Is Anything Too Hard for the Lord
Dr. Joe Temple

Introduction

At the very outset, I think we need to recognize that the question is a divine one. God asked the question one time in regard to rebuking the laughter of doubt. Turn with me in your Bibles, please, to the book of Genesis, chapter 18. As you turn to that portion of the Word of God, let me give you the background of the story.

Abraham and his wife Sarah had grown very old, and the promise that God had given to Abraham that Sarah would bear him a son had not been fulfilled. Genesis, chapter 18, opens with the statement that Abraham was sitting in his tent door very early in the morning. I think the thrust of that particular statement is that Abraham was sitting there meditating. Oh my, how important it would be for all of us to take time out to sit in our tent door and meditate. I ask the question to provoke your thinking today: How often do you just sit down in your tent door early in the morning and just meditate, to think about the things of God, to think about your relationship with God, or perhaps just think about the things that you are expecting God to do or think about the things you have asked God to do and He has not done. I would not be at all surprised, because of the succeeding verses in this chapter, but what Abraham was sitting there in the tent door saying to himself, “I wonder how much longer it is going to be. I wonder how much longer I am going to have to wait until God answers my prayer, until God gives me the son for whom I have been longing.”

While Abraham was meditating there in his tent door, he lifted up his eyes:

Genesis 18:

2 And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground,

These were heavenly visitors and Abraham knew that because he had had heavenly visitors before. I have always been interested in his exuberance, in his glee, when he realized that here came somebody who had been in touch with God and was going to fellowship with him.

Then the story goes on and tells how he had Sarah provide the fatted calf, the bread to eat, and the wine to drink to meet the needs of these individuals. I wonder if we might not learn the lesson that the writer to the book of Hebrews reminded we should learn from this incident when he said: “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers, for in so doing, you might be entertaining angels unaware.”

Think what Abraham might have missed if he had said, “Oh, here comes somebody. I will see if I can go out the back door before they get here.” What a blessing there was when these folk came and one of them, the Angel of the Lord, one of them the Lord Jesus Christ in His physical appearance as the Angel of the Lord in the Old Testament, said to Abraham, just as though He knew what Abraham was thinking about, “Abraham, I am going to come back this time next year just about the same time and your wife Sarah will bear a son.”

My, what music that was to Abraham's ears. Sarah was standing behind the tent door and she overheard what went on and in verse 11, the statement is made:

Genesis 18:

11 Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women.

That is the opportunity for childbearing was gone. Then in verse 12:

Genesis 18:

12 Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?

Then in verse 13, we read:

Genesis 18:

13 And the LORD said unto Abraham [Remember, Sarah was saying this to herself.], Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old?

Are you getting the picture? Sarah overheard the conversation. She was behind the tent door and she chuckled to herself and said, “How foolish.” Not out loud, mind you, but just inside: “How foolish. Could I be expected to bear a child?” The Lord heard her even though she laughed within herself. Isn't it amazing what He hears even when we don't say it out loud? The Lord said to Abraham in verse 13, “Why does Sarah laugh?” Then notice verse 14. Here is our question:

Genesis 18:

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.

Sarah was very frightened. Notice in verse 15:

Genesis 18:

15 Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid. And he said, Nay; but thou didst laugh.

Isn't that so human? How often when the Lord brings us to task for things do we say, “But, Lord, I didn't mean it.” We have that experience with our children, don't we? When we have to bring them to task for some act of disobedience, they say, “Oh, I didn't mean to do that.” But God said, “But you did do it, and I heard you.” Oh, the God of grace. He didn't say, “Because that is true, you are just going to do without.” He said, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?”

This was the first time the question was asked, and I emphasize that it was asked in regard to rebuking the laughter of doubt. Are you doubting today? Do you wonder about the impossibility of something, even to the point of laughing to yourself and saying, “That can't be.”? God says to you today, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” Isn't it interesting? I repeat that God asked the question and not man.

To Encourage Wavering Faith

The second time the question was asked, it was asked to encourage wavering faith. Turn to the book of Jeremiah, chapter 32, as I give you the background of the passage of Scripture at which we will be looking. In this particular portion of the Word of God, Jeremiah had been very faithful in his preaching of the Word. The Word which he preached was not a pleasant portion of the Word at all. He was saying to King Zedekiah, “The Chaldeans are going to come and take you captive in their hands to their land, and this city of which you are so proud and your throne which you think is so secure is going to fall into the hands of the enemy.”

