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Is Anything too Hard for the Lord? - Genesis Part 38

So What? / Lon Solomon
The Truth Network Radio
April 30, 2022 7:00 am

Is Anything too Hard for the Lord? - Genesis Part 38

So What? / Lon Solomon

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April 30, 2022 7:00 am

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Now today we're going to return to our series in the book of Genesis and we come today to one of the greatest events and one of the grandest truths in all the Word of God. In fact, when it comes to unlocking the richest blessing of God on our lives, the truth that we're going to learn here today from Genesis 18 is the master key. And I'm very excited about sharing it with you. So are you ready?

All right, a little bit of review first. Remember in Genesis 17, God told Abraham that he was going to give Sarah, Abraham's wife, a son. Genesis 17, 19. But God said, Sarah, your wife, shall bear you a son and you shall call his name Isaac and I will establish my covenant with him and his descendants after him as an everlasting covenant. So with that little bit of background, we're ready for Genesis 18 and we pick up at verse 1.

Here we go. Now the Lord appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre while he, that is Abraham, was sitting by his tenth door in the heat of the day. Remember that Genesis 13, 18 told us that the oaks of Mamre were in a city called Hebron and Hebron is just south of the city of Jerusalem. Verse 2, And when Abraham lifted up his eyes, he saw three men standing opposite him. And when he saw them, he ran from the tenth door to meet them and bowed himself down to the ground.

And Abraham said, My Lord, if I have found favor in your eyes, please do not pass your servant by. Please let me bring water to wash your feet and please rest yourself under the tree. Why? Because it was shady and it was hot out.

That's why. And I will bring food that you may refresh yourselves and after that you may continue your journey. And they said, Do as you have sinned. Now we see here, of course, Abraham practicing hospitality. And I think we all understand that hospitality is the defining value for the people of the Middle East. Even to this day.

Even if you're an Arab's worst enemy, he's not allowed to harm you when you're inside his tent or inside his home. And here in Genesis 18, we see this custom in vogue 4000 years ago, all the way back to the time of Abraham. Verse 6, So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah and said, Quickly, prepare three measures of fine flour and knead it and make bread cakes. And then Abraham ran to the herd. Now remember, this guy's 100 years old and he's running.

That's impressive. And he took a tender and choice calf and gave it to his servant who hurried to prepare it. And Abraham took curds and milk and the calf which he had prepared and placed it before the three men to eat. Watch and Abraham stood by them under the tree to be of service to them as they ate. Now let's stop and ask the question, Why did Abraham do all of this? Well, you say, Well, Lon, you just said hospitality.

Yes. But beyond that, I mean, why did Abraham personally supervise the preparation of this meal? And why did Abraham personally stand by these men as they ate, ready to respond to their every need? I mean, do you really think that Abraham did this for every single passerby that came along? Do you?

Do you? No, of course he didn't. Friends, the answer why Abraham did this is that somehow, some way, Abraham had figured out that these three men were something special. So who were they? Well, the Bible tells us, first of all, Genesis 18 22 says, Then the two men two out of the three men there under the tree with Abraham turned away and went towards Sodom, chapter 19, verse one.

Now the two what's the next word? Angels. Yes, the two angels arrived in Sodom. So the Bible says that two out of these three men sitting under the tree with Abraham were angels in human form. And the New Testament confirms this identification. Hebrews chapter 13, verse two, it says, Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by doing so, some people, meaning Abraham, have entertained angels unawares.

So that takes care of two of the people. But who was the third person that was sitting there with Abraham? Well, Genesis 18 22 says, Then the two men turned away and went towards Sodom. But Abraham was left standing before the Lord. You say, What do you mean before the Lord? Well, I mean, before the Lord, you say, You mean like before God himself, the Lord?

That's exactly what I mean. Friends, the Bible clearly says that this third man who sat there under the tree and had a meal with Abraham that day was none other than Jehovah God himself. Look, Genesis 18 one says, The Lord, capital L, capital O, capital R, capital D, appeared to Abraham. Verse 22, Then Abraham was left standing before the capital L O R D. In both of these verses, and this is very important, the Hebrew word that's translated Lord, L O R D, all caps, is not the word Adonai, which means master or sir, and is often used of people. In fact, Sarah uses this word to refer to her husband in verse 12 in just a minute. Rather, the word that's used in these verses is the word Yahweh, the tetragrammaton, Yod-Heh-Vov-Heh. And this is a word that the Bible only, only, only uses to apply to Jehovah God himself. Well, the point is that this third man was none other than the living God himself.

In theology, we call this a theophany, that is, God appearing to men in human form. Verse 9, Then after lunch they said to Abraham, Where is Sarah, your wife? And Abraham said, Well, she's inside the tent. Now remember, Abraham and the three men were sitting outside the tent under the tree, right? Okay, verse 10. And he, the Lord, said, I will surely return to you, Abraham, at this time next year. And behold, Sarah, your wife, shall have a son.

