Genesis 21.5-7-Sarah's Laughter

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Genesis: Genesis 21:5-7-Sarah’s Laughter-Lesson # 107

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Tuesday February 28, 2006

Genesis: Genesis 21:5-7-Sarah’s Laughter

Lesson # 107

Please turn in your Bibles to Genesis 21:1.

Last Thursday evening, we studied the birth and circumcision of Isaac, which is recorded in Genesis 21:1-4.

Then, on Sunday morning, we presented seven ways in which the birth of Isaac foreshadows, typifies or parallels the birth of Christ.

This evening we will continue with our study of Genesis 21 by noting verses five thru seven, which records the joy, the laughter of Sarah upon finally receiving the fulfillment of God’s promise and bearing a son for Abraham who was named Isaac.

Genesis 21:1, “Then the LORD took note of Sarah as He had said, and the LORD did for Sarah as He had promised.”

Genesis 21:2, “So Sarah conceived and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the appointed time of which God had spoken to him.”

Genesis 21:3, “Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him, whom Sarah bore to him, Isaac.”

The name “Isaac” means, “laughter” and was designated by God expressing Abraham’s joyful faith in the Lord’s ability to fulfill this promise.

The name “Isaac” was given to the Abraham and Sarah’s child because he would be a source of great joy to them.

The fact that the Lord commanded Abraham to name the child “Isaac” also illustrates that true joy and happiness is from the Lord.

1 Chronicles 16:27, “Splendor and majesty are before Him, strength and joy are in His place.”

The name “Isaac” was an appropriate name since every time Abraham and Sarah would speak his name, they would remember how they laughed at God’s promise (Gen. 17:17; 18:12), a laugh of amazement in Abraham’s case and of doubt in Sarah’s case.

They would also remember the great joy they shared when Isaac was finally born (see Genesis 21:6).

Abraham’s naming of the child “Isaac” was in obedience to the Word of the Lord since according to Genesis 17:19, the Lord commanded Abraham to give the child this name.

Genesis 21:4, “Then Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him.”

The fact that the Lord circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old was also in obedience to the Lord’s command as recorded in Genesis 17:9-14.

Genesis 21:5, “Now Abraham was one hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.”

Bruce K. Waltke commenting on Genesis 21:5 writes the following:

“The ages of the postdiluvians have decreased substantially (cf. 11:10-26). To produce at one hundred years and at ninety years is miraculous (see 17:17)” (Genesis, A Commentary, page 293, Zondervan).

The age of Abraham is specified as a hundred years old when Isaac was born in order to emphasize the omnipotence of God who from the human perspective had done the impossible.

Luke 1:37, “For nothing will be impossible with God.”

Jeremiah 32:27, “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for Me?”

The apostle Paul prayed to the Father that the Holy Spirit would enlighten the Ephesian believers regarding the omnipotence of God that was directed towards them at the moment of salvation as a result of their union with Christ.

Ephesians 1:18, “I make it a habit to pray that the eyes of our heart would receive enlightenment for the purpose of knowing for certain what is the confidence of His calling and what are the glorious riches, which is His inheritance distributed among the saints.”

Ephesians 1:19, “And what is the surpassing greatness of His divine omnipotence directed towards all of us who are believers. This is in accordance with the operative power, namely, the possession of power to overcome (the sin nature, the devil and his cosmic system) originating from His manifested power (through the resurrection and session of Christ).”

Ephesians 1:20, “Which He (the Father) exercised through the Person of Christ by raising Him (Christ) out from among the dead and by seating Him (Christ) at His right hand in the heavenlies.”

The omnipotence of God raised the human nature of Christ from the dead.

Romans 1:4, “who (Jesus Christ) was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of integrity, Jesus Christ our Lord.”

The same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead will raise the believer from the dead.

1 Corinthians 6:14, “ Now God has not only raised the Lord, but will also raise us up through His power.”

The cross of Christ is the power of God, which delivers the believer from the sin nature, the cosmic system of Satan and Satan himself.

1 Corinthians 1:18, “ For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”

The Word of God manifests the omnipotence of God.

Hebrews 4:12, “For the word of God is alive and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

The Gospel is the power of God for salvation.

Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”

God has given the believer a lifestyle of power.

2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a lifestyle of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.”

The believer is eternally secure because of the omnipotence of God.

1 Peter 1:5, “who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”

Genesis 21:5, “Now Abraham was one hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.”