When you don't like a man's message, you want to do something about it. Jeremiah couldn't be bought off, so Zedekiah put him into prison. Jeremiah was reasonably popular with the people, so he couldn't throw him into the dungeon as he had at other times. He put him under house arrest in the king's palace. In that particular time, God came to Jeremiah and He said, “Jeremiah, you believe the message that you have been preaching that there is not going to be anything here after a while. For a while, at least, everything is going to be desolate.”

Jeremiah said, “Of course, I believe the message.” Then God said to Jeremiah, “This is what I want you to do. Your cousin is going to come to see you by and by, and he is going to offer you a piece of ground that he has for sale. I want you to buy that piece of ground.”

Jeremiah did some tall thinking and he did some tall praying and he thought about the foolishness of the whole thing. “If none of us are going to be here, if this country is going to be turned over to the enemy, what is the point in my buying a piece of land?” Don't we reason that way so often? My, my, in this land in which we live, when the uncertainty of what is going to occur is beyond prediction, haven't we found ourselves saying, “What is the use? What is the use in trying to get a house? We won't be able to pay for it. The bottom is going to fall out. What is the use of trying to put a little money away for old age? Money won't be worth anything when all the things happen that are supposed to happen.”

You make your own application. I don't have time to do it, but over and over and over again is the emphasis placed upon the uncertainty of what the future holds. Jeremiah said, “God, what is the point in my doing that? But because you told me to do it, I will do it.”

Then when he got right down to the line, if you will notice in verse 24, the situation was beyond the point of prophecy; it was actual fact. He said:

Jeremiah 32:

24 Behold the mounts [the battering rams], they are come unto the city to take it; and the city is given into the hand of the Chaldeans, that fight against it, because of the sword, and of the famine, and of the pestilence: and what thou hast spoken is come to pass; and, behold, thou seest it.

“Lord, You said it was going to happen and it has actually happened. Lord, I am wondering…”, in verse 25:

Jeremiah 32:

25 And thou hast said unto me, O Lord GOD, Buy thee the field for money, and take witnesses; for the city is given into the hand of the Chaldeans.

Jeremiah was saying, “I don't see the point in it.” Then in verse 26 we read:

Jeremiah 32:

26 Then came the word of the LORD unto Jeremiah, saying,
27 Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?

You realize, Beloved, that a question which we ordinarily would expect the human to ask was not asked by mortal flesh, it was asked by deity. God challenges your faith and my faith today with the question, “Is there anything too hard for the Lord?”

We cannot ignore a question like that. A question like that most certainly does demand an answer, and I am glad to see that men can give the answer. I dare say a number of you could answer the question: “Is there anything too hard for the Lord?”.

Answer Given By Mortal Man

You would say, “Ah, let me tell you what He did,” and you would give the answer, but we are going to limit our remarks to what is found in the Word of God. There are two answers given to this question from the heart of men. One of them was given by Jeremiah, the very individual to whom God asked the question. The answer that Jeremiah gave is given in Jeremiah, chapter 32, verse 17. It happened before God asked the question, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” It is related to the same incident when he is instructed to buy this piece of land in a time when real estate would not be worth anything at all; and as far as human viewpoint would tell, it would never be worth anything. Jeremiah, after he had bought the piece of land in verse 16 and publicly recorded the deed, encouraged his own faith in verse 17 by saying:

Jeremiah 32:

17 Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee:

Does that ring a bell? Does that remind you of how you have reacted in the face of great difficulty? You had to do something. You knew that God wanted you to do it. You didn't see any way in the world out of it, and you did it with waverings. You said, “All right, Lord, I will do it,” and then you had a little private conversation with God. You said, “Ah, Lord God! You made the heavens and the earth. I know that. There is nothing too hard for you. You can do this little thing.”

Yes, when God asks the question, faith can respond, “There is nothing too hard for the Lord.” Faith can respond in the hour of doubt that there is nothing too hard for the Lord when we rest upon the fact that God most certainly will keep His Word. So the answer is given in regard to God's keeping His Word. There is nothing too hard for the Lord.

