I’d like to share some insights into the life of Abraham’s wife, Sarah. Sarah is known for having the child of promise, Isaac; the child who came after her womb was dead. But I was thinking about Sarah in relation to receiving from God. I think there’s more to her life than meets the eye. So let’s take a look at her through the eyes of history and God’s grace – His unmerited and unearned favor.
The first time we hear of Sarah, is in Gen 11:29 as “the wife Abram took for himself.” The very next verse tells us that “Sarai was barren; she had no child.” Her name at that point in time was Sarai, not Sarah. The meaning of her name bears some explanation. The root meaning of the word Sarai means captain, one that had rule, master. I’ll come back to this meaning shortly, but it’s significant. The fact that we are told right away about the barrenness of her womb is of utmost importance. It’s also one of the most humiliating things a woman at that time could endure. To not have a child meant that they lack stature and worth in their families. Later when the Law was given, it was more of a curse to be infertile. A woman then may even have fears that her husband will leave her to find a woman who could bear children. Suffice to say, for any woman without a child in her child-bearing years, it was an awful and terrible thing to live with. And the Spirit wants us to know up front, that Sarai was most likely going through all this.
In Gen 12, Abram’s father Terah died and the Lord told Abram to leave his country and go to a land that God Himself would show him. Abram was 75 when this event took place. Sarai was 10 years younger than Abram, making her 65 years old. This is where God first promises Abram that He will give him and his descendants all the land he saw. After that promise there was a famine in the land and Abram travels near to Egypt, where there is a Pharaoh in power. So Abram says to Sarai, “See now, I know that you are a beautiful woman; and it will come about when the Egyptians see you, that they will say, ‘This is his wife’; and they will kill me, but they will let you live. Please say that you are my sister so that it may go well with me because of you, and that I may live on account of you.” Gen 12:11-13. And it happened just as Abram thought – the Egyptians saw that she was beautiful and Pharaoh’s officials took her into Pharaoh’s house and treated Abram well for her sake and gave him a lot of livestock. But then the Lord struck the house with plagues – it’s not recorded just what plagues – but it wasn’t good. Somehow between the lines someone told Pharaoh that Sarai was Abram’s wife. Abram didn’t tell him, perhaps Sarai did – we don’t know for sure. Pharaoh lets them all go and even escorts them out of the area. (In Gen 20 we find out that Sarai was Abram’s half-sister).
Ladies, put yourself in Sarai’s place for a moment. If your husband lied, or did not tell the whole truth, about who you were and allowed you to be taken away, most probably assaulted and made to have sex with Pharaoh or someone in his house, how would you feel? I know that Abram knew that if he was killed, she would be taken away forever, so I understand that he wanted to live. God just promised Abram that he’d inherit all the land he saw. Of course he would need to be alive to inherit it. In fact in Gen 20 we also find out that when Abram left his father’s country he asked Sarai to tell everyone they were siblings and not husband and wife. (Gen 20:13). We presume the reason is the same, so that Abe wouldn’t be killed for her, as she was a beautiful woman. Abram seemed only able to see the outward beauty of Sarai, which is pretty normal. Anyway the point is, think of how Sarai would have felt. This is a rejection of some deep importance. Not only was she barren and taking heat for it from others at the time, but now her husband sends her into the house of an Egyptian – for how long it’s not stated either. I bet Sarai felt stuck – if she did not submit to Abe’s request to lie, she might be rejected by him, or worse yet, killed herself. I cannot imagine her complying with a smile on her face – can you? It’s not recorded how she felt when she came back from Pharaoh’s house, but using my imagination, I think she was probably furious. Of course, relieved she was alive and free to go, but still furious and deeply hurt that her husband would subject her to Pharaoh. Or, perhaps she already felt so inferior due to her barrenness, that it was one more notch downward in her self-image. I imagine her feeling very rejected even though according to Gen 20, she agreed to tell people she was only a sister to Abram, and not his wife. I doubt anyone could have predicted that someone would take her away from Abram into their own house.
