”Is anything too hard for the LORD? At the appointed time I will return to you, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.” Genesis 18:14
Sarah was a beautiful woman. In fact, she was so beautiful, and aged so gracefully, that she was briefly taken in to a king’s harem in her late 80s! (The king was under the impression that she was unmarried, but released her to her husband as soon as he realized his mistake.) However, she was lacking something – something she had longed for, dreamed of, hoped for, and even been promised. That something was a child, born of her womb. Sarah was barren.
We saw with Sarah’s maidservant, Hagar, that Sarah had even tried to do as some in her culture did by using her maidservant to bear her husband’s child and then claim that child for her own. That had backfired, however, and ended up with the maid thinking herself superior to her mistress and becoming difficult to live with. It doesn’t appear that Sarah felt much like the child was hers, either!
Fast forward 13 years. Sarah was now 89 years old and her husband, Abraham was 99. In spite of the impossibly advanced ages, the Lord told Abraham that Ishamael, his 13-year-old son by Hagar, was NOT the one who was to be the heir. Instead, the Lord was going to give a son to Abraham and Sarah through Sarah’s own womb. Ha! Abraham and Sarah both laughed at the idea! Imagine a 90-year-old woman and her 100-year-old husband becoming new parents!
“By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised. ” Hebrews 11:11
“With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.” Mark 10:27 As God had promised, Sarah did give birth to a son at the age of 90. Abraham named him Isaac, which means laughter, and Sarah said, “God has made me laugh, and all who hear will laugh with me.”
Can you imagine the incredible joy Sarah felt as she nuzzled her baby – HER baby – close to her? I have felt the awe as I watched one of my own precious little ones. Imagine how much greater that awe would have been for Sarah, who had literally waited a lifetime for this gift. Indeed, she had long ago given up her dream of nurturing her own child. The dream was not only restored, but wonderfully fulfilled!
There was a fly in the ointment, however: there was this other son of Abraham who was now in his teens. His mother had apparently passed on her feeling of superiority, and Sarah saw Ishmael mocking her precious little one at the party Abraham gave to celebrate Isaac’s weaning. That was the last straw! Sarah was no longer willing to put up with her nemesis, and asked her husband to send away “this bondwoman and her son”. It grieved Abraham to do so, since Ishmael was also his son, but the Lord told him to go ahead and listen to Sarah. The Lord told him that he would make Ishmael the father of a nation as well, but it would be Isaac with whom He would establish His covenant.
That is the last that we read of Sarah until we read of her death at the age of 127. Isaac would have been 37 by that time. Reading between the lines, we can see that Sarah was deeply loved by both her husband and her son. We see that Abraham mourned and wept for his wife and then purchased a plot of ground for her burial. 3 years later, we see Isaac receiving Rebekah as a bride and read that it was then that he was comforted after the death of his mother.