Slip over with me to the book of Job and notice another human answer that was given to the question. You will find it in chapter 42. Let me review for you the background of the Scripture. Job had gone through all of his testing and had listened to all the advice that had been given by Job's so-called comforters, and then Job decided that he was going to talk to God a little bit. God said to Job in three chapters, “Job, you haven't learned your lesson yet. Where where you when I created the earth?” He listed all the wonderful, marvelous acts of creation, and He said, “Job, if you think you are so wonderful and so marvelous, where were you when all of these things happened? Job, you are nothing.”

So, we find the answer to the question, “Is there anything too hard for the Lord?”, being answered not only in regard to God's keeping His Word, but in regard to the weakness of the flesh. Notice verse 1:

Job 42:

1 Then Job answered the LORD, and said,
2 I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee.
3 Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not.

In the second verse, he is saying, “Forgive me. I have been talking when I ought to have been listening. I have been uttering things that I don't know anything about, but Lord, I know one thing.” Here is the answer. “I know that Thou canst do everything.”

“Job, weak little man that you are,” God says, “is there anything too hard for the Lord?” Job answered, “Well, it is sure too hard for me. There is no doubt about that, but Lord, I know that Thou canst do everything.”

Oh, my friend, if you could take your eyes off your own incapability, if you could take your eyes off of your own weaknesses, if you could take your eyes off that which seems impossible to you, and say to God, “God, I can't do anything, but I know that You can do everything,” my what a difference it would make!

Answer Given By Superior Beings

Would you slip with me over in the New Testament to the Gospel according to Luke, chapter 1, because we discover that the answer to this question was not only given by mortal man; it was given by superior beings as well. Here in chapter 1, of the Gospel of Luke, which you recognize as what is commonly referred to as the Enunciation to Mary concerning the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ. She was told that she was going to become the mother of our Lord and she was amazed at that. Then was added to the announcement concerning the fact that she was to be the mother of our Lord, the fact in verse 36, that her cousin Elizabeth had also conceived a son in her old age. There was nothing miraculous about the birth of Elizabeth's son in the sense that the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ was born without a human father; but it was miraculous in the sense that the birth of Isaac was miraculous because both John the Baptist and Elizabeth were well past age. In verse 36, we read:

Luke 1:

36 And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.

She not only conceived but was six months along. Mary could have said, “I don't understand it,” and the question could have come again, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” The angel answers the question in verse 37:

Luke 1:

37 For with God nothing shall be impossible.

Are you facing insurmountable problems today? You see no way out, no way over, no way under, and the question is, “Is this too hard for the Lord?” Hear the angel as he declares, in verse 37:

Luke 1:

37 For with God nothing shall be impossible.

Answer Given by the Lord

Then we have the answer to the question given by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Turn back to the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 19, as I remind you of the background of the statement. The Lord Jesus Christ was dealing with the proverbial rich young ruler. He told him that what he needed to do was to sell all that he had and give it to the poor and come and follow Him.

Of course, the Lord Jesus Christ was not teaching, as some people might lead you to believe, that if you give your goods away or sell your property you can buy your way into Heaven. He was simply emphasizing that property, in this instance, stood between the man and what God could do for him; and so the man valued his property more than he did his relationship to Jesus Christ and he went away sorrowful. Then the Lord Jesus Christ said to His disciples, in verse 23-26, that it is difficult for a rich man to get into Heaven—not because God has anything against rich men, but because sometimes property gets such a hold on people that they will not let go of it.

The disciples heard all of this and in verse 25 we read:

Matthew 19:

25 When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?

Then we have the answer of the Lord Jesus Christ given, this time in regard to the salvation of men. Notice verse 26:

Matthew 19:

26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

Yes, when the angel answered the question for Mary, she was getting an answer in regard to the need to overrule the forces of nature. If there is something standing in the way of God's doing the thing that He needs to do in your life, yes, He can overrule the forces of nature if it is His will.

When the Lord Jesus Christ answered the question, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?”, with the words “with God, all things are possible ,” He is answering it in the area of the salvation of men. How long have you prayed? How long have you prayed for someone who does not know the Lord? How long have you wondered if God will do it? Can God do it? Is God going to do it?

Here is the answer to the question, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” Here is the question in the realm of the salvation of men: “There is nothing that is not possible with God.”