It’s been my observation, that when women are hurt, rejected or deeply offended in any way, that they either respond by becoming almost invisible, laying down every desire they have and become almost a doormat to abuse. If they are abused or manipulated, at least they still have a roof over their heads. Or, they respond with force, with authority and do all they can do to feel secure and protected. If their “man” isn’t protecting them, they must do it themselves. I think perhaps, that the meaning of Sarai’s name comes into play in her life in part, because of the rejection she felt being barren, and because of this very public display of rejection from her husband. He cared for his own protection, and put her in a very vulnerable spot, an unprotected spot, a spot of great ramifications had either the Pharaoh or Abimelech (Gen 20) had sex with her. Perhaps Abram didn’t mind, seeing as she was barren. But that’s not the point! I think perhaps, due to the situation, Sarai fought back and perhaps became the captain over Abram during this time. If he wasn’t going to protect her (children or not) she was going to “take charge” and see to it that she was taken care of.
I’m not out to paint a bad picture of Abram, but just digging a little deeper into the life of Sarai. In Gen 15 God promises Abram, “Do not dear, Abram, I am a shield to you; your reward shall be very great.” Abram asks God what He would give him (the reward) since “I am childless” (Gen 15:2). God promises that “one who shall come forth from your own body, he shall be your heir.” (Not his next of kin). God showed him the stars and promised “so shall your descendants be” (vs 5). And this is when Abram believed God and it was “counted to him as righteousness.” God then made a covenant with Abram with blood. God took it upon Himself to see to it that what He promised He would bring about. This is the essence of grace – God takes all the responsibility on Himself to fulfill a promise. It wasn’t based on Abram or Sarai behaving good or even obeying God. God did it fully and magnificently.
I think things weren’t so great between Sarai and Abram during this time. Perhaps when they got first were married, it was an arranged marriage, for the sake of convenience. We aren’t given any details about that but it was the custom of the day to do that. And marrying within the family was common then. I have never read anyplace that it said they loved each other either. I’m sure they both were thrilled that God promised them a child, one from their own bodies, but when it didn’t come right away, we see the very nature of “Sarai” and her name coming out in Gen 16. This is where Sarai orders Abram, “Now behold, the LORD has prevented me from bearing children. Please go in to my maid; perhaps I shall obtain children through her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai.” In Sarai’s mind, enough time had gone by and I believe, she just gave up on God and Abram. She said it was the LORD who prevented her from having children. We all do this, don’t we? We have to blame someone – so our human nature tells us. Perhaps she never felt loved by Abram or anyone in her family for that matter…She’d had enough rejection and now God promised, and He wasn’t coming through for her. Do you see it? We get our hopes up and when the thing we desire doesn’t come or is late beyond words, we “go do it ourselves, thank you very much!” This was her nature too, to just order Abram to do this thing. The fact that Abram doesn’t hesitate, doesn’t say “Hey wait a minute, God said it would be with us He brings a child.” Gen 20:3 records, “and gave Hagar to her husband Abram, as his wife.” What a scene of resignation! This surrogate mother Hagar…there was no definite idea that even she could have kids either, but to Sarai it was worth the try. In that culture, the child she bore would be seen as Sarai’s child. It didn’t turn out well. Hagar conceived and it says in vs 4, “her mistress (Sarai) was despised in her sight.” This is a very competitive situation ladies. This is bitterness galore!
Sarai took things into her own hands and it turned out badly for her. Then in vs 5 “Sarai said to Abram, “May the wrong done me be upon you. I gave my maid into your arms; but when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her sight, May the LORD judge between you and me.” If this isn’t one of those “I did this and you did that and now I blame you totally” situations. Does this remind you of anyone; Adam and Eve? There is nothing new under the sun as far as human relationships go. Maybe the past came up in her heart like a hammer and all the resentment she had perhaps hidden away, came rushing out. At least now there was honesty between them. Abram then tells Sarai to do with Hagar whatever she wanted to. I see this as another cop-out on his part. (Sorry guys!) He could have reminded them both of God’s promises and clung to that and encouraged Sarai. But I believe a lot of hurt had gone on for a very long time in this marriage, and all he could do was just get out of the middle, let the ladies duke it out instead of being a good leader and making peace.