Gordon J. Wenham commenting on Genesis 21:5 writes the following:

“The frequent reference in genealogies to the age at which a man fathered his first child suggests this was regarded as a most important milestone in his life (cf. 5:3, 6; 11:12, 14, etc.) (Word Biblical Commentary, volume 2, Genesis 16-50, page 80, Nelson Reference and Electronic).

Genesis 21:6, “Sarah said, ‘God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh with me.’”

Notice that Sarah attributes her laughter and joy to God who has blessed her with a baby boy in her old age.

Job 8:21, “He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouting.”

The Holy Spirit produces a joy that is divine in the believer who is obedient to the Word of God.

Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

Sarah is experiencing the joy of the Lord as a result of the Lord fulfilling His promise to her.

The believer is commanded to rejoice.

1 Thessalonians 5:16, “Rejoice always.”

The joy of the Lord is the direct result of obeying the Word of God.

Psalm 19:8, “The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.”

The joy of the Lord is the direct result of trusting in the promises of God.

Psalm 28:7, “The LORD is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; therefore my heart exults, and with my song I shall thank Him.”

The joy of the Lord is the direct result of experiencing fellowship with God.

Psalm 16:11, “You will make known to me the path of life; in your presence is fullness of joy; in your right hand there are pleasures forever.”

Paul Sailhamer, “Joy is that deep settled confidence that God is in control in every area of my life.”

Experiencing the joy of the Lord is the by-product of a life that is obedient to the will of God.

Genesis 21:6, “Sarah said, ‘God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh with me.’”

Genesis 21:7, “And she said, ‘Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.’”

Matthew Henry commenting on Sarah’s joy writes the following:

“God bestows mercies upon his people to encourage their joy in his work and service; and, whatever is the matter of our joy, God must be acknowledged as the author of it, unless it be the laughter of the fool. When mercies have been long deferred they are the more welcome when they come. It adds to the comfort of any mercy to have our friends rejoice with us in it: All that hear will laugh with me; for laughing is catching. See Luke 1:58. Others would rejoice in this instance of God's power and goodness, and be encouraged to trust in him. See Ps 119:74.” (From Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.).

The reproach that Sarah experienced in life by not bearing children to Abraham was lifted and her bitterness, disappointment and tears were turned to laughter and joy.

Gordon J. Wenham makes the following comment regarding being childless in the ancient world:

“It was a serious matter for a man to be childless in the ancient world, for it left him without an heir. But it was even more calamitous for a woman: to have a great brood of children was the mark of success as a wife; to have none was ignominious failure” (Word Biblical Commentary series, entitled “Genesis 15—50”; Waco: Word Books, 1994).

Her statement in Genesis 16:2 expresses her bitterness toward God.

Genesis 16:2, “So Sarai said to Abram, ‘Now behold, the LORD has prevented me from bearing children. Please go in to my maid; perhaps I will obtain children through her.’ And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai.”

Genesis 18:12-15 also records Sarah’s unbelief in the Lord’s promise to give her a child in her old age.

Genesis 18:12, “Sarah laughed to herself, saying, ‘After I have become old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?’”

Sarah’s unbelief was temporary since Hebrews 11:11 records that she conceived Isaac because she considered God faithful to His promise.

Hebrews 11:11, “By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised.”

Now, we see here in Genesis 21:6-7, that her bitterness has been turned into laughter and joy and she attributes it solely to God.

“God” is the Hebrew noun Elohim, which is attributed to Sarah expressing her acknowledgement that God is omnipotent or all-powerful and was able to bring to pass that which He has determined to take place, namely, the birth of Isaac.

If you recall, in Genesis 17:16, God promised Abraham that He would “bless” Sarah so that Abraham would be able to impregnate her.

Genesis 17:16, “I will bless her, and indeed I will give you a son by her. Then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.”

“Bless” is the piel (intensive) form of the verb barakh (Er^B*), which is used twice in Genesis 17:16 indicating that the Lord would endue Sarah with power to not only have a child with Abraham but that she would be endued with power to be the mother of nations and kings.

Genesis 21:7, “And she said, ‘Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.’”

“Children” is the noun ben (/B@) (bane), which is “not” in the singular as we would expect but rather is in the “plural” expressing Sarah’s faith that God would produce offspring for Isaac (Israel) who were destined to be the vehicle used by God to bring blessing to the Gentiles.

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