One character who often gets overlooked in the Bible is Sarah, Abraham’s wife. She appears from time to time in Genesis, but often doesn’t receive much attention. In fact, male characters dominate the Bible. Why is this? Does God pay more attention to men than to women?
Not at all. In fact, the Bible holds women in higher regard than most people realize. Jesus appeared to women first after his resurrection. Jesus associated with the woman at the well, who was an outcast. There are also many stories like Esther and Ruth, which show that God wants to use women just as much as He wants to use men.
Then why are men more prevalent in the Bible?
Because men are called to lead the family. A Biblical Principle I came across sheds more light on the issue and it’s the Shared Work Principle: A leader often gets the credit for a shared work. In Exodus 36:8-37 Bezalel is the leader of a group of workers assigned to make items for the Tabernacle. Yet as you read the whole chapter, it attributes all the items as being made by Bezalel. People often see and give credit to the leader for tasks accomplished by a group.
I think this is why the Bible often focuses in on the men. Their wives are often included in the story but you don’t see them quite as much or know the extent of the influence they had on the story. But the story is just as much theirs as it is their husbands.
Sarah, Abraham’s wife is one of those people that you really don’t see as much as Abraham. But she had a role in influencing Abraham and God used her in His plan to build the nation of Israel. Sarah is even listed in the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11, which says, “And by faith, Sarah, who was past her childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who made the promise.”
That being said, in my recent study of Genesis 17:15-21 I found a few principles that apply to wives.
1. A wife’s surrender to God is essential to the blessing of the family (vs. 15)
Sarah had to be willing in order for God’s blessing to be placed on Abraham’s family. If Sarah had said “No. Use someone else.” she would not have only lost out on the blessing of giving birth to the nation of Israel, she would have denied Abraham the blessing as well.
She had to come to a point of surrender for all this to happen. For God to be able to use you, you need to surrender YOUR will, YOUR plan, YOUR ideas and give them to God.
When you as a wife are not willing to follow your husband and support him, the family is going struggle. When a wife is not in sync with her husband there is a tug of war going on and no one is going to win. Both parties are going to end up losing.
2. Your ministry goes beyond your husband (vs. 15)
Sarai literally means “My Princess”. God tells Abraham, no longer is she going to be just YOUR princess. Now she is going to go beyond just being yours. Sarah means “Princess” and the whole point of this name change is that God is not only going to use Abraham to birth the nation of Israel, He is going to use Sarah too. The Bible tells us that God will use Israel to bless the world. Because Sarah placed her faith in God, she was used to help bring this blessing about.
Your first ministry as a wife is to bless your husband. But that is not God’s entire purpose for you… Your ministry goes beyond just him. It extends to your future children. It extends to your church. It extends to your job.
I have to be okay with the fact that sometimes Janae needs to focus on the kids. I have to be okay with the fact that Janae needs an outlet outside of the family where she can minister and influence.
3. God wants to specifically use you (vs. 16, 19, 21)
God doesn’t want to use someone else to do the work He has planned out for you. God wants to use you! In verses 16, 19 and 21 God specifically mentions Sarah in the promise. Before, the promise had only mentioned Abraham. Sarah was not named. And so Ishmael happened. Sarah probably thought, “It’s obviously not me having this kid. I’m too old. Must be someone else.” And then we come to the end of Genesis 17…
God now reveals that SARAH is the one through whom God is going to make this nation. God’s plan included Sarah to make this nation happen.
There have been times when I felt God leading me to minister to someone but then the fear creeps in. “There must be someone out there more qualified than me…”
Sometimes we forget that the Holy Spirit is in us. Or maybe it’s because we just don’t trust God’s power. I often get afraid of the unknown. The bottom line is that I missed out on the blessing of God. I was more comfortable not doing anything. I believed the lie, that I didn’t need the blessing of God.
This principle goes back to surrender. You need to surrender your will before God will use you. He wants to use you… of that there is no doubt. The question is, are you willing to be used?
4. God will accomplish the impossible through you (vs. 17)
What seems impossible for man is not impossible for God. Sarah had no hope of bearing children. Yet as Hebrews 11 states, she still had faith that God could do it.
Have you faced a wall that you think is unbreakable? A problem that you just have no idea of how you are going to go up against it?
That’s where Sarah was. But she trusted God and He used her to do the impossible.
No matter how high a mountain you come across remember that God has the power to help you get over it. You just have to put your faith in Him and lean on His strength. Don’t hesitate when God asks you to do the impossible.
Maybe the reason God asked you to do the impossible was so that you would lean on Him.
5. God reveals his plan most clearly to the person in leadership (vs. 19)
This principle is going to be the hardest for you as a wife. Because you aren’t going to get to see as much as the picture as your husband. Notice that God is talking to Abraham and not Sarah in this passage. It is then Abraham’s responsibility to convey this message to Sarah. Unless you are one getting the message, you aren’t going to see as much of the plan.
It takes a lot of faith for a wife to follow her husband. Especially when she thinks that he is making bad decision. Again, it takes surrender. It requires an abandoning of will. It requires faith in God to submit to your husband.
What does it take to be a Wife of Abandon?
It takes faith in God and His promises.
It takes a watchful eye to seek out opportunities to serve others.
It takes a heart of surrender.
You have a heavy burden to carry as a wife. There are days when you just don’t know if you have the strength to make it.Truth is, you don’t. But God does. Know that He is with you every step of the way. Give him your burdens.
Be like Sarah. Let God use you to accomplish the impossible. Abandon your will and take hold of God’s.