Monday, March 2, 2009

Excerpt from "A Virtuous women in the Bible Lesson" - Sarah

Virtuous Women in the Bible Lesson 1

From Sarai to Sarah:
A Woman's Journey To Faith

Sarah is one of my favorite women in the Bible. Her life is a great reminder that God does not require that you be perfect, nor does He promise that your life will be.

Proverbs warns us that:

Hope deferred makes the heart sick...
-Proverbs 13:12 (AMP)

Sarai's life was a perfect example of the truth lying inside of this scripture.

Her journey began as God sent a message of destiny to Sarai's husband, Abram.

They were told to leave all that they knew, and travel to a new land - Canaan. God promised them that He would give them a child and that, through this seed, all the families of earth shall be blessed (Genesis 12).

Once they arrived in this strange land, God prophesied that He was going to deliver it to their descendants. The ones that were to come from this child.

A child that had not yet been born.

Well, weeks turned into months and months turned into years.

And, for over a decade, God promised Sarai a son. A child that she could love, and nurture. And, for over a decade, Sarai waited for the manifestation of that promise. Her promise of motherhood.

But Sarai was barren.

Yes, her child was to hold the key to blessing all of the people of the world. But I wonder how much Sarai was really thinking about that part. I wonder if, as a woman, more than anything, she really just wanted a baby.

But, years passed. And still, no baby. Sarai could provide no heir for her husband. And, now, a servant born in her house would be his heir (Genesis 15:2-3). The shame and bitterness of her barrenness began to engulf her.

And, as time went on, Sarai began to say within heart,"The Lord has prevented me from having children," (Gen. 16:2). You know that she said in within her heart, because she had begun to say it to her husband.

Sarai blamed God.


Taking Matters of Prophesy Into Your Own Hands

Fearing that God's plan was flawed, Sarai prompted her husband, "Go and sleep with my servant. Perhaps I can have children through her," (Genesis 16:2).

Notice what Sarai says here. "Perhaps I can have children." Her concern was not with the manifestation of God's plan, but with her own longing for motherhood.

Maybe if she realized that this child that she so desperately desired was to be the start of a lineage that would birth the savior of the world, she would have put her own desires aside. Or maybe not.

But surely Sarai's husband Abram, God's right hand man, understood after 10 years of walking with the Lord that He would not forsake them! Surely he told her to hold her tongue and wait on Jehovah God!

Never underestimate the amazing power of female persuasion.

"Abram agreed with Sarai’s proposal. So Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian servant and gave her to Abram as a wife," (Genesis 16:2-3).

But, this was not God's plan. This, was Sarai's plan. And it quickly began to backfire.

Once Hagar became pregnant, she resented Sarai. After being punished for her behavior, Hagar finally ran away.

Since the child Hagar carried was Abram's seed, and God had made covenant with Abram, God gave comfort to Hagar and convinced her to return to Abram and Sarai (Genesis 16:6-15).


God Sees Through Your Present Faults
To Your Future Faith

Thank God for His mercy. Though Abram and Sarai had gone outside of His will and created a huge mess, His love for them had not dried up, but was still as an overflowing well.

He promised that kings and nations would come from Abram. Hagar's son Ishmael was not the son of promise. Once again, He proclaimed that Sarai would still bear Abram a son.

Speaking of God's unyielding forgiveness, He changed her name from Sarai which meant Noble Woman, to Sarah, which means Princess.

Now, of course I could be reading more into this than is here, but I feel that God calling her Princess is so symbolic.

Despite Sarah's imperfections, He had taken her as His daughter. Why?

Because God, unlike man, does not just see who you are today, He sees who He has destined you to become.

And, as a daughter of the King of Kings, what name would be more fitting than Princess?


Is This Study on Un-Virtuous Women in the Bible?

More time passed, and God returned to visit Abraham and Sarah.

Now, this is an interesting situation. Though Sarah knew Who was there, she didn't go out to welcome her Guest. The visitors even inquired about where she was, but she never came out of the tent.

Instead, Sarah stayed inside, and eavesdropped.

You have to ask yourself - Why didn't she come out? But, if you put yourself in her shoes, would you have gone out there? For what?

