Women In The Bible #: Sarah
Who was Sarah, the first Jewish woman in history?
In the opening words of the Amidah prayer, we mention Avraham, Yitzhak and Yaakov. We invoke their merit, we refer to their tests of faith and to the recurring themes in their lives, and in the lives of the Jewish nation. Nachmanides quotes a well-known dictum: “The events of the ancestors are a predestined sign for their descendents.”
Assuming, as well, that the events of the Jewish matriarchs are a sign for their descendents, we would like to study the lives of these great Jewish women who enabled, complemented and stood by their husbands in their mission to create a monotheistic nation that would be a light unto others. What strengths and characteristics did they imprint upon our genetic code for generations to come?
Let’s begin with Sarah, the first matriarch who, along with Avraham, became the primary root of the Jewish people.
The first time Sarah enters onto the stage of history, we hear about Avraham traveling from Haran, his native country, “to the land which I will show you” after God’s explicit commandment to “Go forth from your country, your birthplace, your father’s home .
It is significant to note the first impression that the Torah gives us of Sarah. Her name will hint to her essence, as well.
Yiskah refers to Sarah, since she gazes with Divine spirit, and everyone gazes at her beauty. Also, Yiskah means princess , like Sarah, from the same root as authority .
Couples Make Bad Decisions Together All The Time Dont Play The Blame Game
When Sarah becomes so desperate to fulfill her desire for motherhood and to fulfill Abrahams wish for a heir, she makes a decision.
Although giving Hagar to Abraham was her idea, this was a decision they made together.
If Abraham, as the head of his home and said no, the plan would have been forfeited.
When things go bad and Sarah blamed Abraham, she wasnt being fair.
Couples make bad decisions together. It happens.
Adam and Eve did that. And before they knew it, there was plenty of blame to go around.
Blaming each other for the bad decisions you have made together is not good for your marriage.
It can breed resentment. This is a weapon of the enemy to destroy friendship and intimacy in marriage.
Instead, accept that you both erred. Embrace your human weakness of not always being able to judge a situation properly.
And then forgive yourselves for the mistake.
Just refuse to blame each other. Refuse to give the enemy a foothold in your marriage.
We All Mess Up And God Doesnt Hold It Against Us
Not only did both Abraham and Sarah laugh at God when He told them they would conceive as an old couple, Sarah took matters into her own hands and offered her maid Hagar to her husband.
She messed up and it caused quite a bit of strife for all when she did.
We mess up all of the time. At least, I know I do.
God is not going to withhold His love or His blessings because we mess up. He loves us too much to do that.
Are you holding on to a past sin that God has already forgiven? Let it go, sister!
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Lesson #5 Stay Away From Impulsive People
King Xerxes is among the many impulsive people in the Bible.
He never seemed to think about decisions before making them. And he didnt seem to think for himself.
Notice he puts away Queen Vashti without a thought. He signed the edict against the Jews thinking only of the monetary gain.
And when he sees Haman begging Queen Esther for his life, he thinks this man wants to sleep with his wife.
Which man would want to do this with the husband standing a few feet a way?
Impulsive people will get you into trouble. Stay away from them.
Mordecai Was Loyal And Respectful
When Mordecai discovered that there was a plot to kill the king, he went ahead and blew the cover off of the secret plot.
The king might not have been the best leader but Mordecai respected him and his position.
Mordecai saw that he did not deserve to lose his life, especially not to people who were just plain grudgeful.
When Mordecai got promoted, he served with the same level of excellence and loyalty that reflected how much he valued his relationship with God.
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Sarahs Example For Christian Women Today
As a wife and mother, Sarah set an example that Christian women are admonished to follow:
Do not let your adornment be merely outward rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror .
The holy women of God adorned themselves with a meek and quiet spirit, and were submissive to their husbandsas Sarah obeyed and respected Abraham with honor. The emphasis of this example is that women of God are to honor their husbands. As children of faith, we are all the children of Abraham and Sarah and as they did, we are to be submitting to one another in the fear of God .
The prophet Isaiah was inspired to write the following: Listen to Me, you who follow after righteousness, you who seek the LORD: Look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the hole of the pit from which you were dug. Look to Abraham your father, and to Sarah who bore you for I called him alone, and blessed him and increased him .
First and foremost we look to Jesus Christ as our example. But we can also learn from the lives of Abraham and Sarah. What were their minds focused on? How did they live their lives in faith? What was their vision?
