Several of you indicated interest in continuing with updates on my study of women in the Bible. This week, my notes are on Sarah. Please, feel free to leave your comments and thoughts.
By the time in ancient history when Sarah lived, most people worshiped idols. Possibly Abraham and Sarah did as well. But God chose Abraham and called him out of the place he lived to follow Him. Sarah followed too. She was sixty-five when she left everything and everyone she knew. Only my opinion, I believe that took faith, not just for Abraham, but for Sarah too.
Sarah’s name, originally Saria, meant princess. Apparently this princess of a woman was extremely beautiful. So beautiful that twice, when Abraham had to go into foreign lands for food, he asked her to pretend to be his sister, so men wouldn’t kill him to get to her. These ruling men from other lands did indeed find her amazingly lovely, and they took her into their harem. The commentary I read assumes they didn’t defile her because God sent sickness onto those households until they returned her to Abraham. Either way, I can’t imagine how scary and creepy it would be to have my husband allow other men to take me to their homes.
Sarah suffered from the disappointment of infertility. I haven’t been there myself, but I’ve heard from other women how emotionally painful that is. Each month hopeful, only to be disappointed again—watching other women have child after child with no problem, feeling like a failure, and possibly angry with their body.
When Sarah still didn’t have a child for Abraham, she decided to take matters into her own hands and offer her servant as a surrogate for her husband. Isn’t it like us women to try to solve problems for God? We can be so impatient that we just can’t wait for His timing. I’ve often found myself in this state of trying to fix things ahead of God’s plan. This usually does not go well!
Things didn’t go well Sarah either when she took over for God. Genesis says Sarah’s servant Hagar began to despise Sarah, so Sarah treated her cruelly. I don’t know what Hagar did, but I believe Sarah suffered from the green-eyed monster of jealousy. Been there and done that. It’s easy to fall into that trap, even with much less cause than what Sarah had. We can look at what we believe to be other women’s nice houses, their well-behaved children, or their in-shape figures, then compare and find ourselves lacking. Comparison never goes well either. J
Finally, God came and announced to Abraham that Sarah would have a child. Meanwhile, Sarah was eavesdropping in the tent and laughed at the idea because she was so old by this time. When confronted about it, she lied to save face. Um, eavesdropping…I’m guilty. Lying to save face…sadly, ditto.
God kept his promise to Sarah because He always keeps his promises. She had her son. Can you imagine her joy in her old age to have that little boy? I can envision her smile with each milestone—that first step, the first word.
Despite her mistakes, Sarah was commended in the New Testament for her faith in God and also for being a good wife to Abraham. Whew. I’m so thankful to know that despite our failures, trying to take things into our own hands, and bouts of jealousy, God is graceful with us.
I hope you have a great week!
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Under the Southern Sun
Janet W. Ferguson