Sarah: “The Submissive Wife”

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Abraham is perhaps the Bible’s most famous character. His obedient response to God’s call is legendary. He gets more press than anyone in the Bible’s Hall of Fame (Hebrews 11). Jews, Muslims, and Christians alike claim him as their ancestor.

But there is an important person in Abraham’s story who is often overlooked. He didn’t journey to or sojourn through the Promised Land alone. His wife Sarah (originally Sarai) was with him the entire time.

Sarah was an amazing woman of faith. Whenever God asked Abraham to take a risk, He was asking her to take it as well. Whether it was leaving their homeland or sacrificing their only son, Sarah was just as willing as Abraham to do what God required.

She sets an inspiring example of Christian living. She provides hope in the midst of life’s daily struggles. And she proves that being a godly wife may be the greatest service you can render to Jesus.

Faith in the Midst of Infertility

The first thing the Bible says about Sarah is “she was not able to conceive” (Genesis 11:30). It is still painful and disappointing to be unable to conceive. This was even more pronounced in the ancient world when a woman’s primary purpose was to bear children for her husband.

Being unable to conceive profoundly affected Sarah’s faith. It seems she had given up on having a child. She gave Abraham her slave Hagar as a wife to build a family through her instead (Genesis 16:1-2). And she laughed at God’s promise that she would have a son (18:10-12).

This was likely an ongoing struggle of faith for Sarah. But God helped her overcome it, for she “was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise” (Hebrews 11:11). She gave birth to Isaac when she was ninety and felt the joy she had awaited her entire life (Genesis 21:1-7)!

Faith in the Midst of Marriage

Have you heard the saying, “Behind every good man is a great woman”? This was true for Abraham. Sarah provided him the strength to continue in faith by standing behind him. She submitted herself to him, even when it put her in danger.

Abraham was afraid he would be killed on account of Sarah’s beauty. So he asked her to say she was his sister rather than his wife. This resulted in her being taken into the households of at least two other men (Genesis 12:10-13, 20:1-2)! She put herself at risk to protect her husband.

Peter commends her for this. He tells wives, “Submit yourselves to your own husbands…For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord” (1 Peter 3:1, 5-6).

Faith for Everyday Life

Abraham is a remarkable Bible character. But he isn’t very relatable, is he? Has God ever spoken to you directly? Has He ever promised to make you into a great nation? Has He ever given you a country of your own? Probably not.

Sarah, however, is very relatable. She wasn’t a prophetess or a queen or anything notable. She was simply a wife and mother. She worked out her faith in the same situations women face today.

Have you ever moved away from your family to follow your husband’s job? Sarah did. Have you ever struggled to submit to your husband because it seemed he was making a mistake? Sarah did. Were you ever disappointed or hurt because you couldn’t conceive? Sarah was.

Sarah shows how attainable the Christian life is. Being a woman of God doesn’t require great feats of faith. All it takes is submitting to your husband and staying faithful in spite of life’s difficulties.

Feel free to share this post with your Women’s Minister or friends from church!

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