The wisest of women builds her house, (she saves her household with her wisdom) but folly (lack of good sense or judgment) tears it down with her own hands” ~ Proverbs 14:1
In this series of A Woman’s Purpose we are looking at how God created women. What did it look like when His thought took on human flesh in the form of a woman. Proverbs 31 is a beautiful look at how He sees all of us women. The characteristics that He placed inside of all of us that manifest so uniquely in each of us. All a beautiful expression of who He is in us. He created us to be strong gate keepers of our families. To be wise home builders…. legacy builders…. building and preserving faith in future generations.
There are so many women in Old and New Testament who were wise builders of their homes. Yesterday we looked at Eve. Through the naming of her children, she spoke forth her expectation for a Deliverer to rescue mankind from their hopeless state. Over the next few blog posts we’ll look at several more women who I especially love…. Sarah, Rebecca, Abigail, Deborah, Huldah, Jael, Esther, the Unknown woman of Abel Beth Maacah and some women in the New Testament. Hopefully these women will inspire you like they’ve inspired me.
In Wonder Woman (part 1 of this series) we learned that in order for a wise woman to build her house… to build her legacy IN CHRIST, it’s going to require discernment. God put hostility or hatred between the serpent and the woman. Between in the Hebrew comes from a word meaning discernment. It’s going to take discernment on our part as women to recognize when the enemy is in our midst and trying to wreak havoc in our homes.
Sarah was such a woman who walked in discernment.
Go with me to two Scriptures… Genesis 21:8-12 and Galatians 4:29
- Genesis 21:8-12: When Isaac grew up and was about to be weaned, Abraham prepared a huge feast to celebrate the occasion. But Sarah saw Ishmael—the son of Abraham and her Egyptian servant Hagar—making fun of her son, Isaac. So she turned to Abraham and demanded, “Get rid of that slave woman and her son. He is not going to share the inheritance with my son, Isaac. I won’t have it!” This upset Abraham very much because Ishmael was his son. But God told Abraham, “Do not be upset over the boy and your servant. Do whatever Sarah tells you, for Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted.
- Galatians 4:29 Amp. Yet [just] as at that time the child [of ordinary birth] born according to the flesh despised and persecuted him [who was born remarkably] according to [the promise and the working of] the [Holy] Spirit, so it is now also.
The verse in Genesis 21 shows us the discernment that Sarah walked in which protected her family. We all know the story of Genesis 16 of how Abraham was promised a son (a seed) and after awhile Sarah offered to let him lie with Hagar because perhaps that’s how she could have a son with Abraham… through Hagar giving birth. So Hagar gives birth to Ishmael. In chapter 17 God makes a covenant with Abraham… actually with Himself. He tells Abraham that he will have a son with his wife Sarah and will name him Isaac. Isaac not Ishmael is the son of promise… the seed of the Deliverer. Jump ahead to chapter 21 and Sarah indeed gives birth to Isaac.
As Isaac is weaned from Sarah, Abraham throws a huge feast to celebrate. During the celebration, Sarah sees Ishmael making fun of.. or mocking Isaac. So she turns to Abraham and tells him to “cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac.” (verse 10). Seems like harsh treatment against Hagar and her son… after all, kids will be kids right? But Ishmael wasn’t exactly a kid. Isaac was probably 2 or 3 and that would’ve made Ishmael 16 or 17!
This was much more than just an older brother being jealous of a younger brother or two women competeing over which one of them is more important or which son is more important. Ishmael’s mockery revealed that he didn’t have any spiritual insight and saw nothing special about Isaac as the promised son. No spiritual insight….. carnal. Similar to Esau or Cain. Not a lover of righteousness.
Sending Hagar and Ismael away means divorcing Hagar and disinheriting Ishmael. According to laws of the land (Code of Hammurabi) in Abraham’s day, the inheritance rights passed to the son that is “accepted” by the father and thus, Ishmael had to be sent away in order to pass the inheritance rights to Isaac.
While it’s pretty clear that God doesn’t consider Ishmael Abraham’s son…it looks like Abraham does consider him his son. In chapter 17 (when Ishmael is 13 years old) God just refers to him as Ishmael but verse 23 it says Abraham took Ismael, his son, and and all that were born in his house, and all that were bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham’s house; and circumcised the flesh of their foreskin in the selfsame day, as God had said unto him. Looks like he made a distinction between Ishmael as his son and everyone else in his house. Even in chapter 21 when Sarah has Abraham send Ismael away, God refers to him as the boy and to Hagar as the female slave, maidservant.
Sarah obviously didn’t view Ishmael as his son. In chapter 21 he is referred to by her as the son of the slave woman. Although in chapter 16 she fully expected to have a son with Abraham through Hagar… who would act as a kind of surrogate for them. But Hagar. Hagar after she conceives, rather quickly it appears, she then despises her mistress. She looked upon Sarah as less than…. of no importance. The root of despise is curse… she looked at her as being cursed because she couldn’t conceive. Perhaps Hagar’s bitter, resentful attitude at not being the mistress carried over to her son…. who became hostile and offended towards Isaac, “the promised son”.
Galatians 4:29 gives us the reason for the banishment of Hagar and Ishmael… he despised and persecuted Isaac, the child of promise. He pursued him with hostility.
She saw correctly and through her discernment she helped guide her husband in God’s plans for Isaac. God told Abraham to listen to his wife and send Hagar and Ismael away. We have to be careful not to insert our own opinions into this story. Sarah was not jealous or harsh. She was protecting the lineage of the Deliverer.
She was being a wise builder of her home……
- Sarah had Godly discernment
She saw correctly that Ishmael was a threat to Isaac’s destiny and respectfully opposed Abraham. Guiding him in choosing between the son of the flesh or the son of the promise.
God told Abraham to listen to his wife and send Hagar and Ismael away. Why should Abraham listen to Sarah’s voice this time when it was the wrong thing to do before (he listened to her in regards to sleeping with Hagar)? Because this time Sarah had realigned herself with the purpose of God. She chose faith over the power of the flesh to fulfill what God had spoken.
Are you properly discerning those who are coming against the promises of God in your life?
Are you taking a stand to protect your children from those who would speak against their call and destiny in God?
Are you properly aligned with the purpose of God for your family in faith so that your husband can trust your discernment….. your judgement in matters that help guide his destiny?
Discernment is keen perception or judgment. It is to understand the plans, intent, thought or motive. Discernment goes beyond just the words spoken and hears the spirit behind things that are said or done.
To grow in discernment, we need to be renewing our minds in the Word of God… getting the mind of Christ functioning in our minds.. to be guided by His thoughts, purposes, and intents.
Tomorrow we’ll look at Rebecca……