It’s another gist day, and in today’s gist we will be looking at the obedience of Sarah. We will be considering the kind of obedience that Sarah had for her husband Abraham that made her a reference point of godly women of old (1 Peter 3:5-6).
I have found an ideal story that I pray will give us insight into the obedience of Sarah. And that story is found in Genesis 20.
Now Abraham moved on from there into the region of the Negev and lived between Kadesh and Shur. For a while he stayed in Gerar, and there Abraham said of his wife Sarah, “She is my sister.” Then Abimelech king of Gerar sent for Sarah and took her.
But God came to Abimelech in a dream one night and said to him, “You are as good as dead because of the woman you have taken; she is a married woman.”
Now Abimelech had not gone near her, so he said, “Lord, will you destroy an innocent nation? Did he not say to me, ‘She is my sister,’ and didn’t she also say, ‘He is my brother’? I have done this with a clear conscience and clean hands.”
Then God said to him in a dream, “Yes, I know you did this with a clear conscience, and so I have kept you from sinning against me. That is why I did not let you touch her. Now return the man’s wife, for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you and you will live. But if you do not return her, you may be sure that you and all yours will die.”
When you read this story, the first thought that is likely come to your mind is “What was Sarah thinking of that would make her play along with Abraham on a sensitive issue such as that?” Was she so dumb or stupid to agree to such foolishness in the name of submission?
The first thing I want us to be reminded of is that Sarah was just as human as you and I; she was not a spirit being and she was no angel. She felt like you and I feel; she had emotions like you and I have emotions; she got hurt like you and I get hurt and believe me, she cried like you and I cry. Yet she is the height of reference for submission in marriage.
I want to believe that like every other woman, Sarah was very hurt by this development. She must have felt like just a mere person in the life of her husband and not a wife that he should love and protect, and this feeling would have been buttressed by the fact that she had no child for Abraham. So to say that Abraham no longer attached any significance to her as his wife because she was unable to give him a child that he so longed for. That most likely would explain why he was willing to let her go without a fight. This was the Abraham that went to war for his brother's son Lot and defeated four kings in the rescue of Lot in Genesis 14, yet he was afraid of just Abimelech the king of Gerar and could not fight for his own wife Sarah.
Now if you were in Sarah’s shoes, how would you feel? But I have huge respect for Sarah and now I understand why she is the reference point of all godly women of old because she put her hurt, her anger, her hatred, her disgust and whatever else she could have felt for her husband on hold and still submitted to him in line with God’s will and instruction for her life and marriage.
Yes, she supported her husband’s claim at the detriment of her dignity and pride as a woman and allowed herself to be wheeled into the house of another man as one of his wives against her wish or will because she knew it was more important to obey God and let God fight her course than to fight it herself. And interestingly she sought no revenge even after God came to her rescue; and no divorce.
Now, this is not the first time Abraham was doing this to Sarah, he had done it once in Genesis 12:10-20. And like I mentioned earlier, she must have felt the hurt, the pain, and the betrayal, yet she stuck to her marriage. I can bet you that its either her tolerance level was very high or her fear of God must be very strong. For Sarah to obey God and submit to her husband even when he was inflicting so much pain on her emotions, is phenomenal and worthy of emulation. This is an example for all women to copy.
Will you now blame God for insisting that the promised child, through own all nations on earth will be blessed; the embodiment of all that Abraham had and would ever receive from God, the covenant of God fulfilled in the life of Abraham should come from Sarah and not the bond woman Haggai. Can we then understand why at the age of 90 Sarah must also give birth to a child? God will not cause her to suffer so much emotional trauma and not laugh at the end; that is not the nature of God. Those who put God first in everything will surely have a crown here on earth and also in heaven.
By the time Isaac was born the attention Sarah got from Abraham improved from zero level to a hundred level. When God decided to wipe the tears of Sarah she became like one who just got married and was being loved by her husband like a new bride that when she died Abraham mourned and wept beside her body. This was the same Sarah he had offered to kings on a platter of gold when he didn’t appreciate her value.
I wonder how many women will dare to have this kind of submission to their husbands as Sarah did. This is not submission when everything is okay, but submission even when it hurts and feels awful to submit. This is submission when submission itself is not making any sense. I once inquired of God how possible it is to submit in a circumstance such as this, and what the Lord laid on my spirit is that if we can’t submit to our husbands that we can see, how then can we submit to Him (God) who we cannot see?
You will agree with me that it’s not all of God’s instructions that makes sense to us, and submitting then wouldn’t make sense too. But submission when it does not make sense is the submission God is calling us to. That is the submission that pleases Him; that is the submission that moves our lives forward and stands us out as children of God.
Can you dare to submit senselessly to your husband, not because he is perfect and never does wrong, or because he is a very wise man that commits no error or mistake; but you are submitting to him senselessly because the Lord has asked you to submit to him. So you are submitting to your husband not because he is sooooo good, but because you fear and reference the Lord who has asked you to submit. When you do, you will laugh like Sarah, rejoice in your old age like Sarah and have love in your marriage like Sarah had.