If you missed Sarah Part 1 you can find it here.
Peter encourages wives to take a look at Sarah. While there are many women mentioned in the Bible, it’s only Sarah who’s called out by name and elevated to the position of mentor. There can be a temptation to focus on her faux pas with Hagar, choose to resist it, in truth we all have areas of weaknesses that trip us up. Besides, I don’t see that Peter’s intent was for us to focus on her weakness; he is calling attention to her strength as a wife.
God introduces her to us as Sarai the barren, (Gen 11:30) then she’s reintroduced as Sarah the queen. (Gen 17:15) Peter continues her legacy in the NT by calling her our mother of faith and designates her as someone to emulate. (1 Peter 3:6)
SHE IS A REAL PERSON
In the past, I would read about Sarah and gloss over her because I just didn’t think she had any relevant information to give me. I mean seriously, we live in two completely different worlds. This was a mistake on my part; I couldn’t see that Sarah had skin on her (so to speak). She wasn’t just a character in a book, but a real woman with hopes and fears … just like me. It was too easy to sit and read her story, from our epicurean world, and conclude that it all worked out for the best; easy-peasy.
How unfair. This woman was a powerhouse.
Sarah didn’t have the luxury of a Bible to study or verses to memorize in times of doubt nor a mp3 player to scroll down to her favourite worship song to encourage herself. It wasn’t until I realized that it was just her and God, that I began to appreciate the true strength of her faith.
HER SECRET EXPLODES FOR US
The most awesome knowledge I learned from her, the most startling realization, was that her relationship with Abraham was dual: Abraham was her husband and also her brother. Their marriage serves as a powerful analogy for us who are married in the faith!
We know, in heaven there will be no male or female (Gal 3:28) but, in the here and now, we exist in the tension that is found between temporal and Kingdom living. If we are non-believers our marriage is framed by the temporal. BUT if we are believers, the marriage has an added dimension: it is eternal as well.
Abraham articulates this dual relationship as a defence for his shrewdness when he’s speaking to Abimelech, But indeed she is truly my sister. She is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife.
I don’t like what Sarah had to walk through, but I do LOVE her courage and trust. It makes sense that Peter shines a light on her. She doesn’t panic and frantically look to jump off the crazy train. Quite the opposite. Like the stately queen she is, she sits down and buckles herself in. Expectantly waiting to see what GOD does.
AND FOR US?
In a way, we also live in dual relationships. Earthly, I am a wife. Yet spiritually Darrell and I share the same Father, I am also a sister.
Pushing into this powerful analogy from Sarah I am left with a choice as to which lens I will view my marriage through.
The temporal lens: Is the short-sighted view that sees only in the present of approximately 100 years. It sees in terms of how good can I make it for me now. How will this affect my life now? It draws focus to painful circumstances in the marriage that human strength simply cannot bear. The times of abasing. It demands that I come to my own rescue, for my own self, with my own ideas and resources instead of waiting for God.
There is no hope for the future.
But with the spiritual lens: The view sees long into the future. It is broader. Stronger. Higher. There is room to breathe in hope and trust in God’s complete power over everything instead of my own puny control. The vision for abounding in marriage can only be made by stepping off the present, into the future, with that higher love. Love of brother brings God into the picture and with Him comes power, strength and hope.
Love of brother is how Sarah handled Abraham with such gentleness in spite of his request. Instead of viewing him as an adversary because of his human weakness, she chose to be strong in spirit so that it would go well for him. She knew God would make a way for her where there wasn’t one. (Matt 19:26 & Is 43:19)
- My husband is my primary brother, all that God asks me to do applies to this brother. Kingdom living doesn’t exclude a brother because is a husband, I don’t get to pick and choose whom I will or will not serve in the body. You are a servant of all … or you are not, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be last of all [in importance] and a servant of all.” (Mk 9:35)
- Far from being a wimpy wife Sarah’s courage elevates the bar of marriage to its proper level, restoring it with honour.
- Sarah’s action as a wife pushed her marriage far beyond the grasp of any demon.