Tag Archives: abraham

0. Daughters of Sarah – Contents

Helps wives with unbelieving husbands, women in difficult or unequally yoked marriage unions, or any woman seeking to be a better wife improve her marriage relationship. Studies on submission.

Bible answers from the book of 1 Peter.

Daughters of Sarah

The Daughters of Sarah Bible studies for women are based on the story of Sarah and her husband Abraham, whom God made “the father of many nations” (See Genesis 17:4-5 and Romans 4:17-18).

For instance, Sarah obeyed her husband, Abraham, when she called him her master. You are her daughters when you do what is right without fear of what your husbands might do (1 Peter 3:6 The New Living Translation).

Table of Contents

Daughters of Sarah: Wives of great worth (Introduction)
Chosen for God’s Best: Chosing to obey, 1 Peter 1:1-5
Take Control by Submission: Given to God, 1 Peter 1:6-15
Live by Faith: Trusting God’s faithfulness, 1 Peter 1:7-21
Rid Yourself of Selfish Attitudes: Needed and honored, 1 Peter 2:1-8
Called to Be Holy: Welcome and equal, 1 Peter 2:9
Winning the Inner Battle: Set yourself free, 1 Peter 2:10-16
What About Our Rights? Given to God’s protection, 1 Peter 2:17-25
Winning Behavior: Repay evil with blessing, 1 Peter 3:1-12
If things still go wrong You go right, for you are blessed! 1 Peter 3:13 – 5:11

— Begin reading Daughters of Sarah

08. Winning behavior: Repay evil with blessing

Our way is not words, but behavior, not outward apparel, but inner beauty. Repay evil with blessing. Jesus is our way. We are followers, pure, modest, beautiful, human, and faithful.

Daughters of Sarah Bible Study session 8 (1 Peter 3:1-12).

We Are Followers

Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives… (3:1)

In the same way as what? Backing up into verses 20-25 of chapter 2, we find the context is speaking of Jesus and his submission to the unfairness he suffered in order to purchase our redemption.

“In the same way…” Jesus is our way. He has set us an example. Now he tells us that his way is not words, but behavior. Jesus could have told us over and over from heaven, “I love you.” But his words would have rang empty, and we would have still been forever separated, were it not for his behavior:

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,

but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.

And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death —
even death on a cross!

–Philippians 2:5-8

We Are Pure

The Bible says our husbands may be won without words “when they see the purity and reverence of your lives” (3:2). Our words will ring empty, too, without proper behavior. Our behavior is to be manifested by the purity and reverence of our lives.

God explains further that outward behavior begins with inner change.

“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight” (3:3-4).

We Are Modest

The way we behave on the outside will reflect what we are on the inside. What we put on the outside or leave off of the outside will reflect our inner purity as well. We have an important role here.

The Christian community will throw stones at a man who is in an adulterous relationship. Yet it is acceptable for Christian women to adorn themselves, even at church, with as little as they can get by with, and then a little less. Somehow we’ve got our values all messed up.

Temptation is everywhere for men. A Christian woman can walk by wearing a skimpy garment. She finds pleasure in the attention she gets for the moment, and just as quickly, her mind is on other things. But she leaves behind her a man struggling to capture the emotions she has unraveled within him. He may have committed his heart to sexual purity before God. Now he feels guilty for the lust he finds in his mind, even though he has done his best to avoid temptation. Who will God hold accountable for this evil? (Update 4-5-2006: For an eye-opening look at this subject from a young Christian man’s viewpoint, see On Modest Dress.)

We have a major responsibility, ladies, to dress in such a way as to help men live above reproach in a sin-sick world. Woe to us if we adorn ourselves in such a manner to pull them down to the level we have lowered ourselves to when we dress immodestly.

We Are Beautiful

When we get our attitudes in order, our actions will follow.

We’ve been taught since we were tiny that beauty is what is on the inside, not the outside, but we’ve never believed it. We take time to get our makeup just right, coax a lock of hair into the right place, and make the necessary adjustments in front of a full length mirror to be sure we’ve put together a lovely package. But that same morning, we brush by our Bible on our way out the door and think to ourselves, “I really should take time to read that…maybe tomorrow.”

God says this is wrong: “Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 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, 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” (v. 4-6).

We Are Human

Sarah was human just like us, ladies. She laughed in disbelief when God said she would have a child in her old age. Then she lied to cover up her lack of faith:

Then the LORD said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.”

Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, which was behind him. Abraham and Sarah were already old and well advanced in years, and Sarah was past the age of childbearing. So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, “After I am worn out and my master is old, will I now have this pleasure?”

