Day 14: Genesis 18:1-15

The Lord appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day. Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he hurried from the entrance of his tent to meet them and bowed low to the ground. He said, “If I have found favor in your eyes, my lord, do not pass your servant by. Let a little water be brought, and then you may all wash your feet and rest under this tree. Let me get you something to eat, so you can be refreshed and then go on your way—now that you have come to your servant.”

“Very well,” they answered, “do as you say.”

So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah. “Quick,” he said, “get three seahs of the finest flour and knead it and bake some bread.” Then he ran to the herd and selected a choice, tender calf and gave it to a servant, who hurried to prepare it. He then brought some curds and milk and the calf that had been prepared, and set these before them. While they ate, he stood near them under a tree.

“Where is your wife Sarah?” they asked him.

“There, in the tent,” he said.

Then one of them said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.”

Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, which was behind him. Abraham and Sarah were already very old, and Sarah was past the age of childbearing. So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, “After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I now have this pleasure?” Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”

Sarah was afraid, so she lied and said, “I did not laugh.”

But he said, “Yes, you did laugh.”

In this strange episode in the lives of Abraham and Sarah, we are reminded that faith is a scandal. The mystery of God’s promises scandalizes our reason, our sensibilities, and our status quo. As Abraham and Sarah are settling in to old age, the hope of bearing a son is now a distant memory. Sarah has resigned to barrenness as her destiny.

So when God, in the form of these three visitors, informs Abraham that Sarah will bear a son, the comedy of scandal ensues. Sarah laughs! (As would any reasonable person!) Had this not been a dream and source of constant disappointment of Sarah’s for decades? Of course! But what an unlikely means of fulfilling such a dream. Like Sarah, may we be reminded that God still scandalizes that which we perceive to be impossible in the mystery of his promises.

Wes Reece | May The Fourth Be With You

Amy Tabler