This woman played a very significant role in history, and her life has been put on display as an example for us women to follow.
Genesis 11:29-31; 12:1-20; 16:1-6.
Abram takes a wife (Genesis 11:29-31).
She is introduced to us as Sarai, meaning “my lady” or “my princess.” I’ll talk about this more in the second half of our study. We are told right from the start that she is barren. Back then barrenness was considered a curse or a judgment for sin, but in her case, it was God’s perfect will. She could not have understood the reason why until later, but she trusted the Lord.
Sometimes God withholds from us desires that are good and natural for us to have, and we may not understand, but that is when it is vitally important to let God be God. He knows best, and He is always good.
Sarai follows her husband (Genesis 12:1-5).
God called Abram to leave his family and his home to go to a place that He would show him. And Abram obeyed God immediately, no questions asked. What’s more, Sarai too obeyed immediately, no questions asked. In Haran they had a home, friends, and family. But they left all of that for a nomad’s life and would spend the rest of their days in tents.
Packing up and moving away from everyone you know and the place you’ve called home for most of your life is hard enough, but imagine not knowing the destination. That, my friends, requires great faith.
Sarai obeys her husband (Genesis 12:10-20).
There was a famine in the land, so Abram moved down into Egypt. God had not sent him there, and He surely could have provided for him in the land of Canaan, but Abram’s faith was at a low point. In Egypt, Abram again failed to trust God. You see, Sarai was very beautiful, and Abram was afraid that the king of Egypt would kill him so he could take her to himself. So Abram told his wife to lie and say that she was his sister. This was a crazy scheme—even if it were partially true, as we will see shortly—but Sarai obeyed. She may not have thought it wise, but there is no record of her complaining. And evidently she pulled it off quite convincingly, for the Pharaoh did indeed invite her into his home to join his harem. God saw her obedience and did not judge her for it. Instead, He protected her. The truth came out, and Abram and Sarai were sent on their way with great riches. It would seem as though God was blessing Abram for his deception, but no. God blessed Abram in spite of his sin, in the same way that He continually pours out mercy and grace to you and me, undeserving as we are.
Sarai takes matters into her own hands (Genesis 16:1-6).
By now both Abram and Sarai knew that God intended to give them a son, but they had been waiting for many years already, and Sarai was well past her prime by now. Even so, what was she thinking? Why did she suppose it was a good idea to give him her handmaid? Did she think God had forgotten them? Did she think He needed her help?
Lest I be too hard on her, I must look in the mirror and remember all the times when, like her, I ran ahead of God and tried to work out His will in my own way. Such a thing never ends well. God’s plan is always best, and so is His timing. God never delays without a very good reason. At the very least, He desires to teach us patience and trust, and sometimes He is waiting for the right moment to perform a miracle.
There is so much more to see in the life of Sarah, but I will stop here for now and continue next week. If you’re interested in looking ahead, then you’ll want to read these passages: Genesis 17:15-21; 18:6-15; 20:1-18; 21:1-12; 23:1-2,19; Hebrews 11:11; 1 Peter 3:5-6.
Next week: Sarah (concluded)