|Vol. 2, No. 2||Page 14||February 2000|
Sarah: Mother Of All Nations
Genesis Chapter 12
Abraham and Sarah lived in Ur of Chaldees around 2000 B.C. Ur of Chaldees was not a primitive tent-dwellers camp, but an advanced city-state with fine buildings, canals, one of the oldest law systems known, a school system, advanced mathematical calculations, an elaborate system of writing, dictionaries, encyclopedias, religious records and refined art. Their homes had many rooms for the family and their servants -- complete with running water. The city of Ur had many modern conveniences.
God, knowing Abraham was a faithful servant in spite of the idol worship all around, chose Abraham to be the father of all nations and called him out of Ur to a land that God would show him. After God told Abraham to leave family and friends behind to journey to a strange new land, Abraham went to tell Sarah about God’s plan for them. I picture this scenario in my mind. Abraham comes home one day and says, “Sarah, God told me we are to leave all this behind and travel to a new land.” Sarah asks, “Where are we going?” To which Abraham replies, “I do not know.” “When will be get there?” asks Sarah. “God did not tell me,” is the reply. How would you react if your husband were to tell you this? Many women today would reply something like this. “Abraham I am not going anywhere. I have this nice house, all my friends are here, my family is here. I cannot leave all this behind. You do not even know where we are going and you expect me to live in a tent. You can pack your things and go by yourself, because I am not leaving all this behind!!!” Fortunately, this was not Sarah’s reaction.
Sarah knew God would take care of them. She willingly left family and friends behind to travel, as a nomad with no place to call her own the rest of her life (Genesis 12). That takes great faith. She knew that God would keep his promise and protect them. Hebrews 11:11 talks of the great faith of Sarah as she conceived when past the age of childbearing. Do you have the faith Sarah had?
Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words gives this definition for faith: “primarily, firm persuasion, a conviction based upon hearing. New Testament usage of this word is always of faith in God, or Christ or things spiritual. Synonyms for faith as used in the Bible would be trust or trustworthiness.”
Hebrews 11:1-3 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.”
The American Standard uses the word “assurance” for substance and the word “conviction” for evidence. Our faith allows us to believe something to be fact even when we cannot see that fact. We cannot see the wind, but we say the wind is blowing when we see tree limbs moving. We believe the wind is blowing because we see the results of the wind. We believe that God created the world although we did not see him create the world. We see the results of that creation.
Consider these passages:
2 Corinthians 5:7 “(For we walk by faith, not by sight:).” We believe in God not because we see him but through faith we believe the Bible is the written Word of God.
2 Timothy 2:15 “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” A diligent study of the Bible deepens our faith in God.
Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Faith precedes salvation and maintains our devotion to God.
1 John 5:1-5 “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?” Faith overcomes worldliness (sin) and is victorious.
Sarah’s faith was tested many times throughout her life on earth. Sometimes her faith prevailed and sometimes her faith faltered. Christians today are just like Sarah. Sometimes our faith prevails and at other times our faith falters. We need to remember when we fall, God will forgive if we ask.
Abraham saw three men coming toward them. He ran to greet them, bid them rest in the shade of trees while water was brought to wash the dust from their feet and food was prepared for them to eat. Once they accepted his offer, Abraham ran to the tent, requested Sarah make bread and brought a calf to be dressed and cooked for the strangers. Abraham and Sarah had unexpected company. They quickly and diligently prepared a meal for their guests. They showed hospitality. Hebrews 13:2 states “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” The word “strangers” in this verse means guests. This verse refers to Abraham and Sarah’s willingness to provide food for the three men in Genesis 18. Paul commanded the brethren at Rome to be hospitable. “Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality” (Romans 12:13). “Given to hospitality” literally means be not forgetful of strangers.
One of the many qualifications of elders is that they be “given to hospitality” (1 Timothy 3:2). Titus 1:8 uses the words “lover of hospitality.” When Paul wrote to Timothy about the care of the widows, a true widow to be cared for by the church was to have “lodged strangers” (1 Timothy 5:10). First Peter 4:9 “Use hospitality one to another without grudging.” We should entertain not because we are commanded to, but with a desire of love and concern not only for our brethren but for lost souls as well. Hospitality means love of strangers. Are you hospitable? Can your husband count on you to willingly prepare a meal at a moments notice as Abraham did with Sarah? We have many modern conveniences at our disposal. We have freezers with meat ready to be cooked, or meals already prepared waiting to be heated. Bread is already baked and waiting to be purchased. Some stores have entire meals cooked ready to take home and eat. It is easy to open our homes to those with whom we have a close relationship, but what about those we do not know very well? Do you use the blessings God has given you to show hospitality to others?
1 Peter 3:5-6 “For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.” The word “lord” was not used as slave to a master or as we would use “sir” to a superior. Lord is used to show she recognized her place in the home, that of a helpmate (helper to her husband). Please consider these points with reference to the phrase “calling him lord”:
v She acknowledged Abraham as head of the home and first in her heart.
v She showed she recognized her place in the home and in the life of Abraham. She found completeness in it.
v She was glad to be a woman, the wife of Abraham and found joy and happiness in her love for him.
v She showed great love for Abraham.
v She showed gentleness in her heart for Abraham.
v She showed how proud she was of him and she was happy to be his wife.
v She showed respect and admiration for Abraham.
What do you call your husband? The way you speak to and about your husband shows others your feelings toward him. Can others see the love and respect your husband deserves by your words and actions or do they see apathy, indifference, distain or hatred? This would apply to not only to husbands, but to all with whom we have a close association (children, parents, close friends, etc.).
Can a woman say she loves and respects God whom she has not seen when she does not show love and respect for her husband whom she does see? How do you compare to Sarah? Is your faith as strong as hers? Do you show hospitality as she did? Do you willing open your home to others? Do you show your husband the love and respect that Sarah showed Abraham? Are you a true helpmate to your husband? Are you a complement or a hindrance?