Sarah: Mother of A Nation


One way we often cope with a long wait (or even a short one) is to begin helping God get his plan into action. Sarah tried this approach. She was too old to expect to have a child of her own, so she thought God must have something else in mind. From Sarah’s limited point of view, this could only be to give Abraham a son through another woman – a common practice in her day. The plan seemed harmless enough. Abraham would sleep with Sarah’s maidservant, who would then give birth to a child. Sarah would take the child as her own. The plan worked beautifully – at first. But as you read about the events that followed, you will be struck by how often Sarah must have regretted the day she decided to push God’s timetable ahead. 

Another way we cope with a long wait is to gradually conclude that what we’re waiting for is never going to happen. Sarah waited 90 years for a baby! When God told her she would finally have one of her own, she laughed, not so much from a lack of faith in what God could do, but from doubt about what he could do through her. When confronted about her laughter, she lied – as she had seen her husband do from time to time. She probably didn’t want her true feelings to be known. 

What parts of your life seem to be on hold right now? Do you understand that this may be part of God’s plan for you? The Bible has more than enough clear direction to keep us busy while we’re waiting for some particular part of life to move ahead. 

Strengths and accomplishments

  • Was intensely loyal to her own child
  • Became the mother of a nation and an ancestor of Jesus
  • Was a woman of faith, the first woman listed in the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11 

Weaknesses and mistakes

  • Had trouble believing God’s promises to her
  • Attempted to work problems out on her own, without consulting God
  • Tried to cover her faults by blaming others

Lessons learned from her life

  • God responds to faith even in the midst of failure
  • God is not bound by what usually happens; he can stretch the limits and cause unheard-of events to occur 

Vital statistics for Sarah

  • Where: Married Abram in Ur of the Chaldeans, then moved with him to Canaan
  • Occupation: Wife, mother, household manager
  • Relatives: Father: Terah, Husband: Abraham, Half brothers: Nahor and Haran, Nephew: Lot, Son: Isaac 

Key Verse for Sarah

“By faith Abraham, even though he was past age – and Sarah herself was barren – was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made the promise” (Hebrews 11:11). 

The ESV Study Bible, Large Print edition features the content of the award-winning ESV Study Bible with a highly readable, large-print type. Extensive study notes, charts, maps, and articles make this study Bible a valuable resource for serious readers, students, and teachers of God’s Word.

Sarah’s story is told in Genesis 11 – 25. She is also mentioned in Isaiah 51:2; Romans 4:19; 9:9; Hebrews 11:11; 1 Peter 3:6.

Click here to print or download the scripture character study “Sarah: Mother of a Nation


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