Title: Laughing with Sarah
Today is Mothering Sunday or mother's day. It is a day to honor the person who courageously brought us into the world.
Motherhood is precious. There is a very sweet God given relationship to be enjoyed.
· Most of us were able to enjoy that relationship with our Mother.
· Others get to enjoy that relationship from when they become a mother themselves.
It is a special day when a wife announces to her husband that she is expecting. Her childhood dream of having her very own living doll has come true and she is going to be a mommy. (I've wondered - if you call her mum - shouldn't she be a mummy?)
Now days, you don't just tell your family that you are going to have a baby. You suprise them.
· Kelly getting pumpkins for all of the kids and having one extra pumpkin.
· We let Nelson tell the other children.
Sometimes there is an incredible sense of suprise and shock that someone is going to have a baby!
· Perhaps the family had to tell their college age children that they were going to be getting a new brother or sister.
· Or maybe child number 12 is on the way.
· Perhaps their were reasons why this was viewed impossible but obviously those reasons were incorrect.
question: What would your response be if I told you that a 100 year old man with a 90 year old wife were expecting their first child? Would that not be incredible!
Your response would be similar to that of the actual couple (because this is a true story) who were as shocked as us to hear the news that they would be parents.
· The difference is that God had promised them that they would have a child.
· But He had stretched their faith beyond normal limits by postponing that conception until the birth would be miraculous.
Laughter is the theme of the following verses as you read this amazing story.
Ge 17:17 Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?
Ge 18:12 Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?
Ge 18:13 And the LORD said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old?
Genisis 18:14 Is any thing too hard for the LORD?
Ge 18:15 Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid. And he said, Nay; but thou didst laugh.
Ge 21:6 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.
exp. This morning, we are laughing with Sarah as she knew we would. But, we are also going to ponder the question asked by the Lord, "Is ANYTHING too hard for the LORD?"
Genisis 18:14 Is any thing too hard for the LORD?
We are going to keep a mothering focus to this question this morning. Our points will all have to do with children. Much of a mother's burden has to do with children. So, hopefully this message will be a particular blessing to the mother's who hear it.
I. God can provide children.
exp. Sarah struggled with the burden of being childless. Genesis 16: 2 And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai. 3 And Sarai Abram’s wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife.
note: Being childless is a special burden allowed of God.
· There are many precious stories in God's Word of His restraint on child bearing until his perfect time.
· Each story shows that this is a special impossible burden upon the heart of the one who has been given it.
note: Isaac was a key leader for the Lord and he was the result of much prayer.
A. Rachel Genesis 30:1 And when Rachel saw that she bare Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister; and said unto Jacob, Give me children, or else I die.
exp. John Knox famous prayer "Give me Scotland or I die" is taken from the passion of this woman who yearned to have a child.
exp. The two wives of Jacob were sisters. Laban had tricked Jacob into marrying Leah and then also had given him Rachel. God had opened Leah's womb because he saw she was despised.
Genesis 29:31 And when the LORD saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren.
exp. Rachel, although favored by Jacob, was burdened by being childless. (Note - We should not assume that a couple can not have children because of God's judgment.)
ill. The Blind man who was healed by Jesus.
John 9: 2 And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?
3 Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.
app. But - through all the trial of Rachel - God had not forgotten her prayer and desire for children. And he does not forget our prayer although it seems long in coming!
Ge 30:22 And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb.
note: Joseph was a key leader for God and he is the result of much prayer. Rachel would also have another son, Benjamin.
1. Elkanah 1 Samuel 1:8 Then said Elkanah her husband to her, Hannah, why weepest thou? and why eatest thou not? and why is thy heart grieved? am not I better to thee than ten sons?
exp. Elkanah struggled to understand why this was such a burden to his wife's heart. He wanted to take it away logically. Hanted wanted God to take it away miraculously.
2. Ely1Samuel 1:15 And Hannah answered and said, No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my soul before the LORD.
3. The Lord remembered her.
1Samuel 1:19 And they rose up in the morning early, and worshipped before the LORD, and returned, and came to their house to Ramah: and Elkanah knew Hannah his wife; and the LORD remembered her.
note: Samuel was a key leader for God and he was the result of much prayer. God gave Hannah (who could not have children) 3 sons and 2 daughters.
exp. In the case of Elizabeth, we don't see the mother's burden - but the focus is upon the father. Fatherhood is also a special desire.
Luke 1:13 But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.
note: God knew exactly who would be conceived in the womb!
ill. David to us about DNA (genetic code) before man ever knew about it.
Ps 139:16 Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.
note: John the Baptist was a key leader for the Lord and he was the result of much prayer.
· Children are never a mistake. They are exactly who God wants them to be.
· If they will follow him - he has a special plan for their lives.
II. God can provide for children.
exp. Many a mother has said, "Now that I have a child - I'm realizing they are terribly expensive." (Children like to eat.)
ill."The cost of raising a child to the age of 21 has soared to £222,458, with parents paying 58% more than a decade ago, according to a study published today. The annual 'cost of a child: from cradle to college' report by insurer LV= found that the average cost is up by more than £4,000 since last year." 24 Jan 2013
note: The world is consumed with costs. People put off having children because they are too expensive. HOWEVER
Ps 127:3 Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.
app. Is God going to give you children and then forget to provide the means whereby to feed, clothe, and educate them?
ill. The Widow of Saraphath
I Kings 17:
9 Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee.
