Three Visitors & THE BIRTH OF ISAAC


Jeremiah 32:27, ESV

Behold, I am the Lord,
the God of all flesh.
Is anything too hard for me?


Genesis 18:1-2, NIrV

1 The Lord appeared to Abraham near the large trees of Mamre. Abraham was sitting at the entrance to his tent. It was the hottest time of the day. 2 Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. So he quickly left the entrance to his tent to greet them. He bowed low to the ground.


As he had done at least five times before, the Lord God appeared to Abraham. The Bible doesn’t tell us what Abraham saw during most of those special meetings. Did he hear a voice speaking from the sky? Did he see a glowing light? We don’t know. But when God appeared to him this time, old Abe saw something he had not seen before: three strangers standing among the oak trees near his home. One of those men was the Lord God, making himself visible in the form of a human being. Many believe the two other strangers were angels. We’ll read more about these two in the next lesson.

+ Where was Abraham sitting when he saw these three strangers? (vs. 1)

+ What did Abraham do after suddenly seeing the three visitors? (vs. 2)


Genesis 18:3-8, NIrV

3 He said, “My lord, if you are pleased with me, don’t pass me by. 4 Let me get you some water. Then all of you can wash your feet and rest under this tree. 5 Let me get you something to eat to give you strength. Then you can go on your way. I want to do this for you now that you have come to me.”

“All right,” they answered. “Do as you say.”

6 So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah. “Quick!” he said. “Get about 36 pounds of the finest flour. Prepare it and bake some bread.”

7 Then he ran over to the herd. He picked out a choice, tender calf. He gave it to a servant, who hurried to prepare it. 8 Then he brought some butter and milk and the calf that had been prepared. He served them to the three men. While they ate, he stood near them under a tree.


When Abraham first laid eyes on his three strange visitors, he ran over and bowed down before them. In his time, this was a rare thing for a 99-year-old man to do. It was a sign that Abraham knew the secret identity of his special guests. Before they could make a peep, Abraham asked the three if they wanted a bite to eat. He offered to bring them a little bit of bread and water. However, when he ran back inside the tent, he asked his wife Sarah to whip up a humongous meal! When the cooking was complete, Abraham fed his guests a feast of meat, milk, bread, and butter!

+ What meal did Sarah prepare for the three visitors? (vs. 6-8)

+ Why do you think Abraham had such a fancy feast prepared for his guests?


Genesis 18:9-10, NIrV

9 “Where is your wife Sarah?” they asked him.

“Over there in the tent,” he said.

10 Then one of them said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year. Your wife Sarah will have a son.”

Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, which was behind him. 


After munching on the marvelous meal made by Sarah, Abraham’s three guests shared a bit of jaw-dropping news: “We’ll return to you in a year. When we do, your wife Sarah will have a son.” Why did these words sound so wacky to old Abe’s ears? Because his wife had been unable to have a baby her entire life. Even worse, at 89 years old, she was at a great-grandma kind of age, not a get-pregnant-and-have-a-baby kind of age! But Abe’s ears weren’t the only ones who overheard these wild words. His wife Sarah had been secretly snooping from inside the tent the whole time!

+ Why would it be hard to believe that Sarah would have a baby in a year’s time?

+ How was Sarah able to hear what the three visitors were saying? (vs. 10)


Genesis 18:11-15, NIRV

 11 Abraham and Sarah were already very old. Sarah was too old to have a baby. 12 So she laughed to herself. She thought, “I’m worn out, and my husband is old. Can I really know the joy of having a baby?”

13 Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh? Why did she say, ‘Will I really have a baby, now that I am old?’ 14 Is anything too hard for me? I will return to you at the appointed time next year. Sarah will have a son.”

15 Sarah was afraid. So she lied and said, “I didn’t laugh.”

But the Lord said, “Yes, you laughed.”


If you told Sarah, "You'll have a baby by next year!", it would make sense for her to laugh at you. A 90-year-old lady having a baby sounds like a joke! But it wasn’t you who shared this incredible news with Sarah – it was the all-powerful God of the universe. When Sarah chose to chuckle, she made a monster mistake! God let her know that his promises were no laughing matter. “Is anything too hard for me?” he asked her. The answer was obvious: nothing is too hard for God to do! If God makes a promise, you better believe he has the power to keep it, no matter how crazy it sounds!