But Sarah was hiding behind the tent door and eavesdropping. You see, in 4,000 years, nothing has changed. It's all the same. And don't write me any cards or letters. We're just kidding.

We're just having fun. Okay, I don't want any cards or letters. All right, verse 11. Now, watch, Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in age.

You say, Lon, how old were they? Well, the Bible says Abraham was 100 years old and Sarah was 90 years old. And it had ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women.

By saying these words, it had ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. The Bible wants us to understand the immensity of the promise that God is making here. The Bible wants us to understand that Abraham and Sarah were utterly beyond the age of childbearing, that Sarah was no longer ovulating, that as Romans 4.19 says, her womb was dead. The bottom line is that when God promised here, Abraham and Sarah, that they were going to have a child, what He was promising them was not unlikely. What He was promising them was not improbable. What He was promising them, it's not that the odds were just against it.

Folks, by every law of nature and medicine and chemistry and physics, what God was promising them was impossible. Do we see that? Good. Verse 12. Now when Sarah heard this, because remember, she's eavesdropping. She laughed inside herself, not out loud, saying again, inside herself, after I have become so old, shall I have this pleasure, my Lord, meaning Abraham, being also old? Hey friends, you know what we love to say here.

Ladies, if you're 90 and somebody tells you that you're going to get pregnant, it's laugh or cry. So you might as well laugh, right? Yeah.

Okay. And that's what Sarah did. Then the Lord said to Abraham, why did Sarah laugh, saying, indeed, shall I have a child when I am old? Is anything, Abraham, too hard for the Lord? And suddenly we are confronted with one of the mountain peak verses in all of the Bible.

Is anything too hard for the Lord? This is exactly what the angel Gabriel said to Mary at the virgin birth, Luke chapter 1. He said, for nothing is impossible with God. This is what God said to Jeremiah, Jeremiah 32. He said, behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh.

Is there anything too hard for me? This is what Jesus said to his disciples, Luke chapter 18. He said, the things that are impossible with men are possible with God. How much do we love what God is saying to Abraham here?

Is anything too hard for the Lord? He's saying, hey, Abraham, I know you're an old man. And hey, I know that Sarah's womb is dead. And I know, Abraham and Sarah, I know that having a son is an absolute impossibility based on every law of nature. But none of this matters, Abraham and Sarah, because you are dealing with me.

And there's nothing too hard for me. How much do you love that? Amen.

You can clap, that's great. Verse 14, at the approved time next year, the appointed time, God says, I will return to you and Sarah will have a son. But Sarah denied that she had laughed, saying, I didn't laugh, for she was afraid. But the Lord said to her, no, but you did laugh. Now, what was God doing here with Sarah? He said, well, Lon, he's rebuking her for lying and laughing. No, he's not.

No, not at all. To the contrary, God is trying to reassure Sarah and Abraham that indeed he does have the power to keep his promise and give him a child. He said, I'm not really sure I see that.

Well, sure, think about it. God says, hey, Abraham, hey, Sarah, you need proof that nothing is too hard for me. You need proof that I can give you the son the way I told you. Well, what did I just do? Hey, Sarah, I just saw you behind the opaque walls of a tent. Didn't I see you hiding back there? And hey, Sarah, didn't I know that you had laughed even though you didn't make one sound out loud? Didn't I know that? And hey, Sarah, didn't I know the exact words that you were thinking that were going through your mind even though you never said one word out loud? Didn't I know that, Sarah? Now, listen, Sarah, can someone who's limited by the natural laws of the universe do all of that, Sarah? But I just did it, didn't I? And the point is, if I can suspend the natural laws of the universe, Sarah, to know what you're thinking in your mind and know that you're laughing in your heart and see you hiding behind an opaque tent, then I can suspend the natural laws of the universe to give you a child if I want to, Sarah. Nothing is too hard for the Lord. Now, Sarah, believe me and trust me and go buy a crib.

Because you're going to need it. And so the conversation ends. And precisely one year later, God did precisely what He said. Genesis 21, verse 1, then the Lord remembered Sarah just like He had said, and the Lord did for Sarah just as He had promised. So Sarah conceived and bore a son to Abraham in his old age at the appointed time when God had said, and Abraham called the name of his son whom Sarah had borne to him, Isaac.

And friends, Isaac in Hebrew means he laughs or laughter. Now, that's as far as we're going to go in this marvelous passage for today because we're going to stop now and we're going to ask our most important question. Now, I want to remind you, this is the very first So What of 2013.

