Summary: Look at SARAH, HAGAR, NAOMI and RUTH as being agents in bring salvation to God’s people.
THE THEME OF IMMIGRATION, IN THE FIRST TESTAMENT,
AS ILLUSTRATED IN THE LIVES OF
SARAH, HAGAR, NAOMI and RUTH
SARAH (Genesis 12:1-9)
Sarah is challenged by God to remove herself from her land and her home,
all the places of security,
and accompany her husband to a non-specific place.
“Go from your country and your kindred and your [father’s] house to the land I will show you.” (Genesis 12:1)
Sarah walks with God.
Leaves her predictable environment because
she trusts her husband’s word and God acting in his life.
She is the tremendous support of her husband.
This act changed the course of their lives together.
Sarah sets on a path that she could scarcely have imagined.
Abraham, in my opinion, was able to respond to God’s call because he had the support of his family to search for a better life.
We understand Sarah and Abraham’s life as a couple on a pilgrimage.
Those of us who have walked the path of uncertainty
walk with Sarah.
[for they went as the Lord directed.] (Genesis 12:4)
There were stumbling blocks in this plan though:
The land that God promised them had people already living in it.
There was a clash of culture.
I imagine Sarah asking herself,
Will this change OUR traditions and eventually change US?
We are immigrants and can see OUR STORY in SARAH’S STORY.
*[For once we are considering HER story, not HIS STORY – history.]
How has God called us here, to the United States?
What are our fears here?
We haven’t taken “all the possessions we have,” (Genesis 12:5a) like Sarah and Abraham did.
We are not fortunate enough to have taken “all the persons” that are in our lives. (Genesis 12:5b)
Many of us haven’t even taken our husbands or wives,
or family members.
We are here alone;
families back in our own country.
Our journeys here were long, tough and dangerous.
Like Sarah, in order to get to OUR CANAAN,
we had to pass through many lands
BUT we are here,
with “pitched tents”
and with the same promise God gave to Sarah and her husband:
“To your offspring I will give this land” (Genesis 12:7a)
because one day, our offspring will be citizens
“you will be a blessing (Genesis 12:2) to your children and the families you left behind.
AND AS MEN we need NOT to underestimate the role women have in our lives.
In this story we see how Abraham was supported by his wife Sarah
and how instrumental she was in enabling,
not just encouraging,
Abraham’s acting on God’s call.
Additionally, Sarah later saves his life when they were forced to flee to Egypt
when avoiding famine,
subjecting herself to become one of the Pharaoh’s wives. (Genesis 12:19)
So as immigrant people on our pilgrimage to God,
we need to keep Sarah before our eyes AS INSPIRATION and ENCOURAGEMENT.
Later on in Genesis (chapter 16) we meet HAGAR
an Egyptian and Sarah’s slave who [as Phyllis Trible suggests,] “becomes the other woman.”
Sarah who had not given birth yet,
offers Hagar to her husband
when Hagar becomes pregnant, Sarah treats her so badly that she runs away.
Not that I mean to suggest Sarah and Abraham’s house was perfect,
for Hagar is Sarah’s “slave girl,” (Genesis 16:3)