After God reaffirms the covenant to Abraham, heavenly visitors repeat his promise that Sarah will bear a son, but Sarah cannot believe it.
He looked up and noticed three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he ran to meet them and welcomed them, bowing low to the ground. . . .
Then one of them said, “I will return to you about this time next year, and your wife, Sarah, will have a son!”
Sarah was listening to this conversation from the tent. Abraham and Sarah were both very old by this time, and Sarah was long past the age of having children. So she laughed silently to herself and said, “How could a worn-out woman like me enjoy such pleasure, especially when my master—my husband—is also so old?”
Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh? Why did she say, ‘Can an old woman like me have a baby?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return about this time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”
Sarah was afraid, so she denied it, saying, “I didn’t laugh.”
Abraham eagerly welcomed these visitors, as did Lot (Genesis 19:2). In Abraham’s day, a person’s reputation largely depended on his or her hospitality—the sharing of home and goods. Even strangers were to be treated as highly honored guests. Meeting another’s need for food or shelter was and still is one of the most immediate and practical ways to obey God. It is also a time-honored relationship builder.
These visitors brought specific news about Sarah and a baby boy. Because Sarah was over ninety, she thought the prediction was laughable. But when confronted about her response, she responded, “I didn’t laugh.”
Sarah lied because she was afraid of being discovered. Fear is a common motive for lying. We are afraid that our inner thoughts and emotions will be exposed or our wrongdoings discovered. In response to Sarah’s unbelief (and laughter), God says, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” The obvious answer is, “Of course not!”
Nothing is too difficult for God. Make it a habit to insert your specific needs into God’s question. “Is this day in my life too hard for the Lord?” “Is this habit I’m trying to break too hard for him?” “Is the communication problem I’m having too hard for him?” Asking the question this way can remind you that God is personally involved in your life and nudges you to ask for his power to help you.