Then the LORD said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, `Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the LORD? I will return to you at the appointed time next year and Sarah will have a son.”

Sarah was afraid, so she lied and said, “I did not laugh.”

But he said, “Yes, you did laugh.”

–Genesis 18:10-15

Sarah was not perfect, yet God calls her a holy woman of the past and says she had unfading beauty because she subjected herself to her husband, did what was right, and did not give way to fear. God puts a high priority on this.

We Are Faithful

How do we give way to fear? We fear that when we obey our husbands in what seems to be poor judgment on his part we will bring disaster on ourselves and our children. We don’t have to fear being obedient. Obedience to God via our husbands is right. God will honor our obedience and take care of us.

“Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers” (v. 7).

“Ah… finally we are getting to the heart of the matter. I would if he would!” We sound like Spiritual two-year-olds. How God must long for us to grow up and realize that our husband’s failure does not free us.

“Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble” (v. 8).

We are commanded to live in harmony. Our part is submission. We are commanded to love as brothers. Is it possible to love our husband with brotherly love as well as romantic love? It is not only possible, it is necessary. What is brotherly love? Compassion and humility are good descriptions.

“Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing” (v. 9).

Do you want to get even with your husband? How can we repay evil with blessing? What is promised if we repay with blessing?

“For, ‘Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech. He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it…'” (v. 10-11).

If we keep our tongue from evil but harden it in our heart, are we okay then? No, what is in our heart will eventually spill over. We can only keep the lid on so long.

“…Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). Submission starts in the heart.

“For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil” (v. 12).

Do you want God’s eyes and ears attentive to you or against you? The greatest blessing on earth is to have the God of the universe attentive to our prayers. He asks so little in return. He only asks that we trust him, trust him enough to be submissive to his leadership through our husbands. God calls us to submission to teach us faith so he can bless us.

You can trust God. He gave his Son for you.

Prayer

Lord, this is more than we can do. We’ve already failed. Thank you that you understand our humanity. Forgive us, and lead us onward from here. We follow. Amen.

Questions for Discussion

Is it possible for us to live as Jesus did?
How does our humanity fit into all of this?
How do the clothes we wear reflect the level of purity and reverence in our hearts?
What is the relationship between attitudes and actions?
What is the relationship between fear and faith?

Next

Scripture taken from New International Version unless otherwise noted

08. The (not) ideal home: She did what she could

God has a unique plan for each of us in nurturing our children. We cannot be fathers to our offspring, but if we will be mothers committed to God, that will be enough!

“She did what she could” (Mark 14:8).

An Unnamed Woman: Her Best Was Enough

Jesus was visiting in the home of a man named Simon when a woman did something so significant that most people could not comprehend it.

While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.

Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly.

“Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial.

–Mark 14:3-8

Jesus said of the woman who anointed him, “She did what she could,” and Jesus indicated that was enough.

Was it enough that she simply anointed Jesus from an alabaster box or jar of sweet-smelling perfume? Will it be enough if we just determine some quality things to do with our children? Will it be enough if we take them to church? Will it be enough if we provide them with an ideal Christian home? According to whose ideals? And what if we don’t have an ideal home? What is enough?

There were a lot of things this woman couldn’t do. She probably would not have been allowed to stand and give a speech on the greatness of Jesus Christ. She couldn’t travel with Jesus daily. Possibly circumstances prevented her from being able to host him in her home.

So she did what she could. She made this simple little gesture of anointing him. Or was it simple?

According to the passage quoted above, this was no ordinary perfume. It was valued at “more than a year’s wages,” and some felt it could have better been used to feed the poor. The contents of the alabaster box were treasured in the family–reserved to be used for burial. What she gave was no simple gesture. Not only did it cost her monetarily, but it cost her much ridicule from many of the religious people who observed.

There were other things she could have done. She could have spoken words of praise to Jesus. She could have offered to bring lunch to him and his disciples the next day at less expense than that of the perfume. She could have used a relatively inexpensive perfume on his feet. But she gave the very best that she had.

That is what is required of us as parents. No simple textbook formula will do. Taking our children to church alone won’t cut it. “Quality time,” so often lauded, can’t measure up to God’s standard. Idealism based on man’s ideals is unrealism.

We are not required to do what we cannot, but we are accountable before God to do all that he instructs us to do for each individual child. This will be costly. Our goal must not be to impress our Christian friends or absolve our conscience that we have followed the “rules.” Our goal must constantly be to do the best thing in this particular situation to help this child to know God better.