Sarai harassed Hagar until she fled away. God met Hagar and told her to come back and submit to her mistress. She did this and you probably know the rest of her story. About 14 yrs after Ishmael was born, God visited Abram again with the same promise that God would multiply him “exceedingly.” God also changed his name from Abram (exalted father) to Abraham (father of a multitude, many nations). God told Abraham to call Sarai, Sarah from now on. Her new name meant Princess, lady, queen. “And I will bless her, and indeed I will give you a son by her. Then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.” Abraham laughed in his heart, wondering how a man 100 yrs old and a woman 90 yrs old could have a child? Abe wanted Ishmael to be the child of promise. But God said, “No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; and I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him.” A couple verses later, God said, “But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you at this season next year.” So here was a real time table they could count on. I wonder how things went between Abe and Sarah after this? I think it’s significant that God called Sarah Abraham’s wife, not sister. Even though it was common in those days to marry within your extended family, God saw them as husband and wife only.
You may be asking yourself what this has (if anything) to do with receiving from Jesus? Well I want to point out that even our forefathers in the faith were of “little faith” and that the promise, or what they received from God, did not rest upon how they responded, or if they obeyed, or anything they did or did not do. It all rested upon Him who promised. Both Abraham and Sarah received new names – this is significant in that, God changed their character and I believe, changed both their hearts in the process of receiving His promise. Jesus would eventually come from their line, so it was important that Isaac came into the world through them. Remember, that God promised Abram descendants back in Gen 12 and promised him a son in Gen 15 – where Abram believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness. Abram lied about Sarai in the midst of these promises. God did not make the promise contingent on Abe obeying anything. He just “believed” God, believed that what God said would come to pass. He wavered much after this time, but when God sees us, He sees our hearts. He took the belief Abe had in Gen 15 and that was enough for God. Abe received the promise fully and completely even though he didn’t know just when it would happen or how. God’s promise held firm even through the situation with Hagar and all the pain that brought to them. We could look at it and say that Abe and Sarah messed up big time and, they did, according to our standards. But, the promise was not dependent on them doing good, being right or being perfect in any way. Their faith wavered as ours does, too. But if our faith is founded on God, then our wavering does not change His promise to us.
Back to Sarah…both of their names were changed before Isaac was conceived. Does this not point to the great love God has for us? He sees the beginning to the end and He called them what He knew they were to become, not who they were at the moment. I wonder how they felt having their names changed? Names back then meant the character of the person was similar to the meaning of the name. People named their kids based on who they wanted them to become. But to have God change your name – well that is really something! He is “Everlasting Father” and desires to be our father on earth and in heaven. That Sarah meant Princess, was significant. Perhaps she never really felt like she had a father who really took care of her. Perhaps Abraham was always in the spotlight growing up. Perhaps she never felt significant or even “seen” by anyone around her. I think the change in her name was more radical than Abraham’s name change. His name still meant father, but expanded by millions. Her name meant the domineering one, the one in charge and it was changed to one who knew who her Father was and took on all the royalty that went with it.
Remember, in Gen 16 Abe asked God if it wasn’t ok if Ishmael could be the promised one and God said no, it would be Sarah who would conceive. I’m imagining here, but I wonder how much Abe told Sarah about his conversation with God? Did he tell her all that God had said about her being the one to have the promised child? Hmmm…food for thought. I think perhaps he did not tell her everything. Remember she had become a dominating wife and when that happens, I’ve observed that husbands become quite mousey and quiet so they don’t get into more trouble. So sad, but it happens that way. It’s as if the man, who knows he should be the leader, cannot lead because his wife is leading. But she is only leading because he is not. What a fix we’re in! Oh sure he makes some decisions, but knows that she may trump whatever he says. And since I think Abe knew they had blown it with adding Hagar into the mix – trying in their flesh to bring about God’s promise – he didn’t want to blow it again. Gen 18 is my basis for this line of thinking – otherwise, why would there have been a need to send 3 messengers to once again tell them about the promise of a child?
Gen 18 is the scene of the 3 visitors. Abe receives them as was their custom to feed and refresh people traveling through. And Sarah does obey Abe here by preparing food for them, but she is not invited to sit with them, as was the custom of the day. I find it interesting, that Sarah had to be in the tent, cooking. This to me seems yet another separation between them. Maybe Abe didn’t want anyone else to see Sarah so he wouldn’t be tempted to lie about who she was. In times past he let anyone see her, but now, here in this situation, he didn’t want her around. He was in charge when it came to other people being around, strangers that is. But in the process of food prep, the visitors in vs 9 ask, “Where is Sarah your wife?” Perhaps that stung Abe – they knew exactly who she was, his wife. Maybe Abe felt a sigh of relief too, that he didn’t have to lie about her identity again. Who knows! Abe told them that she was in the tent. They were obviously near enough to the tent for Sarah to hear them say, “I will surely return to you at this time next year and behold, Sarah your wife shall have a son.”
