Genesis 18:1-15

 |  April 9, 2018

Gen. 18:1-15

  1. Locate the passage

The Promise of an offspring for Abraham and Sarah was made and believed, but had not yet occurred. This time, it is Sarah’s turn to laugh.

  1. Genre

The passage is narrative. It records a conversation between the Lord (angel?) and Abraham, Abraham and Sarah, and the Lord and Sarah.

  1. Determine the structure of the passage

18:1-5 – Abraham’s Request of the Lord

18:6-8 – Abraham’s Instructions to Sarah

18:9-11 – The Promise of a Child through Sarah

18:12-15 – Sarah’s Denial and the Lord’s Response

  1. Exegete the passage

Abraham’s return to Mamre (Cf. Gen. 13:18) represents another encounter with the Lord by the terebinth trees, perhaps near the altar he had previously built.

Very little time has passed between 17:27 and 18:1. Abraham was 99 when the Lord appeared to him in 17:1 and when Isaac was born, Abraham was 100 years old (21:5). At this point, Sarah is not yet pregnant (Cf. 21:1). So, it is reasonable to assume that the events of Genesis 18 took place very shortly after the events of chapter 17. Thus, Abraham’s laughter at the prospect of Sarah’s pregnancy and Sarah’s laughter are only a short duration apart.

18:1 – This appearance of the Lord to Abraham is another in a series of Theophanies in    the Abraham narrative (Cf. 12:7; 15:1; 16:7; 19:1; 22:11, 15)

18:1 – The Terebinth tree

18:2 – Three “men”

18:2 – He “ran”

18:3 – “If I have found favor”

18:3 – Do not pass on by Your servant

18:4-5 – This verse represents the Hebrew concept of hospitality. Abraham’s “guests”  comply with his request to delay their departure until he returns to serve them.

18:7 – Abraham chose one of his best calves to offer his “guests.” Once the preparations were completed, Abraham stood by to see if there were other needs ways that he could serve his guests.

18:9 – The inclusion of Sarah in the conversation suggest again her significance in the fulfillment of the promise (Cf. 17:16).

18:10 – I will return to you

18:12 – Sarah laughed

18:12 – Shall I have this pleasure

18:14 – Is anything too “hard” for the Lord?

18:14 – At the “appointed time”

18:15 – Sarah denied it

  1. Let the structure of the text drive the sermon
  1. Honoring God’s Presence

Exp. The passages demonstrates Abraham entertaining men, angels, and the Lord

Exp. Yet, it is not the Abraham who blesses the Lord, it is the Lord who blesses   Abraham. The Lord never leaves in our debt.

  1. Laughing at God’s Promise

Exp. The conflict between fear and faith

Exp. The angels rebuke of Sarah is both for her deceit and for her lack of faith

  • I will return to you (vs. 10, 13)
    • God’s Power always supports His Promise
      • His promises are never under-supported
  • At the appointed time
    • God only works at the right time;
      • He is perpetually punctual
    • Jesus came at the right time (Gal. 4:4)
  • The laughter of doubt vs. the laughter of delight
    • God knows the difference
      • He notes our unbelief
      • We are responsible for our sin and doubt
    • Nothing it too hard for the Lord

App. This passage calls on believers to believe God’s power to support His promises in our lives. It ultimately calls on us to claim His Promise through His Son.

App. This passage reminds of another promised Son, whose birth, in a similar, but much greater sense than that of Isaac, would be:

  • Even more miraculous in His conception,
  • Foretold by the Prophets,
  • It would occur at the appointed time (Gal. 4:4),
  • Bring salvation for His people,
  • Bring joy (“laughter”) for His people

Category: Sermon Structure
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