Sarah had great faith?

Mary the mother of Jesus was special, to put it mildly. Yet when the angel appeared to her and told her that she was going to give birth to a son who would be great and would be called the Son of the Most High, she did not respond with “Yes Lord.” Instead, she asked the angel how that could possibly happen since she was a virgin. A reasonable question, and one that the angel answered for her. Yet when Zechariah, the husband of Mary’s cousin Elizabeth, was told that he was going to have a son, and he also wondered aloud how that could happen since he and his wife were old, he was struck mute by the angel.

            I have heard it argued that since Zechariah was a priest more was expected of him. This makes sense. He had a far greater understanding of who God was and should have responded with faith when the angel appeared to him and informed him that he was going to have a son. And perhaps because he did not respond with faith, he had to be muted to stop him from saying other unbelieving things.

            If that is true for Zechariah and Mary, what happened with Abraham and Sarah? Abraham invites some men who he saw near his tent, to enjoy a meal with him. One of those men was the Lord. While they were eating together Abraham is asked where his wife was, and Abraham says that she was in the tent. One of the guests informs Abraham that he was going to return in a year, and when that happened, Sarah would have a son. Because of her age, and the age of her husband, Sarah laughs at this idea. The Lord asks Abraham why Sarah laughed, and because she was afraid Sarah responded by denying that she had laughed.

            It always seemed unfair to me that Sarah is in trouble for laughing at the news that she is going to have a son in her old age, when Abraham had already done the same thing. God had appeared to him in a powerful way, and told him that he would have a son, and again, because of his old age and the age of his wife that seemed impossible, and Abraham laughed. Surely Abraham had more reason to believe what the Lord was telling him than Sarah did? Yet they both seemed to respond in the same way – they laughed.

            Perhaps Sarah wasn’t really in trouble for her laughter. There were no consequences for it, just a desire for her to be honest. So, what happened next? We don’t know everything that happened in the following months, except that Sarah did get pregnant, and the Lord did for this elderly couple what he had promised.

            An interesting story, made more interesting, in my opinion, by this verse in Hebrews 11:11

            “And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise.”

            Whoever wrote the book of Hebrews had a different picture of Sarah than I do when I read Genesis. I don’t see faith in Sarah when she hears that she is going to have a son in her old age – she laughed. And so did Abraham. Somehow the Holy Spirit inspired the writer to the Hebrews to see Sarah differently. If we assume that he knew no more than what we have read in the Scriptures, then the Holy Spirit sees faith where perhaps we don’t. Where was her faith? Perhaps in having sex with her husband and doing what she needed to do to respond appropriately to what the Lord had said to her. She didn’t think it was going to happen, but she was not going to be the reason it didn’t happen. She did what she had to do and left the rest up to God.

            Perhaps we can do the same. What has the Lord been saying to us? An increase in anointing? Then we need to put ourselves in places where the Spirit can move through us – in prayer, in the ministry team, in sharing with others. A growth in our church – then make sure folks know about the church, finds ways to be welcoming of new people, help others to want to invite friends to come to the church. This is not about trying to make anything happen because of what we are doing, it’s about being prepared for God to keep his promises.

            I may feel that I do not have faith to see all that the Lord has promised, but I am determined to be in the place where he can fulfill his promises through me. And maybe when that happens someone will think that I had great faith to bring it about. In reality, I simply have a great God.

1 thought on “Sarah had great faith?

  1. I love this, Mary. Very thought-provoking. x


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