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Daily manna from the Torah by Dr Ketriel Blad

VaYerah 4-1

And he appeared

Genesis 18:1-14

The LORD said to Abraham, "Why did Sarah laugh and say, 'Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old? Is 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."

Gen. 18:13-14 ESV

Why did Sarah laugh?

Both Avraham avinu and his wife Sarah laughed when listening to the news of their son’s future birth. This shows us in the first place, that they were happy people who expressed their feelings. Their relationship with the Eternal consisted not only of a serious and reverent fear but also of joy and happiness, as it is written in Psalm 16:11 “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (ESV)

In the second place, from this passage we can draw a very deep teaching. The majority’s mind, if not everyone’s, are limited to what we have learned. Men were made with a creative mind that looks for solutions and moves on to new things and fresh ideas. We can clearly see this in children whose minds are not closed to ideas due to previous learning, because their brains haven’t had a long time to collec information. They are more open to learning new things and to coming up with new ideas. Children can teach adults many, many things, especially to be open to new ideas. Fantasy and creativity are good and necessary to be able to walk with the Creator whose mind is not limited by anything. He is always making things new, as it is written in Numbers 16:30: “But if the LORD creates something new...”, and Isaiah 43:19a: “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? (ESV) and Revelation 21:5a: “And he who was seated on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new." (ESV)

Avraham and Sarah were almost 100 years old. Their minds worked mainly based on routine by what they had learned. Even if their minds had been opened considerably due to what they experienced when coming out of their small world to live in other countries, their thoughts were still limited for what the Eternal wanted to do in their lives.

When the angel came to announce the birth of their son, they could not receive such a wonderful message. Their reaction was common to most people with a limited and narrow mind; they thought it was a joke. The divine news caused a confrontation with all they had learned throughout their lives and that caused them to laugh.

The name Yitzchak means “he will laugh” and it is related to what our fathers did when they received such a message of a supernatural birth.

The angel’s answer when Sarah laughed was: “Is anything too hard for the LORD?” (ESV) The expression that was translated as “too hard” is yipaleh יפלא – whose root has to do with something hidden, covered up. In Deuteronomy 30:11 it is used as something hidden from all understanding, something unthinkable. Here, it is about something that is out of the ordinary. The Targum translates it as follows: “Is there anything too wonderful, distant and hidden from Me so that I do My will?

This shows us that the angel challenged the narrow minds of our fathers, Avraham and Sarah.

When we are dealing with the Eternal our minds should not interfere with our perception of His power, knowledge and ability to intervene in a most surprising and wonderful way. The Eternal can do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us (Eph. 3:20). So let’s be careful not to get in His way with our minds and let’s not laugh in disbelief when a supernatural idea comes up that breaks away from our mindset. 

May the Eternal give us a week full of new ideas guided by His creative Spirit,


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