1 Peter 3:1-7
Likewise, you wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word…
1. To begin with, note what a happy circumstance it is when a godly, gracious man has an equally godly and gracious wife.
2. We notice next, as we look to Sarah, that God does not forget the lesser lights.
3. Next notice that it would be well for us to imitate God in this: in not forgetting the lesser lights. I do not know that great men are often good examples. Learn not from the great but from the good: be not dazzled by success, but follow the safer light of truth and right.
4. Further more, another reflection arises, namely, that faith reveals itself in various ways. Faith makes one person this, and another that. Sarah does not become Abraham, nor does Abraham become Sarah.
5. We are led by our text to look at the fruit of faith in Sarah.
I. It is said of her that SHE DID WELL, "whose daughters ye are as long as ye do well."
1. She did well as a wife. All the duties that were incumbent upon her as the queen of that travelling company were performed admirably.
2. She did well as a hostess. Though she was truly a princess, yet she kneaded the dough and prepared the bread for her husband's guests.
3. She did well also as a mother. We are sure she did, because we find that her son Isaac was so excellent a man; and you may say what you will, but in the hand of God the mother forms the boy's character.
4. She did well, also, as a believer, and that is no mean point. As a believer when Abraham was called to separate himself from his kindred, Sarah went with him. She continued with him, believing in God with perseverance.
II. She proved her faith by a second evidence — SHE WAS "NOT AFRAID WITH ANY AMAZEMENT." She was calm, and was not put in fear by any terror. There were several occasions in which she might have been much disquieted. The first was in the breaking up of her house life. An unbelieving woman would have said, "A call from God? Nonsense! Fanaticism! I do not believe in it," and when she saw that her husband would go she would have been afraid with great amazement. Then, though we do not hear much about her, we know that all those years she had to live in a tent. It is a very trying life for a housewife. Sarah travelled from day to day, and what with the constant moving of the tent, as the cattle had to be taken to fresh pastures, it must have been a life of terrible discomfort; yet Sarah never said a word about it. Remember, they were dwelling in tents as pilgrims and strangers, not for one day, or two, nor for a few days in a year, but for scores of years at a stretch. It was bravely done by this good woman that she was not afraid with any amazement. Now, this is a point in which Christian women, and, for the matter of that, Christian men also, should seek to imitate Sarah: we should not let our hearts be troubled, but rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him.
1. What is this virtue? It is a calm, quiet trusting in God.
2. When is this virtue to be exercised by us? Well, it should be exercised at all times. If we are not self-composed when we are happy we are not likely to be calm when we are sad.
3. You inquire, Who are to exercise this virtue? We are all to do so; but the text is specially directed to the sisterhood. I suppose women are exhorted to it, because some of them are rather excitable, a little hysterical, and apt to be fearfully depressed and utterly carried away.
4. But this virtue especially serves in time of trouble, when a very serious trial threatens us. Then the Christian is not to say, "What shall I do now? I can never endure it. I shall die of a broken heart." No. Do not talk so. Try in patience to lift up your head, and remember Sarah, "whose daughters ye are if ye are not afraid with any amazement."
5. And so must it be in times of personal sickness. A Christian woman should not be afraid with any amazement either in adversity or in sickness, but her holy patience should prove her to be a true daughter of Sarah and Abraham.
6. Christian women in Peter's day were subject to persecution as much as their husbands.
7. And so if you should be called to some stern duty, if you should be bound to do what you feel you cannot do, recollect that anybody can do what he can do. Be not afraid, then, of any duty, but believe that you will be able to do it, for grace will be sufficient for you.
8. At last, in the prospect of death, may you not be afraid with any amazement! Where others show their fear, and sometimes their terror, there should the believer show his peacefulness and his happy expectancy, not afraid with any amazement, whatever the form of death may be. Now, what is the excellence of this virtue? I answer by saying it is due to God that we should not be afraid with any amazement. Such a God as we have ought to be trusted. He worships best who is most calm in evil times. Moreover, the excellence of this virtue is that it is most impressive to men. Nor is the usefulness confined to others. It is most useful to ourselves; for he who can be calm in time of trouble will be most likely to make his way through it. Calmness of mind is the mother of prudence and discretion; it gives the firm foothold which is needful for the warrior when he is about to deal a victorious blow. Those who cannot be amazed by fear shall live to be amazed with mercy. "How," says one, "can we obtain it?" Recollect, it is an outgrowth of faith, and you will have it in proportion as you have faith. Have faith in God and you will not be afraid with any amazement. This holy calm comes, also, from walking with God. No spot is so serene as the secret place of the tabernacles of the Most High. When you accept every affliction as a love token, then will your fear be ended. Next, remember the faithfulness of God to His promise, and the fact that there is a promise for your particular position. Search it out, and then grasp it, and say, "He must keep it; He cannot break His word."
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;