Parashat Vayeira (And he appeared)
Beresheet (Genesis) 18:1–22:24
Our weekly portion starts with a wonderful story of God’s faithfulness, wonder, and power. It also shows that the Creator of the world is so much greater than what we think, and that we can’t put Him in a box or define the boundaries of what He is able to accomplish! He truly can do anything beyond our imagination.
In my blog last week, Abram Compromises, I wrote that God had a purpose for Abram and Sarai, and therefore God Himself intervened and caused Pharaoh to send them out of Egypt. God saved Abram and Sarai from the situation in Egypt since He had a very specific purpose for them. God promised Abram not only that He would inherit the Land of Promise, but also that Abram would have a son who would continue to inherit the promises of God (Genesis 12:7; 13:14–17; 15:1–5, 18–21).
In this week’s reading, God is reaffirming this promise:
Now the LORD appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, while he was sitting at the tent door in the heat of the day. And when he lifted up his eyes and looked, behold, three men were standing opposite him; and when he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them, and bowed himself to the earth, and said, “My lord, if now I have found favor in your sight, please do not pass your servant by. Please let a little water be brought and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree; and I will bring a piece of bread, that you may refresh yourselves; after that you may go on, since you have visited your servant.” And they said, “So do, as you have said.” So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah, and said, “Quickly, prepare three measures of fine flour, knead it, and make bread cakes.” Abraham also ran to the herd, and took a tender and choice calf, and gave it to the servant; and he hurried to prepare it. And he took curds and milk and the calf which he had prepared, and placed it before them; and he was standing by them under the tree as they ate. Then they said to him, “Where is Sarah your wife?” And he said, “Behold, in the tent.” And he said, “I will surely return to you at this time next year; and behold, Sarah your wife shall have a son.” And Sarah was listening at the tent door, which was behind him. Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in age; Sarah was past childbearing. And Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I have become old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?” And the LORD said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh, saying, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, when I am so old?’ Is anything too difficult for the LORD? At the appointed time I will return to you, at this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son.” Sarah denied it however, saying, “I did not laugh”; for she was afraid. And He said, “No, but you did laugh.”
The above portion is very rich. However, I want to focus on a key verse in which God makes an incredible statement: “Is anything too difficult for the LORD?” In Hebrew, it starts with the word “הֲיִפָּלֵ֥א” “HaYipale”, whose root word is “פָּלָא” “pala”, which can be translated in a few ways that can show us the depth of its meaning.
So, one possible translation is, “Is anything too difficult for the Lord to accomplish”? He is the creator of the world, and therefore He can do great wonders. The word “pele” can also mean “a wonder or miracle”, which indicates that this act will indeed be an amazing miracle once it is realized.
This verse can also be translated as “Can anything be hidden from the Lord?” The Lord knows everything; He is the Creator of the world and nothing is hidden from Him. I personally like this translation since I believe it shows us that God — who is all-knowing and almighty — is about to perform the miracle of Sara conceiving at her age (with her husband at his age).
I believe it is safe to possibly translate verse 14 as, “Nothing (no wonder or miracle) is too difficult for the Creator to accomplish.” This also carries with it the message that there are hidden treasures in His Word, which are prophetic and often point to events to come in the future.
In the book of Luke we find a very similar phrase, which was told to Miriam, Yeshua’s mother: “For nothing will be impossible with God,” referring to the amazing miracle of Miriam conceiving while she is a young (unmarried) woman (a virgin). The God that caused Sara to be pregnant at such a late age, is the same God that caused Miriam to be pregnant as a virgin in such a miraculous way!
In closing my dear brothers and sisters, while this blog shows us again how everything points to our Messiah, it also shows us that nothing is impossible for God to accomplish—even for YOU! Is there an area of your life where you have given up hope? Be encouraged, because with God, all things are truly possible.