Monday, March 30, 2015

As Sarah Obeyed Abraham

Abraham was a good guy. A really good guy. After all, he's the patriarch that started the whole ball rolling. The father of Isaac and Jacob and all the chosen of God, his belief in God was the reason that "all the families of the earth" would be blessed.

Abraham's wife, Sarah, was a princess, even though she sometimes struggled almost as much as I do to trust God. Although she is often remembered as the woman who encouraged her husband to take another woman, Sarah is remembered by God for something else.

It's wonderful how in the New Testament, God remembers the saints for their faith, not their faults. Even as Abraham trusted God and it was counted to him for righteousness, God illustrates to us by the way He describes these heroes that when we believe in Jesus Christ, our sins are removed as the east is from the west, never to be remembered against us. Whew! What freedom!

For Sarah, that's really good news. No longer does she have to wallow under the distinction of being the woman who sparked all the conflicts in the Middle East.

Instead, God uses Sarah as an illustration - the one and only illustration - for how a woman is to obey her husband. He says, "Ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives...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."

Wow! So what was it that Sarah did to make God so impressed? Is there any instance where Sarah obeyed Abraham in Scripture?

There is. One. It might surprise you, though.

It's actually a part of the story that makes everyone think less of Abraham.

Abraham, according to the custom of the day, married his half-sister, Sarah. She was gorgeous; so gorgeous, in fact, that he made her promise that wherever they traveled, she wouldn't let people know she was his wife. She'd just say she was his sister.

Imagine! Your husband takes you on vacation, sees a gang of bikers, and looks at you and says, "Take off your ring. You're so hot that those guys will want you, and if they think I'm just your brother they'll treat me good. If they know I'm your husband they'll be sizing me up and wondering how I got you, and I'm dead."

Ha! And to top it off, Abraham had told Sarah to do this wherever they went. It happened twice, and both times, Sarah was convincing enough to get taken by the king into his harem. Both times, she avoided disaster. And both times, Abraham got away with it.

Can you imagine?!

How unloved would Sarah feel? Yet instead of rising up in righteous indignation, she just went along with it. You'd think Sarah would get reproached for such a thing; instead, God tells women if they want to win their husbands, the way to do it is to obey "even as Sarah obeyed Abraham."

Just another example of how God's ways are not our ways.

Take a few minutes to read the story for yourself! You can find it in Genesis 12 and Genesis 20. As you do, here are a couple questions to ask yourself.

1. Did Sarah get in trouble for going along with Abraham's rude plan?
2. Did any harm come to either of them?
3. What did the king say about Sarah? Was he happy with her obedience to her husband?
4. What did the King of kings say about Sarah? Was he happy with her obedience to her husband?
5. What does that say about how God and men will agree about our obedience to our husbands?

Even if people think we are crazy, God can and will bless obedience so much that people will wonder how in the world God would bless someone as imperfect as we are. God blesses trust. When we trust, we can obey. Then He does what we can't.

"And the Lord visited Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did unto Sarah as he had spoken."

God bless you as you trust Him today!