How Does Sarah, Submissive Obedience, and Fear Fit?

Have you ever done this? A wife wants counseling on dealing with a frustration she has with her husband. I Peter 3 brings God’s truth to godly wives (dealing with unbelieving husbands), encouraging them to trust God by submitting, adorning their hearts with righteous beauty, and to act as Sarah’s spiritual daughters. I’ve often thought of Sarah as a fantastic example of this, what with Abraham’s penchant for dropping her off in various royal harems (cf. Genesis 12 and 20). It turns out, most commentators see it this way too: Sarah shows remarkable faith and fearlessness in the face of Abraham’s abdicating husbandry.

But as we’re preaching through the Abraham toledot in our Lord’s Day sermons, I was struck by the fact that Genesis 18 is the only place Sarah refers to Abraham as her “lord” (Hebrew: adon, Greek: kurios). What is more, Peter exhorts godly wives to “not fear anything that is frightening” (I Peter 3:6). Sure enough, the only time we’re ever told Sarah feared something is also in Genesis 18. The links are striking, and even Proverbs 3 comes into play. The following chart helps to lay it out (ESV and LXX below):

Genesis 18:12, 15 I Peter 3:6 Proverbs 3:25
So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I am worn out, and my lord (κύρίος μου) is old, shall I have pleasure?” as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord (κύριον).  
But Sarah denied it, saying, “I did not laugh,” for she was afraid (ἐφοβἡθη). do good and do not fear anything that is frightening (μὴ φοβούμεναι μηδεμίαν πτόησιν). Do not be afraid of sudden terror (οὐ φοβἡθησῃ πτόησιν) or of the ruin of the wicked, when it comes

Continue reading

A Hermeneutic of Suspicion

Proverbs 3:5 Do not lean on your own understanding.
Proverbs 3:7 Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil.
Proverbs 28:26 Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered.
Isaiah 5:21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and shrewd in their own sight!
Isaiah 41:10 …Your wisdom and your knowledge led you astray…
Isaiah 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.
Isaiah 65:2 I spread out my hands all the day to a rebellious people, who walk in a way that is not good, following their own thoughts.
Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can understand it?