God Loves Us Even When
I dont know what your even when is, but know that God still loves you. He laid down his life for you, and then took it back up, to prove that he was who he said he was, and could do what he said he could do.
For Sarah, after God rescued her from Egypt, a decade or so has passed, and shes still not had the child God promised. So she gets antsy. So she comes up with a plan, to make things happen. Nobody bothers to consult God about this plan. Not even Abram.
A lot of heartaches could have been avoided, but no one stopped to ask God if hed given Sarai the idea or not.
But God still loved them and continued to bless them. And hell continue to love you, too. After all, we still love our kids even when We may not like what they did, and it probably comes with consequences, but one of the ways we are like God, is that we love our kids even when.
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Sarais Test Of Patience
Sarai, like all of us, often faltered in her faith. God promised to make Abram the father of many nations but she was barren. So, like most conniving women, Sarai went into fix-it mode and gave Abram her maidservant Hagar to produce a son.
It was a lousy practice, but it was customary in her society. Sarai grew impatient and ran ahead of God.
Lets try to put ourselves in poor Sarais shoes. Dr. Julia Blum writes,
What a horrible disappointment! What a terrible moment to arrive at! All these years, the echo of His magnificent promises kept Sarai through the hunger, the endless wandering, the Egyptian humiliation, and those sharp pangs of loneliness that would seize her whole being whenever she thought of what she had left behind to follow her husband. Sarah was able to go through all of that because she firmly believed that someday she would give birth to a son, and then finally, everything that God promised would start to be fulfilled. After all, God promised her husband:
I will make you a great nation, I will bless you, and make your name great, and you shall be a blessing. He promised: And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth so that if a man could number the dust of the earth, then your descendants also could be numbered.
Didnt that mean that she, Sarah, would give birth to a son who would become a father of this multitude of descendants?
Why Did Sarah Laugh In The Bible
God visits Abraham again through angels. This time, Sarah can hear their conversations. Genesis 18 describes the discussion one of the visitors tells them that Sarah will have a son.
Sarah, hearing this statement, laughs to herself. Then, obviously one of the visitors is Jesus as the scriptures say, And the Lord said to Abraham, Why did Sarah laugh?Is anything too hard for the Lord?
Sadly, Sarah denies laughing, but we know thats not true in her thoughts.
Why did Sarah laugh inside and what was she laughing about? This one is up for debate. While we cant know for sure Sarahs intentions of her laugh in the Bible, we do know that Sarah was deemed as faithful according to Hebrews 11:11. So, she was not laughing with a lack of faith.
So, she may have been laughing about the thought of her and Abraham in their old age having pleasure together conceiving a child. Or, she may have been laughing at the thought of raising a child with Abraham, stricken with many years. Only God knows what was on her heart on that day.
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Who Is Sarah In The Bible
Why would God actually consider Sarah a part of the Hall of Faith in Hebrews? Her lack of common sense, conniving ways, and bad connotations are what we seem to focus on when reading her surprising story in Genesis.
And, to be totally transparent, Sarah was not only of my favorite heroines in the Bible. Yet, God does put her on a pedestal of faith for a reason and its our duty to find out why.
God Sees You And He Is Powerful Enough To Rescue
One of the first things that happen after God speaks to Abram and they set out on this adventure of following God, is a detour to Egypt, where Abram is afraid and tells everyone that this beautiful woman is his sister, conveniently leaving off the part that theyre married. Of course, shes immediately taken to the palace .
God intervenes, and rescues her, in a clearly supernatural way. Can you imagine that? What a gift!
I wish shed clung to that, and not doubted, but, well, I wish I would remember his faithfulness more often myself, and not keep trying to meddle with things that I think should be done differently.
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About Sarah In The Bible
Lets get back to the story. Sarahs obsession at this point is now out of control and it becomes so unbearable that she conceives a concoction of immortal, unrighteous, and outrageous behavior.
Yep, she makes a crazy decision that affects not only her family but also the world.
Her plan is to use her housemaid Hagar to conceive a child with her own husband. Oh my, can you imagine that one?!!
How desperate was she? She was really desperate and stressed at this point. Her lack of faith has consumed her at this point.
And, she even persuades her husband Abraham to father a child with Haggar the maid!
Have you ever wanted something so badly that youll do anything to get it?
God Stands By His Word Regardless Of Our Lack Of Faith
Why did Sarah laugh?
Sarah struggled to keep believing. Actually, towards the end, she straight up doubted God.
Her laugh was of skepticism and incredibility.
She had already lived a shameful childless life and her body told her it was possible to change that anymore.