The text makes is clear here, that Sarah was past the age of childbearing. She had already gone through menopause ladies (and gents). We don’t know all that went on during the time of Ishmael’s birth and growing up. Remember, when a woman was barren and someone become a surrogate, the child belonged to the mistress – in this case Sarah. But that never seems to have gotten established. Anyhow, back to the story…after hearing the visitors state the promise yet again, to me it seems like Sarah is hearing this time table for the first time. Hence my comment earlier about Abe and Sarah not talking things out with each other. Sarah laughs to herself and said, “After I have become old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?” She was wondering if she’d feel anything, if she’d have any sort of normal intercourse with Abraham. I find it most interesting that she did not comment on having a child, on her barrenness being taken away, or that God indeed was going to come through as He said He would. No – it’s, “Will I experience anything akin to what I used to experience when having sex?” The very next vs says, “And the LORD said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh, saying ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, when I am so old?” “Is anything too difficult for the LORD? At the appointed time I will return to you, at this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son.” Sarah denied it however saying, “I did not laugh”; for she was afraid. And He said “No, but you did laugh” (vs 15). I see that the 3 visitors came to not only impress upon Abe that Sarah was his wife and that only she was going to have the child promised, but more so for Sarah.
I think God came just for her, to show her that He indeed knew all the trauma she had gone through in her barren life. He knew how she felt about everything; how she gave up on the promise and took charge to see to it that there was an heir in the house. God knew she blamed Abraham for what deep in her heart she knew was her decision. God knew what rejection she felt as she experienced being taken in by Pharaoh and perhaps what happened in their marriage after that. I think too, that this visitation was also God saying – “Ok you guys, you’ll need to have sex with each other now, not anyone else, and you will be able to do it!” To hear God state things out-loud would do something to me if I had been there. And Sarah was afraid. She knew the bitterness in her heart over her life. She knew now that God knew her inside and out. We are always afraid God will zap us if He really knew our thoughts, but there was no zapping that day – only promise of life by this time next year. God did not scold her for being honest. Satan is out to mar the image of God, His very nature. The enemy wants us to see God as judge and a hard task-master. God is not like that. He saw Sarah as His daughter, a princess, not the unhappy manipulating person she had perhaps become. I believe this encounter with God began a change in her that started a new trust in God’s love for her.
After this came Sodom and Gomorrah. Then in Gen 20 there’s yet another incident of Abe lying about Sarah being his wife. Do you see that God’s promise; our receiving of good, isn’t based on our obedience? The 3 visitors, God incarnate, told Abe that Sarah was his wife, and very clearly. But in Gen 20 they journey into the land of the king of Gerar. This king, we don’t know how, but in vs 2 “took Sarah” after Abe said she was his sister. Abe just said she was his sister, and not his wife. Can you imagine how Sarah must have felt? She has heard from God Himself that she and Abe would have a child; that she’d be able to conceive and now, Abe puts her in another precarious position! Did he not really believe what God had said? Hmm…Abe believed God long before this point in time and God still saw Abe as righteous. This is amazing grace – total grace. Even though Abe falters here yet again, and puts Sarah, his wife, in jeopardy, God intervenes supernaturally and comes to the king of Gerar in a dream and tells him that “the woman whom you have taken, she is married to a husband.” The king reasons with God in the dream stating for us, that even Sarah told him she was Abe’s sister.” So even she played along, again, with the deception. I know they were thinking they were protecting each other, but really, it does seem impossible they did it a 2nd time. God speaks to the king in the dream too and says He knows he was innocent in not knowing, but also says that if he doesn’t restore Sarah, he will die. Interestingly too, God says that Abe is a prophet and tells the king Abe will pray for you and he will live. Imagine how highly God thinks of Abe to say he’s a prophet! Here he lied, or told a partial truth, and God sees Abe as a prophet – one whose office was not supposed to lie. So the king brings in Abe and really tells him off – you can read that in Gen 20:9-10 and wanted to know why Abe did what he did.
