Sarah – Remarkable Faith
This extraordinary woman of faith in chapter Hebrews 11:11, Sarah, can be perplexing with the different viewpoints that are presented to us in books and sermons and as we read the many accounts in the Bible. She, indeed according to God’s word, is held up as our spiritual mother if we are respectful to our own husbands as she was to her Abraham, “calling him lord,” a term of respect and honor.
“As Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror.”
~ I Peter 3:6
This is brought home even further in Ephesians:
“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and He is the Saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.”
~ Ephesians 5:22-34
I’d like to insert the following verse for later use in our discussions of Sarah and Abraham’s relationship:
“Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God”
~ Ephesians 5:22
She not only is faithful to her husband but is also held up Biblically as a woman of Godly faith, 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.”
As I read this chapter of The Remarkable Women of the Bible, it caused me to dig deeper into her life. The author not only takes chapter 2 to discuss Sarah’s faith but also chapters 3 and 4. Sarah’s faith was progressive, and it took the author two more chapters to explain it! As I said, there are many differing conclusions as to the true nature of Sarah’s life, and it was no different with this book study. I would like to point some things with which I agree with the author.
We first encounter Sarah’s budding faith when she willingly follows her husband’s charge to leave her homeland and become a tent dweller. Abraham’s vision from God foretold the promise of Abraham to become the father of many nations. Yes, according to God’s vision, he was to gather up all he had and leave his homeland of Ur, situated on the lush banks of the Euphrates River. I have to insert here that Ur was no small village, but a teaming, affluent city, second in commerce only to Egypt at the time. They probably had a very comfortable life in Ur. Abraham had many cattle, servants, and possessions. He was no pauper. He and Sarah were very prosperous indeed.
Just imagine your husband coming to you one day after work and telling you that he had a vision from God. You are to gather up everything you have and leave your family, friends, and neighbors, to become tent dwellers. Many women today would suggest to their husbands that he had better see a therapist before they would give in to such a dramatic change of lifestyle just because of a dream. The Bible is silent on her response to Abraham.
Many think this because in that day, men were in authority and women subservient, she just went along. I think differently, however, because the Bible holds up Sarah and Abraham’s relationship as a type of relationship that was an example for us to follow. The fact that Sarah is very outspoken on other issues and consults with Abraham on many important occasions tells me that Sarah’s silence means that she agreed without doubting that God truly came to Abraham in a vision and that she willingly went along with Abraham in his walk with God to help him fulfill God’s promise for them. (1 Peter: 3-4)
It turned out that Sarah’s minuscule seed of faith budded when they went out from Ur of the Chaldeans. (Genesis 11:31) Possibly with pain in her heart and tears in her eyes, Sarah reacted to God’s instructions regarding marriage. ‘Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.’ (Genesis 2:24)
As always obedience to God boiled down to a faith issue. However it happened, our Sarah took an important step in faith, and that faith grew and ultimately earned her a place of honor in God’s Hall of Faith. Are you wondering and praying, ‘How can I begin taking the steps Sarah took to develop greater faith?
Try these important first steps today:
Turn away from the pleasures of this world, “Do not love the world or the things of this world.” (John 2:15).
Turn to the unknown, the unseen, the eternal with the heart of faith – “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” (Corinthians 2:5-7) pg 24
Most women won’t face a literal famine in their lifetimes as Sarah did in hers, but most will face some kind of trial, a lack of a different kind in their life that causes them pain. We need to take the problem to God and put total trust in Him. Let’s look at Sarah encounter with literal famine in her journey of faith.
“Oh the heartache! Will it ever go away? Perhaps these words darkened Sarah’s thoughts the day she followed her full-of-faith husband out of Ur. Ur had been Sarah’s home, her life, but God told Abraham to go to Canaan. Leaving Ur may have been bad, but the land of Canaan was worse! It was 600 miles away from her beloved homeland . Just when she was getting use to it, then a terrible famine struck, and it was time to move on again. This time to Egypt, another 300 miles away! Surely, if they would have stayed in Ur, everything would be alright! Maybe Sarah had thoughts such as this. We really don’t know.” pg 25
Because her thoughts are not recorded, personally I think because of the lack of response, again, she trusted and had faith in God’s promises. When circumstances in our lives seem to worsen, do we lose heart, lose faith? We all need encouragement to look forward and not back during hard times. In Chapter 2, the author gives us some of her thoughts concerning those times in our life when we lack something that is truly needed and we are in great distress over a continual trial that lacks a solution.
“Face forward: Real life happens in the present, and God’s blessings happen there and in the future too.
Accept your circumstances – The circumstances of life are one primary way God works in you and works out His will for you.
There “do all things without complaining and disputing.” (Philippians 2:14)
Again, it isn’t recorded that she was crying or complaining to Abraham because of the mess they were in. She is silent.
