Abel, Enoch, Noah and Abraham all put their faith in God’s Word. But there were women who believed God as well. The first of these mentioned is Abraham’s 90 year old wife, Sarah. Hebrews 11:11 says, “By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised.” She had a Word from God. She would conceive a son and through him she would be the mother of a great multitude just as Abraham would be the father of a great nation. Abraham left his home and his family to follow God’s specific call. So did Sarah! Abraham looked with faith to the future home that God would provide. So did Sarah! Abraham had a word from God and he acted on it and so did Sarah! As Abraham is known as the father of those who believe, Sarah is the mother of those who believe. Through faith she conceived and after many struggles gave birth to Isaac as God said she would.

The faith of Abraham and Sarah was demonstrated in many ways (11:8–19).  Abraham and Sarah believed God regarding their future even when they didn’t know where they were going, even when they didn’t know how they would get there, even when they didn’t know when the promise would be fulfilled and they weren’t completely filled in on why they were being led into this land and way of life. But it was their faith in the unseen future that propelled them forward. It enabled them to persevere until the promises were fulfilled. The “Teacher’s Commentary” uses the phrase “Faith enabled” with each of these Old Testament characters. Faith enabled Abel.  Faith enabled Enoch. Faith enabled Noah. Faith enabled Abraham and then “Faith enabled Sarah (11:11–12). Here is a most encouraging example. When Sarah first heard the promise, she doubted and laughed (Gen. 18:12–15). But first doubts were overcome. Faith swept in to enable her dead womb to gain the vitality needed for childbearing.”[1]

John Owens makes some interesting comments on the faith of Abraham and Sarah. He writes, “As Abraham was the father of the faithful, or the church, so Sarah was the mother of it. She was the free woman from which the church sprang (Galatians 4:22–23). And all believing women are her daughters (1 Peter 3:6; see also Genesis 17:16). Her work and obedience are held up to the church as an example, and so her faith may be as well (1 Peter 3:5–6). Sarah was equally involved with Abraham in the divine revelation. The blessing of the promised Seed was confined and appropriated to Sarah no less than to Abraham: ‘I will bless her … I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her’ (Genesis 17:16; see also Genesis 17:19; 18:10).”[2] In the end, God’s promise to Sarah came to be. It came to be beyond her wildest imagination. It was all “enabled” by her faith. My former professor, Tom Constable, says, “Sarah believed God would fulfill His promise and provide something (a child) totally beyond the realm of natural possibility. God wants us, too, to believe that. God rewarded her faith far beyond what she imagined, and He will reward ours in the same way.”[3]

[1] Larry Richards and Lawrence O. Richards, The Teacher’s Commentary (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1987), 1012.

[2] John Owen, Hebrews, Crossway Classic Commentaries (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1998), 225.

[3] Tom Constable, Tom Constable’s Expository Notes on the Bible (Galaxie Software, 2003), Heb 11:11.