Thought for the Day: For the next few days, I want to look at some strong and grace-filled women in the Bible. In yesterday’s online study, I talked about Abraham and Sarah, and the faithfulness and hope they demonstrated throughout their lives. I was also quick to remind people that Abraham and Sarah were far from perfect, often questioning and doing other less than stellar things along the way. In today’s story, Abraham gets nervous and basically denies that Sarah is his wife. This leads to the powerful man, Abimelech, taking Sarah to be one of his wives. It’s interesting, there is no sense that Abraham is upset or even questioning his decision of silence. Now I’m not a woman, and I have no plans of speaking with any sort of authority on behalf of women, but I’m going to guess that such actions would have really ticked off most women. I know it was a different time, with different expectations around gender and power. But let’s be honest, that is just embarrassing! I’ve heard preachers suggest that it was all a part of Abraham’s larger plan, but there is nothing in scripture to suggest such a thing. This is one of the great characters in the Bible showing a moment of weakness, might I even call it cowardliness. I’m not looking for him to play the macho guy, but to so easily deny the most important relationship in his life says something about Abraham. But let’s get back to Sarah. Again, it’s a different time and place, and Sarah probably did not have a lot of options at this point. She chooses to re-engage the relationship she has with Abraham after God intervenes. It’s as if Sarah recognizes Abraham’s sheer stupidity and timidity, while also seeing the greater picture of their God-given mission. Let’s be clear, women need to protect themselves against violence of all kinds – they should never feel obligated to return to a relationship that is unhealthy or dangerous. With that said, I don’t believe that’s the case with Sarah. In this situation, I picture Sarah rolling her eyes and shaking her head in disbelief at the excuses Abraham made to Abimelech, but she was not going to let some spineless dimwittedness to stand in the way of God’s calling. I find that impressive!
Prayer: Holy God, thank you for shaking people up whenever fear has them doing something really stupid. Let me be a bit more honest – if I’m the one doing something really stupid, allow your grace to gently shake me up. And if at all possible, may I have a Sarah who demonstrates grace in the face of my shallow and ridiculous choices. Amen.
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