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Christian women

Sarah - 2

By Charline Lemonds Sexton

religion, articles, christianity

When Abram was 99 years old, God renewed his promise and changed the names of both Abram and Sarai: "Thy name shall be Abraham ... As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be" (Gen. 17:5, 15). God again told him that he and Sarah would have a son, and Abraham laughed, saying in his heart, "Shall Sarah, that is 90 years old, bear?" (Gen. 17:17). Later God sent three angels to give more specific news as to when the birth should be. Sarah, in her tent, heard and laughed. God asked Abraham why she had laughed, and Sarah denied having done so, because she was afraid. Within the next few months, however, her shock turned into reality, and she said, "Who would have said unto Abraham, that Sarah should have given children suck? for I have born him a son in his old age" (Gen. 21:7). They certainly felt overflowing pride in this son and took great care and concern for his upbringing and his teaching.

There is no mention in the book of Genesis of what Sarah knew and felt and suffered when Abraham took Isaac to Moriah to make him a sacrifice to God, but any mother who has ever felt anxiety for her child can understand what she must have thought and done during those very difficult days. We wonder if she wanted to go, too, in order to spend as much time as possible with her son. Perhaps she went outside and followed part of the route her husband had taken, watching for his return; or she might have walked the floor of her tent waiting and moaning and praying to God. We are not even told whether or not she knew the purpose of their trek up the mountain. We must remember, however, that, according to the writer of Hebrews, she had a very strong faith: "Through faith also Sarah herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised" (Heb. 11:11).

As a great deal of Genesis concerns the character and the actions of Abraham and Sarah, more information is given in regard to her death than is ever stated about any other woman in the Bible. She was 127 years old when she died, and she is the only woman whose age, death, and place of burial are specifically mentioned. It is hard to believe that she gave birth when she was past 90 years of age, but we know that with God all things are possible (Matt. 19:26). It is likewise hard to believe that any child could be conceived in any woman's body and could then grow from zygote to embryo to fetus with all the right components and with hereditary aspects that were packaged and delivered to him in microscopic egg and sperm. Such a wonder sets the mind in a spin, yet it takes place somewhere in the world about every 10 seconds of every day of every year.

In reading of the life of Sarah, what insights can a Christian woman of today gain that are useful to her in the stressful life she leads? In the first place, Sarah was an obedient wife, as she showed when she went with Abraham in all of his wanderings from Ur of the Chaldees to Haran to Canaan to Egypt, to Gerar, and to Hebron, where she died (Gen. 23:1-2). In I Peter 3:5-6, we are reminded that in "old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: Even as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him Lord." Judging from the character of her son, we must conclude that Sarah was a conscientious, careful mother who spent a great deal of time with Isaac. As was mentioned above, she was known for her great faith also (Heb. 11:11). We would all do well to reflect and meditate upon the life of this great Bible character.

Published April 1993