From Babylon, to barren Womb, to birth, Sara a Mother of all nations
Sarai was born in Babylon; home of the proliferation of all false religion. It is not clear what beliefs and practices both Sarai and Abram had been taught growing up. Abram, Sarai, and extended family members of Abram left Babylon heading to Canaan to dwell after the marriage of Abram and Sarai. This journey forth was in a time of severe famine and great difficulty as they made their way to the land of Canaan.
Because of the severe famine Abraham changed course to Egypt. He was concerned that Sarai was beautiful to look at, to him and to the Egyptians, so he threw together a plan to thwart any potential trouble from forming as they tarried in Egypt. Not all biblical scholars agree on the exact relationship specifics of Abram and Sarai. Many may choose to not believe they indeed were half brother and sister because living as such would not have been biblical. However, their marriage took place before God gave the law to mankind in the land of Babylon which was brimming with darkness and evil. The law of God was given later for the purpose of highlighting and regulating the great wickedness.
Sarai was indeed the wife and half-sister (sharing the same father) of Abraham. This verse complicates the thinking of many people because the term sister is used in the Bible both towards actual family members and used more loosely in terms of endearment towards another who is treated like a sister. In making this statement to the Egyptians Abraham chose to mix facts with lies or muddy the circumstances as they traveled into rough and strange territory. Abram used his situation to imply that Sarai was his sister, never mentioning that she indeed was also his wife in marriage. Leaving out the fact they were married was telling a half-truth; which is always considered a lie. Making it seem as though he was not her husband to the Pharaoh and Egyptian men leading to difficult circumstances for both Abraham and Sara and the Egyptians who were punished. God did also discipline Abram’s sin appropriately.
A lie always works or stirs up trials and tribulations affecting us and others about us. There is always a cost attached to a choice made to sin. Sin is always more expensive than mankind will ever see upfront. The cost of sin always rears its ugly head with a higher price tag than man anticipates each and every time.
However, despite their inclination to sin, God called out to both Abraham and Sara having a very specific plan or will for both their lives. Both Abram and Sarai heard His call and God covered them in His grace and mercy giving them a new life and a life- altering promise for an unforeseeable future through faith in His promise. God changed the name of Sarai to Sara as God changed Abram’s name to Abraham. These name changes were necessary and significant as God had chosen them to be the bearers of a generational promise.
A new name wrought a new life in them. God promised Abraham that he would be the father of many nations. God chose Him to be an ancestor of many nations. God’s chosen people were to be brought forth through the seed of Abraham and Sara’s womb. God always keeps His promises.
There was a problem with Sarah, in her relationship with God first and also to Abraham; she was lacking faith and patience in God unable to any longer envision the promise God had made to Abraham. Sara remained barren and without bearing a child for a great length of time never producing any offspring to be heirs bringing about the promise God had given Abraham. This promise had been made many years before and it now seemed a farce to Sara as she continued to wax older and the promise never coming to pass. Sara had given up any faith she once had in being a part of producing a nation of heirs. Indeed somehow she must be at blame due to her barrenness. This matter of giving birth in her old age and bringing about a new generation according to God’s promise was now an impossibility to Sara.
Sara did what we all do when we lose hope and give up on promises and perfect timing of God. Sara took things into her own hands according to her own human reasoning. She hatched a plan which lead many down a crooked dark pathway for the sole purpose of bringing about heirs for Abraham to father. Not only did Abraham listen to his wife’s plan but allowed it to take root in his heart; rather than leading her in the right direction as he followed after God he gave her the “go ahead” nod putting her idea into action. This sin affected their whole household and the entire world; in ancient times and today.
Sarah’s idea was to give her husband her maid Hagar:
Abraham followed through with Sarah’s silly plot of going in to Hagar and producing an heir. This corrupt relationship produced a son who was named Ishmael fathered by Abraham to Hagar Sara’s maid. This son was not the heir that God intended Abraham to father, was not a part of His perfect will, and caused much heartache and spiritual turbulence; even unto this very day this sin has changed the landscape of our world.
However, God did not give up on Abraham and Sara. Along with two angels He came to visit Abraham in his old age in the plains of Mamre in the heat of the day to tell him His promise was about to unfold in their lives as Sarah was to have a child. Sarah heard this startling news from the doorway of their tent. She laughed out loud at even the idea; knowing she was naturally past the age or ability to mother a child. She knew that this birthing event was a humanly impossible feat and she found humor in God’s plan.
But God said: “Is any thing too hard for the LORD?” Sarah was about to find out first-hand the power and presence of God along with Abraham her husband as He brought His promise to fruition.
Yes, God used both Abraham and Sara, despite neither attaining anything close to sinless perfection while upon this earth. He covered them in His great love and mercy making them without sin in His eyes and making the impossible possible in His supernatural power and strength.
Despite her upbringing in the ungodly land of Babylon, her immoral marriage to her half-brother, and her lack of faith in His ways and timing, and her “jump in” personality God covered her in His rich grace and mercy using her in bringing about His great promise to her husband Abraham to father a great nation.
God saw fit to bring His own Jewish nation out of these two imperfect people; a couple who sometimes allowed their nature to sin override the very nature of God living within them. Reflect upon the possibilities in your own life. God can choose to use your life to further His gospel message despite sinful circumstances in the past when you allowed yourself to be led by the god of this world rather than the hand of God.
Sarah can be an example of a desire wives innately have because of their sin nature, to take over the lead position in their marriage relationship rather than remain in a submissive stance to God and their husband allowing God to work and direct the husband who is the spiritual head of the relationship.
The Bible tells us the Proverbs thirty-one lady served her husband:
Sometimes well-meaning women, just like Sarah, take a circumstance in their marriage or a family relationship, which seems to be off course of impossible into their own eyes, and work within it as they see fit to “help” rectify the situation, rather than waiting upon the perfect timing and work of God. God made the man responsible for the woman and if a man does not step up to the plate, or does not handle things as deemed appropriate in their eye, women are apt to look unto themselves rather than God taking over and diving in head first often according to their own course rather than waiting on direction and correction from God in the situation.
Eve was the first woman to take matters into her own hands rather than allowing God to work through her husband because she thought she understood God’s words when tempted by satan to usurp authority. Satan still tempts women today to take over the authority of God and their husband in situations of life as sin of pride runs rampant upon this earth. Pride exists in both man and woman which makes having peaceful godly relationships hard; but not impossible.
However. most often our own ideas or solution to a circumstance is in a different direction having nothing to do with God’s will in the matter ultimately hinders God’s Work; slowing down God’s perfect plan from developing in our life. Just like Sara who desired to “help” Abraham be the father to all the nations but instead in her limited abilities she helped to mess up, as Abraham agreed, many lives and leaving significant consequences even unto this day!
Wives, daughters, and sisters: God desires to use you in bringing out the best in your husband, father, or brother in relationships and situations of life according to His perfect will and way as we wait on His timing and direction rather than inserting in our own ideas and timing. God desires that we employ a godly approach to all circumstances of life allowing Him to remain in authority and direction over our life.
A Woman of Grace Series Devotional #3 Read other devotionals in the series starting with