Again Abraham states that he was afraid he’d be killed because of his wife. Boy, if that isn’t a great blow to Sarah. Maybe he thought he was complimenting her – who knows! But suffice to say Abe was afraid for his life. Do you see now – that there was not a great amount of faith here, and yet, God stuck to His promise and took on the task of seeing the promise came to pass, no matter what they were doing. No matter how you think you’ve messed your life up God can and will bring about His plans for your life. His grace – unmerited favor – is much stronger than anything you can do to bypass it. And one moment of belief is good enough for a lifetime of God’s favor. Sure there are always consequences to our choices in life – sinful or otherwise. But God is even greater than our sin – the cross is the ultimate example of that truth. Back to the story – the next thing Abe says to the king here, is that Sarah is his half-sister, and that they share the same father but not the same mother and that Sarah “became my wife; and it came about, when God caused me to wander from my father’s house, that I said to her, ‘This is the kindness which you will show to me: everywhere we go say of me, “He is my brother,”’” So right from the start of their marriage, there was deception based on Abraham’s fear for his life. Can you imagine living with that for many years? We don’t know just when they got married, but Abe is roughly 100 yrs old now, so it had been a long time. And, Sarai “became” his wife. It doesn’t say Abram loved Sarai, but it just happened.
This king of Gerar then gives Abe sheep and oxen and servants and gave Sarah back to him. I wonder if Sarah even wanted to go back. The king also gave them land to settle in and tells Sarah that he gave “your brother” silver and that the king was now vindicated before all men. I bet the king felt relieved. Then Abe prays for them and guess what – the king’s wives and maids started to have children as the Lord had closed their wombs because of the situation Abe had put them in, “because of Sarah, Abraham’s wife” (vs 18). How interesting, that God chose to close their wombs, the very thing Sarah suffered from. God was about to do a great miracle for Sarah and Abraham. Perhaps more for Sarah because Abe was fertile enough to have Ishmael.
Chapter 21 starts by saying “Then the LORD took note of Sarah as He had said, and the LORD did for Sarah as He had promised.” This settles for me, that the visit from the triune God was for Sarah’s sake. This word “took note of” means to visit, to review, to care for, and look after. The first use of it is right here in Gen 21. The root means a positive action taken by a superior in relation to his inferior. No matter where Sarah’s heart was, God was healing her. He not only healed her womb and opened it up miraculously, but He was healing her heart too. All the shame she would have felt not bearing children all her “able” years, and being in a situation with Pharaoh and this other king, and a marriage not full of love or much in the way of communication…all these things God knew about. He knows about your struggles today dear friend! He will bring about good for you despite what you have done or not done in life. And Isaac came right at the appointed time that God had promised – not one day or week late. Gen 21:6-7, “And Sarah said, “God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh with me. And she said, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? I have borne him a son in his old age.” I see here that a lot of healing has taken place. She now speaks of Abe with respect. There wasn’t necessarily any disrespect recorded for us along the way, but certainly there wasn’t much at all written about what Sarah said about Abe. She called him “lord” when the 3 visitors came to call, but that’s about it. All her pain was wrapped up in laughter – how wonderful! Her shame was gone now and she knows the news will spread all over the area.
Her struggles ramped up though. This time we see a normal outcome of the Ishmael born out of the flesh. In Gen 21 after Isaac was weaned, Ishmael mocked Isaac and Sarah told Abe to drive out the maid with her son; Ishmael will not be heir with her son. This could not have been a pretty sight! God comes to the defense of Sarah and tells Abraham, “Do not be distressed because of the lad and your maid; whatever Sarah tells you, listen to her, for through Isaac your descendants shall be named” (vs12). I like that God wanted Abraham now to “listen” to Sarah. I think some restoration was going on between husband and wife. In Galatians 4 Paul talks about this entire situation and affirms that indeed, it was good to cast out the bondwoman and her son. God doesn’t want slave and free in the same house – He wants sons who are free. That’s another lesson entirely but one to take note of here. God turned this Ishmael thing into good for Hagar and her son and made them a great nation. But I see here that when we go after God’s promise in our own efforts, to try to “help Him out” and to bring it to pass, there are always consequences we could never see ahead of time. Better to trust that even if the promise seems dead, God who has resurrection power, will bring it to life His way.
