Monday, April 24, 2023

Sermon and Announcements April 23, 2023


April 23, 2023

Are We Like Sarah?

Genesis 12:2-3, 10-20

Genesis 17:15-22

Genesis 18:1-2, 9-15

This morning we are going to spend a little time looking at what

the Bible says about Sarah. She is the firs woman really talked

about in the Bible. Eve, of course, is actually the first woman

discussed in scripture but Sarah is a woman who for several

reasons has a very important part to play in God’s plans for His

people. We read several portions of scripture, some set the

stage for what will happen in the future for God’s people, some

show how Sarah dealt with things happening to her and around


The first scripture we read doesn’t mention Sarah, however, we

will see she is in the middle of what is said in these verses. The

promise made to Abram has meaning long after his life is over.

The promise made to Abram one can easily say also applies to

Sarah, his wife, as well.

Verse 3 is such a powerful and important verse. “I will bless

those who bless you and whoever curses you, I will curse and

all people on earth will be blessed through you.” Abram and

Sarai seemed to always be on the move. Soon after they were

married, they left where they had lived. Sarah went with her

husband and his family to a new place.

In verse 10 of chapter 12, we see that a famine has occurred in

the land they were living so Abram pulled up stakes and took

his wife and their possessions to Egypt. Sarah faithfully went

with her husband to yet another new land. But there was a

concern that her husband had. Because his wife was so

beautiful, he was concerned the Pharoah would kill him if he

knew she was his wife so he told Sarah to tell them she was his

sister. Sarah faithfully did as her husband asked. God honored

Sarah’s faithfulness by bring a disease to the Pharoah’s people,

which led Paroah to realize Abram and Sarah’s God was

warning him not to take her as his wife. For the time they were

in Egypt God blessed Abram with livestock and servants. Once

Pharoah realized what was happening, he told Abram and

Sarah to leave but they could take everything they had gained

while in Egypt with them. So, in a way you could say God

blessed Sarah for her faithfulness and Abram got the benefit of

having such a faithful wife.

The verses we read in chapter 17 show how everything God

had promised to Abraham would happen. We did not read

what was said in the 11 th chapter, verse 30 but early on we are

told Sarah was unable to have children. As we look at the

promises made to Abraham and also Sarah it seems to be

impossible. Going back to what is said in chapter 17 God is

making it clear to Abraham his wife Sarah will be the mother of

nations and that kings will come from her.

Because of time we are skipping several things but Sarah and

Abraham did not believe God could do what he was promising

so they took matter into their own hands and Abraham had a

son through one of Sarah’s servants.

In chapter 17 God is making it clear Sarah will have a son. She

will be the mother of nations. In chapter 18 we see the Lord

appears to Abraham and clearly states that one year from

today I will visit you again and Sarah will have given birth to a

son. We read that Sarah heard what was said and one might

say sarcastically laughed that with Abrahm 100 and Sarah 90

finally she would have a son? The Lord questioned the laughter

of Sarah’s and said to them, “Is anything too hard for the

Lord?” Sarah claimed she had not laughed but, of course, she


Let us move on to the last verses we read this morning in

Chapter 21. The first verse says, “Now the Lord was gracious to

Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah what he had

promised.” Exactly when the Lord said it would happen, Sarah

gave birth to Isaac. In verse 6 Sarah says, “God has brought me

laughter and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.

She goes on to say, “Who would have aid to Abraham that

Sarah would nurse children yet I have borne him a son in his old


As we look at Sarah’s life, we see a woman who had reason to

be angry and frustrated with her husband and one might say

God as well. Her husband put her in difficult position after

difficult position but she stayed faithful to her husband when it

would have been easy to say, “Enough is enough!”

Even though she was wrong to do so, she even came up with a

plan to help Abraham see God’s promise would come true

about having a son when it seemed she would never have a

son. She did this out of love and devotion for her husband.

Actually, through much of this Abraham let his wife down as

well as showing a lack of faith in God. One could say Sarah was

a very conflicted but faithful woman. Someone who sought to

help her husband by doing things she should have never been

asked to do. But also was a “take charge” woman who sought

to make things happen when things did not seem possible on

their own.

As we looked at this special woman God used in a powerful way

how many of you women would have gone along with a

husband who asked so much of his wife? To the point of

compromising her values to do what she thought needed to be

done. To flip it to the men her today, Abraham clearly showed a

lack of faith in God despite the fact early on God promised

great things would happen through him. Are we men lacking in

faith too much of the time when we are faced with difficult

decisions. Despite the many ups and downs Abraham and Sarah

had they fulfilled what God had promised would happen

through them? Even though Sarah clearly doubted God could to

through her what had been promised, in her own way she

stayed faithful to God by staying true to her husband. Sarah has

become the mother of many nations. Sarah came to realize

what God had said to her was true. Is anything too hard for

God? Sarah had two sides that she wrestled with, the faithful

trusting side and the one full of doubt and a lack of self-esteem.

Which are you and I most like? Are we like Sarah feeling one

way one day and the other way the next.

God honored Sarah because when it was all said and done, she

showed she truly believe and trusted God. God wants us all to

take to heart those words we have read and said a couple of

times already today. Just as Sarah saw they were true, God

wants us to know it as well, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?”

Sarah will always be one of the most important people in God’s

story. Sarah never backed away from a challenge. In spite of her

shortcomings God used Sarah in ways that still are impacting

God’s people and this world today.

Pastor Larry


Tuesdays 9:30 Bible Study

April 29 9:30 – 10:30 Food Distribution at Kirby Medical Clinic,


May 1—deadline for submissions for the May newsletter

May 7 will be a hymn sing. Please offer suggestions on the list

on the east bulletin board.

Camp Emmanuel schedule is posted on the bulletin board. Most

camps are in June.

Offering plates are in the back of the sanctuary. Thank you for

your continued giving!

Donation Box: Camp Emmanuel

First Sundays: food donations for food banks

Pastor Larry Traxler- (217) 454-2362

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Keep in Your Prayers

Tina Martina; Iva Traughber Brunner; Sue and Terry Grabb; Nora

Hanaver; Todd Henricks; Tate Sawyer; Jonah Martina; Jan

Bower; Larry Traxler; Michelle West; Michelle’s mom; Carolyn

Hirsch; Eli Brunner; Nancy Fansler; Joe Waltz; Doug Larrick;

Ron & Kathleen Petersen; Debbie Leibrock; Dorthea Wood;

Tina Wilhelm; Mindy Sawyer; Marlene Schultz; Carl and Wilma

Cable; Mike and Carol Seidenstricker; Adiline Young; Kim

Lehmann; Doug Fansler; Shawn Cain; Robert Cripe; Mayo &

Darlene Hanaver; Patty Cripe; Lauren Gross; Stacie Warren;

Nancy Gorrell; many unspoken requests; healthcare workers

and first responders; victims of disasters; victims of shootings;

shut-ins; the Nigerian church; Haitian Brethren; Ukraine; Hope

Welty Library; Florida; Puerto Rico; Turkey/Syria earthquake

Military and Other Services and their families

Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers

District Prayer Calendar: Pray for the Milledgeville congregation

and for the youth Christian Citizenship Seminar.

Church of the Brethren vision statement:

Together, as the Church of the Brethren, we will passionately live

and share the radical transformation and holistic peace of Jesus

Christ through relationship-based neighborhood engagement. To

move us forward, we will develop a culture of calling and

equipping disciples who are innovative, adaptable, and fearless.

Our Mission Statement:

Love God, grow with others, serve faithfully, reach the lost,

find peace.

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