I am going to be teaching for a couple of weeks about Sarah in our women’s Sunday School class. In preparation for the class, I have been looking up information about the Biblical view of motherhood.
I also researched about how barrenness was perceived in the ancient times, specifically the Old Testament times. I’m sure everyone knows that having children was extremely important to women in Bible times. Pagans had a god that was their “fertility god.” Fertility was considered a sign of blessing; barrenness was considered to be a curse. The Bible uses the adjective “barren” when God curses the Israelites. God said that He would curse their lands and crops and that they would be barren (no fruit or prosperity) when they disobeyed Him. Barren women would also be subject to scorn by others around her.
What I found interesting in my brief study on the subject of barrenness in the Bible, is that the “why” of barrenness is not talked about. The way barren women were treated is not discussed. In the cases that are discussed at length in the Bible, the women are proved to be barren so that the power of God could be evident. When we consider especially Sarah, Rebekah, and Rachel, all three women needed to provide children that were to be the initial family members of the Jews — the promised nation that would bring forth the Messiah, the Savior of the world, God allows them to be barren so that everyone could see His power, His control, and His guidance. God showed through His opening of the womb of these three ladies, that these were His people and that He would keep His promises.
Even though God did fulfill His purposes by keeping Sarah barren for 90 years so that He could show His power, we know that those years of barrenness were an extreme challenge for her.
One scholar wrote, “For ancient Israelites the most important contribution a woman could make to a household was to present her husband with children. . . . Indeed, the noblest contribution a woman could make to a household in general and her husband in particular was to bear a son for him. Through childbearing a woman earned her place in life and her share in the household. Conversely, failure to deliver on this obligation was viewed as a curse and a shameful disgrace.”
We see how Sarah desperately wanted to have an heir for Abraham by the way she took matters into her own hands when she gave her handmaid, Hagar, to Abraham to produce an heir. However, Sarah finally became a mother at the age of 90. We know that Sarah was an obedient and submissive wife. Peter lifts her up as an example to all women as an obedient wife that called her husband “lord”.
Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord:
This was not a term where the woman groveled at her husband’s feet. Here is what the term lord meant:
The word baal means “to be lord or master over any thing, to have dominion over, to possess.” Because of the role of the husband as the “master” or “lord,” the word came to mean “to become the husband of any one, to marry a wife.”
Sarah respected this headship and leadership that Abraham had over her as her husband.
She also must have been a wonderful mother. We see Isaac’s obedience when Abraham puts him on the altar. His quick obedience surely came from the training of his mother as well as his father. He also had seen his mother’s submission and obedience all his growing up years, and followed her example. We know that they had a close relationship, because it says that Isaac took Rebekah into Sarah’s tent and was comforted after the death of his mother by his new wife.
And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her: and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death. Genesis 24:67
What I loved from my study of Sarah is how she looked upon motherhood once she finally became a mother. Look at this quote:
Sarah rejoiced in her motherhood and said, “God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me” (Genesis 21:6). It certainly was not easy to bear a child in her nineties; however, Sarah focused on the joy that came from motherhood, not the hardships.
We, as mothers, need to look at motherhood from the right perspective.
Being a mother is the highest privilege we can have, and we need to focus on the joy we get from being mothers — and not the hardships.
Yes, being a mother can be hard; yet our children give us so much joy. We need to remember that as we do our jobs as moms and do it happily.
Here are a couple of posts I enjoyed reading this past week from last week’s party:
- Is My Child Old Enough for Social Media? from Embark on the Journey
- One Secret that will Transform Your Bible Study Routine from Sarah E Koontz
- How Positive Affirmations Can Change Your Life from Healthy. Green. Natural
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