Read Genesis 18:1-15
God comes to visit Abraham and Sarah in a physical body – three, actually, and yes, it’s confusing. Somehow Abraham knows these men are God, but we aren’t told how.
He gets a meal ready.
And God speaks: “next year, … Sarah your wife will have a son.”
Again? God has told Abraham this so often it’s almost boring.
But this time he uses an audible, human voice. This time he makes sure Sarah can hear.
Sarah laughs out loud. It’s such a crazy idea – her having a child.
Sure, it’s only what she’d wanted all her life. She’d known about the promise – waited for it, helplessly, year after year. Finally, she’d given Hagar to Abraham. It was all so different from what she had hoped – such a hard disappointment.
God’s promise was not for her after all.
And now here is God saying ‘next year’.
“Why did Sarah laugh?”
Why is God so interested in her? Why can’t he leave her alone?
“Is anything too hard for the Lord?”
Well, that’s the question isn’t it?
Yes, honestly, Sarah does think some things are too hard for him – like her and Abraham having a child now. But she can’t say that to God.
“I did not laugh.”
“Yes, you did laugh.” God won’t let her hide behind a lie. He’s not like us. Our socially acceptable ways of relating don’t work with him because he has a relentless, pursuing, love.
We know he’s already forgiven Sarah because of the name he plans to give the child: ‘Isaac’, which means laughter – as if he’s inviting Sarah and Abraham to laugh with him over the craziness of it all.
But still he confronts her.
It must feel like a mean joke. Here’s God, mad at her for laughing because he says she will have a child. It’s completely unfair. What does he want? Is he trying to raise her hopes again? Why does he toy with her?
He’s not toying. He’s confronting the dragon who is with her whispering lies about what God is like and what he can and can’t do – and what he will and won’t do.
Sarah doesn’t know it but God is rescuing her again.
He means to dance with her.