Abraham Study Guide (Week 8)
SUGGESTED VERSES FOR MEMORIZATION & MEDITATION
And the LORD appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the door of his tent in the heat of the day. (Genesis 18:1)
Is there anything too hard for the LORD? At the appointed time I will return to you, about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son. (Genesis 18:14)
And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.” (Mark 10:26-27)
After thirteen years of God being silent, God spoke to Abram once again last week. Though he was ninety-nine years old and content with finally having a son, the LORD shook Abram’s world. First, God emphasized to Abram again that many nations would descend from him. To drive this point home, God changed Abram’s name to Abraham (which means “father of a multitude”). Second, the LORD re-established His covenant promise with Abraham. In order to give Abraham a physical reminder of this covenant, God commanded him to be circumcised. Third, God clarified that Ishmael would not be Abraham’s heir; rather, Sarah would bear him a son.
Though chapter 17 ended with Abraham obeying God and showing his faith, we did not see Sarah’s response to being told that she would have a child at the age of ninety. In this section of Scripture, that is exactly what we see. Three mysterious men appear before Abraham in the middle of the afternoon, and Abraham shows hospitality by treating them to lunch. Abraham quickly realizes that they are not ordinary men, but that he is being visited by God. However, in verse 9, we learn that Sarah is the focus of this lunch, not Abraham. The LORD declares that she will bear a son within a year.
The centerpiece of this section is upon Sarah’s reaction to God’s words, and God response to her. At hearing that she will have a child, Sarah erupts into incredulous laughter to herself; however, God asks if her laughter is justified. God asks Sarah, “Is anything too hard for the LORD?” This question brings God’s omnipotence to the forefront. If He is truly all-powerful, then the LORD is able to give Sarah a child, regardless of her age. For us today, there is an important correlation between Isaac’s birth and our salvation—namely that both are equally impossible. But thanks be to God, nothing is too hard for the LORD.
Read verses 1-5 and discuss the following.
- The chapter begins by saying that the LORD appeared to Abraham. What does this say about the nature and character of God?
- When Abraham saw the three men appear, he greeted them and showed great hospitality. Why is hospitality so emphasized here? What is the importance of being hospitable today?
Read verses 6-8 and discuss the following.
- The LORD has lunch with Abraham. In the Bible, what is the significance of sharing a meal with someone? What does this say about Abraham’s relationship with God?
Read verses 9-12 and discuss the following.
- God turns His attention to Sarah and proclaims that she will have a son in one year. Sarah simply laughs at the ridiculousness of God’s declaration. What did Sarah’s reaction reveal about her understanding of God? Have you ever wrestled to believe something that you know to be true of God?
Read verses 13-14 and discuss the following.
- In response to Sarah, the LORD asks if there is anything too hard for Him, assuring her that He can perform the impossible. How is Sarah’s situation similar to our salvation?
Read verse 15 and discuss the following.
- Sarah lies that she did not laughed at God’s promise because she is afraid, but God rebukes her. Though fear itself is not sinful, can fear naturally lead to sin?
ACTIONS TO CONSIDER
- Reflect upon your hospitality and generosity towards others along with Paul’s words in Philippians 2:3.
- Prayerfully think of any fearfulness or insecurity in your heart. Consider then the all-sufficiency and omnipotence of God. Bring yours fears and insecurities before the LORD in prayer.