son.” Sarah, who was listening to the conversation, heard this and laughed. She was an old woman, and she thought child-bearing was out of the question. At least she thought that was the case. Abraham, too, had laughed earlier when he asked, “Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? And shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?” (Genesis 17: 17)
“Is anything too hard for the Lord?” the Lord asked Abraham when He heard Sarah laugh. She would give birth to a son, the Lord promised again.
Just as the Lord promised, Sarah conceived and gave Abraham a son “at the set time of which God had spoken to him.”
The couple named their son Isaac, as the Lord had instructed. The name Isaac means laughter. Sarah said, “God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me.” She must have thought about how she laughed at the Lord’s words that day when she was eavesdropping. Sarah laughed then in disbelief.
Now, Sarah laughed for another reason. She laughed because she celebrated her son’s birth, but there must have been the laughter of thankfulness for what the Lord had done.
Does the Lord who has said nothing is too hard for Him excite us to laughter? Are we so humbled and filled with awe at His majesty that only laughter, not words, will suffice to express the fullness He brings to our hearts?
The Sunday school lesson is written by Ed Wilcox, pastor of Centerville Baptist Church. He can be reached at [email protected]
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