You know that, right? Okay, so everybody out there at Bethesda and all you guys at Prince William and Loudon and down at the Edge and on the Internet campus and here at Tysons, we've got to really start this year off with pizzazz, with a bang, right? Okay, all right now, come on, let's do this. This is the first one of the year.

Are you ready? Here we go. Nice and loud.

One, two, three. So what? Oh, that's sweet. You say, Lon, so what? Say, you're right. I mean, this is an amazing passage. I agree with you, but I don't see what any of this has to do with me. I mean, God knows when I'm 90, I hope the Lord doesn't appear to me like this and do this. Okay, fair enough.

Chances are He won't. So you've got nothing to worry about. But you say, other than that, I don't see what any of this has got to do with me.

Well, it does. Romans chapter 4 is a commentary on Genesis 18. Let me read you what the Apostle Paul says there. Verse 19, Romans 4. It says, Without becoming weak in faith, Abraham did not consider his own body, now as good as dead, since he was about 100 years old, nor did he consider the deadness of Sarah's womb.

With respect to God's promise, that is that Sarah was going to have a son, Abraham did not waver in unbelief, but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God. Watch this now. Verse 21. Watch this. Being fully convinced. Gosh, I love that. Being fully convinced that what God had promised, God was able to perform.

And you know what? It wasn't just Abraham. It was Sarah too. Hebrews 11, verse 11 says, By faith Sarah received the ability to conceive even beyond the proper time of life.

Why? Because she considered him faithful, who had promised. Hey, no wonder Abraham and Sarah are in the Bible. No wonder God so richly blessed these people's lives, because here's what they did. They looked at a promise from God that was utterly impossible, that there was no way in their finite minds they could figure out how God was going to do this. But here's what I love about them.

Don't miss this. They refused to go into unbelief. They refused to go into doubt. Instead, they refused to limit God. Instead, they set God free to be God. They said, God, we don't know how you're going to do it.

We can't figure it out, but it doesn't matter. We are fully convinced that if you said it, you can do it. So here we are, Lord.

No limits on you. You be the omnipotent God for our life. You see what they did?

Yes? Now, one of the saddest verses in the Bible to me is Psalm 78, verse 41, where it says, They, that is the Israelites under Moses, limited the Holy One of Israel. What this means is that they'd seen God open the Red Sea. These Israelites had seen God smash Egypt with the ten plagues. They had seen God destroy, drown Pharaoh's chariots. They had seen God give them supernatural food, manna, and supernatural water in the wilderness. They had seen God lead them with a pillar of fire through the desert. And yet, after all of this, when God instructed them to go into the Promised Land, they refused.

Why? Well, because there were obstacles there. There were giants there. There were walled cities there.

There were big armies there. But, don't miss this, instead of trusting God to be bigger than those obstacles, just like God had been bigger than the Red Sea and bigger than Pharaoh and bigger than the desert, instead of doing that, they shrank back in unbelief and in doubt and in fear. And friends, they insulted God by doing this. They dishonored God by doing this. They angered God by doing this. Now, happily, Abraham and Sarah didn't do what the Israelites did.

Happily, Abraham and Sarah did the opposite. They took the limits off of God. And they set God free to be God for them in all of His awesome, omnipotent glory. And friends, as followers of Jesus Christ, look here. This is what God wants you and me to do. God wants us to approach every problem in life with the very same attitude as Abraham and Sarah. An attitude that says, hey, no matter how big the problem, my God is bigger. And no matter how great the obstacle, my God is greater. And no matter how powerful the opposition, my God is more powerful. As followers of Christ, the only limits that we should ever place on what God can do for us, what God will do for us are the limits that God Himself ordains in light of His perfect will and plan for our life and not self-imposed limits that we put on God in our own puny, human unbelief.

And here's what that sounds like. Well, I'm not even going to ask God for that. Because I know He's not going to do it anyway. And God's not even interested.

I mean, God's running a whole universe. You really think God's going to step in from running a whole universe and handle some little problem for me like that? He's not going to do it. I'm not even going to waste His time.

I don't even want to put Him on the spot because if He doesn't come through, then I'll be embarrassed. And so I'm just not even going to ask. Unbelief! Limiting God! Joining the Back to Egypt Club! Get behind me, Satan!

This is what sent the Israelites back out into the wilderness for 40 years. And if you think and act like this, that's exactly what it will do for you. Let me just say, I don't want to go there with you. So if you want to think like that and act like that, that's your business. Just stay away from me. Because I'm not going there.

And God help you. Don't think like that. Don't act like that. You don't have to. You've got an all powerful, omnipotent God. There is no reason to act like that.

I remember back in 1997 when God offered us this property that's now our Tysons campus. Everybody said to us, you can't do it. You'll never make it. You won't get through the county. You can't afford it. You'll go broke.

