Sarah’s Joy

The Promised Joy of a Believing Mom

Genesis 18


April 3rd  2011 AM

Pastor Craig Ledbetter

Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland


I.       Introduction


A.    Welcome to our Friend Day and Open House. You are all very welcome!

B.     Today is Mothering Day, the day we are supposed to honour and bless our Mums


1.      Not because we have to – but because they have earned it

2.      Not because they are perfect – but because they are nearly perfect

3.      Not because they never wanted to kill us – but because they never actually carried out the desire!!!


C.     There are many important Mothers in History - Throughout the centuries, mothers have been giving their children plenty of good advice and notable quotes. Here's just a small sampling:


1.      MONA LISA'S MOTHER: "After all that money your father and I spent on braces, Mona, is that the biggest smile you can give us?"

2.      HUMPTY DUMPTY'S MOTHER: "Humpty, If I've told you once, I've told you a hundred times not to sit on that wall. But would you listen to me? Noooo!"

3.      COLUMBUS'S MOTHER: "I don't care what you've discovered, Christopher. You still could have written!"

4.      MICHELANGELO'S MOTHER: "Mike, can't you colour on walls like other children? Do you have any idea how hard it is to get that stuff off the ceiling?"

5.      BARNEY'S MOTHER: "I realize strained plums are your favorite, Barney, but I think you have had enough because you're starting to look a little purple."

6.      ALBERT EINSTEIN'S MOTHER: "But, Albert, it's your senior picture. Can't you do something about your hair? Styling gel, hair grease, mousse, or something...?"

7.      JONAH'S MOTHER: "That's a nice story, but now tell me where you've REALLY been for the last three days."

8.      SUPERMAN'S MOTHER: "Clark, your father and I have discussed it, and we've decided you can have your own telephone. Now will you quit spending so much time in all those phone booths?"

9.      THOMAS EDISON'S MOTHER: "Of course I'm proud that you invented the electric light bulb, Thomas. Now turn off that thing off and get to bed!"


D.    I have been praying for weeks about how to be an encouragement to Moms. And how to be a help also to dads, and daughters and sons!

E.     And I got to looking at the life of one amazing mother in the Bible


1.      Now, she is a bit complicated, and a little rough around the edges

2.      But that makes her even better, because we can all relate to her that much more!


F.      This morning, I want to learn about how God uses “barrenness” and failure to teach us about how to obtain the joy of a successful Christian life

G.    This is for every Mum here this morning, but if you pay attention men, you will learn a lot!


II.    Background (Psalm 113:9)


A.    We learned from John 15 about “fruitfulness,” success, achievement as Christians


1.      Jesus said in John 15:8  Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

2.      Joh 15:16  Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain


B.     But not everyone feels successful


1.      Especially Moms

2.      They feel empty, like failures, unsuccessful – barren


C.     Barrenness


1.      Usually describes a woman who cannot have children

2.      For many today, a great benefit

3.      But for most other women, not being a mother describes an emptiness

4.      Motherhood today has been stripped of its joy


a.       Oh it is hard work

b.      And almost totally unrewarding in the short term


5.      But that doesn’t mean it can not be reversed!


D.    Many examples of women who started off barren, empty, unfruitful as women include:


1.      Hannah – wife of Elkanah – ended up being the mother to Samuel

2.      Elisabeth – wife of Zacharias – ended up becoming the mother to John the Baptist

3.      Rebekah – wife of Isaac – ended up becoming the mother of Jacob

4.      Rachel – wife of Jacob – ended up becoming the mother of the Prince of Egypt, Joseph


E.     All of them experienced the truth of the promise of Psalm 113:9.


1.      They all are examples that teach us that barrenness is not the judgment of God

2.      But the way that God oftentimes shows us that we must learn to trust His word, that His promises are true, even when they seem to take a long time to come true!


F.      God never meant for any Christian, Mother, or Father, child or grandparent, to be barren and unfruitful (2Pet 1:4-8). He made a way for everyone of us to succeed as Christians.

G.    The Scriptures tell of a Very Important Woman’s battle with barrenness, and the joy and laughter she had when she learned she could really, and fully trust the God of heaven! The woman’s name was Sarah, the wife of Abraham!

H.    Though barren herself, and frustrated with it, learned the joy of being a successful mother, by the life-changing grace of God!


1.      By Believing God’s Promises

2.      By Staying With her Husband

3.      By Learning to Wait on God

4.      By Overcoming Failures

5.      And, By Being Humbled Every Once in a While


III. Message


A.    A Mother’s Joy is Based Upon a Promise (Genesis 18:9-15)


1.      The promises of God are absolute – “certainly” (18:10)


a.       They are NEVER dependent upon our ability; only our willingness, and yieldedness to God’s will (Gen 18:11; Rom 4:19)

b.      People who have great abilities, do not experience the joy of the promises of God!

c.       Those of us who can do nothing of ourselves, get such a thrill out of watching God use lumps of clay, and bits of dust to do great things


1)      A stuttering Moses

2)      A fearful Gideon

3)      A hurting Hannah

4)      A murderous Saul of Tarsus

5)      A timid Thomas

6)      A hiding Adam

7)      God was able and willing to use all of them for great things


2.      Sarah had heard God make a promise to her and her husband Abram 25 years earlier (back in Gen 12:1,2,4; 15:3-6) – that they would have children, and grandchildren


a.       And that was great! She was delighted!

b.      But it wasn’t like a miracle to her because pregnancy and giving birth was very possible at that time at 65 years old

c.       So God didn’t enable her to have a child when it was possible!!!

d.      God waited until Sarah DIDN’T have ability

e.       He waited until all Sarah had was God’s promise!!!


