It’s our very first day of Chasing History! Woohoo!
Believe it or not, these women aren’t so different from us!
It doesn’t need to be fancy. It doesn’t need to be long. If you’ve read here any length of time, you know I ramble and I love details. So it should be no surprise that if I’m able to find out anything about a Story, I’m going to write. it. all. out.
Sarcastic tone used, by the way. :) Write however much you feel comfortable. This isn’t a bible study – this is community coming together to talk about Him and the Stories He has written.
What could be more beautiful? Let’s chase history together.
- The story of Sarai (later known as Sarah) stretches throughout a couple chapters in Genesis (which is the first book in the Bible, if you want to read her story for yourself!)
- When we first meet Sarai, she is 65 years old
- Sarai is the wife of Abram (later known as Abraham)
- She is barren – she has never had a child
It’s important to remember that in this culture, an heir was everything. You could accumulate wealth and animals, but you needed a son to carry on your family name. Children were also important to work the land, but the family name (legacy) was vital.
We also need to remember that people lived much longer in those days. 65 is old to be having children, both then and now, but she still had life ahead of her.
Looking at her story from our vantage point, it sure seems like she still has hope, that there is still road to walk.
But if you had been praying, waiting, wailing, pleading, begging for something for over half your life…wouldn’t you feel despair? Anguish? Confusion?
Sarai went from completely grounded and secure (a good husband, a wealthy household, etc) to unknown and lonely.
She didn’t belong to any playgroups. There weren’t any extra mouths to feed, no college savings fund, if you get what I’m saying.
Being 20-years-old, I don’t know this for sure…but it seems that a lot of what ties women together as we all age is this common role: motherhood.
Sarai wasn’t “part of the club.”
God spoke to Abram and said he must go from his country and leave everything. God would make him famous and would tell him where to go (one step at a time). We don’t know if Sarai was there to hear this – we just know God told Abram and they both had to trust, believe, and obey.
They did. They packed it all up and began the journey. They became homeless and wandered all the way to a different country. To make it more realistic for me, I try to imagine gathering everything I can into suitcases and a backpack and then walking from my house in Florida to Canada.
I’d just rather not, thank you God….but they did it.
When they had gone a ways, there was a famine in the land, so Abram went to Egypt (to live until the famine was over). He warned Sarai not to say she’s his wife – he believed her beauty (at 65!) would be reason enough for the Egyptians to kill him so they could take Sarai for themselves.
And he was right.
Pharaoh’s officials saw Sarai and she was taken into his palace. Nothing appeared wrong with this, because she claimed to be Abram’s sister. Abram was given many gifts and Sarai became a slave. Doesn’t exactly seem like the most loving thing for a husband to do, but we will move on. Diseases came upon Pharaoh and his household and Abram admitted that he was married to Sarai. They left Egypt together. God has intervened and Sarai is free.
The story of Sarai pauses for what is believed to be about 10 years. Still, there was no baby. God has promised that Abram will be the father of a nation so large, it outnumbers the stars. And Sarai believes…but she’s been waiting on God’s promise for many, many years.
She has this God-sized dream and she has patiently waited for so many years, but God appears to be silent. Nothing is happening.
Sarai forgot that even when God appears silent or feels absent, His presence is still there.
When you hear God’s silence, and you feel His absence, trust His presence. – North Point Community Church
God is working behind-the-scenes in your life, too. It might feel like nothing is happening, but He is present and He is working. He always, always keeps His promises.
Let’s read a little more and we’ll see just how big His plans were for this God-sized dream.
Weary of waiting on God’s promise, Sarai gives her maidservant over to Abram. Don’t you just know she thought, “Well, God must have forgotten. He isn’t doing anything, so I’ll just take it into my own hands. Abram is supposed to be the father of a great nation? I can make that happen. It might not be how I had planned, but it’s going to happen if it’s the last thing I do.“
Oh, how we do this every day. We grow tired of waiting on His perfect timing and we reach for the reigns and take control – but our plans are never best.
Her maidservant does indeed become pregnant and give birth to a son – and don’t you know, Sarai wasn’t happy or thrilled that her plan had worked. She was jealous.
The shame of not being able to bare a child intensified. She was unhappy and distraught, deflecting her pain onto her husband saying, “You did this to me!’ When all along…it was her idea.
And like God does for me in my craziness, I believe He used Abram to speak love in a simple way. “She is your servant,” he said to Sarai. He didn’t say “She is my wife, you gave her to me, and the child is mine!”
No. He doesn’t refer to the maidservant as his wife. That spot is reserved for Sarai alone, and he honors her in this way. He loves her, even when she pushes her faults on him.
Soon after this, God changes Abram’s name to Abraham and declares again that he will be the father of many nations. The covenant is still there – God hasn’t forgotten His promise. It’s at this time that Sarai’s name is changed to Sarah and God says, “I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.”
“Sarai” means “princess.”
“Sarah” means “chieftain, head of a royal line.”
From something “normal” to true royalty, God changes Sarah’s life. And just so she never forget it again, he changes her name as a constant reminder.
Very soon we read:
“Now the LORD was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did for Sarah what he had promised. Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him…Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” Genesis 21:1-2, 6 (emphasis mine)
As a side note, can I just mention that Sarah is 90 years old when her son Isaac is born? We met Sarah 25 years ago – and what a journey she has been on!
Is there anything too hard for the LORD?
The answer is no. Isaac is a reminder of Abraham’s joy and Sarah’s doubt that turns into laughter. Her shame is gone, she has her promise.
On a human time table, the promise took 25 years. But nothing was amiss in Heaven.
I don’t know what you’re waiting on today. I don’t know if you’re praying for a child, a wayward son, a lost husband, a stable income, a good health report, or for the grace to mother with strength.
But friend, is there anything too hard for the LORD?