We often hear of the fathers of the faith, the “patriarchs” of Judaism, but we don’t hear so much about the “matriarchs” – the mothers of the faith. Sarah, first called Sarai, was the faithful wife of Abraham and the mother of Isaac. This makes her the mother of the Jewish people and a s(hero) to both Christians and Jews. Sarah was an amazing lady! Her story is found throughout the book of Genesis. She is also listed in Hebrews 11 Hall of Faith and mentioned in Isaiah 51:2, Romans 4:19, Romans 9:9 and 1 Peter 3:6. Here are three things we can learn from Sarah:
1. Sarah was loyal and obedient to her husband, Abraham. From the moment she became his wife to the time of her death; Sarah was by Abraham’s side every step of their faith-filled journey. Things were likely perilous at times, but never do we get the impression that Sarah was a complainer or a woman who nagged her man.
God took note of Sarah’s dedication and honored her for it. When He blessed Abraham, He made sure to bless Sarah too. Genesis 17:16 reads, “And I will bless her and also give you a son by her; then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall be from her.”
Twice, Sarah’s unquestioning obedience to her husband caused her to take part in a lie. And, once, Sarah caused her husband to go against God by having a child with her servant, Hagar; and later throwing them out of the house. But because no one is perfect, God worked around Sarah’s mistakes to create something beautiful out of her life and out of the life of the man she loved. In 1 Peter 3 she is held up as a model wife and a true woman of virtue.
2. Sarah doubted God would fulfill His promises. Despite her great beauty, grace, and virtuousness, the barrenness of Sarah caused her to struggle to believe that she would have a son. For years and years and years and years, God told Abraham and Sarah that He would bless them with a son and make of them a great nation. They were both very old and still their son had not come. Worry, anxiety, and unbelief set in.
Doubt moved Sarah to commit a huge mistake. So huge that the consequences of that mistake are still being felt today and will continue to be felt until the end of the world. Sarah thought God could not fulfill His promises. Sarah thought God was taking too long. She thought He needed help. So, Sarah intervened in God’s plan and set her plan in motion only to see it backfire.
It is never wise to move ahead of God. Most people (me included) want things to happen for us right now! Immediately! Instantly! We want what we want when we want it. Fortunately, or, unfortunately, that is not how God works. He has a very big waiting room. God doesn’t always move when we want Him too, but when He does move for us, He is always on time. When God promises to do something for us, we need to have faith that He will fulfill it – no matter how long it takes.
3. Sarah’s faith conquered her fears. Genesis 18:14 asks, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” The answer is no. Sarah learned that impossible becomes possible with God. She was ninety years old when she finally gave birth to her promised son. It had taken much longer than expected, but God did what He said He would do.
Despite her struggle with doubt and unbelief, Sarah never lost her faith and in the end it prevailed. Hebrews 11:11 reads, “By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised.” Maybe after her screw up with Hagar, Sarah just decided that she would have to trust God to be faithful to fulfill what He had promised.
Genesis 21:1 shows that Sarah’s faith was rewarded because “the Lord visited Sarah as He had said, and the Lord did for Sarah as He had spoken.” Just as courage is not the absence of fear, faith is not the absence of doubt. When you make the decision to step out by faith and trust God and follow Him into the unknown, doubt often steps out behind you. Sometimes doubt may walk beside your faith, but never let it get ahead of your faith.
The Lord will do great things for you just as He did for Sarah. Just put your faith over your fears.
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