1st February 2023
Read - Genesis 11:30, Genesis 16 and Hebrews 11:1&11
Message Alan Burke
Sarah’s story is a very human story, one that may touch very raw emotions that you have hidden from everyone. Today we start by looking to something we were told before the call of God on Abraham’s life. Before he was called by God to go to the land that God would show him we were introduced to Sarah and Abraham. Their names at this stage are Abram and Sari. What we are told has a significant bearing on the promises that were given, it has a bearing on everything that follows. For here when we are first introduced to Abraham and Sarah we are told in Genesis 11:30 something that impacts how we should read and understand all that now follows. There we are told; “Now Sarai was barren; she had no children” (Gen 11:30).
God had promised Abraham that he would be a nation, a great one, he would be a blessing, all the families of the earth will be blessed through him and that must mean children or at least a child. Yet before these promises were given, before they had moved a mussel, before they went on their journey we know that either God’s going to have to do the impossible or these promises are worthless. Abraham having faith in a sense was much easier than it would have bene for Sarah. After all it was to Abraham that the promises came, he was the one who heard the call of God and not Sarah. Added to that what we learn form Genesis 11:30 about how Sarah was unable to have children, something that she would have known herself. Sarah at the age of 65 went with her husband, she trusted in the promises of God, she was willing to play her part in the story even though she had been unable to have children.
Sarah had faith in the promises of God, that which Hebrews 11:1 reminds us is “being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Heb 11:1), Sarah had faith in the promises of God. No doubt all the while carrying the pain of years of disappointment, of hopes that had slowly faded as the years went by, something that many can empathise with.
Sarah had to wait ten long years, she is now 75 in Genesis 16 and had no doubt would have struggled with the midst of it all. Here I think is the lowest point in the whole journey of Sarah. For the time comes when in her own mind Sarah comes to a painful answer to the question, of will was his promise for her, was God going to do this our not, and she has decided that this promise was given to her husband and it is not for her. Look at what we are told when that time comes that Sarah turns to her husband there in v2 and says “2 Abram, “The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through her.”” (Gen 16:2). Sarah doubted the gracious word of God.
There is rawness in this decision, I can’t even begin comprehend what Sarah is going through, but doesn’t she do what we all often do?
What I mean by that, when it doesn’t happen in our timing, or the way that we want, or we don’t get what we have wanted well we take matters into our own hands, we attempt to somehow contrive a way, helping God on a bit? We can all do this, I doubt Sarah could have imagined the consequences of what would then take place.
What happens here mirrors what happened in the the Garden of Eden, it happens all too often. None of us think that that one little thing will have such implications for the rest of our lives. I’m sure Sarah would have never even entertained the idea of what was going to follow. How it resulted in Hagar as we are told at the end of verse 4 began to despise Sarah as a result of all of this after she fell pregnant. Sarah then blames Abraham and Abraham passes the buck, do what you want. Partly what I’m trying to do here is to help you understand that as Hebrews 11:11 tells us that ‘By Faith Sarah’ that heaven isn’t filled with people who lived perfect lives, it’s filled with those who were sinners cleansed by the blood of the Lamb, the blood of Christ. Jesus made it clear, ““It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.””(Mk 2:17). Sarah by Faith Hebrews tells us, even in the midst of the carnage of life, Sarah still had faith. That is what mattered.
Q65 What is forbidden in the fifth commandment?
The fifth commandment forbiddeth the neglecting of, or doing any thing against, the honor and duty which belongeth to every one in their several places and relations. (Matt. 15:4–6, Ezek. 34:2–4, Rom. 13:8)