A lie that is half a truth Is ever the worst of lies.

A half-truth is always a lie. While it was true that Sarah was Abraham’s sister, the assertion was in reality a falsehood. After the severe rebuke from Pharaoh for their deception, they should have learned their lesson, but to commit the same sin again a few years later, and further imperil God’s plan to make of them a great nation, leaves Abraham and Sarah without excuse. How slow we are to learn from our past failures?Her Sorrow The one great grief of Abraham and Sarah was that through their long life together they had no children. To a Hebrew woman, barrenness was looked upon as a gnawing grief, and sometimes regarded as a sign of divine disfavor. Childless, even when back in Babylonia (Genesis 11:30; 16:1-8), Sarah remained so until at 90 years of age God miraculously fulfilled His promise and made her the mother of the son of promise. Through the long years, “side by side with the prosperity, beat for beat with the pulse of Abraham’s joy, there throbs in Sarah’s heart a pulse of pain ... There is as yet no heir.” The constant grief of barrenness caused Sarah to become “The Woman Who Made a Great Mistake.” In spite of the fact that, along with her husband, she had received the divine promise, that from her nations would spring, the possibility of ever becoming a mother died in her heart. Such a cross as barrenness inflamed and intensified her pride, and forced her to find a way out of this embarrassment to her husband. “Sarah sacrificed herself on the cruelest altar on which any woman ever laid herself down; but the cords of the sacrifice were all the time the cords of a suicidal pride: till the sacrifice was both a great sin in the sight of God, a fatal injury to herself, to her husband, and to innocent generations yet unborn.”

Genesis 11:30 - King James Version (KJV)

<30> But Sarai was barren; she had no child.

Sarah revealed the sad defect of her qualities when she said to Abraham, “Take Hagar my maid, and let not the promises of God fail through me. Through her I can continue your hereditary line.” But all poor Hagar could do was to produce an Ishmael. It was only through Sarah that the promised seed could come. Although it might have been a custom of the time for a man with a barren wife to take a concubine in order that he might have an heir, Abraham, as a God-fearing man, should have stoutly refused to go along with the unworthy scheme, which in the end produced jealousy and tragedy. “Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai,” but the voice was the fatal siren of Satan who sought to destroy the royal, promised seed (Genesis 3:15). As one modern writer expresses it— Little did Sarai think when she persuaded Abram to take Hagar, that she was originating a rivalry which has run in the keenest animosity through the ages, and which oceans of blood have not quenched. In our cameo of Hagar (which see) we sought to show all that followed the blunder of Sarah, when she intervened in God’s plan and chose her way to continue her husband’s posterity.

Genesis 3:15 - King James Version (KJV)

<15> And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

Her Joy In His forgiving love and mercy God appeared to Abram when he was 99 years old, and assured him that his long barren wife, although now 90 years old, would conceive. To confirm His promise God changed the name of Abram to Abraham, and of Sarai to Sarah (Genesis 17; 18). At such a revelation of God’s purpose, “Abraham fell upon his face and laughed.” Although he marveled at the performance of the naturally impossible, Abraham yet believed, and his laughter was the joy of a man of faith. Laughter is sometimes mad (Ecclesiastes 2:2) but that of Abraham was highly rational. He rejoiced in the thought that Isaac should be born, and perhaps at that time he had a vision of the Messiah. Jesus said, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day” (John 8:56). As for Sarah, what was her reaction when she overheard the Lord say to her husband, “Sarah thy wife shall have a son”? The record says, “Sarah laughed within herself,” but hers was the laugh of doubt. Yet when her son was born he was named Isaac, which means “laughter”—a memorial of her sin (Genesis 18:13), and of her husband’s joy (17:17). Sarah’s joy knew no bounds, “God hath made me to laugh” (21:6; 24:36). She had laughter before, but God was not the author of her laugh of doubt. The joy of Sarah in the birth of Isaac reminds us of “the great joy” proclaimed by the angels who made known to the shepherds the birth of Christ who came of the line of Isaac (Luke 2:10; Romans 4:18-21). Paul reminds us that it was by faith that Sarah conceived beyond nature (Hebrews 11:11). It was not only in itself a miracle wrought by faith, but also in earnest of something far greater, even the Incarnation of Jesus Christ.

Ecclesiastes 2:2 - King James Version (KJV)

<2> I said of laughter, It is mad: and of mirth, What doeth it?

John 8:56 - King James Version (KJV)

<56> Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.

Genesis 18:13 - King James Version (KJV)

<13> And the Lord said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old?

Luke 2:10 - King James Version (KJV)

<10> And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

Romans 4:18-21 - King James Version (KJV)

<18> Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. <19> And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah's womb: <20> He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; <21> And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.