+ Why was it not good for Sarah to laugh at God’s promise to give her a son? (vs. 14)

+ Why did Sarah lie and say that she didn’t laugh? (vs. 15)


Genesis 21:1-3, NIRV

1 The Lord was gracious to Sarah, just as he had said he would be. The Lord did for Sarah what he had promised to do. 2 Sarah became pregnant. She had a son by Abraham when he was old. The child was born at the exact time God had promised. 3 Abraham gave the name Isaac to the son Sarah had by him. 


Back in Genesis 17, God promised Abraham he would one day be a dad. After Abe heard this, he practically died of laughter. When God told Abe's wife Sarah the same thing, what was her reaction? She laughed, too! The idea that 100-year-old Abraham and his 90-year-old wife Sarah would become parents was laughably ridiculous! God’s promise sounded more like a prank! But none of this was a joke to God. At the exact time God promised, 89-year-old Sarah became pregnant for the first time in her life. And nine months later, old Abe was holding a brand-new baby in his very old arms!

+ Why was Sarah able to have a child at such an old age?

+ What did they name their son? Do you remember what that name means? (vs. 3) 


Genesis 21:5-7, NIRV

5 Abraham was 100 years old when his son Isaac was born to him.

6 Sarah said, “God has given laughter to me. Everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” 7 She also said, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would breast-feed children? But I’ve had a son by him when he is old.”


When God told 99-year-old Abraham that he was going to be a dad, Abe laughed. When 89-year-old Sarah heard the same news, she laughed, too! Both of them found it hard to believe that God could turn old people like them into parents! But when they held their newborn baby boy in their arms, I’m sure they laughed again. “I can barely believe it! God actually did it!”

They named their miracle boy Isaac. It was a perfect name for the little guy. In fact, it was a name chosen by God himself. Isaac means “laughter!” When Isaac (“laughter”) was born, Sarah said, “God has given me laughter. And anyone who hears this incredible news will laugh with me, too!”

None of this should have been a surprise – not to them and not to us, either! After all, God promised to do it and he never breaks a promise. It doesn’t matter how crazy his words sound to our ears. He’s the all-powerful God and the creator of the universe. He has the power to do anything he wants, no matter how unbelievable it sounds!

Around 2,000 years after Isaac’s birthday, a second miracle baby was born. This miracle baby's mom was one of Abraham’s great granddaughters, a girl name Mary. I bet you can guess the name of her miracle boy – it was Jesus! Baby Isaac was a miracle child given to a 100-year-old father. But Jesus? His father was the forever-old Lord God himself!

As a grown-up, Jesus made a promise to his disciples. And the promise he made was just as hard to believe as promising to give a 90-year-old lady a baby! In the book of Matthew, Jesus told his disciples, “Soon, I’ll be arrested and killed by my enemies.” But that wasn’t the crazy part. He continued, “On the third day after that, I’ll rise from the dead!”

When Jesus’ disciples heard this incredible promise, they didn’t giggle like Abraham and Sarah. But they didn’t actually believe that Jesus could possibly keep that promise, either. In fact, Peter, the leader of the disciples, gave Jesus a piece of his mind. “Stop talking like this!" he said. "None of this is ever going to happen to you!”

You can probably guess how this story ends. Because he was the all-powerful Son of God, Jesus was able to keep his promise. After he was arrested and killed, he raised himself to life on the third day, exactly as he said he would.

Whether it comes to giving sons to old ladies or raising dead people to life, no promise is too hard for our all-powerful God to keep! Whenever we read the good promises God gives us in the Bible (like “Believe in Jesus and you’ll have forever life”), we shouldn’t laugh at them like Abe and Sarah. We should believe them!

+ How old were Isaac’s parents when he was born? (vs. 5)

+ Why should we believe that God will keep his promises to us?

© 2023 Andrew Doane. All rights reserved.