Is There Anything God Cannot Do?

I want to answer a related question. Is there anything too hard for the Lord? In view of what I have been sharing with you today, you would assume that there is not anything that God cannot do, so a related question arises: “Is there anything that God cannot do?” That question must be answered if we are to understand the question, “Is there anything too hard for the Lord?”

Turn to the Gospel of Mark, chapter 14, and let me suggest to you that even though there is nothing that is too hard for God, as Sovereign God, He has set up some limitations beyond which He will not go. The first one is brought to our attention in Mark, chapter 14, one of many illustrations in the Word, but this is a familiar one—the Lord Jesus Christ in that experience in Gethsemane about which there are a number of opinions. We are thinking now only for the illustration of the moment. The Lord Jesus Christ said in verse 36:

Mark 14:

36 And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee…

You see, that is the answer to which we have arrived. We know that. Nothing is too hard for the Lord. Then we read:

Mark 14:

36 …take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.

So should be the attitude of all of our praying. When we rest upon the promise that there is nothing too hard for the Lord, we must keep in mind that God has so limited Himself that He will not violate His own will. Remember that!

You say, “Here is a situation. I don't believe that is too hard for God to do.” I don't either. There is nothing too hard for the Lord, but will it violate His will if He does it? If it will violate His will, then it is too hard for Him to do because He has set that limitation for Himself.

He Will Not Suffer His Faithfulness to Fail

Go back in the Old Testament to Psalm 89, and notice something else that is too hard for God, something else that God will not do. How this rejoices my heart as I read it! The whole Psalm is wonderful, but in verse 33, we read:

Psalm 89:

33 Nevertheless my lovingkindness will I not utterly take from him [that is, David] nor suffer my faithfulness to fail.

God had made a lot of promises to David and He said, “I know that David is not going to be all that he ought to be. I know that I am going to whip him. I know that I am going to have to chasten him. I know that I am going to have to deal with him, but I will not suffer My faithfulness to fail.”

Is there anything too hard for the Lord? Is there anything that God cannot do? He cannot and He will not go beyond His will. He will not and He cannot suffer his faithfulness to fail.

If at the moment you are discouraged and you feel like it has been so long since God has answered your prayer or solved your problem and you are saying, “Is anything too hard for God?”, remember He can do anything but fail. He cannot do that.

He Will Not Deny Himself

Then, for a New Testament counterpart of what I have just said, slip over to II Timothy, chapter 2, verse 13, and notice another limitation God has put upon Himself:

II Timothy 2:

13 If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.

My, how I have worn that verse out. You know, sometimes you have a piece of carpet in your house where there is a lot of traffic. You say that the carpet is old and threadbare. Well, that is the way this promise is with me. It is almost threadbare—not because it will ever wear out, but because I have been there so often. What does it say? “If we are unbelieving…”

Oh, the times that my faith has failed, the times when I have said, “Lord, I just don't think it is going to happen.” Somebody says, “Oh, that is your problem. You are not believing.” Then I would resort to this promise. What does He say? “If you are unbelieving, if you have reached the place, for whatever reason, that you can't hold on, if you have reached the place where your faith is wavering, He abideth faithful.”

That means He keeps on believing. That is what it literally means. He believes for you when you can't believe. Why? Because this God with whom nothing is impossible, this God for whom nothing is too hard, has set a limit. He said, “There is one thing that I cannot do, one thing I will not do. I will not deny Myself.”

Conclusion

Let me summarize all that I have said by directing your attention to the Lord Jesus Christ. Our original question is, “Is there anything too hard for the Lord?” Notice that word hard , as I remind you that it is the translation of the same Hebrew word which is translated “wonderful.”

We are a giddy generation and when we talk about things being wonderful, it all depends on whom you are talking to as to what it means; but when the word wonderful is used in the Scripture, it means “full of wonder beyond the imagination, beyond description. There are not word which can describe it.”

That word hard , I repeat, is the translation of the same Hebrew word that is translated “wonderful,” and you call to mind in Isaiah, chapter 9, verse 6, that wonderful word about our Savior:

Isaiah 9:

6 …and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

His name shall be called Wonderful —the very same word. I ask you, is it too much to believe that the very person who has given His Son the name Wonderful would find it difficult to do wonderful things for you and for me through Christ?


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