How are we ladies? Everybody doing okay?
Thanks for joining in for day 4, and coming back for a second week.
The next four weeks (or twelve days) we’re going to do as promised and take a tour through the lives of Sarah, Rahab, Naomi and Ruth. Don’t forget about the list you made on Day 1. It’s not something I want you to dwell on, but I do want you to keep praying about it and listening for the voice of God’s Holy Spirit as we study.
The promised Messiah, long-awaited by the Jewish nation, came about through the bloodline of these four women. Women with packages, with unopened dreams and desires, women who fell hard, who were let down and disappointed, who were isolated, desperate, and lonely, but all women with an inheritance far greater than they could’ve ever imagined. Their faith created a legacy more valuable than any unopened package in a spare closet or fireplace mantel. They didn’t live dreamy, Pinterest-perfect lives, but they are all remembered because of their faith and connection to a baby, the Baby.
We’ll start with Sarah, so if you would, let’s jump right into our week by reading Genesis 11:27 – 12:20. Write down anything that sticks out to you or seems especially relevant.
We first meet Sarah under her given name from birth: Sarai, meaning “princess.” A lot of scholars assume that even though she wasn’t necessarily “royalty” she did grow up privileged. From Ur, an area known for its culture and financial well-being, we can somewhat safely gather that she was exposed to a lifestyle more comfortable than most (i.e.our princess was no country girl!). Sarai’s well-off parents picked a mate for her with similar family worth and values, so similar, in fact, that she and Abraham were half-siblings (even though that detail isn’t laid out in Scripture until Genesis 20:12).
As I read scripture, It always fascinates me to see what isn’t included. Facial expressions, tone of voice, feelings—so many times, these factors are left out of riveting scenes. I want to know if it was blustery with a little sprinkle of rain, or scorching hot outside. I want to know how Sarah looked at Abraham when he asked her to tell the Pharaoh she was his sister, to protect himself. I want to know how Abraham responded to God when God took care of Sarah’s purity when Abraham lacked the faith to do so.
But, alas, we don’t often get that. We can study the culture and the customs of the time. We can pray for insight and read scholarly analysis—but until heaven, we won’t usually know what was said in the quiet of the night, what was written in a tear-stained journal, or the tone of the few spoken quotes. Were they ecstatic or exhausted? Sympathetic or sarcastic?
I believe that sometimes God intentionally left these things out, meaning for us to wrestle with them.
Shall we have a go?
There are a couple places I want us to examine together, so keep Genesis open, and maybe even re-read along with me:
Starting in Genesis 11:30, only the second time Sarai is introduced in scripture, her barrenness is already brought up. It’s like telling a friend, “Remember Sarah? She’s the one who can’t have kids.” But we know that before she and Abraham left Ur that this was already an issue.
Then in 12:1, after Terah (Abraham and Sarah’s dad - weird, I know) has died, we see the Lord speak directly to Abraham, and tell him to go. In His instructions, the Lord says to leave their family, and complete a journey to the land of promise. This is the first time the Lord has directly spoken to Abraham, or anyone for ten generations.
Reading on to verses 12:2-3, the Lord promises Abraham that he will become the father to an entire nation. Even though, if my calculations are correct, that makes Sarah 65 years old, and Abraham 75 when the Lord speaks to him about becoming parents of a new people group. Um, okay God. Parents at 65/75? That makes no sense..
But, here we see Abraham listen and obey. The Lord leads them as they travel to Canaan, and settle in. While we don’t exactly know when Sarah first found out that she and Abraham were supposed to be the “parents of a nation,” I can only imagine the weight that must have bared on her heart. To be so familiar with the pain of infertility and to then understand that God had planned for her to be the mother of a nation must have been astonishing even for this woman of faith.
Scroll down to verse 12:10. Why did Abraham and Sarah leave Canaan?
Did God speak to Abraham about leaving or staying?
Do we see Abraham consulting God about leaving or staying?
Even though Abraham wasn’t explicitly disobeying God, he displays a lack of faith by leaving this ‘promised land’. As soon as they immigrate, he asks something of his wife that does not settle well with anyone, especially God.
As you read on through 12:20, what happens to Sarah as they enter Egypt?
What happens to Abraham?
What happens to the Pharaoh?
Y’all—I sure don’t want to get on a soapbox, but I’ve got to tell you I’ve really struggled with this. I’ve been so frustrated with Abraham.
You want to talk about deferred dreams? Sarah has already been dealing with her VERY highlighted barrenness, has already moved away from what was comfortable—and now her man does this? If that’s not a breeding ground for unopened packages, I don’t know what is! #justsaying that when Sarah married Abraham, this wasn’t a part of the deal. This would have had no part in what she thought she signed up for.
If you remember, on day 3— I wrote about a surprise pregnancy. Well, today, there is no longer a baby in my womb. Somewhere between week 6 and 9 our baby died. It’s been hard and sad, disappointing and gut-wrenching, raw and dark, and yet, still somehow there’s been an unseen beauty in it all.
I wrote about our story on my blog, and I have been going back and forth on whether or not it’s appropriate to discuss it here. I’ve come to the conclusion that even though I was still expecting when I wrote day 3, I committed to writing about the pregnancy no matter what, and I think I need to stay committed. I want to be real with you ladies, because I want us all to be real: with ourselves, with our loved ones, and within our church communities.
However, I have to tell you that it’s uncomfortable for me to keep talking about our two miscarriages. But pain is also uncomfortable; deferred dreams and failures are uncomfortable. Unexpected change is uncomfortable. Depression and anxiety are uncomfortable.
So if it’s alright with you ladies, I think we need to get uncomfortable for a minute and talk about blood.
The disappointment of blood each month.
The pain and blood of miscarriage.
The blood that accompanies birth.
The blood that dripped from a crown of thorns.
The blood of the innocent lamb, sacrificed for the sins of all.
Because the red blood of the cross creates kinship. We are all broken sinners, in need of the Savior. We need Jesus to give us forgiveness and and we also need Him to give us comfort and peace in our brokenness.
Our Redeemer and Rescuer calls to us, in our empty homes, hospital room, or harem bed, and He loudly proclaims over us, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness;” and we can reply back, “So now I am glad to boast my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 NLT
I can’t imagine the psalmist wrote the lines of Psalm 119:50 - “Your promise revives me;
it comforts me in all my troubles” - with exuberant happiness overflowing in his heart. I envision it was written at a painfully slow rate onto a tear-stained page. But, it was still written, it was still a spoken promise over his heart.
Often misunderstood by culture, the roots of unopened packages’ can run very deep, and be very raw, and very personal.
No matter what you’re walking through today, I believe God has a plan for it, for the power of Christ to work in and through your weaknesses. Whether it’s an unopened package named infertility, a packaged dream for a relationship turned upside-down, or a decision someone made for you that has brought hurtful obstacles: it’s real. It’s very real. And so is He.
- What did you already know about Sarah’s story before today?
- How have your eyes opened to her story?
- What were some of Sarah’s possible packages?
- Where are you most raw today? Can you offer up this package, no matter how hurtful, no matter how ugly, to the Lord and ask Him to graciously work in you?
Please share your response in the comments section below or join the conversation with our Facebook Community Group. #undividedwomen