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June 14th, 2020

Pastor Jenny Lee, Ph.D.

Genesis 18:1-15

 “Nothing Too Hard for the Lord

We know that it is not easy to believe when you are not seeing. If you believe in anything when you do not see yet, we call it “faith.” The Letter of Hebrews says, “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1).

I want to share a story with you. One boy has a prayer time with his grandma before going to bed. The boy shouted out in prayer, “Lord, please hear me. I want to have a new computer.” So, his grandma told him, “Why did you shout out your prayer? You know, God never turns a deaf ear to our prayers.” And the boy said, “I know God does, but my grandma turns a deaf ear to my wishes.”

I hope that you do not pray to people like this boy, but to the Lord. There is something too hard for us in our lives, but there is nothing too hard for God. So please pray to God, not to people. It is your faith that matters. The boy might believe that his grandma is the supporter, and he shouted out at his grandma, pretending to pray to God. He might never know that God is the greatest supporter and provider.

In the Scripture reading for today, we see Abraham and his wife, Sarah.  They received a question, “Is there anything too hard for the Lord?” This question challenges their faith. After the father of Abraham Terah has passed away in Haran, God said to Abraham, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great so that you will be a blessing” (Genesis 12:1-2). Abraham left his home with his wife and his nephew Lot. God blessed him with too many materials, but, he had no child. He might think that one of his servants would inherit his possessions.

One day, the word of God came to Abraham in a vision, “a son coming from your own body will be your heir.” And God took him outside and said, “Look up at the heavens and count the stars if you are able to count them. So, shall your descendants be.” Abraham believed in God, and God credited it to him as righteousness. Abraham had a rite as a covenant with God at that moment. God promised him many blessings with many descendants, as well as precious materials (Genesis 15).

I wonder if his wife, Sarah, also believed in God like Abraham. Sarah thought that she could not bear a child, and she may get a child from her servant. According to Sarah’s advice, Abraham had a son by his wife’s servant but was then told that he would have a natural son by his wife. Abraham believed that, but his wife had to believe it too. It was ten years later since God promised him his son by his wife. However, they thought of God’s promise as a human’s reason. Abraham had a son Ishmael from Hagar at his age 86.

Abraham and his wife Sarah might have forgotten God’s promise while experiencing many challenging times in their lives. They might think that it is what it is. However, God was still working to keep the promise to Abraham behind him even though they could not see God working.

When it was at age 99, God was present to Abraham again, saying, “I am God Almighty, walk before me, and be blameless. I will make my covenant between myself and you and make you exceedingly numerous.”  God reconfirmed the promise, and Abraham and all males in his house got circumcised as evidence of the everlasting covenant. God, and then changed Abraham and Sarah’s names: Abram to Abraham and Sarai to Sarah.

Finally, today Abraham has special visitors. We do not know exactly at what stage of the visit, Abraham realized that he was entertaining the Lord God-self accompanied by angels, all in human form. Perhaps, he might have entertained angels without knowing it (Hebrews 13:2). We know that whether Abraham knows or not, his hospitality extended to an excellent meal with bowing down and a warm welcome.

During the meals, the visitors asked, “Where is your wife Sarah?” and he said, “There, in the tent.” She is listening in on their conversation behind the tent. Their question, “where is your wife Sarah?” implies that their purpose of the visiting was for Sarah. However, due to the cultural custom, a woman, Sarah, could not sit with them. Sarah knew it, but she might hear that they talked about her. Curiously and intentionally, she might try to listen in on their conversation behind the tent. She heard unexpected news that she might have a son in the next year. However, it is unbelievable to her. She just laughed because her age is too old to have a son. She thought of it reasonably, even though when she was young enough, she could not bear a son; much more grew in old how it could happen. She says by herself, “After I have grown old, and my husband is old, shall I have pleasure?” And 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 wonderful for the Lord?” In other words, The Lord told him, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?”

When God talks about that Sarah will bear a son, Sarah thinks about giving birth as a human affair. However, life and death belong to God. So, it is impossible for humans, but nothing is impossible for God. It is a challenge to Sarah and Abraham’s faith. God is powerful enough to do all that God wills to do and adequate to accomplish all that God intends to accomplish.

Jeremiah understood this when he purchased land in Anathoth while prophesying that the area would be destroyed, and the people would be led away into captivity. His inconsistent behavior was a direct result of his conviction that the purchase was the Lord’s will, and that he was acting in obedience. He believes that the Lord would restore the fortunes of the people and return them to the land. Therefore, he confessed, “There is nothing too hard for you the Lord” (Jeremiah 32:17).

It is faith that matters. “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see,” keeping God’s promise in your mind. God is sincere for his promise. God never goes against his promise. I would ask you with this question, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” I hope that you confess with great confidence, “there is nothing too hard for the Lord.”

Please do remember that God is working for you when you face in difficult even though you cannot see God’s working. You may see God’s presence sooner if you keep God in your mind. For Abraham, it took about 25 years that God’s promise came to true. It might be taking longer than you expect, but the time is coming sooner or later. Please keep a God-centered mind in daily life.

I want to close with a story. An old lady was locked out of her car and tried to open it with her card and other keys several times. But she failed. And, she prayed to God, “O Lord, help me to open my car.” As soon as she finished her prayer, a young man came to her. He seems to be a gangster having many tattoos on his body. Using his card, he opened her car quickly. So, the old lady said, “thank you, God, for sending me a good person.” He heard her, and said, “I am sorry, I am not a good person. I was imprisoned for many years due to stealing much stuff with my card.” The old lady said, “Thank you, God, for sending me a professional.” It is faith that matters. If your mind is God-centered, you may see that God works for you. There is nothing too hard for the Lord. Believe that God is working still even while you face in difficult. You may see God’s presence soon.

Thanks be to God, Amen!