Woman of the Bible: Sarah
Sarah is introduced to us in the New Testament as a woman of faith. She was a friend and sister of Abraham but more his wife. Her conduct in marital life is the example exalted for all woman of faith to emulate as she obeyed Abraham, adorning herself with a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. Who Sarah was as a sister, a friend, a daughter, we do not know but we do know her as the wife of Abraham, a woman whose name God changes from Sarai (my princess) to Sarah (Princess), a princess not merely of Abraham but of all the families of the earth.
The first introduction of Sarah to us in the Old Testament is an introduction that causes a jubilation and pitiful lamentation. Jubilation because Abraham found a wife for it is written “whoever finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favour from the LORD”. And what a good thing Abraham acquired, for Sarah became to him an excellent wife who did not bring shame like rottenness to his bones. Abraham loved Sarah to the end, He loved her so much that despite his wealth, he would have her as his only wife until after her timeworn comely death where he took another woman to be his wife. Hagar was not his choice but a yielding to Sarah’s good but unbelieving intension to not let him die childless. A Pitiful lamentation because she is described as childless and barren. Was it not this stigma which brought Hannah to hammer on heaven’s door and caused Hagar to look upon Sarah her mistress with contempt. It was this ignominy which caused Rachel to envy her sister and say to Jacob, “Give me Children or I shall die”. This barren fruitlessness accompanied Sarah to her old age that when the news of a child was to be sown in her aged womb, she laughed as almost to consider it silly and an unknown thing on the face of the earth.
It was on this cursed ground that she allowed the ugly head of polygamy to enter into her marriage. The bitter fruit of watching other seeds grow except that of her own caused wanting Sarah to make a firm decision that Abraham was not to depart from this earth childless. She had forgotten the promise of God, she had lost faith that the promise made to Abraham would be accomplished through her seed. Poor Sarah, being ever so beautiful and desired by kings and nobles was accompanied with a dear sorrow of barrenness. Hagar was handed over to Abraham and Hagar bore a child according to the flesh and not of promise. Hagar then looked upon her mistress with contempt and Sarah treated her harshly that Hagar fled from her as Moses fled from Pharaoh when Pharaoh sought to kill him. Sarah had her stroke of weaknesses but she is described as a woman of faith, who received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised.
This faith we must say was given to her by grace, for was it not Sarah who laughed and muttered to herself that ‘Shall I have pleasure in my old age?’ and when confronted for her unbelief she denied it. The life of Sarah are painted to us with the colours of reality. No blackness was painted over but yet she was a woman of faith and her, the daughters of faith are to emulate. This grace given to her enabled her to conduct herself in her ordinary capacity as a wife according to the ordinances of God. Unlike Adah and Zillah, she was submissive to her husband’s will even in the hour when her feminine honour was sacrificed because of her husband’s cowardice. She submitted in gentleness and quietness. When Abraham began his pilgrim journey forsaking his familiar dwelling, we do not read of a complaining Sarah but we read of a following Sarah. She followed her master and readied her sandals to follow the footsteps of her blessed husband.
Sarah’s obedience to Abraham was rewarded for as his name was changed, so was hers. He was to become the Father of many nations and she shall become nations, kings of peoples shall come from her. Sarah’s womb was opened by a divine act of kindness. She believed in him who was faithful and what she first disbelieved of having pleasure in her old age became to her a sweet delight. She, staring at this miracle said with all of her feminine beauty “God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh over me”. Should we not also laugh with Sarah and rejoice with her as Elizabeth’s relatives and friends rejoiced with her when they heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy in allowing her to conceive John the Baptist. Yes. We should celebrate, for from this child of promise was the Messiah to be born who is to be the Saviour of the world as to redeem Eve’s children from their oppression.