10 So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, the widow woman was there gathering of sticks: and he called to her, and said, Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink.
11 And as she was going to fetch it, he called to her, and said, Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand.
12 And she said, As the LORD thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die.
13 And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son.
14 For thus saith the LORD God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the LORD sendeth rain upon the earth.
15 And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, did eat many days.
16 And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by Elijah.
app. Notice the mother had to PUT GOD FIRST WITH HER RESOURCES and then God would supply. Another widow exemplified this in the NT (perhaps she had children as well)
Luke 21: 2 And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites.
3 And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all:
4 For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had.
app. Jesus knew that God would care for a woman who loved Him enough to put him first in her finances.
ill. The prophet's widow - 1 ¶ Now there cried a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets unto Elisha, saying, Thy servant my husband is dead; and thou knowest that thy servant did fear the LORD:
question: If the man feared the Lord - was he faithful to tithe? There is no doubt that this man used his money as God intended and gave his life in service to him.
and the creditor is come to take unto him my two sons to be bondmen.
2 And Elisha said unto her, What shall I do for thee? tell me, what hast thou in the house? And she said, Thine handmaid hath not any thing in the house, save a pot of oil.
3 Then he said, Go, borrow thee vessels abroad of all thy neighbours, even empty vessels; borrow not a few.
4 And when thou art come in, thou shalt shut the door upon thee and upon thy sons, and shalt pour out into all those vessels, and thou shalt set aside that which is full.
5 So she went from him, and shut the door upon her and upon her sons, who brought the vessels to her; and she poured out.
6 And it came to pass, when the vessels were full, that she said unto her son, Bring me yet a vessel. And he said unto her, There is not a vessel more. And the oil stayed.
7 Then she came and told the man of God. And he said, Go, sell the oil, and pay thy debt, and live thou and thy children of the rest.
exp. God is not ignorant of the needs of the children which he has given. He can provide miraculously when needed.
ill. Our family has seen God provide miraculoulsy for a $60,000 medical debt incurred through our child's surgery.
exp. It is easy for a mum to worry about where the money is going to come from to meet her children's needs. Is God going to forget to meet these needs? 31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
app. The key is "seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness" - YOU CAN BANK ON THE REST. "All these things shall be added unto you."
III. God can provide children in law.
exp. Now that I have a child. Where am I going to find a Godly spouse for them? Isn't that a concern on a Godly mother's heart.
ill. My mom faithfully prayed for Godly spouses for us children and God faithfully gave them. I know that she is praying the same for her grandchildren. You can raise a Godly child but you are only half way there in seeking a Godly heritage for the family that will raise your grandchildren.
A. Seek them in the right place.
1 ¶ And Abraham was old, and well stricken in age: and the LORD had blessed Abraham in all things.
2 And Abraham said unto his eldest servant of his house, that ruled over all that he had, Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh:
3 And I will make thee swear by the LORD, the God of heaven, and the God of the earth, that thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell:
4 But thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac.
exp. Abraham guarded his son from seeking a convenient mate. It would have been easy to just accept what was near at hand - but God had something much better for Isaac.
ill. Ruth - determined to go with her mother in law and God's people. Gleaned in the field of Boaz. Boaz praised her pursuit of God's will not riches or youth.
Ruth 3:10 And he said, Blessed be thou of the LORD, my daughter: for thou hast shewed more kindness in the latter end than at the beginning, inasmuch as thou followedst not young men, whether poor or rich.
app. Many young people seek to just find anybody instead of seeking the somebody whom God wants them to find. That search should be among believers.
B. Pray for God's clear direction.
12 And he said, O LORD God of my master Abraham, I pray thee, send me good speed this day, and shew kindness unto my master Abraham.
13 Behold, I stand here by the well of water; and the daughters of the men of the city come out to draw water:
14 And let it come to pass, that the damsel to whom I shall say, Let down thy pitcher, I pray thee, that I may drink; and she shall say, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also: let the same be she that thou hast appointed for thy servant Isaac; and thereby shall I know that thou hast shewed kindness unto my master.
15 And it came to pass, before he had done speaking, that, behold, Rebekah came out,
27 And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of my master Abraham, who hath not left destitute my master of his mercy and his truth: I being in the way, the LORD led me to the house of my master’s brethren.
question: Did God make clear through prayer exactly WHO he had for Isaac?
question: Do you think God knows less about who he wants you to marry than what he knew about Isaac and Rebekah?
· Parents and children can trust God to make His will abundantly clear in his timing. It is better not to marry than to marry the wrong one!
· God gives grace to be single IF THAT IS HIS WILL AND IF IT IS NOT YOU CAN TRUST HIM TO LEAD YOU TO THE PERFECT ONE.
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
C. Trust God to open the heart of your child to God's will.
Genesis 24:66 And the servant told Isaac all things that he had done.
67 And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her: and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.
exp. Abraham was involved in the process of helping his son find a mate.
app. I don't advocate arranged marriages. But, part of wisdom is seeking Godly counsel. If you parents or other spiritual leader have real concerns about a person in whom you are interested, you had better have the wisdom to listen.
app. Parents you ought to be involved in praying for God's perfect mate for your child.
We can laugh with Sarah this morning. She didn't have a child - she had her grandchild! Isaac was a miraculous gift from God. Every child is....
God can provide children.
He can provide for children.
He can provide for children in law.
How is your faith this morning? Are you trusting God to provide?
Genisis 18:14 Is any thing too hard for the LORD?