I love when the Lord asks people (us) questions in scripture. He’s never asking for His benefit; He knows all answers to all questions, being that He is God and whatnot.
No, He asks questions to spur us on to examine our thinking about Him so we can discover where we might be erring.
In Genesis Abraham and God have quite a few conversations. And in one such dialogue, God tells Abraham his geriatric wife, Sarah, is going to have a baby. Sarah is eavesdropping on this conversation and bursts into condescending laughter at the idea of her bearing a child. She even mutters to herself sarcastically, and with just a hint of bitterness, “After I am worn out and my [husband] is old, will I now have this pleasure?” (Genesis 18:12).
I’m thinking the Lord’s feelings were a bit hurt by this.
Sarah didn’t trust Him. She had heard with her own ears the Lord’s voice say she was going to have a son… but she didn’t believe Him… What’s more, she scoffed at His promise.
(I’m certainly glad I’ve never done that… I mean, how arrogant do you have to be to hear the God of everything tell you something is definitely going to happen and your response is to laugh in His face, question His judgment, basically CALL HIM A LIAR? Yup, so glad I can’t relate at all in any way… … …)
The Lord heard Sarah’s distrustful musings and asked Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?'” (Genesis 18:13).
First of all, God knew why Sarah asked that question, He just wanted Abraham to think about why Sarah asked that question.
Secondly, I find it interesting God didn’t ask Sarah directly, but, then again, she wasn’t the person with whom He was having a conversation.
Thirdly, I can hear the hurt in God’s question to Abraham. I can sense the sadness God felt at His own creation’s mocking Him.
I don’t think it was self-pity because that would mean God was feeling His own inadequacies, and we know God is not inadequate. Whereas humans would be tempted to ask this question with a “What’s wrong with me that she doesn’t trust me?” sentiment, God is sad for Sarah. God’s sadness says, “I hate that she is so broken she doesn’t trust me. I hate that for her. It was never meant to be this way. I long to make her whole that she might experience the joy of completely trusting me.”
On the heels of His first question, God asks Abraham a second question, “‘Is anything too hard for the Lord?'” (Genesis 18:14).
Again, God knows the answer to this question. He asks Abraham to get him to think it through.
This question clarifies the first. Sarah laughed and scoffed sarcastically at the idea of her having a baby because she secretly believed some things, like a 90 year old woman conceiving, were too hard for God.
God asked these two questions successively to lead Abraham to realize that Sarah, and maybe himself as well, didn’t have an accurate view of the power and sovereignty of God. She was limiting God to the rules of natural law: old people don’t bear children. She trusted biology more than the very words of God.
Like Abraham and Sarah, when God asks us, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” We respond with a pious, “NO! Nothing!” so as to not give anyone a reason to believe our faith is weak. Our answer is right, of course, nothing is too hard for God.
But as soon as the words leave our lips, we feel a twinge of guilt – conviction from the Spirit – because we don’t live like we really believe nothing is too hard for God.
Instead, we live like God can do a lot of things, but He can’t deliver us from our particularly difficult situations…
God is in control of a lot of things, but He dropped the ball by letting _____ happen, and He can’t use it for our good…
He can save a lot of people, but He can’t save that lost friend that is just completely unreceptive to the Gospel…
God can provide a lot of stuff, but He’ll never find a way to help us out of our mounding debt…
God can heal a lot of illnesses, but He can’t heal our bodies.
And so on and so forth.
And just like He asked Abraham, God asks us, “Why are you laughing and saying ‘God can’t do it’? Is anything too hard for the Lord?”
What’s your “anything”?
In what ways are you not trusting the Word of God? Which of His promises do you think impossible?
Nothing is too hard for the Lord.
Lord, we believe; help our unbelief.