3.      That should be all YOU need ladies – the promises of God!


a.       I will never leave you, or forsake, abandon you

b.      I am thy shield and strength – not just your husband’s!

c.       Come unto me and I will give YOU rest too!

d.      Cast thy burden on the Lord and he shall sustain thee

e.       Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, AND thy house!

f.       But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus

g.      Hey! God cannot lie! When He makes a promise, He CANNOT break it – He will fulfil it! (Num 23:19; Titus 1:2)


4.      You may have some good times, some “happiness,” here and there in life, but if you want JOY, then you had better start accumulating the promises of God to you, and start believing them! No matter how impossible!


B.     A Mother’s Joy is Attached to Her Husband (Genesis 18:12)


1.      Ladies, You need your husband


a.       Do you realise that Sarah was NOT the virgin Mary?

b.      And neither are YOU!

c.       You need your husband!

d.      If you want to be a successful Mom!

e.       That sounds obvious, but Sarah would never have any children if she did not have a right relationship with her husband Abraham

f.       I know they claim to have all kinds of medical ways of producing children today, but God says you need your man!


2.      There is something very important here in this Scripture (1Pet 3:3-6)!


a.       Sarah needed Abraham


1)      God’s promise was to BOTH Abraham and Sarah

2)      God wasn’t going to fulfil His promise without Abraham

3)      AND, God wasn’t going to fulfil His promise without Sarah


b.      It is FAR too easy today to just go along without being right with your husband

c.       But God says, you and he need each other!

d.      Actually, God CANNOT bless you, and bless your home unless BOTH of you are right with each other (1Peter 3:7; James 4:7)


3.      Ladies, THE most important relationship to protect and build up, next to your walk with God, is your relationship to your husband! Not with your parents, or your employer, or even your children! Keep that relationship right, no matter how hard it may be, and God promises that you will experience JOY!

C.     A Mother’s Joy Requires Waiting (Genesis 16:1-3)


1.      Faith is frustrating at times – wouldn’t you agree?


a.       It is easy to believe God’s promises at first

b.      But when there is any kind of a delay… our confidence waivers

c.       And BOY did Sarah’s confidence waiver


1)      She was excited at first “I’m going to be a Momma!”

2)      Then 10 years later, she became frustrated with God

3)      Both Sarah and Abraham thought God's promise would have been fulfilled long ago

4)      She is now 75 years old! Abraham is 85! They were OLD

5)      And they were getting older and older by the minute!

6)      She got worried that this “promised baby” would never happen

7)      While God was training Abraham and Sarah how to live by faith, Sarah decides to give up, and just try another way – her own way!

8)      Gave permission for her maid (Hagar) to become a surrogate mother

9)      WRONG thing to do!

10)  Hagar and her baby Ishmael become a nightmare for Abraham and his descendants for the rest of history!

11)  If ONLY Sarah had waited on God!


2.      Listen to this Scripture! Memorise it! Hebrews 10:36 “For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.”


a.       God allowed Sarah to fail, several times even

b.      And each time, He taught her to wait a little longer

c.       God didn’t just automatically work in her life so that she didn’t have to wait any more… NO! He kept to His plan, and Sarah had to learn to just wait!


3.      Moms… every one of you not only need to believe the promises of God,
you need to KEEP believing them, no matter how long it takes for them to come to pass!

4.      Sarah ends up waiting a total of 25 years before she holds the fulfilment of a promise made to her!

5.      Are you willing to wait that long?

6.      You should be willing, if you want to have joy!

7.      That’s is what faith is – trusting no matter what, and no matter how long!


a.       If you only want frustration, and bitterness, and “Hagars” in your life (that will haunt and grieve you), then just go ahead and do what you want, and do things YOUR way!

b.      But if you want to see what God can do, give Him all the time He needs!


1)      To save your children - To bring them back to Himself

2)      To work all the past sorrows and failures in your life out for good


c.       He promises to make everything beautiful (Eccl 3:11), in HIS time!

d.      One constant prayer every woman needs to pray is, “Lord, help me wait on you; help me to keep trusting you; and never giving up on your perfect promises!”

e.       That prayer is good for us men to pray as well!


