Sarah (Sarai, Sara) Fear, Faith, and Laughter (Lesson 6)

Genesis 18:1–15 (KJV 1900)
And the LORD appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; 2 And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground, 3 And said, My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant: 4 Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree: 5 And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts; after that ye shall pass on: for therefore are ye come to your servant. And they said, So do, as thou hast said. 6 And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth. 7 And Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetcht a calf tender and good, and gave it unto a young man; and he hasted to dress it. 8 And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat. 9 And they said unto him, Where is Sarah thy wife? And he said, Behold, in the tent. 10 And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him. 11 Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. 12 Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also? 13 And the LORD said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old? 14 Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son. 15 Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid. And he said, Nay; but thou didst laugh. (Genesis 18:1-15)

The beginning of faith is fear of the LORD God. A person can have NO faith in something that is NOT superior and more powerful than them. Think about it! Would you ever place faith in a person that has lesser power, prestige, work-ethic, moral fortitude, or ability to keep promises more than yourself? Of course you wouldn’t. You would trust yourself, instead. But, if there came one more powerful than yourself, you might develop a faith based upon the reliability of His Word.

At this point in Sarah’s life of motherhood, she had yet to develop a faith in the LORD God that would cover the supernatural ability that would be required for His promise to her. But he had proven to her that He indeed was her LORD God, and she feared Him appropriately for the power she knew He held.

Abraham saw the strangers approaching in the heat of the day. He quickly instructed Sarah to prepare bread for them to eat. While the bread was cooking, Abraham butchered one of his most tender and good calves, gathered some butter and milk, and sat the meal before them, underneath the tree.

The location and the food were highly symbolic for the spiritual nature of the visit, and should be noted in deep interpretation and consideration of this event. The bread, meat, and milk would develop into typological significance later on in the ministry of the followers of Jesus Christ, as they are connected to His teachings. The Milk, Bread, and Meat measure the spiritual nourishment for Babes, Children, and Mature in Christ that brings comfort and growth. (Hebrews 5:11-14; Matthew 15:26 [Typology])

Therefore, the three men that came to Abraham and Sarah in that day were on a spiritual mission. It should also be noted that Abraham recognized that they were delivering the message from the LORD God. His bowing, as well as his preparation and serving of food leaves no doubt that Abraham knew exactly whose message these three men were delivering. The location, under a tree, further typologically designates the spiritual life that was represented by these three men. The importance that this meeting cannot be mistaken; the movement of the LORD God chose that time and place to begin the fulfillment of the promise He gave to Abraham in a Covenant earlier.

The three men were recognized by Abraham as being the LORD God. It should be understood that the opening line “And the LORD appeared unto him” in verse one, has a very special combination of Hebrew words that give a deeper meaning than the English words portray. The use of these combinations of Hebrew words seems
familiar and brings to mind the fullness of time through the expression of the Word made flesh later recorded in John 1:14. The Hebrew for this account is “va yera Elohim,” which literally says “And he saw the face of the LORD God.” (The formal and Holy name of the LORD God is used in place of the more general name of Lord; because of the holiness of the LORD God’s name, we choose to express this special name as LORD God, in tradition of Orthodox Judaism. While it is sometimes necessary to use His Holy formal name, in this case, unnecessary to make this important point.)

These three men addressed Abraham and asked the location of Sarah. Note the usage of the word “they” asked; yet, the speaker is identified as one person. This may well be another symbolism that addressed the Triune LORD God, where three speak as one; this adds to the view that Abraham recognized these men as speaking for the LORD God, and were much more than common angels as some interpretations suggest. They spoke with the voice and message of the LORD God, and they sought Abraham’s wife, for they had come to Sarah and her husband for a purpose. The LORD God announced that when they returned later, the time of life would be completed, and Sarah would have a son.

Sarah heard the LORD God prophesy that she would have a son from behind the tent door. She laughed within herself. Now, remember, she had a great deal fear of the LORD God by this time; she respected Him as being the all- powerful LORD God, and knew the appropriate honor and respect due for His omnipotence. So, she laughed inside herself and attempted to conceal her incredulous disbelief. She was an old woman, and stricken with age. She no longer had a menstrual cycle, and she was a weak and infirmed old lady, quickly approaching her end of life in her analysis. Not only that, but Abraham and her were probably long past sexual intercourse because of their advanced age.

It seemed impossible to Sarah, and the thought of that impossibility caused her to giggle within herself. Until she heard the LORD God ask Abraham why she laughed that is. Suddenly, she realized with horror that her thoughts were known to Him, and she denied thinking the thoughts of disbelief. The LORD God firmly spoke to Sarah, and made it clear that He had heard her thoughts. It is that giggle that gives a certainty that Sarah did not have full faith in the LORD God to that point. While she feared Him and called Him her LORD God, to this point in her life, she had not developed the faith that she would one be known for and exalted in Hebrews 11.

Genesis 21:1-5
“And the LORD visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did unto Sarah as he had spoken. 2 For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him. 3 And Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac. 4 And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac being eight days old, as God had commanded him. 5 And Abraham was an hundred years old, when his son Isaac was born unto him. (Genesis 21:1–5)

It is only after the conception of her son, that Sarah gains the notable faith that is recorded in Hebrews 11. Suffice it to say, Sarah was in a spiritual place of immature relationship with the LORD God; the mature development of her faith was due to be born at the perfect time of life, as her son is brought forth as God said.

Genesis 21:6-7
“And Sarah said, God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me. 7 And she said, Who would have said unto Abraham, that Sarah should have given children suck? for I have born him a son in his old age. (Genesis 21:6–7)

And that was the day that Sarah’s faith in her LORD God was complete. There would be no other time in her life where she would doubt the impossible. Her LORD God had shown her that all things are possible with Him. Once this is realized, a limited belief to His power formed within believer’s inner being is an indication of a lack of faith that is known to Him.

Sarah laughed! She laughed in delight and happiness and joy that the LORD God had be faithful to His promise to her and her husband. She held her beloved son Isaac, just like He had said; the LORD God had done the impossible, because all was possible with Him. She laughed so others would hear and be able to join in the laughter of delight, that the LORD God was faithful and sustained her and made her fertile and conceive a good and righteous man of God that would emulate her husband’s faith in Him.

Hebrews 11:11-12
“Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. 12 Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable. (Hebrews 11:11–12)

Sarah had notable faith in the LORD God, because He kept His promise. He had told her what He would do, and He did it! The LORD gave Sarah strength to become pregnant and deliver a child in her advanced old age. She not only received the LORD God’s promise as expressed in His Covenant agreement between them, but her husband was given generations to follow, that were impossible to number. What a testimony of faith Sarah had to share with everyone who could laugh in delight with her as they received the opportunity to have great faith in Him and His promises!