Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Beauty of Submission, Part 3

It's interesting ... I just finished the last two chapters of Feminine Appeal last night and guess what one of those chapters was called? The Beauty of Submission ... how appropriate! I promise I didn't read ahead or catch a sneak peek before I started this submission series.

I haven't had the chance to dive into Genesis like I had mentioned last week, but with the bit of study that I ventured into last week, I believe that Mahaney's wisdom ties up many of the loose ends for me that I was unsure about in 1 Peter 3:6, where we see that Peter uses Sarah as the example for us to follow:
5 For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, 6 like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.
As we look at Sarah's life in Genesis, we see that even though she acted in obedience to her husband, Abraham, and accompanied him on a long journey from their home in Ur to unknown places, where she did indeed trust God to lead Abraham, she still failed many crucial times.
  1. Not standing up for truth when Abraham asked her to "act" like his sister, not his wife, so that Pharaoh would spare his life and give him wealth

  2. Recommending and having Abraham marry Hagar so that he could have a child with her to be his heir ... failing to believe God's promise to her and Abraham ... ultimately causing bitterness between she and Hagar and introducing violent hostility between two peoples, Ishmael and Isaac, that has evolved into the Arab-Israel conflict today
But despite this sin (and maybe her 'good' intentions at times), God's faithfulness was greater. God still chose to bless Abraham and Sarah, and we see this as he gives them new names, a great covenant that they will be the father and mother of great nations in Genesis 17, and that Sarah will bear their child, Isaac, at 91 years old.

And the beauty of Peter's example here is that he does use Sarah, a woman who has screwed up, but even in the midst of her sin and after pursuing forgiveness, continues to put her trust in God, over her husband to do what's best for her. Mahaney says this:
Sarah's story doesn't end in failure. By the time she gave birth to Isaac -- a full fifteen years later -- God had performed a momentous work of grace in her life. Her lack of trust in God matured into a robust faith. In fact, she is one of only two women listed among the Hebrews 11 'heroes of faith.'

This God who transformed Sarah's disbelieving heart can do the same for us. If we embrace his plan for our lives and purpose to obey His commands, He will develop in us the beauty of submission. He will enable us to trust Him to lead our husbands to lead us.
How beautiful is that! That even at 91+ years of age, God still chose to use Sarah and to change her for His glory. So much for the saying, "You can't teach an old dog new tricks." Sarah was definitely an old dog (no derogatory meaning implied)! And I think the encouraging thing for us here is that regardless if we've been married for a year, 10 years or 50 years, we ALL still need God's grace to submit well. Hopefully at the 50 year mark (and before) our hearts will be more soft and our attitudes will be more gentle to submit well, but we're all in need of the same grace and it's only through that grace and submission to the Lord that submission to our husbands will ever be beautiful. And it's also through that grace and reliance on the Lord that we can stand firm and "not give way to fear" as we continue down this journey.

Stay tuned ... I think I'll take one more post to wrap up this submission series, but in the mean time, here's what looks to be a great resource on Sarah and Abraham if you're interested in diving in deeper: http://bible.org/seriespage/yes-my-lord%E2%80%94-ithe-story-abraham-and-sarahi.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Courtney,
    Morgan shared your site with me. I have not had the opportunity to read all of the posts, but I do want to share with you that Feminine Appeal, which I have read several times in the past 3 years, has been a book worthy of reading and implementing in my life. The topic of submission is something I have definitely struggled with for the greater part of my married life, and I am ever so thankful that in these past 5 years I have discovered how much better life is when done biblically! I look forward to reading all of your posts and learning from your study. Blessings,