What can we learn from women of the Bible? This article looks at the life of Sarah.

Source: The Banner of Sovereign Grace Truth, 2016. 2 pages.

Sarah: Hoping against Hope

When studying Sarah’s life, it is surprising that in the New Testament we read nothing but praise for her faith. There is no mention at all of her faithless plotting to supply Abraham with an heir! But let’s start at the beginning of her story. Sarah and Abraham grew up together, married, and lived in Ur, one of the greatest cities of the ancient world, the capital of the Chaldeans in ancient Mesopotamia.

When the Lord sought out Abraham, He told him to move with his wife, servants, and substance to far­away Canaan. There He would give Abraham a new existence with a large family as His chosen ones. Thus uprooted from relatively secure city life, Sarah began the life of a nomad. The goat-skin tent became her home; most likely a large comfortable one, but certainly not one that many of us would call a home improvement. But we never hear her complain or argue about that with Abraham. The New Testament confirms that she followed her husband, trusting his judgment and his faith in the Lord, without fear.

Sarah was incredibly beautiful, even at her advanced age. So when Abraham decided to travel to Egypt and he told her to say she was his sister (which was partly true since they had the same father) and not let on she was his wife; she obeyed. This can only mean that she trusted not just her husband, but also the God of her husband. And that trust was not put to shame; the Lord saved her twice from being added to the harem of a powerful, heathen ruler.

As an aside, the fact that these rulers found out about her beauty shows us that she was not covered from head to toe as most Muslim women today are. According to Peter, it is also clear that she was not flaunting her beauty in elaborate dress. Modesty is not a hiding of our femininity or trying to be as plain as possible; women are created in God’s image. This should make us neither proud nor ashamed, but joyfully aware of our purpose: to glorify God and enjoy Him forever — even with our bodies.

As Abraham’s faith was tested, so was Sarah’s. The Lord had promised more than once that Abraham’s descendants would become a multitude as vast as the stars of heaven. Sarah came up with a plan, an act of desperation not unheard of in ancient times. Sarah would provide Abraham an heir through her servant-girl Hagar. This put a lot of strain on their relationship, to the point that Sarah later blamed Abraham for Hagar’s changed behavior.

We cannot help but see the disastrous repercussions of Ishmael’s birth. He was so close to the father of all the faithful, and yet so far away. In the Middle East today, there is still tension and fighting between the descendants of Ishmael and the descendants of Isaac.

After this difficult period in their marriage, the Lord promised Abraham that within a year Sarah would give birth to a son, the true heir. This news seemed too good to be true, but we read in Hebrews 11:11, “Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised.” Like Eve, Sarah was redeemed in childbearing. Her faith had made her whole.

What can we learn from Sarah’s history?🔗

As long as Sarah yielded herself in faith to her husband and God’s leading, things went well. God kept her safe even when her husband did not. Even though they both grieved about having no children, they were united. But as soon as she took matters in her own hands, things went awry.

Sarah’s history shows us how much influence we women have, especially on our husbands — for better or worse. Even when they are not always the spiritual leaders we need (or want) them to be; we need to stay prayerfully loyal, loving and submissive, while we trust in the Lord our (and his) God so He can do what is impossible with men.

We learn from Sarah not to live in fear, frantically trying to solve everything by ourselves, but live in faith, hoping against hope in Him who “is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us” (Eph. 3:20).

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