Is Anything Too Hard For God?

Bible Book: Genesis  18 : 13-14
Subject: God, Power of; Prayer; Promises of God; Faith; Trust; Hope

Is Anything Too Hard For The Lord?

Dr. J. Mike Minnix
Introduction

Genesis 18:13-14, 13 And the LORD said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh, saying,  ‘Shall I surely bear a child, since I am old?’ 14 Is anything too hard for the LORD? At the appointed time I will return to you, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.”

God told Abraham, while Sarah listened behind the door, that he and his wife were to have a son. We must remember that Abraham was 99 years of age at this point and Sarah was beyond the age of childbearing. So, when Sarah heard the promise to her husband, she laughed behind the door. Of course, the Lord heard it. Even though the text says that she laughed to herself or within herself, He still heard it. When she was confronted about her laughter, she lied and said she had not laughed.

I love the way God tells the truth about his people in the Bible. He does not paint over the moles, scars and ugly spots in their lives. It was Abraham who lied to the Pharaoh about Sarah being his sister, and God put it in His Word. It was David who sinned with Bathsheba and God had it written in His Word forever. It was Peter who denied Jesus three times and the Lord placed it in His Holy Book. In some ways, this ought to encourage us when we see our own faults. Even God's best people fail at times.

But, I want us to note today who God keeps His Word and how He is able to do all things. There is nothing to hard for God, if it is within His will to do so. Think with me today how this applies to the life of a child of God.

Note first, …

I. There Is No Promise Too Hard For God To Keep

The Lord promised to Abraham that he would have descendants like the sand by the sea – like the stars above. Abraham, however, had no son of his own. How is it possible for Abraham to be the father of a nation established by God without a son?

One day, after waiting years for the miracle son to be born to Sarah, the couple took matters into their own hands. Sarah suggested to Abraham that he marry her own handmaiden, Hagar, and have a child by her (Genesis 16). Now, let me tell you without equivocation that this suggestion and Abraham's acquiescence to it, was a mistake everyone involved would live to regret. Abraham should have known better, and Sarah certainly ought to have known that this was going to be a real problem in the marriage.

So, Abraham had a son with Hagar, Sarah’s handmaid. His name was Ishmael, and he would became the father of the Arab people.

Now, before I say what I am going to say next, I must qualify it. I love the Arab people. The first convert to Christ when I preached at First Baptist Church, Lilburn, Georgia (Metro Atlanta) in 1990 was an Arab Muslim. His name was Mehti.Years before, back in 1977, I met the pastor at Nazareth Baptist Church in Nazareth, was an Arab who converted to the Christian faith when he was a teenager. I invited him to preach in the church I pastored in America at that time, and he and his wife Rose came to visit with us. Later, I worked with his brother Fahiz, who was a missionary at the Georgia Baptist Convention. When traveling in Israel my wife and I have had wonderful Arab guides at times. I have a respect for and love for the Arab people and I pray that a great spiritual awkening will occur in which millions of Arabs will trust Jesus and know the joy of salvation. But, we must look at the scripture and note what God said about Ishmael and the descendants that would come through his family line.

Look at Genesis 16:11b-12:

“Behold, you are with child,

And you shall bear a son.

You shall call his name Ishmael,

Because the LORD has heard your affliction.

12 He shall be a wild man;

His hand shall be against every man,

And every man’s hand against him.

And he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.”

I’m sure you caught the words that are important in this passage. “He shall be a wild man, His hand shall be against every man, And every man’s hand against him.”

This prophecy from the Lord was made about 3,500 years ago and one need only look at the world today and see how true it is. The Middle East is a cauldron of war, fighting, intrigue and death. The Twin Towers in NYC are a testimony to the truth of Genesis 16.

Now, back to our story. Once Ishmael was conceived, trouble started. Hagar went around the family with a haughty because she was carrying Abraham’s child. She flaunted her condition in front of Sarah. So, Sarah goes to Abraham and says, “This is all your fault!” O boy, Abraham is in trouble. Remember, it was Sarah who suggested that Hagar have the child, but now she is belittled by her handmaid and she is furious. Abraham is miserable, Hagar is miserable, and Sarah is miserable, and I expect that everyone around them was miserable. Friends, when you get out of the will of God, even if you think you are doing the right thing, you will be miserable and you will make everyone around you miserable.

How did this awful situation develop to this sad and critical point? It happened because Abraham and Sarah did not believe that God was able to keep the promise he had made to them in regard to having a son in their old age.

I want to remind you today that there is no promise too hard for God to keep! He provided that to Abraham and Sarah, but not before they messed things up and created a situation that we are still living with today – a division between the descendants of Isaac and the descendants of Ishmael. The Arabs and Jews have never been able to get along since Sarah and Hagar would not get along – and that all started with a promise from God that was doubted.

There is more we can say about this, but let’s move on to another important thought. Note that …

II. There Is No Prayer Too Hard For God To Answer

God may not do things the way we want them done, or at the time we wish for them to occur, but you can be sure that He is God and no prayer is too hard for Him to answer.

We read in Jeremiah 32:26-27, “26 Then the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, saying, 27 “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?”

I ask you to recall today the time when Peter was in prison in Jerusalem. By the time Peter was arrested, you will recall that John the Baptist had been killed. Stephen had been stoned to death by angry Jewish leaders. Also, James, the brother of John, had been executed by Herod. We read in Acts 12 that Peter was in prison and was being guarded by four squads of soldiers – 24 hours a day. The plan was to bring Peter before the people at Passover and have them call for his death in the same way they had called for Jesus to be crucified the previous Passover. But, while Peter was in prison, a group of believers met and prayed constantly for him. Peter was guarded 24 hours a day, so the people met and prayed 24 hours a day as well.