The neighbors will all oppose you. And I said, don't tell me what God can't do. Doggone it. If God wants us to have this campus and use this campus for the glory of God, then God is perfectly able to make it happen.

And the rest is history. Amen. And when people said, you can't go on secular radio, they're never going to let you put not a sermon, just a thought on secular radio and talk about God on secular radio and put 30 minute sermons on secular radio that we preach in church.

It'll never happen. And I said, don't tell me what God can't do. If God wants us on secular radio, he will open the door and we'll be on secular radio. And the rest, as they say, is what? That's right. And people said, you'll never build Jill's house.

It's a nice idea, Lon. God bless you. But it'll never happen.

There's no way you can pull this off. And I said, don't tell me what God can't do. If Jill's house is supposed to go up and God wants it to go up, God is omnipotent and powerful enough to put it up. I'm not putting limits on God and telling him what he can't do. Well, you drive by it every day coming in here, don't you? The rest is what?

Thank you. And when we wanted to start campuses, people said, oh, you can't do that? You'll never pull that off. It won't work in Washington. You won't be able to afford it. It'll sink this church. We'll go bankrupt. Hey, I'd like to say hello to all of you at our campuses here today. The rest is what?

Thank you very much. And even most recently, in December, we needed 3.8 million dollars to end the year in the black as a church family. And people said, that's impossible. We've got an economy that won't recover and a housing market that's in a mess and we're going over the fiscal cliff. And we've got all kinds of problems.

And you never see that kind of money in a month right now in our economy. And I said, don't tell me what God can't do. And you know what? We didn't get 3.8 million dollars. We got 5.5 million dollars from the Lord.

The rest was what? Thank you. And friends, on and on and on it goes when you don't limit God. That's the way you've got to live. Now if you're a follower of Christ, you listen to me.

If you've got problems and you've got obstacles and you've got blockades in your life. And for the life of you, you can't see how the Lord's going to work this out and how He's going to make a way through for you. That's alright.

Don't worry about it. You don't need to understand it. My friend, the bottom line is, don't you dare join the Back to Egypt Club. Don't you dare copy the example of the Israelites in the wilderness. You copy the example of Abraham and Sarah. You grow strong in faith. You refuse to waver in unbelief. You, as the Bible says, give glory to God. You consider Him faithful who promised. You stay convinced that what God has promised you God is able to do.

Whether you can understand it or not. And He's able to perform it according to His mighty power. Ephesians 1 19, by which He raised Jesus from the dead. Don't you sit around and talk about what God can't do. Don't you sit around and decide for God what He won't do.

Don't you do that. And folks, this is how we unlock the richest blessing of God for our life. This is how we set God free. Jeremiah 33 3, to do great and mighty things for us that we know not.

This is how we position ourselves. So that God can, Ephesians 3 20, do exceedingly abundantly more than we can ask or even think. We take the limits off of God.

You say, Well, Lon, I got to tell you, this sounds like the prosperity gospel to me. No, it isn't. You say, Well, aren't you saying that if we take the limits off of God, He'll do anything we want? No, I didn't say that. Friends, what I said is that God sometimes will not do what we want because it's not best for us. But you let God make that decision, not you, in your unbelief. Don't you make that decision. You let Him make it. And I promise you there are blessings He wants to give you and me that He is dying to give us if we don't approach Him with this. Don't you do that. Just say, Here I am, Lord. Be God in my life. If you don't want me to have it, fine, I'll submit to that. But I'm not making that decision, Lord.

You make it. Folks, the bottom line is we've got an omnipotent, almighty, awesome, great God and we need to live like it. Amen.

Let's pray. Heavenly Father, thank you for the great example of Abraham and Sarah today. Who by not limiting you saw something happen that literally couldn't happen. It's impossible.

But it did. Because there is nothing too hard for the Lord. And Father, remind us that as followers of Christ, there's a lot of things you want to do in our lives just like that. If we will do what Abraham and Sarah did, take the limits off and let you be the sovereign God of our life, not us.

And so, Lord, forgive us for the many times that we limit you in our own puny unbelief. Teach us, Lord Jesus. Teach us never to do that, but to let the awesome God of the universe have the final word in everything in our life. Change the very way we live because we were here today and sat under the teaching of the word of God.

Change the very way we approach our problems in life. And we pray these things in Jesus' name. And what do God's people say? Amen. Oh, you know what? Listen, we have just talked about one of the greatest truths in the whole Bible. And you say... No, listen, if you can't get excited about this, I don't know what... you need jolt.

I don't know what's wrong with you. Come on. And God's people said... Amen. Now there you go. We've got a great God. Come out there and live like it this week. See ya. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-24 15:41:57 / 2023-04-24 15:52:51 / 11

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