Question: "Why does God ask Abraham, "Is anything too hard for the Lord?" (Genesis 18:14)?"
Answer: When the Lord announced to Abraham, “By this time next year, Sarah will give birth to a son,” Sarah overheard and laughed in unbelief (Genesis 18:10–12). The news was so astonishing to the 89-year-old Sarah that she doubted God’s word and His promise. Then God asked Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh? Why did she say, ‘Can an old woman like me have a baby?’ Is anything too hard for the LORD? I will return about this time next year, and Sarah will have a son” (Genesis 18:13–14, NLT).
God countered Sarah’s rhetorical question (“Can an old woman like me have a baby?”) with one of His own: “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” In other words, God answered Sarah’s unbelief with His assurance: “Nothing is too hard for me!”
When Sarah doubted the Lord, she was questioning both His truthfulness and His ability. Sarah is not unlike us. We sometimes doubt that God will keep His promises. We disbelieve the Lord’s power to do what He says He will do in His Word. And God, through Genesis 18:14, asks us the same question, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?”
God framed the question rhetorically, but the Bible answers categorically, “No, nothing is too hard for the Lord!” The prophet Jeremiah observed, “Ah, Sovereign LORD, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you” (Jeremiah 32:17). Again God acknowledged, “I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” (Jeremiah 32:27).
“I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted,” testifies Job 42:2. God’s Word never fails but accomplishes everything God intends for it to do (Isaiah 55:10–11; Joshua 21:45; Luke 1:37). His words are truth (2 Samuel 7:28). When God makes a promise, we can be sure He has the power to fulfill it (Ephesians 3:20–21; 2 Corinthians 1:20). “For the word of the LORD holds true, and we can trust everything he does,” affirms Psalm 33:4 (NLT).
Jesus told His disciples that, humanly speaking, salvation is impossible, “but with God everything is possible” (Matthew 19:26, NLT). Sarah was looking at God’s ability, fidelity, and truthfulness through a human lens. The Bible suggests numerous ways in which people fail or fall short (Psalm 14:3, John 20:27; Romans 1:25; Galatians 1:6; Revelation 2:4) yet emphasizes that God never lets His people down.
Faithfulness and truth are fundamental aspects of God’s character (Revelation 3:14; 19:11). Even “if we are unfaithful, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny who he is” (2 Timothy 2:13, NLT).
Eventually, Sarah repented of her doubt and believed God. Isaac, the promised son, was born a year later: “The LORD kept his word and did for Sarah exactly what he had promised. She became pregnant, and she gave birth to a son for Abraham in his old age. This happened at just the time God had said it would” (Genesis 21:1–2, NLT).
God has given us ample evidence of His power, faithfulness, and truthfulness. By a simple act of His will, He created the universe and everything in it out of nothing (Genesis 1—2; John 1:3; Colossians 1:16). God keeps the planets in orbit and “stretches the northern sky over empty space and hangs the earth on nothing” (Job 26:7, NLT). He holds all things together and supplies the needs of every living creature (Colossians 1:17; Psalm 145:14–21). Surely the God who made heaven and earth (Psalm 121:2), who gives life and breath to every creature and human being (Job 12:10), can make an old woman conceive and give birth to a child.
God’s question to Sarah ought to encourage us to examine our own hearts. Are there any obstacles of unbelief standing between me and God? Do I harbor doubts that cause me to laugh at the Lord’s promises?
If we truly believe with hearts of faith that God is who He says He is, nothing will shake our confidence in Him. When God asks, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” our answer will be a resounding, “No! God can do anything!”