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Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Mrs. Abraham: She is our mother

Now we in this discussion of Women, are moving from the fictional to the real; from television and movies to the Biblical account of women who exemplify the same points either good or bad.

Galatians 4:28-31
28 Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. 29 At that time the son born in the ordinary way persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now. 30 But what does the Scripture say? "Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman's son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman's son." 31 Therefore, brothers, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.

I Peter 3:5&6
5 For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, 6 like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.

Sarai married her half brother and left the city of her youth to go with her father and husband to a strange land, settling in Haran. At the age of 65 she was barren and on the road again, this time under her husband's leading to a land promised by God. She is following her husband to a promised land, the barren mother of a vast nation.

(You must realize at this point that if God were not sovereign, something in this plan would have gone wrong. This is way too intricate a plan to depend on the fickle cooperation of human beings to bring it to fruition.)

At her age, with the hope in God making her beautiful, she was taken into an Egyptian heram, as a sheep to the slaughter, not opening her mouth, apparently. There is no mention of a feminist uprising. There is no hen-pecking, nagging or "I told you so." Trusting God, she obeyed her husband; trusting God, she faced the consequences; trusting God, she fell under His protection and was returned safely to her husband.

At the age of 75 she took matters in her own hands. Yes, God promised Abraham a son. Maybe she had to "take a step of faith" and give up her selfish pride and let another woman bear that son for him. At the age of 75 in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of the drudgery of day-after-day, can you blame her? She looks around and sees other women doing it. It is afterall, her gift to her husband, the Lord will honour her good intentions, won't He?

Was it jealousy or position that made Sarai mistreat Hagar when Hagar was pregnant? Yes, she was provoked, but it seems unbecoming to be abusive.

Why did Abraham give up authority over this matter in taking Hagar to bed (Gen.16:2) in allowing Sarah to mistreat her (Gen.16:6)? Sarah, however didn't act outside of his authority. She inquired of him and he told her "whatever you think is right."

When Sarah was 89 or 90, she was still beautiful (due to her hope in God, according to I Peter) and was taken again to wife a king. Again, trusting God, she obeyed her husband; trusting God, she faced the consequences; trusting God, she fell under His protection and was returned safely to her husband.

It seems in retrospect that Sarah was speaking for God when she told Abraham that the slave's child would not share in the inheritance with her child. Again, she was provoked by the mocking of the boy, was this providential?

In this story, we see Sarah's gentle and quiet spirit. Well, no we don't, but the absence of nagging and loudness would indicate such. If anyone had anything to be loud and whiney about, it was Sarah, I mean, I like camping, but come on! She is so unobtrusive that we need to look closely to see what the New Testatment writers see in her. It is in the abasence of loud that we see her quiet. It is in the absence of pride that we see her humility. It is in the absence of insistence that we see her submission.

What of the times that she put her foot down? Hagar turned out to be a bad idea. From the time she came into the house, a gift from the offending Pharoah, her presence was providencial bad news. If Sarah had not made this faulty intervening decision, then the miracle of God's providence of a child would not shine so bright. If Ishmael had not been born, we would not see the gracious providence of God for those who come from man's folly. If not for the slave woman's son, would we see the wonderful picture of the miracle of salvation as pictured in this alagory in the flesh?

Sarah was a strong woman of God. To say that she was a doormat or any other derogatory term would be just foolishness. It would indicate that the situation was looked at only superficially and with selfish eyes.

Sarah displayed the strength and gentleness, meekness and service that Jesus talked about in taking up your cross daily. She definitely died to herself and looked to the needs of others. She did not live and easy life and faced unknowns that would drive me crazy (although, my future is unknown, I just don't realize it!).

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