D.    A Mother’s Joy Struggles With Failure (Gen 16:4-6; 17:15-19)


1.      We cannot study the life of Sarah without looking at her failures


a.       As we saw, she failed in her impatience – couldn’t wait on God – had to do something

b.      She also failed in submission


1)      She took charge, and forced her way on Abraham

2)      And then ended up blaming ABRAHAM for her failure!


c.       Lastly, she failed to the very end – 25 years of failure!


1)      Even at the time that God was going to give her and Abraham the promised Son, she still wouldn’t believe Him (18:9-15).

2)      All she could do was laugh in mockery – sarcasm – disrespect!


2.      Thankfully, Joy doesn’t happen because there are NO failures

3.      Joy happens in spite of failures, because God overrules our failures!

4.      God doesn’t step into easy problems – He fixes impossible ones (John 16:20)!


a.       As with Joseph, who was sold into slavery by his brothers and forgotten about!

b.      As with David, having to run for his life from king Saul - for 7 long years

c.       As with all the disciples, scattering at the crucifixion, and even Peter denying knowing Jesus three times

d.      But in every situation, God turned the sorrow of “failure” into joy


5.      Aren’t you glad God gives JOY and not happiness! Happiness comes a goes, but Joy lasts

6.      Hey ladies…


a.       I bet you have quite a load of failures, and disasters in your past

b.      I would imagine, YOUR home is NOT perfect

c.       You probably have some “Hagars” in your closet – some regrets, some haunts

d.      You probably are a lot more like Sarah than you want to admit

e.       But that is okay!

f.       Those struggles, and sorrows, can make the joy sweeter! Just like a storm makes the blue sky prettier!


7.      God doesn’t see failures, only quitters! Don’t give up on God’s promises, no matter how many failures you have experienced, remember, GOD IS FAITHFUL!


E.     A Mother’s Joy Is Humbling (Genesis 21:1-6)


1.      I would imagine that Sarah laughed almost constantly for the first few months of her pregnancy – she just couldn’t believe it! 90 years old and pregnant!

2.      Then, when Isaac was born, she laughed hysterically when they named the child, “Isaac” – it meant LAUGHTER!

3.      Then, all throughout the day, she would breakout into excited laughter every time she saw her baby son crawling or drooling, or sleeping!

4.      Why?


a.       Because God had been RIGHT all along!

b.      It is humbling to admit that God is right, and will work everything out right, IF we would just wait on the Lord, and let Him do His work!


5.      Ladies…


a.       Let the Lord humble you

b.      Let God teach YOU to laugh with joy, instead of with sarcasm!


F.      A Mother’s Joy Makes for a Great Home (Genesis 23:1,2)


1.      Without joy, a home can be hell on earth


a.       Not talking about always fun and games

b.      But JOY – rest, and confidence, and excitement because of assured success as a believer in the only almighty God, that can do anything, and always does what he promises!


2.      Sarah blessed her husband


a.       Abraham was greatly blessed, not because of his riches, or his power in the land, or because of all his possessions

b.      Abraham was blessed because of Sarah in his life


3.      Sarah got to raise her son


a.       God allowed this old woman, who had doubted, and given up – He allowed this old woman to stay around 37 more years

b.      Sarah got to see her son grow up, and get ready to get married

c.       Isaac loved God and walked with God because of not only Abraham’s example, but because of Sarah’s life example!


4.      Sarah was pretty important to Isaac!


a.       She had an incredible affect on his life as his mother

b.      Isaac mourned the death of his mother for 3 years

c.       You moms even today, with all your failures and faults affect your children greatly!


5.      Because of Sarah, there have come multitudes of children – as the sand of the shore, and the stars of the sky


a.       The Jewish nation at first – countless millions and millions

b.      And now believers – same again


IV. Conclusion


A.    A Poem I Wrote for Mother’s day


It doesn’t mater how old you are - And whether you’re brown or yellow or blue

What matters the most to me dear Mom - Is the fact that you are just you!


I came into this cold dark world - And there you were just for me

I learned just about everything good - While sitting right on your knee


Like Sarah of old, you had wanted a child - You waited and prayed and yearned

And then God granted your simple request - And to you the title of “Mother” was earned


And like Sarah you had some great miracles - As well as some troubles in heart

But like Sarah you learned that God’s promises - Are perfect and sure, right from the start


So Mom, you bless me just knowing - That to you Jesus will always be true

And what matters still most to me dear Mom - Is the fact that you will always be you!


B.     Our generation needs some GREAT homes! Places where JOY reigns! Where Moms get back to completely, and unreservedly trusting not only the God of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, but the God of Sarah as well! Because they are one and the same God! (Hebrews 11:11,12)

C.     To Have Sarah’s Joy…


1.      Believe God’s Promises

2.      Stay For Your Husband

3.      Wait Upon God as Long as He Takes

4.      Commit Your Failures to God

5.      Stay Humble


D.    Our world needs some Moms who will do just that. Not wait around, as empty failures, but joyful, and fruitful in their homes!

E.     Jesus said in John 16:33 “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

F.      Have YOU been born again yet? Have you let the Son of God take charge of your life, and save your soul? You need to! And you can today!