THE FAITH OF SARAH
Hebrews 11:11Through faith also Sarah herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised.
The events that support the lesson text are found in Old Testament scriptures. First, notice what God told His faithful servant, Abraham. And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be. And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her (Gen. 17:15-16). No doubt this promise of God was shocking, and seemed impossible, to both Abraham and Sarah.
In language we all can understand today, one can almost hear them say to themselves, as well as to God, "You've got to be kidding." After all, Abraham was one hundred years old, and Sarah was ninety years of age (See Vs. 17). At this time in history, these ages of men and women was considered to be far beyond the years of child bearing. Yet God assured them of this fact by saying, Sarah, thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him. In Chapter 21 we find the event happened just as God had promised. For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him. And Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac (Gen. 21:2-3).
The initial "laughing" at the idea of giving birth to a son at their age, quickly gave way to the prevailing faith of both Abraham and Sarah, because she judged Him faithful who had promised, that is, she ceased to doubt the promise of God. Through faith ...Sarah herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age (of child bearing). The initial thought of conception and bearing a child seemed physically impossible to both Abraham and Sarah. Yet both soon realized that God's promise was truthful and sincere. Both immediately became convinced that this promise of God would be realized regardless of how impossible it may have seemed to their human understanding. Once convinced through her belief, Sarah's faith in God grew and gave her strength to endure the birth of Isaac, the child of promise. What a great illustration of faith: the confidence placed in God to perform what appeared to be humanly impossible.
Unto Abraham and Sarah a son was born, the child of promise, and Isaac was his God-given name. Considering the verses following the lesson text, God further promised that from him a nation of people were to descend - the Jewish nation, which was to be as innumerable as the stars of the sky, ...and as the sand, which is by the seashore (Heb. 11:12). However, both Abraham and Sarah died in faith. They saw the birth of a son that was miraculously given to them by God, yet they failed to see the birth of the nation, which God promised, that would descend from his seed. However, by faith, they saw the promised nation afar off. They neither saw the Jewish nation, nor did they permanently reside in the promised land of Canaan, which they were to inherit. They were merely sojourners in Canaan; they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth (Vs. 13). This was true of Abraham and Sarah, and it was also true of Isaac and his son, Jacob - these all died in faith, not having received the promises of a great nation beyond numbering, or Canaan as their dwelling place.
Certainly they could have, at any time, returned to the country from which they came (See Vs. 15). They could have returned to Haran, the country known as Padan-aram, or even to the Mesopotamian city of Ur of the Chaldees. What kept them from returning was their faith in God, that he would fulfill His promises of a great nation and a land in which their family would one day live. What a great lesson of faith for all Christians. The sinful world from which Christians are called, the realm of Satan, continually tempts one to abandon the cause of Christ and return to its sensual temptations. But like Abraham and Sarah, faithful Christians desire a better country, that is, an heavenly (city) (Heb. 11:16).
The apostle Paul, in his letter to the Christians at Rome, had this to say about the faith of Abraham, and the same could be said about his wife, Sarah. He wrote that Abraham staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; and being fully persuaded that, what He had promised, He was able also to perform (Rom. 4 20-21). This is our example! This is the faith that every Christian needs! This is the faith that will lead us to that better country - a home in heaven!