There are many excellent books written by Christian authors on parenting. There is much good advice from Christian friends and leaders. But as we study God’s Word for ourselves and pray, only God can reveal if we are to use this particular advice to apply to this child in this situation, and if not, what God would have us do.

Moses’ Mother: Her Time Was Enough

Moses’ father and mother were both Jews from the tribe of Levi. From a very young age, Moses was raised by a pagan princess. But God gave his parents the opportunity to start him out for God first.

Then Pharaoh’s daughter went down to the Nile to bathe, and her attendants were walking along the river bank. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her slave girl to get it. She opened it and saw the baby. He was crying, and she felt sorry for him. “This is one of the Hebrew babies,” she said.

Then his sister asked Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?”

“Yes, go,” she answered. And the girl went and got the baby’s mother. Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this baby and nurse him for me, and I will pay you.” So the woman took the baby and nursed him. When the child grew older, she took him to Pharaoh’s daughter and he became her son. She named him Moses, saying, “I drew him out of the water.”

–Exodus 2:5-10

Moses grew to be a great leader of God’s people, and God through Moses gave us the first 5 books of the Bible. Moses’ mother took full advantage of the time God gave her with her son. She followed God’s leadership, and she raised her son for God while she had Moses with her. And that was enough!

Ah, that we as mothers would quit blaming our circumstances and just do all God says to do. That too will be enough!

It is time that we quit excusing ourselves because we don’t have an ideal home where Dad demonstrates his loving authority as the God-appointed head of the home. He leads Spiritually at the family altar. He has the wisdom of Solomon in rearing his family. He maintains the children’s respect of their mother. He supports her and she supports him. He makes sure love and discipline are balanced. The mother trains and teaches under the auspices of the father’s Spiritual umbrella.

There are homes where this Scriptural ideal is realized. Praise God for them. But these homes are rare in our day. We do not live in an ideal world. Sin has corrupted what God ordained. So often Dad goes the opposite way, and leads the children away from God, seemingly obliterating the Spiritual teaching the mother makes in her children’s lives. Or refusing to allow her freedom to teach as she would.

But God will not be obliterated! God has provided a way to overcome sin, through the death and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ. Let’s quit moaning about how we cannot raise our children for God because of our husbands. Or our lack of a husband.

If we have the Holy Spirit of God living in us, how dare we say we can’t because our husbands don’t! Sin has often torn apart the ideal. But God specializes in undoing what sin has done in individual circumstances! God will make a way if we as mothers trust him and obey him.

Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.

No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen

–Ephesians 3:20-21; 1 Corinthians 10:13; Ephesians 5:22

We women are never instructed to oppose our husbands in the rearing of our children. On the contrary, God strictly forbids us to oppose our husbands. He tells us to submit ourselves to our own husbands.

If we set our mind to obey God in this, he will never allow our husbands to require us to blatantly participate in that which is in direct opposition to God’s precepts. God will not put us in a position where we are forced to choose between two of his commandments. God will make away to escape.

What greater teaching can we give our children than that of our example in obedience to our husbands as instructed in the Word of God?

Abraham: His Faith Was Enough

Abraham sacrificed his son at God’s command. We may seemingly be sacrificing our children to sin in obedience to our husbands. Abraham believed God would raise his son if he obeyed God, and God provided a lamb and rescued Abraham’s son.

Our children are about to be destroyed, and God has provided a lamb. We, like Abraham, believe that God’s Son, the Lamb, will either rescue or raise our children if we are obedient to God.

Application

Our trust in God’s intervention does not excuse us from doing what we can, as God leads. As long as our husbands do not oppose our Spiritual efforts in our children’s lives, we are free to do all we want. When our husband’s do oppose that we propose to do, we must revise our plans. It may take a little more innovation to find “husband-approved” methods of teaching our children God’s precepts, but if this is the life God has called us to, he will make a way!

We are not permitted to give up. We cannot be a father to our children. But God has not called us to be fathers. God has called us to be mothers.

Thought to Remember

Let us follow the unique plan God has called each of us to in the nurturing our children for him. God will magnify our efforts exceeding abundantly above that we ask or think. And if we will be mothers sold out to God, that will be enough!

Questions for Discussion

  1. How much training is “enough”?
  2. How do we know whose advice to follow as parents?
  3. What if circumstances prevent us from doing what we feel is best for our child?
  4. What if our husband opposes our training methods with our children?

Next

Scripture taken from New International Version unless otherwise noted

02. Finding God’s way: Help for parents

Help for problems facing parents: The first step is do what God shows you, then he will show you more. Start now. Don’t wait until you understand it all, or can do better.

What is the first step?

