God had first spoken to Abram when he was about 70 years old, promising him many descendants and lots of land. Abram didn’t hear from God again for about 15 years, but when God reminded him that he would have his very own son, Abram believed him. God counted his faith as rightousness, making Abram the first person made righteous by faith. God explains that although his descendents will be innumerable like the stars in the sky, they will not be given the land for 400 years. God’s schedule is not our schedule; he will speak to Abram again in another 15 years.
When Abram (now Abraham) is 99 years old, he is told for the third time he will have a son. He is nearly 100 and Sarah 90. Both of them laugh when hearing the news, Abraham in Gen 17 and Sarah in 18. “Is anything too hard for the LORD?” Sarah denies it claiming she did not laugh. Abraham has already been told the son will be named Isaac, which sounds like the Hebrew word for laughter. It’s almost like being told they will eat their words; their son is named “laughter” because his parents laughed when told they would have a child in their old age. There are worse names to grow up with; Jabez means pain.
Twice in Isaiah God asks if his hand is shorted that he cannot redeem/save. In Numbers 11 God asks Moses, in response to his apparent lack of faith, if his hand has been shortened. I’m also reminded of Jesus teaching on the rich being able to enter the Kingdom of God. The disciples asked who can be saved; Jesus replies “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” I want to dwell on those two thoughts, one from the Old Testament one from the New.
Is anything too hard for the LORD?
With God all things are possible.
Abraham is the first person in scripture described as being made righteous by faith. That formula has not changed. If we believe Jesus is who he says is, and will do the things he says he will do, we will respond in some way. Faith is more than belief; it is a belief that motivates us into action. Hebrews 11 is often referred to as the hall of fame of faith. It is a long list of people, Old and New Covenant people, that decided nothing is too hard for the LORD and that with God all things are possible.