Her name means “Princess”.
The second of Twelve Extraordinary Women is Sarah. Wife of Abraham, mother of all the faithful.
John MacArthur says of her who is honored by God in scripture for her great faith, “She. . . exemplified almost every trait associated with the typical caricature of a churlish woman: impatient, temperamental, conniving, cantankerous, cruel, flighty, pouty, jealous, erratic, unreasonable, a whiner, a complainer, or a nag.” and “” By no means was she always the perfect model of godly grace and meekness.”
And if you are like me, in reading that list, you may have been a little ‘pumped’ that a notable woman of faith was all of that-also.
Because even though it looks like an awful list, and a long one, there probably are few women who don’t have a list that long of the negatives. Yes, I’ve been pouty. Yes, I’ve been a whiner. Yes, I’ve been impatient . . . You?
By the way, we all (20 or so in my class on Sunday) had to look up churlish too. 🙂 It means “difficult and hard to work with.” . . . okay then. Ahem!
Sarah’s story comes from the story of our beginning. It’s found in Genesis chapters 12-23 in the Bible, and then God honors her ulitmately for her faith in, what is often termed, the “Hebrews Hall of Faith”, where many faithful men and women who have a history of faith are given honor. (Hebrews 11:11)
Have you ever wondered what God sees in you?
Perhaps you’ve heard that when He looks at you (who believe in Jesus), that He no longer sees you with sin, but instead sees His Son, with whom He is well-pleased. (Matthew 3:17) Because we are in Him. (Acts 17:28) And perhaps you have a hard time wrapping your mind around that fact. Maybe you believe it, but would like to live in the reality of it: you are a new creation IN HIM. (2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 2:20)
Sarah’s story should encourage us all as we seek to live our lives for the Lord and resist the fiery darts of enemy accusation and fear. Though she often acted according to her own understanding and a gross lack of faith (Hello, Ishmael!), in the end, she is found faithful and commended by God. (Hebrews 11:11)
I find it so refreshing.
Because of the fiery darts that Satan fires at me. I call them “background voices”.
You might know the voices: “You are not qualified.” “You are going to make a fool of yourself.” “You’ll never be able to pull that off.” etc.
Satan doesn’t stop does he? He wants to discourage, and render us impotent in our mission. For obvious reasons.
And in Sarah’s story we see it; Satan wanted to advance his cause in the world: Usurping God’s plan. Bringing division and death. There was that one transgression. The one that
had has a very detrimental impact on the entire course of history. When she gave Hagar, her maidservant to her husband Abraham (and he obliged) Hagar gave birth to Ishmael. He and his offspring would continually live in hostility to the child of promise (Isaac) and his descendants until the day Jesus comes back to reestablish His rule and reign with no devil to oppose Him. (Revelation 21)
It was a crazy, desperate, manipulative plan. Knowing her husband had been given a covenant by God, a promise to have descendants as numerous as the stars, but never having received a promise herself, she took matters into her own hands. I think it’s safe to say, she went into panic-mode. What else would cause a woman to tell her husband to sleep with another woman?
Panic-mode never produces good results. Because then we are reacting to life in our own strength instead of trusting God to come through, we make messes.
No doubt we all have stories in our history of foolish decisions and have reaped consequences that linger. And so Jesus came to redeem us. It’s not new news that we need to get set straight. We need to have His mercy cover our sin. We need to have His power to live free from it’s shackles.
Sarah’s story builds our faith and dispels our fears, it helps us extinguish the fiery darts. Remembering God’s grace in her story prevents our hearts from being penetrated by self-doubt or worse, God-doubt.
Because of God’s purpose for each of our lives, because He is a God of His word always fulfilling His promises (2 Corinthians 1:20), and because NO PURPOSE OF HIS WILL BE THWARTED, we can REST in Him. (Job 42:2)
We can LET Him be God. (Not that we can prevent that, but when we act like we can, that’s when we create death instead of life-chaos instead of peace, anger instead of love, etc)
The other thing Sarah’s story shows us is the sweet and powerful value of a woman.
Abraham, her husband, was given a covenant from God. God continued to ‘refresh’ the covenant with Abraham, encouraging him to ‘hold tight’. Interestingly the covenant could not be carried out without Sarah. She was a key component of the fulfillment of the promise God gave Abraham, to give him descendants more numerous than the stars.
No man can have descendants without woman. Science advances considered, a womb is always needed to nurture the creation of new life.
Profound, I know. 🙂
Sarah’s life is surely a study in contrasts and contradictions. And it helps us see Jesus, our daily bread.
With God, no matter what we’ve done yesterday or today, by His mercy we keep growing, going forward by faith living in His power. We are life-creators. Mothers every one. Whether we bear natural children through the womb or spiritual children through the heart by prayer, words, and deeds.
What encourages you about Sarah’s story?
Do you know what your name means?