Sunday, September 24, 2017

The God of Sarah

By Odon Bulamba

Wife of Abraham

We have started a new day and we are losing time and before we realise it, it will be gone so blessed are those that are in the house of the Lord to feed their souls and prepare themselves for the coming of Jesus.

Ex 3:6, God calls himself God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  Who would not be happy to be called the wife of Abraham since he is just an amazing man.  He is the father of faith, the man that God is proud of, it is a privilege to be married to such a man.  If I were married to Abraham, I would feel like the entire world would look at me at think I have a good husband. 

God says to us, whenever two come together, they become one.  Mark 10:8 states, the two become one flesh so no longer two.  God gave Sarah to Abraham.  When we talk about the God of Abraham, we should not forget that the same God is the God of Sarah since they are one flesh.  When we talk about Isaac, we also focus on his wife.

Today, I’m going to talk About the God of Sarah.  Why? Through Sarah, God has accomplished a lot of things, lessons that are very important for our faith to grow.  Abraham is father of faith but Sarah is a path that will teach us what faith is.

Sarah, one day God spoke to her husband (Genesis 17) your wife should not be called Sarai but Sarah.  Imagine when someone does not pronounce your name correctly.  Some are offended.  Here, God is changing the whole name.  Who are you to change my name?  My mother gave me this name and you Abraham, you are telling me that your God has told you that my new name is Sarah.

Without discussion or resistance, Sarah accepted that name.  she didn’t ask the meaning of the name or why God spoke to you Abraham instead of me.  She accepted it without resistance.  Sarah loved her husband.  She called Abraham, “my lord”.  She lived with Abraham in all conditions, even impossible ones.  Abraham told Sarah, you can go with this king to protect my life.  Wasn’t it for Abraham to protect Sarah and to keep her safe from danger and not to expose her life and give her away so that she now has to protect your own life?

Imagine your husband/wife doing that to you?  How will you react?  Maybe you will think he doesn’t care about you and is self-centred.  This poor lady accepted and by doing so, God intervened. There are situations that we come across in our lives where we ask ourselves, how come my husband/wife who is a servant of God can ask me to do such things?  How can he push me to do something against the Word of God? Is this man really a man of God?

How could Abraham do such a stupid thing? Sarah is teaching us submission not only to Abraham but to the Word of God.  How often do we submit and follow the Word of God?  When God tells you, I have changed your name, your life and for you to submit, do you submit?  In life we come across situations where your morning starts heavy with your wife/husband/family and things change and the person becomes angry for no reason.  Maybe you ask them to please calm down or maybe you answer with, “I’ve been repeating myself and you don’t change.  I’m sick of living with you”.

Maybe they will answer, “Look back, where have you come from?  We have been through a lot, you know all the good and effort I have made for you and our family, you know my contribution in your life but because of one simple thing, everything changes”.  How often do you make the lives of your wife/husband/family hard?  You are happy with them but suddenly you change like a monster.

Abraham felt his life was on top of the list because Sarah understands.  Do you sacrifice the interests of others for your own interest?  Do you sacrifice other’s joy or comfort for your own joy or comfort?  This is common in the church.

One time, I was given a five minute lesson to challenge children.  I wrote 1 + 1 = 3.  Everyone said no you are wrong.  Why do you believe I am wrong?  Because you have been taught 1 + 1 = 2 but someone can bring a new lesson to you to contradict everything you believe in.  You can have your culture, experience but God can bring you new lessons that can sometimes contradict everything you previously learnt.

Let’s say you put $50M in ASB bank and tomorrow ASB bank says, we are closing down and we can’t pay you back.  We agree we received your money but we can’t pay you back.  You go to court but they can’t pay you back because they have no money.  The person who was rich is automatically poor, a huge change.  The person was happy because they had a lot of money and now they have zero dollars.  Now God is looking at you, now praise the Lord.

Why only me, why not them?  I feel bitter, jealous for those who are customers of ANZ and wonder why I went to ASB and someone will tell you, I told you.  Very often when God wants to do something in our lives, he takes us downhill to humble us and if you accept to submit, God will bring you up as a winner and victory will follow.

Sarah followed Abraham.  I’m old and I can’t have a baby.  God promised I would get a child at 90 years old.  If God promises you to give you a car or a house and at 90 years of age, if you haven’t yet received it, you might start to doubt.  I’ve lost my strength to work, how will I afford to buy a house.  even if I buy today, who will give me a mortgage at 90?  Doubt will grow up. 

In your life, how often do you doubt God when you look at yourself and your situation?  You start to lose hope and you are not sure that it will be done because God is taking so long to intervene.  God amazingly gave Sarah the child but before giving the child, God challenged Sarah.  Sarah told Abraham, “This is a beautiful handmaid, to please to you Abraham, please have a baby with her”.  Look how much this woman cared for her husband.

Other men will say no, I’m married to you, I love you and if we don’t have a child, I will continue with you.  Abraham accepted Hagar and she conceived.  Sarah is now living in the same house not with the handmaid anymore but someone who now shares the same husband.  What joy will be in the family? 

When Abraham come homes, “Sarah will say welcome home my husband” and maybe Hagar says, “welcome home father of our son, I could give to you what Sarah could not provide”.  Sarah will feel bad.  Sometimes God will not give you what you need in your life but give it to your opponent to make your faith strong.

You wake up, Hagar is there, Abraham I need your help with the baby.  If you were Sarah, what would your reaction will be?  You will say what mistake did I make?  No mistake made because God allowed it for you to strengthen your faith.