As the people prayed, an angel swept into the prison, poked Peter in the side and said to him, “Gird yourself and tie on your sandals.” In other words, the angel woke Peter up in his cell and said, “Get dressed and put on your shoes, we’re leaving here!”

Now, as an aside, let me remind you of something in this text that is important. The angel woke Peter up but he did not dress him and tie his sandals for him. God will indeed do wonderful things for us, but He expects you to do your part!

So, the angel led Peter out of the prison with the guards noticing anything unusual. They went past the first guard post, then past the second guard post and then to the big iron gate. The angel left Peter and Peter slipped through the night air and came to the house of Mary where the people were praying for him. He knocked on the door and a girl named Rhoda came to the door. Certainly, the people in that room praying were living in a bit of fear. So, Rhoda approached the door carefully. Rhoda recognized Peter’s voice and she went back to tell the praying saints that Peter was at the door. Surely, they were elated, right? Wrong! They told her she was crazy. In Acts 12:15 it is recorded that they said to her, “You are beside yourself.” She kept insisting it was him. Then they said, “It must be an angel.” Peter is standing out there knocking like crazy, because he knows when they miss him at prison they are going to comb the streets looking for him.

Finally, they came to the door and realized with astonishment that it was indeed Peter at the door. Now, pay close attention to this. The people praying for Peter didn’t really have full faith that God would deliver him. How about that! You see, it is difficult for us to realize that there is no prayer too hard for God to answer.

We could consider other answered prayers, but let’s keep moving. You see, we note also that …

III. There Is No Problem Too Hard For God To Solve

Abraham and Sarah seemed to have a problem too hard for anyone to solve, even God! At least that is what they thought. They learned, eventually with great delight, that there is no problem too hard for God to solve.

When the giant faced the Hebrew people in the Valley of Elah, there seemed to be no way the giant Goliath could be defeated. The entire army of the Hebrew people cowered in their trenches as the giant mocked them and their God day after day. Then God did something no one could imagine – he sent a boy to do a man’s job. God often does things this way. He used the least and the last to bring victory so that no man can take credit for what He, the Lord, accomplishes. David used only on of the five stones he picked up, and with it he struck Goliath in the only place where he was subject to be killed, for he was covered in armor. The stone struck Goliath between the eyes and sunk into his brain. Some wise guy said that the last words of Goliath were, “Nothing like this ever entered my mind before!”

Friend, there is no problem to hard for God to solve. What are you facing today? Does it seem like a hill to hard to climb, a valley to deep to cross, or a fire too hot to handle. Ask Caleb about a hill. Even in his old age he asked for a mountain that still contained giants, and God gave it to him. Ask Moses and Joshua about the Valley of Rephidim. There the Amalekites were put to flight by the untrained Hebrew men. Ask Elijah about Mount Carmel where he defeated the prophets of Baal. Ask the three Hebrew young men about the fiery furnace they escaped without even the smell of smoke on their clothes. I don’t know what you are facing, but I know that God is bigger than your problem.

When Jesus was crucified, the disciples slunk away defeated. They thought all was lost. After all, death is final, isn’t it? Heavens no! On that Sunday morning in Jerusalem, everything changed forever! Jesus stepped out of the grave and revealed that even death is swallowed up in victory. “Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:57).”

I must move on. We see also that …

IV. There Is No Person Too Hard For God To Save

I’ve seen many people come to faith in Christ that everyone had given up on. In one church I pastored there was a gang causing trouble in the community. I met a couple of the guys and had the chance to witness to them. One of the young men was interested and I shared with him on a couple of occasions what Jesus did for Him at the cross and how he could have eternal life. The young man prayed with me and accepted Jesus into his heart. It turned out that he was one of the leaders in this loosely held together gang. I asked him to invite the gang to his baptism and he did. The night I baptized him, the entire gang sat in the balcony of the church. A couple of them responded that night to the invitation. Though we could not reach them all, some of them were saved and the group broke up. It was a relief to the community, but joy was experienced in heaven over even one of them coming to Christ.

Listen, there is no one beyond the grace of God. It is not His will that any perish. Think of Matthew – he was a tax collector, one of the hardest people on earth to bring to salvation in his day. But, he became a disciple. Think of Paul. Paul was a Pharisee. He was a hardened believer in salvation through the Law, but he met Jesus on the Damascus Road and became the greatest missionary for Jesus who ever lived. Think of the thief on the cross. He believed in Christ in the last moments of his life and Jesus said to Him, “This day you shall be with me in paradise.”

What a Savior we have! No matter what you’ve done or who you are, you can turn to Christ in repentance and faith and come into the family of God.

V. There Is No Place Too Hard For God To Bless

Jesus was crucified in Jerusalem, yet it was there that the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and 3,000 people were saved in one day!

Rome was where Peter and Paul, and thousands of Christians were put to death. Many were thrown to lions for the Romans to view as a sporting event. Some where dipped in pitch and placed on poles in Nero’s garden. Then they were lit on fire to provide light for Nero and his guests to have a party. But, the Roman Empire became the place where the Christian gospel was turned loose. When Constantine was emperor, he proclaimed tolerance for Christians and history was changed forever.

Conclusion

Is there anything too hard for God?

He brought His people through the Red Sea on dry ground!

He gave a divinely born son to poor peasant virgin named Mary!

He fed 5,000 people with a little boy’s lunch!

He stilled a storm with the use of His voice!

Doubt displays our lack of faith in God’s ability to do what He has said He can do. Whatever you are facing, trust Him now. No matter how high the mountain you are forced to climb, He will never leave you.

What a mighty God we serve!