"Look... unto Sarah that bare you" (Isaiah 51:2).
The Bible is full of stories about women who have lived exciting and different lives. Many of them were examples to us of great strength of character, but there is only one woman who we are specifically encouraged to follow. Interestingly, she was one of the most beautiful women who has ever lived, perhaps next to Eve. What kind of mesmerizing beauty did she have that caused a king to swoon over her when she was 90 years old?
The woman was Sarah. She was over 60 years old when she left the city of Haran (which was now a small village in modern Turkey) with her husband, Abram, and began the hazardous journey into the deserts of Syria and the Negev of Israel.
Travel in the desert is considered most unfavourable to the preservation of beauty. But after many months, maybe years, of travelling and tenting in deserts, enduring dust storms, hot sun and scorching winds, and on through the northern Sinai desert to Egypt (because of famine in the land of Canaan), Sarah was still as captivating as ever. Not even her age or the desert could mar her beauty.
She was past age 65 years of age when she arrived in Egypt. The Bible says that, “As soon as Abram entered Egypt, the Egyptians noticed how rarely beautiful a woman she was. Pharaoh’s nobles noticed her too and highly commended her to Pharaoh; so she was taken to Pharaoh’s place” (Genesis 12:14 MLB).This situation was repeated again in Gerar, where King Abimelech fell in love with her. She was 90 years old at this time!
What was the secret of her enchanting beauty? Was there something more than her fair features? The Bible gives us a clue when it tells us about the serenity of her submissive spirit. She had an inner grace that emanated from a “meek and quiet spirit” (1 Peter 3:4).
Imagine your husband coming home tonight and exclaiming, “Honey, God has spoken to me and I feel that it is time for us to move on. We’re going to be leaving here very soon.”
“But where?” you cry.
“I don’t know the destination. God will show us.” I won’t print your answer!
But, that is what happened to Sarah when Abram confronted her with the news that God had called him to another country. Sarah was obedient to her husband and submitted to his plans and “away they went, not even knowing where they were going” (Genesis 12:1-5, Hebrews 11.8).
It must have been painful for Sarah to leave her home and family and familiar surroundings. Her name means "Princess." She came from a well-to-do family and lived a comfortable and pampered life in Ur (now southern Iraq.) Instead, she ended up living a nomadic life, dwelling in tents in the mountains and deserts for 67 years!
WHAT WAS THE SOURCE OF HER BEAUTY?
God honoured her faith and obedience and as we have discovered, she retained her beauty. No wonder God calls it the “ageless beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit” (1 Peter 3:4 GNB).
This kind of submission took faith and strength of character. It isn't for weaklings. It doesn’t take any noble qualities to demand your own way. Any three year old can do that. Submission is for the unselfish and the mature of spirit. Wuest’s Greek exposition says that meekness is “that temper of spirit in which we accept God’s dealings with us as good and therefore without disputing.” Jack Hayford says, “Submission is for people who accept divinely arranged order for the sake of protection, fulfilment and realization.”
This dramatic entry into a new lifestyle was just the beginning of many crises for Sarah. She was obedient to her husband’s authority even when he was wrong. Abraham had a great problem as he travelled through strange places, and that was his beautiful wife. Therefore, he made a deal with her that wherever they went, she was to say she was his sister as he was afraid they would kill him because of her. It was actually a half-truth as she was his half-sister. On the two occasions when Sarah was taken from Abraham by kings, God honoured and protected her and she was given back to her husband totally untouched (Genesis 12:1-20; 20:1-18). 1 Peter 3:6 says, “Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters you are, as long as you do well.”
WHY DO WE REACT?
It doesn’t seem popular, even in Christendom, to be Sarah’s daughters today. The moment the word "submission" is mentioned the prickles go up! Women revolt at the sound of the word. Why does it produce so much reaction?
It's a godly attitude. Why such a fuss about a godly quality? Although it is a virtue that is especially beatifying to women, it is a quality God intends for all mankind. The Bible says that we are to be in submission to our husbands “in the same way…” In the same way as what? In the same way that we submit to every human authority. When it talks in Ephesians Chapter 5 about wives submitting to their own husbands, it follows immediately on from where we are all asked to submit to one another (1 Peter 3.1 cf. 2.13 GNB; Ephesians 5:21-33).
Isn't it astonishing that the selfish attitudes of pride, independence and assertiveness are far more popular today than the godly attitudes of meekness, humility, and submission?. And yet it was this spirit of pride and independence that caused Lucifer to be thrown out of heaven. Jesus however, because of his total submission to His Father’s will and His willingness to relinquish His rights of equality with God, wrought for us eternal salvation (Isaiah 12:12-17; Philippians 2:5-11).
"Dear Father, Thank you for showing me the source of true beauty. I ask you to work in my life by the power of your Holy Spirit. Please expose all the ugly things in my life so I can repent of them and let your beauty fill me. Amen."
I long for the ageless beauty of a humble and gentle spirit, rather than the transient beauty of this world