Gen 22 is the story of Abraham offering Isaac. Sarah is not mentioned here which I find interesting. We do not have any record of how their marriage was after Isaac was born. But what I find missing in Gen 22 is that Sarah knew anything of what God told Abraham to do with Isaac. I imagine Abe, that if he even hinted at what God asked him to do, sacrifice Isaac, Sarah would never have let him go up the mountain. That’s one way to think of it. Or, God may have worked such healing in Sarah that she actually trusted God again, so that she would not have stood in the way if she did know what God had asked of her husband. I don’t know which is was then, but I’m sure she was glad to see both her husband and son when they came down the mountain.
Gen 23 is the record of the death of Sarah. She died before Isaac married Rebekah. She was 127 years old. So that would probably put Isaac at around 37 years old if Sarah had him when she was roughly 90. Verse 2 states that Abraham “went in to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her.” The entire chapter records for us how Abe bought some land and that he buried Sarah in a cave. A lot of specifics are given to us about the location and how much was paid for the property. To me this speaks volumes of his love/respect for Sarah now. Perhaps he came to love her more than he loved his own life after Isaac was born, after God asked him to sacrifice his son, the son that “he loved”…and that put things in perspective for Abraham. Again I’m only imagining. The point is, that both Abraham and Sarah were fragile human beings with a spirit just like ours. They were no different than we are today. God called them out and promised something to them realizing that they could never bring the promise to pass – no way possible! It all rested upon Him to complete the promise. God knew the Savior was to come from them and the entire world would come under God’s grace in the forgiveness of sin on the cross. So this child had to come by promise, not by works or obedience or great faith.
God changed their names and saw them as he called them. Hebrews 11 states this about Sarah in vs 11, “By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised…” Now we didn’t read anything like that in Genesis! We see rather the opposite – little faith, not great faith. But here, right here, is the receiving – Sarah received ability! She received the faith from God Himself when hers was little or not even there. Remember, she laughed when she heard the promise…she didn’t say “OK God – whatever You say I’ll do it!” To us that would have been great faith. I submit to you, that when we are totally honest with God, God sees that as faith. She did not pretend with God when He promised her a son when she heard it from inside the tent. Sure she was afraid of her own honesty as many of us are, but she didn’t pretend. God had such a high opinion of Sarah in Heb 11, that the record of her is wonderful! God says the same about Abraham too in Romans 4:19, “And without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah’s womb; yet with respect to the promise of God he did not waiver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God.” Isn’t that amazing that God saw Abe as not wavering in faith? We know he did indeed waiver and so did Sarah. But this is how God sees us – not as we see ourselves or one another.
So God’s opinion of them was very high and they lived before the Cross too. We have the Holy Spirit and total redemption through the blood of Jesus. God sees us through His Son. If God speaks this highly of Abraham and Sarah – both of whom had their flawed character changed by total grace – how much more we who live under grace now have God’s good opinion of us. Back to Gal 4 – God calls Sarah the “freewoman” and not the bondwoman (Hagar). The word free-woman there means unrestrained, not a slave, exempt from liability or obligation. Paul is speaking spiritually here, but I can’t but help think of Sarah being truly free – free from the shame and the restraints of being barren and all that went into that during her generation. She was also free from any rejection she might have suffered as a wife, free from her own choice to submit Hagar to Abraham, free from bitterness and resentment, even if she was the cause of it. I have to believe that God truly did turn her into a Princess. She came to believe that indeed she was God’s daughter and that He was her Father, her Everlasting Father. She received much that she did not earn. And for her there wasn’t even a question asked of her like it was to Abram/Abraham (to believe the promise).
God breathed His grace into their names and into their lives. All they could do was just receive. I am sure when they looked back over their lives, that their eyes were opened to see God’s total grace leading them and bringing about the promise of a son. I believe Sarah in particular was able to really know she was loved, not rejected. She was able to know God had chosen her for a miraculous and special task, one that for us as believers has great significance and ramifications. Despite how Abraham and Sarah behaved, God’s promise came to pass. I think that’s the root of being able to receive from God. Just know that God gives based on His goodness, not on our behavior. We are sinful people, and it was because of our condition God “so loved the world that He gave His Son”, His only Son, the Son that He loved, for us so that we could be with Him forever. All we need do is believe, receive, and open the gift He has given.