To hear more unanswered promises? To have your hopes raised yet again, but never fulfilled?

Or, would you have stayed in the tent, just like Sarah?

As Sarah listened, she overheard God telling Abraham, "I will return to you about this time next year, and your wife, Sarah, will have a son!" (Genesis 18:10 NLT).

As she overheard this, Sarah "laughed silently to herself and said, 'How could a worn-out woman like me enjoy such pleasure, especially when my master—my husband—is also so old?'" (Genesis 18:12).

You see, as God's plan tarried, time did not. Sarah had long entered into menopause, and believed that her body could no longer conceive. As God so eloquently put it, "it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women" (Genesis 18:11).

So, she laughed within herself, I would imagine, to keep from crying. But, though her laugh was silent, there was One who could hear it.

Imagine Sarah's shock when God asked why she had laughed!

"Why did Sarah laugh?
Why did she say, 'Can an old woman like me have a baby?'
Is anything too hard
for the Lord?"
-Genesis 18:13-14

Uh Oh! Quickly, Sarah denied it all. But, God responded, "No, but you did laugh," (Genesis 18:15).

OK, so Sarah didn't just laugh at God, but she lied about it. She is definitely was not having a "Virtuous Woman in the Bible" day !


A Legacy of Faith Born From a Life of Fears

Now, we could all sit around judging Sarah, but would we have been so different?

Do you have anything that God has been promising you. A promise that, when you look at your physical circumstance, your chances at attaining it look grim at best. And, maybe, as the time has passed, your faith has begun to pass along with it.

But, let me tell you the second half of the proverb that we began this study with.

Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
but when the desire is fulfilled, it is a tree of life.
-Proverbs 13:12 (AMP)

But, how do you open the door for God to fulfill the desire that He alone has placed in your heart? By faith.

God says that Faith is:

The assurance, confirmation, and the title deed of the things we hope for.
The proof of things we do not see.
The conviction of their reality.
It perceives as real fact what is not revealed to the senses.
-Hebrews 11:1 (AMP)
This is what Sarah began to develop within herself. You see, in order to bring forth the seed that would ultimately lead to the Christ, God did not just have to change Abraham, He had to change Sarah.

I think that is why she is one of my favorite women in the Bible. She is a shining example of God's desire to mold you into your destiny.

You can not hide behind your femininity or your husband, and assume you do not have a place in God's plan. God has a special plan for you, and you, like Sarah, will have to grow into your destiny.

In the end, "Because of faith also Sarah herself received physical power to conceive a child, even when she was long past the age for it, because she considered [God] Who had given her the promise to be reliable and trustworthy and true to His word," (Hebrews 11:11 AMP).

Sarah's faith won her the honor of being the only woman among the top 5 examples God gave to exemplify true faith in Hebrews 11.

In fact, you are actually considered Sarah's true daughter when you "...let nothing terrify you [not giving way to hysterical fears or letting anxieties unnerve you]," (1Peter 3:6 AMP).

When you are able to look fear in the eye and say "No thank you - I choose to believe my Lord," you have inherited Sarah's legacy of faith.

Virtuous Women in the Bible

Lesson 1: From Sarai to Sarah-
A Woman's Journey To Faith
Have you ever caught yourself beginning to blame God for a particular situation? If so, why?

What do you think the significance was of God changing Sarai's name to Sarah?

Were you surprise by Sarah's imperfections? Why do you think God never glosses over people's missteps in the Bible?

Like the women in the Bible, what spiritual legacy would you like to leave for the future generations of women in your family?

Sarah is one of the women in the Bible whose story is not one of perfection. And neither will your's be. But, Sarah's legacy is of her journey to being able to take God at His Word. Of growing into the name that He had given her - His Princess.

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Welcome to my blog..

I hope to inspire you with some words of encouragement. I hope to send forth positive words from my comforter... the Lord. He has been a dear friend in my travels and I want to be able to share them with anyone else that is in need. Keep Him close at all times because you are always in need of such a friend as Jesus. Even when things are going great or when it all crashes down around you. Just keep your eyes on Him.

FROG- Fully Rely On God!