Sarah is one of the two females mentioned by name in Hebrews 11. She is the only one recorded in the Bible that God Himself renamed. Her former name Sarai means “my princess” which might mean that her honor is only confined within a select group of people. God changed her name to Sarah, which means “a princess”. This change of name is prophetically significant as this signifies the future role of the descendants of Abraham and Sarah.
Sarah is the wife of Abraham. Her life story is filled with lessons that we all need to understand, learn, and exhibit in our lives. While there are mistakes that Sarah made, she is still considered to be faithful and listed to be one of the heroes of faith. It is then imperative for us to look into her life and see her examples of faithfulness.
Lesson no. 1: Nothing is too difficult for God
Abraham and Sarah are very old to have a child. As hard as it may seem, God promised them that they will have a child in their old age.
God said, “I will certainly return to you according to the time of life, and behold, Sarah your wife shall have a son” (Genesis 18:10). In this statement, God is confirming His promise to Abraham that though they are already old, Abraham will still have a child.
“(Sarah was listening in the tent door which was behind him.) Now Abraham and Sarah were old, well advanced in age; and Sarah had passed the age of childbearing. Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, “After I have grown old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also” (verses 10-12)?
Because of this, God mentioned a statement that is so PROFOUND that anyone who believes in God must stop and consider. He said:
“Is anything too hard for the LORD?”
God can certainly do absolutely anything! He is the supreme God of the universe and our Father at the same time. Unlike us, God is not limited by physical laws. He is spirit and transcends all things. He can dogmatically say something and have the power to bring it to pass. This is why He confidently promised Abraham that He will have a son. Giving them a son is something that God can easily do.
Isaiah 46:8-11 tells us:
“Remember this, and show yourselves men;
Recall to mind, O you transgressors.
Remember the former things of old,
For I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is NONE like Me,
Declaring the end from the beginning,
And from ancient times things that are not yet done,
Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,
And I will do all My pleasure,’…
Indeed I have spoken it;
I will also bring it to pass.
I have purposed it;
I will also DO it.”
Like in the life of Sarah, God made promises to us. As we read the Bible, we can find a lot of promises that God gives to His people. God cannot lie (Titus 1:2) and He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). He is the omnipotent and all-powerful God who can bring to pass all his promises. We can have the confidence and assurance that God will keep His promises.
So in times of your trouble, you can always pull out your Bible read the promises of God and pray to Him according to His will and purpose.
Lesson no. 2: We will not be judged by a moment of weakness
Like any of us, Sarah and Abraham are both humans who are subject to human nature. In the Middle Eastern culture, it would have been difficult for Sarah to face the humiliation of not being able to bear a child. She must have been wearied with the thought of not being able to give Abraham an heir.
God first made the promise that they will have a son when Sarah was already 65 years old. She is passed the child-bearing age. As this might be the case, Abraham and Sarah believed God that God will perform a miracle. They have waited for God to fulfill His promise.
Little they do realize, it is a test of their faith. God did promise them a child, but He did not specify when. Days have turned into weeks. Weeks turned into months and months turned into years and there’s still no sign of a child for Abraham and Sarah.
As they grow impatient, Sarah did what is right in her own eyes. Sarah said to Abraham, “See now, the LORD has restrained me from bearing children. Please, go in to my maid; perhaps I shall obtain children by her” (Genesis 16:2). Abraham eventually heeded the voice of Sarah.
This moment of weakness on the part of Sarah might have caused her to lose her salvation. If God was not merciful and gracious, Sarah could have easily been punished by God. However, we see later in Sarah’s life that she had developed an unshakable faith to the point that she was mentioned by the Apostle Paul in Hebrews 11.
Sarah’s faith started to be like a mustard seed. It is so small and yet, it has all the potential to become a great tree. Faith does not come overnight. It is developed through a series of trial and triumph.
Indeed, Sarah initially laughed when she heard that she will still have a child (Genesis 18:12). However, in the course of time, Sarah eventually came to the realization that God is able and is more than willing to keep His promises.
This is why we read in Hebrews 11:11-12:
“By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised. Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born as many as the stars in multitude—innumerable as the sand which is on the seashore.”
Lesson no. 3: You will never be too old to be tested by God
In our old age, we might become proud because of the many things we have already gone through. However, Christians will always be tested regardless of their age. This is certainly the case with Sarah.
God has started to work with Abraham when he was 75 years old. At this time, Sarah is 65 years old. Some Christians have this notion that age brings them in a position where they have become better than others. While it is true that older people have higher accountability because they should have known better, we can still see that old people are still humans. They are not perfect.
No matter what age group you belong, you need to look into the life of Sarah. She is a testimony that God does not play favorite. It doesn’t mean that if you are old, God will not test you anymore. We have seen in the life of Sarah that no matter what your age is, the test of your faith will still happen right at the end of your life.
We must always remember what the Apostle Paul tells us in I Corinthians 10:12; “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.”
Lesson no. 4: Wives must be submissive to your husbands
Imagine if you are Sarah and your husband decides to leave everything you have known and sojourn to an unfamiliar territory. How would you feel? This is exactly the predicament that Sarah faced when Abraham told her that they will leave the land of Ur.
It could have been difficult for Sarah to follow her husband. Leaving Ur means severing her tie with her family, not knowing if ever she will see them again, and aimlessly wandering in the wilderness. We know that the family of Abraham is pagans and idolaters (Joshua 24:2). They have not known the God of Abraham and this could also have been the case for Sarah.
For the first time, Sarah’s mind is being opened to new truths and now, she has to act on her belief. This shows us that faith must not just be about believing, but it should be doing. The first test of Sarah’s faith is to leave her homeland and to go to a place they do not know (Hebrews 11:8).
In faith, Sarah submitted to her husband and has followed his lead. Of course, it must not be a blind submission, but it must be submission according to God’s will and purpose.
I Peter 3:1 and 6 tell us, “Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands… as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord”.
For a marital relationship to work, there must be someone who should lead and that should be the husband. The wives must be willing to yield with respect and honor. From there, husbands and wives can work together to exemplify the type of relationship between Jesus Christ and the Church (Ephesians 5:22-33).
Lesson no. 5: From laughter of doubt to laughter of faith
The very meaning of Isaac, Sarah’s son, is laughter. We have read earlier that Sarah laughed when she overheard that she will really bore a son in her old age (Genesis 18:12). She even lied when asked by the LORD why she laughed (verse 15).
In this instance, we can see how Sarah transformed her faith from weakness to strength throughout the years of waiting. Her laughter of doubting may have been a sign of weakness and unbelief to what the LORD has said to Abraham. Instead of apologizing to the LORD because of her unbelief, she lied because she was afraid.
However, we have seen the faithfulness of Sarah to the promise made by God. She strongly held on and greatly believed that what God has promised, He is able to deliver. Thus, in Genesis 21:6, we see the transformed attitude of Sarah. She said, “God has made me laugh, and all who hear will laugh with me.”
Indeed, when our faith has been tested and proven true, we can have the tremendous and indescribable feeling of joy and blessedness. This shows us that it is only through following God and keeping our faith strong that we will truly find genuine and lasting happiness.
These are just some of the lessons we can learn from the life of Sarah. It has not been an easy battle that Sarah has fought. She had to fight the waves of doubts, fears, and uncertainties in her life to have her faith strengthened.
To see is not to believe, but to believe is to see.
Like Sarah, we can live a life of faith. Though it is not easy, our laughter of doubting will eventually turn into laughter of believing. We will eventually come to the realization that to see is not to believe, but rather, to believe is to SEE.