Her dignity as a woman had already been stripped from her. In her mind it was beyond recovery.
But God kept repeating the promise.
Her doubting never stopped God from fulfilling His words.
When we are faithless he is faithful Timothy 2:13
Thank you Jesus.
Gods faithfulness does not rest on our fickle, wavering faith.
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Accomplishments Of Sarah In The Bible
Sarah’s loyalty to Abraham resulted in her sharing in his blessings. She became the mother of the nation of Israel.
Although she struggled in her faith, God saw fit to include Sarah as the first woman named in the Hebrews 11 “Faith Hall of Fame.”
Sarah is the only woman renamed by God in the Bible. Sarah means “princess.”
Lessons From The Life Of Sarah
Sarah was the wife of Abraham and is well-known to anyone familiar with the Holy Bible. Some people, however, are unaware that Sarah had a previous name before she was named Sarah.
Similarly, given who Abraham was, Sarah held a significant position and was instrumental in founding the Jewish nation. Below are some lessons that we can learn from the life of Sarah.
With God, nothing is impossible. When Abraham initially heard the promise from the Lord, Sarah must have been overjoyed at the prospect of a son. But as the years passed, she must have begun to suspect that she had been duped or that it was becoming less possible as time went on. Maintain our faith in what we feel God has promised us.
When God’s promise is made, it is guaranteed to be fulfilled. God does not operate on our timeline. We must listen to the promises God has made in His word, not doubting that God will keep them or that God lacks the ability to keep them. We must have faith in God’s plan and listen to his word.
Sarah respected her spouse in humility, even if it put her life and purity in jeopardy. God has called us to submit to Him and those in positions of authority over us. Regrettably, persons in positions of control over us might make mistakes and cause problems in our lives.
God is always keeping an eye on us and is capable of delivering and protecting us. Remember, patience is a virtue. God did the same thing for Sarah.
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Story Of Sarah In The Bible Summary
The story of Sarah in the Bible picks up when her husband received his call from God.
Without any specific direction she sets out for a land God would show them. God promises to make them a great nation.
That promise is dependent on them receiving a promised son.
Years and years pass. Sarah and her husband live as nomads, traveling from place to place with their herds, slaves, servants and possessions.
Sarah gets frustrated and tired of waiting so she decides to use her slave Hagar as a surrogate.
That does not go very well as Hagars attitude changes towards Sarah the moment she realizes she is pregnant.
Sarah blames her husband and abuses Hagar to the point that she runs away.
Hagar later returns and gives birth to a sun, Ishmael.
But God does not accept Ishmael as the promised son.
After decades, Sarah finally gets pregnant with the son promised to them. They name him Isaac.
One day she sees Ishmael was teasing Isaac. She asked her husband to send him away. After asking God, he did.
Sarah raised Isaac but passed away before he got married.
Sarai Is Acting Out Of Faith But She Does The Wrong Thing
In Galatians 4, Paul makes the point that Abraham and Sarai were trying to assist God in bringing his promise to fulfillment, adding a human ingredient in redemption, but God doesnt need our help.
Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not listen to the law? For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave woman and one by a free woman. But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, while the son of the free woman was born through promise.
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Abraham And Sarah In The Bible
Regrettably, this is the first case of polygamy ever recorded in the Bible involving a godly man. Their decision starts huge precedence of horrible implications. If you think about it, this actually ignites a significant line of polygamy beginning with Jacob, Issacs son, who took 2 wives, Leah and Rachel, and concubines. Then, youll discover David takes on many concubines in 2 Samuel 5:13. And, of course, his son Solomon goes to the extreme with his father David who has a harem of over a thousand women !
Lets get back to our Sarah Bible Study. While Sarah thinks this is the solution to her sadness, she realizes immediately after discovering Haggar is with child that it IS the wrong plan.
In Genesis 16 Sarai Tries To Participate In The Promise Of Genesis : 15 Through Her Servant Hagar
Because she is advanced in years and hasnt provided Abram with an heir yet, Sarai gives Hagar to Abram as a wife in Genesis 16. Since nothing was mentioned in Gods promise about the heir coming through Sarai in Genesis 12 and 15, Abraham maybe thought taking Hagar as a wife was a reasonable plan B.
Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. She had a female Egyptian servant whose name was Hagar. And Sarai said to Abram, Behold now, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Go in to my servant it may be that I shall obtain childrenby her. And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai.So, after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian, her servant, and gave her to Abram her husband as a wife.
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