Taming a Princess
Sarah was named a princess. That's what her name means. However, her name carried no royalty. She has always been treated as a background character as we tell God’s story of developing a people set apart for God’s purpose. Because of that, we usually focus on Abraham. He’s the one who received God’s message to relocate. Sarah is the one who packed up the tent. He’s the one God showed how big his family was going to be by pointing to the stars. Sarah is the one who lived with barrenness in a culture that considered it God’s punishment.
Sarah had two big things against her from the beginning: she was a woman and she was childless. She had no currency in the culture.
However, did you know she is mentioned by name more than any other woman in the Bible? That was the first reason that made me realize I had only surface knowledge about this hidden woman.
When I dug deeper, I found a clear message about God’s use of this flawed woman as a full partner in the promise He made to Abraham. It startled me that I had not heard it before. God had always planned that Sarah would participate fully in the covenant. Afterall, Abraham couldn’t create this star family without a God-chosen partner.
Two lessons stand out in Sarah’s story:
1. God didn’t prevent Sarah from using her willful, self-protecting actions.
Sarah was strong-willed, No doubt about that. But God saw it as a characteristic He wanted to tame and redirect. First, Sarah had to taste the pain of her own destructive choices. When she decided to help God give Abraham a family, her solution was to use Hagar as a surrogate. But I guess they didn’t sign a contract because Hagar tried to become number one wife over Sarah. Sarah suffered much at the hand of Hagar, all because she thought she had a better idea than God.
My takeaway is simple. Always let God choose for me. Always recognize that His choices move me toward His promises. I don’t claim a promise anymore. I claim God’s choice. When I do, promise always follows.
2. In Sarah’s most vulnerable times, God acted in her behalf.
Twice Abraham tried to pass Sarah off as his sister. It was his way of trying to protect himself, but not by God’s idea. It is true that Abraham had a target on his back when he crossed into Egypt with a beautiful wife during a famine. Pharaoh wouldn't think twice about killing a husband to add a beauty to his harem. However, if Sarah was Abraham's sister, she was fair game. No need to take out Abraham..
Do you realize that God sent a message to the pagan Pharaoh that something was wrong? Who was God protecting? Sarah! Why? Because He had chosen her as a partner in the covenant God made with Abraham. God was protecting His investment.
Don't misundeerstand here. God won’t save us from our willful ways, We still have to say “no” to anything God doesn't ordain and God will give us the strength to say it. But in our most vulnerable places, God steps in with resources, strength, and options we couldn’t bring. He will protect His investment. But we must let Him.
So when the hard places come where we can’t find the exit, we need to learn to turn it over to God and let Him open the right doors. It’s not always escape; sometimes it is empowerment. Sometimes it is another opening. Sometimes it involves just waiting it out. But it always shows us a better way in the end.
If you want to know more about God’s investment in Sarah and His investment in you, I’ve prepared a one-page Bible study. You can download it here. And when you finish it, I’d love to hear your lessons about Sarah. Write me at firstname.lastname@example.org