Word of Encouragement- Week Ending Feb. 25th, 2012
Series: The Questions God Asks Us
â€œIs Anything Too Hard for the LORD?â€ â€“ Genesis 18:14
ESV Genesis 18:14 â€œIs anything too hard for the LORD? At the appointed time I will return to you about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son.”
Beloved in Christ, this is your question today: â€œIs anything too hard for the LORD?â€
Sometimes you think there is something too hard in your life that even God cannot help you with. You believe, but sometimes you are inconsistent with what you say you believe. You believe in a sovereign God who rules over the world. You believe in the Almighty God who is maker of heaven and earth. You believe that God was made flesh and lived and died for you. You believe that Jesus has risen from the dead. You believe that Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords.
Yet your worry, anxiety and fears betray what youâ€™re hiding, and they reveal a heart that wants to believe, more than actually does believe. As a Christian, you know the truths of God are infallibly true and wonderfully revealed to you in Scripture, but you often live inconsistently with these truths, and youâ€™re easily troubled. But again, let God ask you: â€œIs anything too hard for the LORD?â€
Abraham and Sarah waited a very long time to hold in their arms the baby that had been long promised to them by God. For twenty-five long years, they waited on the promise of God to be realized in their lives. There were times of strong faith, and also times of failure during their wait. In Genesis 18, God manifested Himself to Abraham and Sarah to assure them that His promises would come to past â€œnext yearâ€ (18:10) â€”and Sarah laughs in unbelief, and then tried to deny that she had indeed laughed:
â€œSo Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I am worn out, and my lord is old, shall I have pleasure?” â€¦. But Sarah denied it, saying, “I did not laugh,” for she was afraid. He said, “No, but you did laugh.” (Genesis 18:12, 15).â€
Isnâ€™t she a bit like you and me?! Sarah couldnâ€™t see how God could take her state of practical death in that she was too old to have babies, and grant her new life. Sarah could not conceive in her mind how she could ever conceive a child through Godâ€™s life-giving power. What God had promised was just a bit beyond her grasp of faith.
God knew also that she had laughed, and He was not angry with her and take away His gracious promises to her as it were. Rather, it was as if God was confronting Sarah with her laughter of unbelief so that she might see her sins, and might behold in Him the One who could do all things!
This is our God, dear congregation of Jesus! God reveals Himself and keeps His promises to us in spite of our lack of faith, and our silly, limited unbelief. God is always going to be faithful to His people even when His people are unfaithful to Him (2 Tim. 2:13). This in itself is a reason to ask yourself: â€œIs anything too hard for the LORD?â€ God can do all things; even forgive our sins because of His mercy.
Whatever your worries, anxieties, and fears are revealing is wrong deep within your heart, you can go to God, with a mere seed of faith, and find a great and powerful Christ ready to forgive, ready to pardon, ready to receive and ready to give to you above and beyond what you could ever ask or imagine!
What are your worries today? What is it in your life that is too difficult for you? What threatens to overwhelm you in your fears? What is too great– too hard– too difficult for you?!â€
But you say: â€œYou donâ€™t understand my situation.â€ You donâ€™t understand that I have made this problem for myself, and I must get myself out.â€ â€œThere is no way that you would ever understand the problems at my workplaceâ€¦in my marriageâ€¦with my childrenâ€¦the change that never seems to come with myself!?â€
Think on Christ. Jesus loves you, and he has lived and died for you. God permanently took upon Himself a human nature from the substance of the Virgin Mary, to unite God and man together forever in Him. In Christ, God did the unbelievable. The Incarnation is the â€œenfleshingâ€ of God Almighty with the goal of securing your redemption! When God sent His Son into the world, it was with you and your hard situations in mind! God who is Spirit united Himself to a body; God who is infinite united Himself to finitude; God who is everywhere present, became local in Jesus; God who is all-knowing, became limited and learning. And all for us!
