Then God said to Abraham, ‘As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. I will bless her, and indeed I will give you a son by her. Then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.’ Genesis 17:15-16
Today, we are going to take a closer look at Sarah. As with Eve, her recorded life is extremely familiar to most of us, and is marked by some pretty dark moments. As I prepared for today’s post, it was quite difficult for me to determine how to present her story in a positive light. I mean, she forced her husband to sleep with her maid, and then spent many years truly hating the woman (Hagar) and child (Ishmael) who were the essence of her plan to help God out.
But what interested me the most are the two New Testament references to her. The way the author of Hebrews and Peter speak of her leave us thinking of Sarah’s incredible legacy. Even though she attempted to assist God, and made a terrible mess of things, she left a legacy for every woman. She stepped into a role that was not meant for her – God’s – and yet we see His response to Sarah is one filled with grace.
Giving God a hand
Think about the miracle that was Sarah’s conception of Isaac. She was long past her prime, and should not have been able to have a child. All of us women can understand what that means. At some point, a woman’s body says, “Ok. No more. I’ve done my time, but now I’m retired.” Yet, Sarah is promised an entire nation of descendants… which lead up to the Messiah!
Rather than marvel in the miracle she was guaranteed, Sarah chose to give God a hand… and Abraham a second wife (Genesis 16:3). When we try to help God fulfill His promises, it takes away from the miracle. It drags us down and just might prolong our wait. Oh, not to mention the possibly disastrous fallout!
Giving God a hand often makes life more difficult on us, but not on God. He is bigger than our mistakes.
God cannot be Thwarted
As Sarah learned the hard way, God always fulfills His promises to us. No matter how bad we think we messed the whole thing up, God is not worried. He is Eternal – therefore He exists outside of time. He is in the past, the present, and the future right this moment. This means that God doesn’t just know how He will fulfill His promises, He already has… in our future(s). That’s a tough concept to wrap our finite minds around, isn’t it? Well, thankfully for Sarah, God already had completed His promise to her, and therefore her unprofitable assistance did not change His plans. Oh, what a relief! I can think of many times in my life where I’ve attempted some sort of help to God… I’m incredibly thankful that He worked as He always intended to despite my lack of faith.
Sarah came to understand the error of her ways, and she also saw the amazing grace of a God who would fulfill all that He said to her.
Then the Lord took note of Sarah as He had said, and the Lord did for Sarah as He had promised. Genesis 21:1
Even though Sarah made a big mistake, that didn’t change what God intended to do through her. He used her to leave a legacy for many women (including you and I) to follow. God’s redemption of Sarah’s life is a perfect example of how He uses us all to bring glory to Himself.
As we dig into Sarah’s legacy more in this mini Bible Study journal, we will take a look at the two verses I mentioned in the New Testament which remind us of who this woman was, and what God did through her. So, I hope you’ll join me for this 3-day study and come away better understanding what Sarah’s legacy has to teach us today!