This week we have several well-known events within Abraham’s life. We start off in Genesis 18 where Abraham is minding his own business, tending to his household while on the journey that ADONAI told him to embark upon, and all of the sudden there are three visitors approaching his tents! Many suppose that these visitors are what’s called a theophany: a manifestation or appearance of God as a person. Abraham treats his visitors as such. He prepares a feast grand enough for a king and greets them with hospitality good enough for royalty. Sarah, Abraham’s wife, listens in on their conversations and is caught off guard when she hear them prophesy of a son to come from Sarah. She laughs. She believed that this promise was impossible due to her age and the age of her husband.
Of course in Genesis 21 we see this promise come to pass as Sarah becomes pregnant and births Isaac. Her response is priceless:
So Sarah said, “God has made laughter for me! Everyone who hears will laugh with me.” She also said, “Who would have said to Abraham, ‘Sarah has nursed children’? For I have given birth to a son in his old age!” Genesis 21:6-7 TLV
Interestingly enough, this pattern continues in Chapter 22. Years later, God asks Abraham to offer his son Isaac as a burnt offering. Now although God’s character never allows human blood sacrifice, Abraham proceeds with what God asks of him. Maybe Abraham was thinking, “There is no way God would want me to take my only son whom I love and kill him? Would He?” Abraham’s thoughts and heart-attitude really isn’t clear in the text, but his actions definitely are.
To make the situation even more taxing is how Isaac questions his father in verse 7: “He said, ‘Look. Here’s the fire and the wood. But where’s the lamb for a burnt offering?'” Even Isaac is feeling like there is something missing in the equation – something that just doesn’t make sense.
Yet, perhaps what truly shows Abraham’s attitude is his response in verse 8: “Abraham said, ‘God will provide for Himself a lamb for a burnt offering, my son.'” Abraham makes this level of faith seem easy but, again, we don’t know is what is truly going on in his head. Regardless, at the top of the mountain, as Abraham lifts his knife to kill his son, an angel stops him, tells him to not hurt his son and congratulates him for having the faith do and believe for the impossible. God even provides a ram trapped in thick bushes for a proper sacrifice! How amazing is that?
It is always within God’s character to surprise and delight us even when we don’t have the faith ourselves. Whether it’s something as huge as finally having a longed-for child, or something as simple as favor at a job interview that you don’t meet all the qualifications for, God’s reality is so much bigger than our own. By this point in the story, we should know the answer to this question: Is anything too hard for God?
It says in Luke 18:27, But Yeshua said, “What is impossible with men is possible with God.”
Sometimes when you are in a situation that seems dire with no way out, you just have to believe “But, God…”
It’s Sarah’s laughter that I feel is the most relatable thing in this week’s reading. How many times do we look at something and say to ourselves: “There is just no way that can happen!”? I know that for me, it happens all the time. Sometimes we have a hard time looking past our reality and focusing on God’s reality.
So here are three things that we can glean from this week’s Torah portion. If we remind ourselves of them, and make them principles for our lives, who knows what great heights God can take us to! So remember:
- Nothing is impossible for God
- The blessings of God are impacted by our attitude and actions.
- The combination of the Scriptures and God speaking to us by the method He chooses is always good for us. It helps us learn to wait on His answers!
God can do the impossible. It just happens in His timing, not our own. Waiting is always the hardest part. But if we can train ourselves to wait patiently, have faith in His goodness, and trust that He has a wonderful future ahead of us, then we will see His provision in our days. Whatever you are struggling with in this life, just trust Him with all your heart, soul and strength. It doesn’t always seem like the easiest thing to do, but with practice, it can be.
And once you’ve handed over the situation to Him, the rest He will work out – for your good