If your circumstances find you in God’s will, you will find God in all your circumstances.
Trust in the Lord – God will keep you in perfect peace when your mind is stayed on Him in full trust. Isaiah 26:3)
Hope in the future – Hope in God is always the bright star the lights your path in any present darkness.” pg 25
Sarah was an exceptionally beautiful woman even into her old age, as we shall see. Many women pay exorbitant amounts for body reconstruction, cosmetics, etc., all in an effort to be as beautiful as we shall see Sarah was. She was so remarkably beautiful that Abraham pondered it before their travels, that it might pose a problem with the kings or pharaohs that they ran up against, because, “What if they see you because of your beauty and want you, and kill me to have you?” Abraham talked with Sarah and asked her if that situation arose, would show him kindness by telling them she was his sister? This was actually a half-lie, as she was his father’s daughter, but not his mother’s.
Notice Abraham didn’t command her to do this, he asked her to save his life in this way. This shows me there was a strong bond, friendship between Sarah and Abraham? Would you do this for your friend to save his life? The situation did unfold just as Abraham feared. Their caravan did run up against the powerful Egyptian pharaoh, and he noticed Sarah’s remarkable beauty. When Pharaoh asked Abraham who this woman was, he said it was his sister. The Pharaoh therefore took her into his harem. Again, Sarah is silent.
Was Abraham wrong in saying this was his sister? God doesn’t give us the answer in His word, but He did plague Pharaoh and his household. Pharaoh did not deal harshly with Abraham as he came back to him asked him why he did not tell him that he was his wife, that he would have done evil taking her as his wife and would have lain with her. Obviously the plagues were a sign from a powerful god thought Pharaoh. What was Sarah thinking while she waited in Pharaoh’s harem? She must have been afraid. She had a good relationship with her husband. What if Abraham’s caravan left without her?
“Surely Sarah wondered with fear, “What will happen to me? Will Abraham go on without me? Will I ever see him again? What will life be like as a member of a harem?” We don’t know, because scripture is silent. But don’t you hope the silence indicates Sarah’s faith as she sat in her harem-prison, faced her fears, and waited on the Lord?”
“Strength for today and hope for tomorrow are sometimes realized – by you and me as well as by Sarah – in the silent patience of faith.” Pg 27
The author continues:
Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart. (Psalm 27:14)
Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him. (Psalm 37:7) Truly my soul silently waits for God. (Psalm 62:1)
Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength. (Isaiah 40:31)
It is good that one should hope and wait quietly. (Lamentations 3:26)
Blessed is he who waits. (Daniel 12:12) pg 27
At the perfect moment when things looked the blackest, God made a miraculous appearance. Although He was never seen, it was not forgotten. What a scene! What a rescue!
Trusting God Again and Again
Now, wait, the same performance happened again, almost the same word for word, event. Sarah was noticed for her beauty and taken 25 years later by another ruler (Exodus 20:9-11), almost word for word. Again, God came to the rescue. Again, her faith was perfected. God seemed to be asking Sarah to to face her fears, and her faith once again toward Him and to, once again trust Him. After all, what had she learned those decades ago about trusting the Lord? What are some of the great lessons that we must learn in the making of great faith?
Lesson 1: Pray – “The righteous cry out and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles.” (Psalm 34:17)
Lesson 2: Trust – “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not to your own understanding” – or any one elses. (Proverbs 3:5)!
Lesson 3: Believe “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not see.” (Hebrews 1:11)
Lesson 4: Wait – “I waited patiently for the Lord: and He inclined His ear to me, and heard my cry.” (Psalm 40:1) pgs 30-31
Sarah’s Message For Your Life Today
The author comments that some of Sarah’s trials were repeated time and time again. She asks,
“As you enter your new day, is something in your life a “repeat” problem? Are there daily difficulties you constantly fact? Are there people who regularly let you down or fail to follow through? Are there seemingly impossible hardships to be endured day after day?” pg 30
She asks us to look at a multi-faceted diamond. This stone has to be repeatedly cut to bring out its beauty. God can also use the trials that befall us to shape and build our trust in Him. Remember, in your life you have a constant power available, a constant help in time of need, no matter how alone you feel, no matter what odds your face, no matter who has let you down or forsaken you, you are never alone for:
Above you are God’s overshadowing wings (Psalm 91:4) Beneath you are God’s everlasting arms. (Deuteronomy 33:27) Around you the angel of the Lord encamps on all sides to deliver you. (Psalm 34:7) Inside you God’s peace that passes all understanding guards your heart and mind. (Philippians 4:7) pgs 30-31
To see chapter 1 of “The Remarkable Women of the Bible Book Study ~ Chapter 1” click here.
More articles and sermons on the life of Sarah: