B i b l e   S t u d y




Rev. Ronald C. Purkey, an ordained Baptist minister, claims no originality for this Bible study outline.

However, every Bible study posted on this website has been taught by Rev. Purkey.

To see more Bible study outlines go to page two: More Bible Study Outlines.



October 21, 2018


SCRIPTURE: Genesis 18:9-15; 21:1-7


KEY VERSE: And the Lord visited Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did unto Sarah as he had spoken. (Genesis 21:1)


BACKGROUND: Here is a brief synopsis of Genesis chapter 17.


·        NEW NAMES ARE GIVEN: In Bible history, a new name means a new beginning, a step forward in faith. (Genesis 17:1-8, 15) (See also Genesis 32:28; John 1:40–42.)


Abram means “exalted father”; it became Abraham, “father of a multitude.” Sarai (“contentious”) became Sarah, “a princess.” God even revealed a new name for Himself: GOD ALMIGHTY. The only name that did not change was Ishmael, for what is born of the flesh remains flesh and cannot be changed (See John 3:6).


·        NEW REVELATIONS ARE REVEALED: As far as the record is concerned, God waited thirteen years before He revealed Himself again to Abram. (Genesis 17:9-14)


During those quiet intervening years, Abram continued to walk with God and serve Him. He did not need constant special revelations to do God’s will, nor do we. God reaffirmed His covenant and then gave Abram the sign of circumcision as the mark of that covenant. How unfortunate that many of the Jews trusted in the “sign” rather than in the Lord (Acts 15:5; Romans 4:10; Galatians 5:6)! God wanted an inward change of the heart, not just surgery on the body (Deuteronomy 10:16; Jeremiah 4:4).


·        NEW JOY IS PROMISED: At last, the long-awaited son would be born, and God said that his name would be called “ISAAC (i.e., laughter)” (Genesis 17:16-22)


Abraham wanted to cling to his past mistake instead of looking to the future miracle that God would perform (See Genesis 17:18). Abraham and Sarah’s impatient act of unbelief had brought sorrow and division into their home. Abraham even wanted the promised son to be his son Ishmael born to his servant Hagar. Abraham even had he and Ishmael circumcised on the same day (See Genesis 17:23-27).


But God’s miracle of faith would bring joy and peace. This would come with the birth of Isaac (Romans 15:13). No wonder Abraham laughed (John 8:56).  It pays to trust God’s way and wait for God’s time.


INTRODUCTION: In chapter 18, perhaps a few weeks or months after the events of chapter 17, God appears to Abraham again.


INSIGHT: Abraham is the only man in the Bible to be given the designation of “a friend of God.” We see it in three separate places in the Scripture.


(2 Chronicles 20:7) Art not thou our God, who didst drive out the inhabitants of this land before thy people Israel, and gavest it to the seed of Abraham thy friend for ever?


(Isaiah 41:8) But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend. (James 2:23) And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.


In our passage for today, we find a 'Friend' coming to visit. It was in the heat of the day, when most people were resting or sleeping, and Abraham was sitting in the door of his tent when he saw three men approaching. It didn't take him long to realize that these were not just ordinary men. He ran to meet them. (This is a 99 year old man running across the plain in the heat of the day!)


I. GOD’S PROMISE MADE. (Genesis 18:9-15)


INSIGHT: In Genesis 18:1-8 the Lord appeared to Abraham near the oak grove belonging to Mamre. One day Abraham was sitting at the entrance to his tent during the hottest part of the day. He looked up and noticed three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he ran to meet them and welcomed them, bowing low to the ground.


“My Lord,” he said, “if it pleases you, stop here for a while. Rest in the shade of this tree while water is brought to wash your feet. And since you’ve honored your servant with this visit, let me prepare some food to refresh you before you continue on your journey.”


“All right,” they said. “Do as you have said.”


So Abraham ran back to the tent and said to Sarah, “Hurry! Get three large measures of your best flour, knead it into dough, and bake some bread.” Then Abraham ran out to the herd and chose a tender calf and gave it to his servant, who quickly prepared it. When the food was ready, Abraham took some yogurt and milk and the roasted meat, and he served it to the men. As they ate, Abraham waited on them in the shade of the trees.


A. The Lord again promised that Sarah would have a son. (Genesis 18:9-10)


(Genesis 18:9-10) And they said unto him, Where is Sarah thy wife? And he said, Behold, in the tent. 10 And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him.


1. God had told Abraham this truth in the last meeting (Genesis 17:16-22.


2. But this time it seems that God wanted Sarah to hear it for herself.


3. He asked about where she was, not because He didn't know, but to gain her attention.


4. Sarah listened from within the tent.


B. Sarah's reaction was known to the Lord. (Genesis 18:11-15)


(Genesis 18:11-15) 11 Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. 12 Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also? 13 And the Lord said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old? 14 Is any thing too hard for the Lord? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son. 15 Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid. And he said, Nay; but thou didst laugh.


1. Sarah laughed within herself, not out loud.


2. She still doubted that this could possibly come to pass.


3. Perhaps Abraham had not shared with her what God had told him the last time they met.


4. In any event, she reacted to the news with doubt and laughter.


5. The Lord confronted her with her doubt.


6. "Is any thing too hard for the Lord?"


a. He repeated the promise that Sarah would have a son.


b. Sarah was fearful and denied that she had laughed, but God knew what was in her heart.