Hagar started to look down on Sarah and humiliate her, you are nothing because you cannot conceive.  For only one thing people will look down on you.  Because you don’t have this one thing they will look down on you and forget all your good qualities. Sarah didn’t care much and decided to continue to live with Abraham but requested Abraham talk with Hagar.

Hagar left and God met with her and told her to go back.  Maybe when she left Sarah was relieved but minutes later Hagar returns.  There are things in your life that God will force to come back.  Temptation will make you become the foundation of faith and through you others will learn.  Sarah welcomed her and life continued in that family.

God saw that she had faith in her husband and in Him and now it was time for her to become pregnant.  Did Sarah say, Hagar it is now my turn.  No she was wise.  She didn’t do anything wrong to her servant while pregnant because she knew that she needed her.  Someone can step into your life to shake your life and family but remember your position you hold in that family and continue to play the role in your family regardless of the waves or things that happened on the way.

Abraham and Sarah received their new baby boy Isaac.  Abraham took the child to the mountain to sacrifice the child without telling the mother.  The mother didn’t hate Abraham, she accepted to carry on.  If you are Sarah and the world has been making your life hard and treating you like someone who has no value, do you cry or look at God and ask him to be the solution?  “God I trust in you and this situation will end”.

Husbands cannot live without their wives although they tell you that they know what they are doing and you should follow them but without their wives they are useless, they can’t do one simple thing.  We husbands are worse than children, we want to be bossy and everything that our wives proposes is useless and we see it as not what it should be, our ways should be the best way.  The husband will wake up in the morning and look at their new car and wipe it but they can’t even wipe the coffee table where they left their coffee last night.

When the wife tries to drive the car, the husband will say no, “don’t touch it” or if you accidently scratch it somewhere the joy of the husband will turn to anger.  Without your wife telling you, this is a nice car, you may never have bought it, your wife is the one who helped you to choose something good.  All your friends come, this is my new car not our new car, it is my car.  The same husband will wake up in the morning, you feed him, prepare his clothes but sometimes when they come home, they want to treat you like you are a slave, like you are nothing.

Instead of coming home and praising God, this is my wife, all their focus is on the children.  Sometimes daddies can forget about their wives and all their love shifts to children, material things, to friends.  Although Abraham was the father of faith, he had weaknesses.  He used to hurt Sarah and make her life harder but God is teaching us that a woman is trustworthy with characteristics that are very special.

If someone tells you that they need help, it means they can’t do it by themselves.  God says that the woman is the helper.  Very often we put that aside and think women are weak.  Women are not weak, they are strong.  We have to be grateful to these women who accept to be called any name.  I don’t know the names your husband calls you but you continue to love that man.

Abraham sometimes forgot that Sarah was there, he didn’t tell Sarah about God asking him to sacrifice the child.  He forgot that they are one.  There is not written anywhere that God asked Abraham not to tell Sarah.  When you are faithful to God, what about your wife?  When you want to offer God something, why don’t you come together.  Regardless of whether Sarah wouldn’t want to sacrifice, God is the solution, God what shall I tell my wife so we can do this together.

I have never seen someone keeping a secret from themselves.  It is impossible.  You have your wife/husband and the two of you are one.  Without Sarah, Isaac could not exist and Abraham could not have sacrificed and therefore Abraham couldn’t be the father of faith without Sarah. 

If Sarah was blessed to keep the baby in the womb, now Abraham gets the glory.  What do you think when you do all the work at home and you get no glory.  You cook food and put it on the table, daddy can we eat now.  I cooked it for you, hours for you but you just touch it and put it aside.  it is discouraging.  You need to be strong in order to have faith because you might say, yesterday I cooked and you didn’t like it, why cook again.  Cook and encourage him to eat and sometimes ask him what he would like to eat.

It takes a lot of faith, patience and strength in order to please the person.  The church of God is the bride and we are to be like Sarah going through ups and downs and God can be tough with us and not give to us what we want but give to others but we must continue to trust in Him and serve Him.

Whenever things go wrong and don’t work in your life, do you complain?  Do you cry?  Do you move on?  Maybe not because many feel stressed and that will eat your brain and mind and you feel that you can’t sleep because of what someone did in your life, you lose your joy, peace, strength and commitment.  Remember, Abraham could not be Abraham without Sarah.  If we are talking about God it is because we are alive and others will come to know Jesus because God is using us. That is why God wants us to serve him.  God has chosen us to be with him in all seasons.

Now it is cold, you wear a jacket but when hot, you will take off the jacket.  In summer people sweat but not in winter.  You are forced sometimes with circumstances to make yourself fit in those circumstances.  What season of life have you been living in?  Is it the season where Sarah had no child and she gave her maiden to her husband?  Is it the season where you are pregnant?  Is it the season where you have a small baby?  Is it the season where the child has grown up and is now getting married?  Forget and forgive what your wife/husband did to you.  Sarah didn’t talk or remember what Abraham did wrong or what Hagar did wrong.

What can separate you from your husband/child/God?  nothing should separate us from the love of God, even death.  Don’t become angry, anxious, sad because your husband acted badly but instead consider him as a child.

We went to sit an exam and this lecturer walked in and shook his head and said, you are so stupid.  If you were that student, what would your reaction be?  Maybe that student wondered, what did I do wrong?  Where did you see my stupidity?  Morally that student was melting just before the exam.  The student next to him said, don’t mind him.  That student ended up with more than 80%.  For the lecturer it was a test to see how my students can fail just from a word.

Maybe words thrown at you will make you melt, to fall into anger or lose joy.  Don’t’ consider those words.