â€œIs anything too hard for the LORD?â€ Think about the Incarnation and how in Christ God reveals what is in our estimation the â€œimpossibleâ€. Remember: â€œFor nothing will be impossible with Godâ€ (Luke 1:37). When the Angel Gabriel came to the Virgin Mary in the fullness of the times and told her that Jesus, the Son of God, would be born to her, she didnâ€™t laugh- – but believed. This is how we too come to understand and believe.
We may not fully understand our situation (and many times will not!); we may doubt a bit in the power and grace of God toward us (this is a reality of weak faith in this life); but we are to bow before God in humility with the little faith we have in a great Christ, and say with Mary:
“Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”
We are to simply seek to believe Godâ€™s Word to us. What is too hard for you today? This thing you are concerned about is never impossible with God. Believe. Think of the change that God has wrought in your heart by the power of the Spirit. Have you always believed? No! How did you come to believe in Christ in the first place? Was this not a mighty â€œimpossibleâ€ display of Godâ€™s power in taking a hardened sinner far from God, and making your heart loving and teachable, and full of desire to follow Jesus?
Is this not a hard thing, too? Go back to your conversion, think on how the power of the Spirit came upon you to transfer you from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of Godâ€™s son; how you were raised, like Lazarus, from the spiritual dead, and seated with Christ in the heavenly places; how you were dead in trespasses and sins, enslaved to sin and the devil, and you were raised to new life in Jesus! (Col. 1:13-14; Eph. 2:1-8; Col. 3:14). Truly, I ask you, when you think of the work that has begun in you, â€œIs there anything too hard for the LORD?â€
Think of the work yet to be done because God is committed to you. He who began a good work will complete it in you! (Phil. 1:6). God is committed to changing us. Ask Him for more faith. Donâ€™t keep your doubts from him, but rather confess them. If you laugh at what you find to be unbelievable at the moment, learn from Sarah, and donâ€™t cover it up and lie to God. God knows our hearts, and He kindly deals with us not according to our sins, but he pities us knowing that we are but dust (Psalm 103:11-15). Like a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on us.
Confess your worries and anxieties and fears to God. Tell him how you are struggling. Go to God in Jesus Christ who wears your nature before the face of God to represent you as your Great and Faithful High Priest, and ask Him for more faith to trust and believe all that He has promised to you.
Then laugh. Laugh with a deep joy, and hearty, belly-like, robust laugh (a real guffaw!), that God is good. Laugh with all your heart knowing that Jesus is for you, and not against you. And if God be for you, who or what could possibly be against you, or harm you?! (Psalm 27:1ff; Romans 8:30ff). Nothing can separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus, so go and flourish in your faith, knowing that nothing can harm you (Romans 8:35-39). In Christ, youâ€™re more than a conqueror over everything that God allows to come into your life!
The hardest, most difficult, trying, exasperating, soul-crushing, and painfully unbearable work that could have been imagined, or done by you or anyone else, has been done for you in the death of Jesus Christ.
What was impossible for us has been done for us. Our sins against God were a constant and permanent reminder that we owed God for every sin in our words, thoughts and our deeds. We owed God not only an infinite payment for the sinful condition and our actual sins, but also we owed him a perfect lifetime of righteous living according to His commands, for His glory alone.
We could never repay such a debt. But God did the impossible; God did what was hard for us. God sent His Beloved Son Jesus to perfectly keep His commands and earn all righteousness before Him for us. God sent Jesus, His Beloved Son to die and provide an infinitely valuable sacrifice for our infinite sin-debt against a Holy and Just God for us. God was satisfied with Jesusâ€™ hard work on our behalf; Jesus was raised and vindicated as a permanent and eternal memorial that all who believe in Him have been forgiven. And this, very hard thing, by grace, because of Godâ€™s love, has been done, for us.
God is good and faithful.
Look to Jesus who loves you!
â€œIs there anything too hard for the LORD?â€
In Christâ€™s love,