Sarah is the wife of Abraham. While there are mistakes that Sarah made, she is the first woman mentioned in Hebrews 11, which is often called “The Faith Hall of Fame.”
God did promise Abraham and Sarah a son (Genesis 15:1-4), however He did not specify when. Weeks turned into months, and months turned into years, and there was still no sign of a child for Abraham and Sarah. As they grew impatient, Sarah did what was right in her own eyes (Genesis 16:2). Little did they realize, this was a test of faith.
Like any of us, Sarah and Abraham are subject to human nature. In Middle Eastern culture, it would have been difficult for Sarah to face the humiliation of not being able to bear a child.
The lives of Abraham and Sarah are full of lessons from which we can learn. Because Abraham believed God was faithful to His promises, he stepped out in faith and followed God’s leading. Because Sarah believed God was faithful, she gave birth to a son well past her childbearing years. It was not always easy for them to believe, but in the end, God honored them for their faith.
1 Peter 3:3-6 (NIV)
3 Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2 when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. 4 Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 5 For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbands, 6 like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.
God honored Sarah for not giving way to fear. God rewarded her faith with an outpouring of His blessing. Although the focus of this passage is a marriage relationship, the principles relate to any woman’s character (“inner self”), especially the qualities of a gentle and quiet spirit that are precious in God’s sight. These enable a woman to “do what is right and not give way to fear.” “Gentle” does not mean passive or weak. Rather, it means “controlled strength.” A gentle woman has a humble heart that bows before God, recognizes God’s dealings with her as good, and chooses not to be contentious or resistant against Him. “Quiet,” in this passage, refers to tranquility or peace. It is an inner peace and calmness in the midst of any circumstances. Gentleness and peace are fruits of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) in a believer’s life and thus, available to every Christian woman who desires them.
The joy of Sarah in the birth of Isaac reminds us of “the great joy” proclaimed by the angels who made known to the shepherds the birth of Christ who came of the line of Isaac (Luke 2:10; Romans 4:18-21). Paul reminds us that it was by faith that Sarah conceived beyond nature (Hebrews 11:11). It was not only in itself a miracle wrought by faith, but also in the earnest of something far greater, even the Incarnation of Jesus Christ.
Like the life of Sarah, God has made promises to us. He is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). He is the omnipotent and all-powerful God who can bring to pass all his promises. We can have the confidence and assurance that God will keep his promises.