The Problem

“He came to Derbe and then to Lystra, where a disciple named Timothy lived, whose mother was a Jewess and a believer, but whose father was a Greek (Acts 16:1).

Timothy’s father couldn’t lead his son in the way he should go, because Timothy’s father wasn’t walking in the way he should go himself. The first step is that we line our lives up with the way God would have us to go.

In order to do this, it helps to look back at Adam and Eve. At first, Adam and Eve did everything according to the way God would have them to go. But enter the serpent and the apple. After that, they could never again measure up to God’s plan for them. Neither could their offspring, because their offspring would inherit the flawed nature and pass it on down through the ages to all mankind. Adam and Eve were remorseful, but they were also helpless.

The Promise

God gave the first glimmer of hope when he promised a Savior for Adam and Eve and all their offspring in a conversation with the serpent:

And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.

The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.

–Genesis 3:15, 21

God still cared for Adam and Eve. In his compassion for them, God made coats of skins to cover their shame. But Adam and Eve had spoiled the perfect creation of God.

After that no one could walk totally in the way he should go, but down through the ages God continued to promise a Savior. God revealed more and more about himself and the Savior he would send. God led those who would believe his promise of a Savior in the way they should go. And those who believed were willing to follow God’s leadership.

Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness (Genesis 15:6). What the Bible says of Abram was true of all those who believed God: God later changed Abram’s name to Abraham which means “father of many nations.” Abraham is the name he is usually known by today.

This promise was renewed over and over to the people God had chosen to spread the good news about the coming Savior–the Jewish race. Finally the Savior arrived. And when He arrived, God had something very special to reveal about the Savior: the Savior was God’s own Son! No one else could qualify.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

The Rejection

But the Bible says His own people, the people who had been given the promise, did not receive the Savior:

“He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:11-12).

This is incredible! First God promised a Savior. Then He sent his own Son as the Savior. But the very people He had been preparing to receive the Savior did not even recognize Him.

The world today for the most part does not recognize the Savior either. Our instinct and our conscience tell us we are missing something, that we are not all we should be. We try to do better. We try to fix our spoiled nature by being religious, by giving to the poor, by participating in ceremonial rituals. But we continue to have this guilty feeling that somehow we are not complete. God sent the Savior to “fix” us, but we don’t even notice.

The Solution

Still God’s love can not be thwarted. God continues to offer everyone the opportunity to receive the Savior. And those who receive His Son come into God’s family and become God’s very own children. This is more than the prophets could ever imagine!

Today, God still leads those who believe in His Son, the Savior, just as he did before Christ came. And those who believe are willing to follow God’s leadership just as then.

What a great God, to give His own Son for us when we were disobedient to his plan. This thing is bigger than you and I can fathom! We cannot imagine what He has in store for us when we become his own children. The prophet Isaiah knew the prophecy he proclaimed was more than even he could understand:

“Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him” (Isaiah 64:4).

The Apostle Paul commented on Isaiah’s words:

However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.

We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.

The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.

“For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

–1 Corinthians 2:9-10,12,14,16

The Bible says it is only as we receive God’s Spirit that we can even begin to understand the magnificence of all of this. The Bible says the natural man–the spoiled human race–can never receive these things because they are foolishness to him.

The Time

The first step is to determine not to wait until we understand or until we can do better to get started. It is simply to receive the Savior right now by believing that he died on the cross to pay the price for our sin (going our own way instead of following God). Then we will be willing to follow as God leads us in the way we should go. Only then can we begin to understand. Only with his help can we “do better.”

Application

If you have not already done this, take time right now to tell God that you don’t want to live according to your way any more, but according to the way God would have you go. Tell him you believe in the Savior he has sent, and that you are ready to receive this Savior into your life.

The Scripture quoted above from 1 Corinthians describes the miracle that will happen for you then. You will receive the not only the Savior, but also the Spirit of God. God will begin to help you understand things the natural man–the spoiled human race–can never understand. Things that seemed foolish before will become very precious. Verse 16 says you will actually have the mind of Christ to guide you!

God has provided a way to give a new start to those who will receive the Savior. Talk to him now. Tell him you are ready to receive the Savior and to receive a new start. He wants to become your Savior, and He is waiting for your invitation!

We’ve gathered some materials to help you with this important step. If you have just had this conversation with God, or if you’d like more help, please visit our Seekers page.

Questions for Discussion

  1. What is involved in getting this to work?
  2. What is the first step?

Thought to Remember

The first step is to start now. Don’t wait until you understand more, or can do better. God has shown you what to do now. When you do that, he will show you more.

Next

Scripture taken from New International Version unless otherwise noted