II. GOD’S PROMISE KEPT. (Genesis 21:1-7)


(Genesis 21:1-7) And the Lord visited Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did unto Sarah as he had spoken. For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him. And Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac. And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac being eight days old, as God had commanded him. And Abraham was an hundred years old, when his son Isaac was born unto him. And Sarah said, God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me. And she said, Who would have said unto Abraham, that Sarah should have given children suck? for I have born him a son in his old age.


A. Isaac’s birth was the fulfillment of God's promise.


1. When God had called Abraham He promised to make of him a great nation.


2. He repeatedly promised to give the land to Abraham's descendants, and to multiply them greatly.


3. He told them specifically that Abraham would be the father and that Sarah would be the mother.


4. Isaac's birth reminds us that God keeps His promises, in His own way, and in His own time.


B. Isaac’s birth also meant the rewarding of patience.


1. Abraham and Sarah waited 25 years for their son to be born.


(Hebrews 10:36) For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.


2. When God wants to build our patience, He gives us promises, sends us trials, and tells us to trust Him.


C. Isaac’s birth was the revelation of God's power.


1. This is one reason that God waited so long.


2. He wanted Abraham and Sarah to be "as good as dead" so their son's birth would be a miracle of God and not a marvel of human nature. Note: Romans 4:19-21


3. Faith in God's promises releases God's power for He is "able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us." (Eph. 3:20)


D. Isaac’s birth was a step toward the accomplishing of God's purpose.


1. The future redemption of a lost world rested in the birth a little boy.


2. Isaac would beget Jacob and would give the world the twelve tribes of Israel.


3. From Israel would come the Messiah.


E. Isaac’s birth is a picture of the child of God.


INSIGHT: The life of a child of God is one of valleys and mountain-tops. Solomon expressed it as a "time to weep and a time to laugh". All of us have experienced this truth in our own lives, and we can certainly see it in our study of the life of Abraham. This chapter begins with a mountaintop experience...the long awaited birth of Isaac, the promised son.


1. Isaac was born by grace through faith, NOT through the power of the flesh.


2. Isaac’s birth brought great joy.


a. Nowhere do we read that Ishmael's birth brought joy to the house of Abraham.


b. Notice the obvious joy over Isaac's birth. (laughter & feasting)


c. Jesus speaks of the joy over the lost being saved in Luke 15.


3. Isaac grew and matured.


a. When we are born again it is only the beginning.


b. We must feed on God's Word to grow and mature in Christ.


c. As we mature we put away childish things.


d. The time comes in every believer's life that the toys be replaced with tools to serve our Lord.


4. Isaac was born free while Ishmael was the son of a slave.




When God promised Abraham and his wife Sarah that they would have a son, Abraham laughed in unbelief and replied, Shall a child be born to a man who is one hundred years old? And shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?” (Genesis 17:17).


Later, Sarah laughed for the same reason: “After I have grown old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?” (Genesis 18:12).


We too grow old and wonder if the Lord can fulfill His promises to us. We no longer have prominence or status. Our minds are not as nimble as they once were. We’re hampered by physical problems that limit our mobility and keep us close to home.


Every day we seem to lose more of the things we have spent a lifetime acquiring. Robert Frost underscores something that we sometimes ask ourselves: “The question . . . is what to make of a diminished thing.”


Not much -- if we are left to ourselves. But God is able to do more with us than we can imagine. He asks us, as He asked Sarah, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” (Genesis 18:14). Of course not!


We’re never too old to be useful if we make ourselves available to God for His purposes.


Growing old but not retiring,
For the battle still is on;
Going on without relenting
Till the final victory’s won.
-- Anonymous


 -- Adapted from David H. Roper, Our Daily Bread, April 22, 2009


CONCLUSION: As we consider the faith of Abraham, we are reminded once again that God gives us the total picture here.


·        We see the mountain top experience as well as the valley of conflict.


·        We are also reminded that we all will go through similar situations.


·        There will be times of joy and times of sorrow.


·        We are to live by faith.


·        We are to believe God's Word!


·        Do YOU live by FAITH and BELIEVE God’s Word?


THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: “…Abraham believed God, and … he was called the Friend of God” (James 2:23).


* * *


REFERENCES: References used in these Bible studies are the King James Bible (KJV), The Moody Bible Commentary, Dr. J. Vernon McGee © Thru the Bible Radio Network (www.ttb.org), the Scofield Study Bible, the Believer’s Bible Commentary, Dr. Charles J. Woodbridge Bible Outlines, Dr. Lee Roberson’s Sermons, Dr. Charles Stanley: (http://www.intouch.org/), Don Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Women’s Study Bible, The Bible Reader’s Companion Ed. 3, The Nelson Study Bible: New King James Version, KJV Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the New Testament ed. 4, Dr. David Jeremiah: (http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/), Dr. Cliff Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the Old Testament, Dr. Alan Carr’s The Sermon Notebook (www.sermonnotebook.org), With the Word Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s “Be” Series: Old & New Testaments, RBC Ministries (http://rbc.org/), selected illustrations, and other references.



E-mail: Ronald Purkey


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