Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Grace and Beauty

While in Egypt, most likely, Abraham picked up Hagar as Sarah's slave. She may have been a gift of Pharoh after he discovered Sarah was Abraham's wife and not his sister. whatever it was, Hagar was the slave of Sarah.

Sarah encouraged Abraham to have a child through Hagar when it was obvious Sarah was to old to conceive. The Word says, "Sarah...took Hagar...and gave her to Abraham as a wife." This was not uncommon and we see later that Rebecca did the same thing. Hagar became proud and full of disrespect (contempt) to her mistress when she realized she was pregnant with Abraham's child, so Sarah went to Abraham and blamed him for the problem she created! "May the wrong done to me be on you!...May the Lord judge between you and me."

Wait a minute! You, Sarah, came up with the idea! What are you talking about? As if that was not enough, Sarah then became a terrible mistress and mistreated Hagar so badly that Hagar ran away.

Next we find Sara eavesdropping in the tent. The LORD told Abraham that in a year's time Sarah would conceive and have a son. Sarah laughed. Now, she laughed to herself, but we know from Scripture that God knows our hearts and our thoughts, so He asked Abraham why Sarah laughed. Then Sarah lied. She denied laughing. She lied to the LORD's face!

Now Isaac is weaned - probably two or three years old. Ishmael is about 15 or 16 years old here and, being a typical teen, he was laughing at the big deal being made by Abraham at the big party thrown to celebrate weaning - much like the first birthday party in the Philippines. My impression is that Sarah was a very protective mother since she had waited 90 years for motherhood! Sarah was angry. She demanded Abraham drive away Hagar and Ishmael so that her sole would be the sole heir. Jealousy, greed, coveting, anger, bitterness are all part of this.

Do you get the picture of Sarah? She was not a good person!

Yet... God is full of mercy and grace.

I Peter 3 hold Sarah up as a woman who "adorned the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit!"

Wait a second! That is not the woman we just saw!

"For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening."

Sarah lived under law, but grace triumphs law!

Hebrews 11:11 tells us that it was "by faith that Sarah herself received power to conceive...since she considered Him faithful Who had promised."

After she laughed, she was caught by the LORD and she realized who He was and she believed! Am I ever convicted by God of my sin to the point that I change and believe His promises?

This is so encouraging to me. Even when I sin, when I don't trust God and live faithfully, blame others for problems I made for myself, lie, and am unkind and unreasonable to others, angry, jealous, etc, God still gives me grace. He still brings me to repentance and forgiveness. He can still cause me to be a work of His grace and beauty, someone who adorns the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit!

Oh, Lord! Work in my life. I need Your grace and I need to be a grace-giver. I long to adorn myself as Sarah did, honoring my husband and being more beautiful on the inside than the outside. Help me to prioritize my time and my "beautification" to be in line with you and Your Word. Thank you so much for the example of Sarah and the encouragement it brings to me today.

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