God’s Promise to Abraham and Sarah (Genesis 18:1-15; 21:1-7)
Genesis is about God’s promise and God’s faithfulness to that promise. It is also about how people respond in faith to God’s call. We experience this call in the real circumstances of our lives, often in complex and difficult situations.
God makes many promises to Abraham and Sarah and insists that they will be parents of a vast number of descendants, even though they are too old for this to be possible. Both Sarah and Abraham have occasion to laugh at the absurdity of it all. Yet they remain willing to receive unknown visitors. The stranger promises the impossible and asks whether they believe that for God anything is possible. Can Abraham and Sarah trust God’s impossible promise?
The challenge to trust God’s ability to do the impossible in the lives of ordinary people is a recurrent theme in the Bible! There are many, many stories but to name a few: It is a central question at the birth of Jesus, when Gabriel reassures Mary that God’s promises will be kept. Jesus later tells his disciples that God makes possible the entry of even the most unlikely persons into God’s kingdom. Praying in Gethsemane, Jesus gives us another example of trust as he turns his life over to God.