By the grace of God, the 26 lessons for this two quarter’s Sabbath school will study the lives of 26 different women mentioned in the Holy Scriptures compared with events to transpire in the days ahead. Just as Abraham is the father of faith, so Sarah, like Jerusalem, is considered by the apostle Paul as “the mother of us all”–the mother of the children of promise. Galatians 4:26. Sarah is also the first woman whose name appears in the faith chapter–Hebrews 11.
We will examine a few examples of the struggles, failures, and triumphs of these women, called “daughters of Sarah” here. Each one serves as an allegory to examine some events in the last days. It is important to prepare in spirit and mind for what is going to come upon God’s people as they triumph over evil for the glory of God.
“A study of women’s work in connection with the cause of God in Old Testament times will teach us lessons that will enable us to meet emergencies in the work today….
“In ancient times the Lord worked in a wonderful way through consecrated women who united in His work with men whom He had chosen to stand as His representatives. He used women to gain great and decisive victories. More than once, in times of emergency, He brought them to the front and worked through them for the salvation of many lives.” –Daughters of God, pp. 21, 45.
The testimonies also explain that the Sabbath school is not just for members and visitors who attend the church but also for those who are still outside the citizenship of Israel and God’s family.
“What is the character of the religious experience of those who take part in the Sabbath school work? The light of truth has been shining in the minds and hearts of teachers and scholars, that they may diffuse it to those who are out of Christ. The saving message is to be given to those who have not yet opened their hearts to receive the heavenly gift. The truth must be urged upon the attention of those who seem indifferent.” –Counsels on Sabbath School, p. 67.
We recommend that your study not be postponed to Friday evening but that each lesson be studied daily–generally one question per day. And in this digital, Internet era, every student and teacher in the Sabbath school has the opportunity to watch the videos created by the Ministerial Research Institute and placed online weekly in English and in Spanish.
These Sabbath School Lessons were developed by studying various works under prayer. It is our great desire that they will further the spiritual growth of each student–the chosen of God. Let everyone be motivated to prepare as a bride adorned to meet her Husband, whose coming is at the door. Revelation 19:7. We long for the day when we will leave behind the great tribulation of the last days, see Jesus face to face, and begin our reign with Him for eternity.
–Ministers and members of the Ministerial Research Institute and the brethren of the General Conference
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Lesson 1 | Sabbath, 4 July 2020
Sarah means “princess.”
“For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman.” Galatians 4:22.
“Sarai’s name became Sarah, ‘princess;’ for, said the divine Voice, ‘She shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her.’…
“Abraham’s marriage with Hagar resulted in evil, not only to his own household, but to future generations.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 137, 145.
- What relationships did Sarah and Hagar have with Abraham? Why was Isaac considered the son of promise and Abraham’s only son, even though Ishmael was Abraham’s first son?
Genesis 12:16, 18, 19; 20:12 And he entreated Abram well for her sake: and he had sheep, and oxen, and he asses, and menservants, and maidservants, and she asses, and camels…. 18And Pharaoh called Abram, and said, What is this that thou hast done unto me? why didst thou not tell me that she was thy wife? 19Why saidst thou, She is my sister? so I might have taken her to me to wife: now therefore behold thy wife, take her, and go thy way…. 20:12And yet indeed she is my sister; she is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife.
Galatians 4:22, 23 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. 23But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise.
“Sarah was fair to look upon, and he doubted not that the dusky Egyptians would covet the beautiful stranger, and that in order to secure her, they would not scruple to slay her husband. He reasoned that he was not guilty of falsehood in representing Sarah as his sister, for she was the daughter of his father, though not of his mother. But this concealment of the real relation between them was deception. No deviation from strict integrity can meet God’s approval.” –Daughters of God, p. 26.
“Hagar was proud and boastful, and carried herself haughtily before Sarah. She flattered herself that she was to be the mother of a great nation God had promised to make of Abraham. And Abraham was compelled to listen to complaints from Sarah in regard to the conduct of Hagar, charging Abraham with wrong in the matter. Abraham is grieved and tells Sarah that Hagar is her servant, and that she can have the control of her, but refuses to send her away, for she is to be the mother of his child, through whom he thinks the promise is to be fulfilled. He informs Sarah that he should not have taken Hagar for his wife if it had not been her special request.
“Abraham was also compelled to listen to Hagar’s complaints of abuse from Sarah. Abraham is in perplexity. If he seeks to redress the wrongs of Hagar he increases the jealousy and unhappiness of Sarah, his first and much-loved wife.”
–The Story of Redemption, pp. 77, 78.
