The Inward Beauty of Sarah
Of all the women of the Bible, Sarah stands out as not only a faithful woman who trusted in God, but also a woman whose inward beauty serves as an example for all of us today. She is referenced several times in the New Testament because of her steadfast love for her husband and for her heart for God. Peter tells us that she was an excellent wife, obeying her husband, Abraham and referring to him as lord (I Peter 3:1-6). In fact, we are encouraged to emulate her gentle and quiet spirit that gave her an inward beauty that needed no outward adorning.
Sarai, as she was first known, is written about from Genesis 11 through 25 of the Old Testament demonstrating her important role as the wife of Abram her half brother. In the days of the Patriarchs, this type of family relationship resulting in marriage was not frowned upon.
However, it is made clear that Sarai was barren (Genesis 11:30) and in the culture of her day, this was considered a curse. No woman wanted to be without a child to give her husband an heir.
During the time Abram and Sarai lived in the city of Haran, Abram received a call from God to leave this place and go to a place that God would show him. He made a covenant with Abram to bless him and make him a great nation even though at the time Sarai had no children. Abram was 75 years old at this time and Sarai was 65. The prospect of having children was dim indeed. Can we imagine how empty this woman must have felt with no children and yet, she and Abram obeyed God and traveled to Canaan.
Twice during their sojourns to other places, Abraham lied about his relationship to Sarah (God had changed their names to reflect His covenant with these two) who was still a very beautiful woman. In fact, Abraham was afraid Pharaoh (Genesis 12;12) would kill him in order to take Sarah for himself. Later, he repeated this lie to King Abimelech. However, God’s protection kept these kings from laying a hand on this woman.
Throughout all this time of moving from place to place, Sarah had still not conceived even though the Lord had promised Abraham an heir. She took matters into her own hands by giving her handmaid to Abraham to have a child with her as was the custom of the day. Of course, we know the disastrous results of this union.
A son was born to Abraham but he was not the one whom God had promised that would be his heir. t was later that Sarah conceived Isaac the child of promise through whom the Lord would bring the fulfillment of His covenant with Abraham. The miracle was that she was well past childbearing and yet, God had heard her cry and given to her the joy of a child
Reflect with me on some of the things that happened during Sarah’s life that should give us encouragement as women. First, she left her homeland to go off with her husband to unknown places. Most of us know how difficult living on the move can be especially when our final destination is not in sight. Secondly, she wanted a child so much and yet, she had to face the fact that she was barren. Even though Hagar bore a son for her as an heir, this brought no joy to the family. When we try to fix things in our own strength, we often can make a mess as Sarah had done. Third, her husband tried to pass her off as his sister (she was a half sister but also his wife) so he would not be killed. This would have to put a strain on their relationship but Sarah obeyed her husband and God delivered her each time. Finally, when she did conceive and bear a child, Abraham was instructed to offer him as a sacrifice. Whether Sarah knew about this mission of offering her son as a sacrifice before it was to occur, we are not told. However, I am certain that after the fact, she was told what had happened. This would be something that would take your breath away but Abraham and Sarah remained faithful.
Sarah’s physical beauty is mentioned but her inward beauty of the quiet and gentle spirit mentioned by Peter is what made her an outstanding picture of a godly woman. In the book of Hebrews (11:11), she is mentioned as a woman of faith having trusted God for the child she had waited so long to give birth to. Was she perfect? No, but her life shines in the pages of scripture because she believed God along with her husband. Her prayers were answered and her life was filled with blessing. May we as daughters of the new Covenant in Jesus Christ model our lives after Sarah as Peter wrote in 1 Peter 3:4: “but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.”
This post originally appeared on September 18, 2013______________________________________________About the Author: Barbara has been married 42 years and has four children and seven grandchildren. She works as office manager for her husband's optometric practice and he serves as an elder in their Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. She has been writing for over 20 years to encourage believers to grow in their faith and you can find her at A View From Serenity Acres .