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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Real Housewives of the OT (Old Testament)--by Linda Kozar

For a moment, I thought I had a brilliant idea for a bible study series, so of course the first thing I did was google it to find out if someone else had experienced a similar flash of brilliance. And apparently so--but not the same flash as me. My idea? To do a series on the Real Housewives of the Bible. So imagine my surprise when I found a reality DVD series, titled "The Real Housewives of the Bible." The series follows the ups and downs of marriage as they struggle to be good wives.
But my idea was--is different. It follows the REAL housewives in the actual bible. So here goes!


"Having a baby at 90 is nothing to laugh about!
Que Sarai/Sarah!"
The Real Housewives of the OT

Genesis 11:27-32 details the genealogy of Terah, the father of Abram, Nahor, and Haran. Haran begot Lot, but Haran died. Abram and Nahor took wives—Abram took Sarai and Nahor married Milcah. Some commentators say Sarah was the daughter of Abraham’s brother, so therefore his niece. But in Genesis 20:12, Abram says, “But indeed she is truly my sister. She is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother, and she became my wife.”
            God speaks to Abram one day and declares a covenant with him.
Genesis 17:15
1 The LORD had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.
2 “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; 
I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.3
I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; 
and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
            So Abram and all his house go our from the land of Ur to the land of the Canaans. They came to Haran and dwelt there.
Originally called by the name of Sarai, which means “My Princess” God later changes her name to Sarah, which means “Princess.” Changing of a name was symbolic of a binding covenant between man and God, Who promised to put an end to her barren state.
Due to a famine in the land, Abraham decided to flee to Egypt. On the journey to Egypt, Abram asks Sarai to tell the Egyptians she was his sister. (Genesis 20:12) After all, it’s the truth, right? Technically, she was his half-sister. But half-truths are still lies in the eyes of God. He cannot honor sin.
The truth is, Abram feared they would kill him and take her. In the bible, beauty is to be desired and taken (Esther). It is a foreshadow of Israel’s later bondage to Egypt. God afflicts Pharoah and his house with great plagues (Genesis 12:17). Plagues also foreshadow the manner of Israel’s redemption from the bondage of Egypt.
When brought before Pharoah, Sarai obeyed and told him Abraham was her brother. Though Sarai was 65 years old at the time, she was considered a great beauty. Smitten with her cougar-ish good looks, Pharoah gave her many gifts and honors. Most notably, he gave her the land of Goshen for her hereditary possession. It is likely she acquired her Egyptian maidservant, Hagar at this time as well. And Abram acquired a great deal of wealth and livestock. What’s with this share a wife, save a life thing going on?
Sarai was added to the harem and she knew it would not be long before the Pharoah summoned her. But God would not allow the “mother of nations” Genesis 17:15-16 to be compromised. He afflicted the Egyptians (Gen. 12:17) and Pharaoh figured out something was wrong. Abram finally confessed that Sarah was his wife. And even Pharaoh rebuked Abraham for his lie (Genesis 12:18-20).
Now in Genesis 11:30, we know that Sarai was barren; she had no child.” But Sarah remembered the promise of God to Abram that he would be the father of many nations. However, because she doubted the likelihood of her getting pregnant, she sought a fleshly solution to the problem. Imagine how she must have felt. Any woman who has gone through menopause can relate. “The old grey mare—she ain’t what she used to be!”
She had an Egyptian slave named Hagar and according to the custom of the time, she came up with a plan. 2 so she said to Abram, “The LORD has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her. ”Because Sarai was unable to bear a child, she gave her maid, Hagar to Abraham that she might bear a child through her for her husband. As a result, she bore Ishmael. However, there were consequences to this plan. Sin always has consequences. Hagar becomes proud and haughty to her mistress. She no longer acknowledges or respects Sarah’s position as Abraham’s wife. When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress. 5
Genesis Chapter 181 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty[p]; walk before me faithfully and be blameless. 2 Then I will make my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.”
15 God also said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah. 16 I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.”
17 Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, “Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?” 18 And Abraham said to God, “If only Ishmael might live under your blessing!”
The Three Visitors
 9 “Where is your wife Sarah?” they asked him.
   “There, in the tent,” he said.
 10 Then one of them said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.”
   Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, which was behind him. 11 Abraham and Sarah were already very old, and Sarah was past the age of childbearing. 12 So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, “After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I now have this pleasure?”
 13 Then the LORD said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’ 14 Is anything too hard for the LORD? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”
 15 Sarah was afraid, so she lied and said, “I did not laugh.”
   But he said, “Yes, you did laugh.”
Abraham laughed too but God calls Sarah to task on it.
1 Now the LORD was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did for Sarah what he had promised. 2 Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him. 3 Abraham gave the name Isaac[ai] to the son Sarah bore him. 4 When his son Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him, as God commanded him. 5 Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.
 6 Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” 7 And she added, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.”
Less than a year later, Sarah bore Isaac. Abraham was 100 years old and Sarah was 90. Sarah blamed Abraham for the problem created by Hagar giving birth to a rival heir, but the whole thing had been her idea. It is said that during a banquet celebrating Isaac's weaning, Sarah heard Ishmael mocking Isaac and she insisted mother and child be sent away. She recognized the danger in Ishmael to the rightful heir, her son Isaac. God backs her up and tells Abraham to do what she said (Genesis 21:12). Abraham emancipates Hagar and Ishmael and sends them away as freed slaves.
Now for the biggest test in a mother’s life. Mount Moriah. . .
After the bondwoman and her son were send away, God tested Abraham. He said, “take now your son, your only son, who you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah; and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you (Genesis 22:2).
Sarah must have watched them depart. She would have kept her eyes trained on them, her loving eyes on her son, the curl of his hair, the silhouette she knew so well. Did she have the same measure of faith Abraham had? His heart was severely grieved at the thought of taking the life of his only son. But he knew that God as the giver of life. Our lives do not belong to us, they belong to the giver of life. And like Abraham, her heart was surely broken at the thought of her son dying, suffering even for a moment. 
Sarah dies at the age of 127 in Hebron. Abraham buys his first real property in the land of Israel, the Cave of Machpelah in order to bury her.
"For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. His son by the slave woman was born in the ordinary way; but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a promise. Galatians 4:21-23
 These things may be taken figuratively, for the women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar. Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother...Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise...Therefore, brothers, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman."

Sarah is a wonderful example to us--of faith, of fortitude and trust in the Lord. Of course, she had her doubts as we all do. Many women who check off the age 55+ demographic box would have a hearty chuckle as well if God suddenly showed up and told them they were going to have a baby. It's not in the normal realm of possibility. But then again, neither is God. In fact, He's God of the impossible, improbably and unimaginable. You and I need to remember that. So--thank you Sarah, mother of nations. You've inspired us to believe what God says. If He says He's going to do something, you'd better believe He's going to do it."

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