The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.”
So Abram departed as the Lord had instructed, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he left Haran. He took his wife, Sarai, his nephew Lot, and all his wealth—his livestock and all the people he had taken into his household at Haran—and headed for the land of Canaan. When they arrived in Canaan, Abram traveled through the land as far as Shechem. There he set up camp beside the oak of Moreh. At that time, the area was inhabited by Canaanites.
Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “I will give this land to your descendants.” And Abram built an altar there and dedicated it to the Lord, who had appeared to him. After that, Abram traveled south and set up camp in the hill country, with Bethel to the west and Ai to the east. There he built another altar and dedicated it to the Lord, and he worshiped the Lord. Then Abram continued traveling south by stages toward the Negev.
At that time a severe famine struck the land of Canaan, forcing Abram to go down to Egypt, where he lived as a foreigner. As he was approaching the border of Egypt, Abram said to his wife, Sarai, “Look, you are a very beautiful woman. When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife. Let’s kill him; then we can have her!’ So please tell them you are my sister. Then they will spare my life and treat me well because of their interest in you.”And sure enough, when Abram arrived in Egypt, everyone noticed Sarai’s beauty. When the palace officials saw her, they sang her praises to Pharaoh, their king, and Sarai was taken into his palace. Then Pharaoh gave Abram many gifts because of her—sheep, goats, cattle, male and female donkeys, male and female servants, and camels.But the Lord sent terrible plagues upon Pharaoh and his household because of Sarai, Abram’s wife. So Pharaoh summoned Abram and accused him sharply. “What have you done to me?” he demanded. “Why didn’t you tell me she was your wife? Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ and allow me to take her as my wife? Now then, here is your wife. Take her and get out of here!” Pharaoh ordered some of his men to escort them, and he sent Abram out of the country, along with his wife and all his possessions.
~Genesis 12:1-20 (NLT)
I love to read Sarai’s story. (A side note~God later changed her name to Sarah, and both names mean “princess”.) I relate to Sarah in so many different ways, but her obedient submission to her husband, Abraham,…not so much! Sarah agreed to leave her home and follow her husband to a distant land without a plan except to follow where Abraham told her God was leading him. I must admit, I would probably want God to speak to me personally before I followed just to verify my husband heard God correctly!
Then, after they arrived in Canaan they ended up in a severe famine. If I were Sarah, I would probably think to myself, “He moved me from my home for this?!?” But I think Sarah’s ultimate submission was allowing Abraham to pass her off as his sister, causing her to become the wife of Egypt’s pharaoh, simply because Abraham was afraid for his own safety. Wow! I’m not even sure what to say about that level of submission!
I like the way Dr. Tony Evans refers to submission. In one of his messages, he tells women that if they really understood Biblical submission, they would not have such a problem with it. He teaches, “Submission is knowing how to duck so God can hit your husband!” While a very funny statement, I have found this to be so true. Our submission to our husband is really about trusting God to take care of us while He gently refines our husband’s character. And through her quiet submission, Sarah allowed God to teach and groom Abraham to become the man God intended~the father of a great nation.
While Sarah is a good example of godly submission, I think it is her flaws that I relate to most of all. As you continue to read her story this week, you will find that even though God promises Abraham an heir, Sarah, takes on the responsibility of trying to fulfill God’s promise herself. In doing so, she causes many problems for herself and her household. But God is always faithful to fulfill His promises in spite of our mistakes. And God fulfilled His promise that through Abraham and Sarah, He would bring about a nation that would become His own people.
Sarah’s story causes me to reflect on the many times I make the same mistake as Sarah. God promises, and I either don’t trust Him to deliver on His promise, OR I somehow think He needs my help! As I write those words, they sound absurd! But this is one of those areas of faith where I struggle the most~and I don’t think I’m alone in this.
But there is hope! The final part of Sarah’s story is actually found in the New Testament. In Hebrews 11, Sarah is listed as one of the great heroes of faith.
It was by faith that even Sarah was able to have a child, though she was barren and was too old. She believed that God would keep his promise. And so a whole nation came from this one man who was as good as dead—a nation with so many people that, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore, there is no way to count them.
Even though Sarah struggled at times with her faith, Hebrews reminds us that she believed that God would keep His promise and because of her belief, a great nation was born! Like Sarah, we do not always get it right. But God’s Holy Spirit continues to work in our lives and through his transformative work there is great hope that we too can become women of great faith!
Exhale all your doubts and Breathe in God’s love for you. You can trust His promises! Allow his Holy Spirit to guide you and transform you into a woman of great faith!
Dear God, we want to become women of great faith! We desire to trust you in every area of our lives…with our work, our finances, our relationships, our health…everything. We know You always keep Your promises and while You ask us to trust You, Your promises do not depend on our ability to fulfill them. As we continue to study Sarah’s story, reveal those areas in our lives that we need to submit to you. We invite your Holy Spirit to transform us from the inside out into women of great faith!
Today’s post was written by Michele Barnes.
Michele is married to the love of her life, Jeff. She has 3 grown children and 1 very sweet new grandson! Most days you can find Michele laughing with good friends, working with numbers, writing, or working with women. In the evenings, she enjoys spending time in a few creative outlets like creative lettering, drawing, and pottery. She loves snuggling with her dog, Tebow, and reading. But her most recent passion is snuggling with her sweet, new grandson and gazing at his precious face and bright smile! You can find her most weekends worshiping at our Real Life Clermont campus.
Join us in our Summer Reading Plan. Download the plan here.