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  • William T. Howe Ph.D.

January 5, 2024

Read to Read


Daily Reading: Genesis 16-18


Genesis 18:15

Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid. And he said, Nay; but thou didst laugh.


One of the amazing things about the Bible, one of the amazing things about our Father in Heaven is honesty. It is honest because He is honest. He is completely honest. Consider Abraham and Sarah. If you or I were writing their story, out of compassion, respect, or from the understanding of the negativity of human nature (most will always think the worst and be unforgiving of another’s transgressions) we would perhaps pass over the wrongdoings of these two great individuals.  God did not.


In this portion of the Bible, the Lord highlights the humanity of Abraham and Sarah. Once again proving Romans 3:23 to be true: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;.  Briefly, consider Abraham’s lack of faith concerning God’s promise that he would have a son, this lack of faith evidently boiled over to his wife Sarah.


Three chapters earlier, Genesis 15, God appears to Abram (this was before his name was changed to Abraham) with this great promise: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. To which Abram fails to thank him, or acknowledge the Lord’s promise, though he immediately states: Lord God, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus? ...Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: … You see, all the way back in Chapter 12 God had promised Abraham that his seed (offspring) would be given the promise land. But by chapter 15 Abram had no seed of his own, his plan was for Eliezer to be his seed. God said no.


Before Sarah laughed at God’s promise, Abraham did so too. Not believing God’s ability to fulfil His promise these two had devised a plan. Sarah gave Hagar to Abram so that he would father a child of her. This was not the Lord’s plan, and this one simple decision has caused thousands of years of difficulties. God appeared to Abram again with the promise of a son born to him and Sarah to which the great patriarch, the father of the faithful, laughed (17:17). By the way, this is the first mention of someone laughing in the Bible, he laughed at God’s promise. In the very next chapter, Sarah also laughed. Then she lied about laughing to the Lord, to which He simply and clearly rebuked her; …thou didst laugh.


There is so much here, it cannot all be properly dealt with in such a short devotion. But know this, God repeatedly gave Abraham the promise of Isaac; he and his wife tried to “help God out” when the Lord God needed no help. They even laughed at God’s promise, but God promised and He fulfilled that promise. Though it seemed impossible to these two lovebirds, God did the impossible.


One takeaway from this passage is this: God did not spare Abraham and Sarah, He told us of their sin of doubt. The Lord does not cover or excuse sin, He deals with it honestly, and if need be openly. As a bonus, one other thing can also be learned. God has no perfect people to work through. He fulfilled His promise even though these two did not believe He could. God uses no-one because of their perfectness, for there are none perfect. God uses individuals of a sinful nature for that is all He has to work with. Once again proving the old adage; God can hit a mighty lick with a crooked stick.


William T. Howe Ph.D. 

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