- After lying to God, what lesson did Sarah have to learn to become the spiritual mother of Israel and of those who are saved?
Isaiah 57:11 And of whom hast thou been afraid or feared, that thou hast lied, and hast not remembered me, nor laid it to thy heart? have not I held my peace even of old, and thou fearest me not?
Genesis 21:6, 7 And Sarah said, God has made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me. 7And she said, Who would have said unto Abraham, that Sarah should have given children suck? for I have born him a son in his old age.
Romans 4:20-22 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; 21And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. 22And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.
“Both Abraham and Sarah distrusted the power of God, and it was this error that led to the marriage with Hagar. God had called Abraham to be the father of the faithful, and his life was to stand as an example of faith to succeeding generations. But his faith had not been perfect. He had shown distrust of God in concealing the fact that Sarah was his wife, and again in his marriage with Hagar.”
–Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 147.
- To what places and covenants do the Scriptures compare Sarah and Hagar? Why are these two places considered to be in bondage?
Galatians 4:24-26 Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which engendereth to bondage, which is Agar. 25For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. 26But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.
Romans 6:16, 19 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?… 19I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.
- As spiritual children of Sarah, from what slavery are God’s people freed? Of what do they become servants?
Romans 6:17, 18 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. 18Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.
John 8:34-36 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. 35And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. 36If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.
“Even the most irreligious have their hours of conviction, when there comes to them a longing for something they have not. In every town and city there are large numbers who do not attend any place of worship. Many of these are attracted to the camp meeting. Many come who are slaves of sin, the helpless victims of evil habits. Many are convicted and converted. As they by faith grasp the promise of God for the forgiveness of their sins, the bondage of habit is broken. Forsaking their sinful indulgences, they become freemen in Christ Jesus, and rejoice in the liberty of the sons of God.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, p. 71.
- After a while, a conflict arose between Sarah and Hagar. What caused this? What did Sarah tell Abraham to do, which was confirmed by God?
Genesis 21:8-12 And the child grew, and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned. 9And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking. 10Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac. 11And the thing was very grievous in Abraham’s sight because of his son. 12And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said to you, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called.
“After the birth of Isaac the great joy manifested by Abraham and Sarah caused Hagar to be very jealous. Ishmael had been instructed by his mother that he was to be especially blessed of God, as the son of Abraham, and to be heir to that which was promised to him. Ishmael partook of his mother’s feelings and was angry because of the joy manifested at the birth of Isaac. He despised Isaac, because he thought he was preferred before him. Sarah saw the disposition manifested by Ishmael against her son Isaac, and she was greatly moved. She related to Abraham the disrespectful conduct of Ishmael to her and to her son Isaac, and said to him,
‘Cast out this bondwoman and her son; for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac.’” –The Story of Redemption, p. 79.
- Who are spiritual sons and daughters of Sarah? How should husbands treat their wives so as not to jeopardize their own prayers?
1 Peter 3:6, 7 Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement. 7Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.
Ephesians 5:28, 29 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 29For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church.
“The instruction given to Abraham touching the sacredness of the marriage relation was to be a lesson for all ages. It declares that the rights and happiness of this relation are to be carefully guarded, even at a great sacrifice. Sarah was the only true wife of Abraham. Her rights as a wife and mother no other person was entitled to share. She reverenced her husband, and in this she is presented in the New Testament as a worthy example. But she was unwilling that Abraham’s affections should be given to another, and the Lord did not reprove her for requiring the banishment of her rival.” –Daughters of God, p. 28.
- In addition to the statement about her long life, where else in Scripture is Sarah the first woman to be mentioned? What was her main virtue as the spiritual mother of the sons and daughters of promise?
Genesis 23:1, 19 And Sarah was an hundred and seven and twenty years old:… 19And after this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah before Mamre: the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan.
Hebrews 11:1, 11 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen…. 11Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.
“Jacob repeated the charge concerning his burial place: ‘I am to be gathered unto my people: bury me with my fathers … in the cave that is in the field of Machpelah.’ ‘There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife; there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife; and there I buried Leah.’ Thus the last act of his life was to manifest his faith in God’s promise.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 237.
“Hebron was twenty miles north from Beersheba, and about midway between that city and the future site of Jerusalem. It was originally called Kirjath-arba, the city of Arba, the father of Anak. Later it was called Mamre, and here was the burial place of the patriarchs, ‘the cave of Machpelah.’ Hebron had been the possession of Caleb and was now the chief city of Judah. It lies in a valley surrounded by fertile hill country and fruitful lands. The most beautiful vineyards of Palestine were on its borders, together with numerous plantations of olive and other fruit trees.” – Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 697.