For it is written, "REJOICE, BARREN WOMAN WHO DOES NOT BEAR; BREAK FORTH AND SHOUT, YOU WHO ARE NOT IN LABOR; FOR MORE NUMEROUS ARE THE CHILDREN OF THE DESOLATE THAN OF THE ONE WHO HAS A HUSBAND."Galatians 4:27(NASB)
The Bible tells us that children are a gift from God and yet in this passage, which is a quotation from Isaiah 54, we discover what appears to be an anomaly - that the desolate and barren woman who has no husband, has greater blessings from the Lord than the woman who has a husband! Indeed, she is enabled to burst forth into joyful singing... for this barren and desolate woman has many more children than the married woman with a husband!!
Paul used two historical women (Sarah and Hagar) to represent these two covenants that the Lord made with Israel.
Hagar, the slave-mother of Ishmael who was born to Abraham through works of fleshly intercourse, represents the first covenant - i.e. the Law of Moses. This first covenant was given to Israel at Mount Sinai - and this earthly covenant represents the earthly Jerusalem while the slave-woman, Hagar, represents Abraham's earthly seed.
Hagar typifies works of the flesh and represents Israel under the Law of Moses which places men under bondage and enslavement to the pre-Cross Law. This old Law could not save a guilty sinner. All the Law could do was to identify sin and then to condemn the guilty man before God. The power of the Mosaic Law was to place guilty sinners under slavery to sin. Hagar and the Law of God represented pre-Cross, earthly Israel and the earthly Jerusalem. The purpose of the Law was to point guilty sinners to Christ.
The first covenant was in effect from the time that it was given through Moses, right up until the day that Jesus Christ was crucified on the Cross... when the New Covenant was cut in His blood - the New Covenant of which we are ministers. The New Covenant of God will one day be fully ratified when Israel, as a nation, acknowledges Jesus as their King. They will cry out in joyful unison: "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord."
Sarah, the free-born though physically barren woman who miraculously bore Isaac, gave birth to the child of promise. In Hebrews, we read that Sarah received the ability to conceive even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered God was faithful Who had promised she would be the mother of multitudes.
Sarah symbolises the New Covenant and the spiritual seed of Abraham. Sarah represents the one-new-man-in-Christ who have trusted in Christ as Saviour for the forgiveness of sin, both post Cross Jews and saved Gentiles. Sarah is a type of the New, heavenly Covenant which is recorded in Jeremiah. She represents the new heavenly Jerusalem - of which we, in this dispensation of grace, are the inheritors.
Although Sarah's womb was dead and she was old and physically incapable of ever bearing children, God supernaturally enabled her to have one miracle child. The child she bore was the one that had been promised to Abraham. It was through this child that the promised Seed would come. The promised Seed would be the prophesied Messiah of Israel and Kinsman Redeemer of the world - through Whom all the families of the earth would be blessed.
By faith, Sarah herself received the ability to conceive, beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful Who had made the promise. Like Abraham, Sarah was as good as dead, yet from Abraham came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as immeasurable as the sand on the seashore - and Sarah, the barren, desolate woman became the mother of multitudes. Indeed, as Paul records in this verse in Galatians: "It is written, 'Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not. Break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband.'"
Too often, Sarah's child is linked with the old covenant - and Isaac was indeed the father of Jacob, Israel, and the Jewish nation who will one day inherit the earthly Jerusalem, as God promised to His servant Abraham. However, Paul clearly uses Hagar to represent that old covenant of Sinai, the earthly seed of Israel, and the earthly Jerusalem below, while Sarah symbolises the New Covenant, the heavenly Jerusalem, and the spiritual seed of God, through Christ Jesus our Lord - for we are all members of His Body, and ministers of a New and better Covenant.
Praise His holy name.
Heavenly Father, thank You for this peep into Isaiah's amazing prophecy that spoke of Sarah, that barren and desolate woman who was unable to conceive, after the flesh. Thank You that Paul opened up this amazing Scripture to us and showed that Sarah corresponds to the New Covenant, the heavenly Jerusalem, and the rejoicing mother of all Your spiritual children who have been saved by grace, through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Thank You for the forgiveness of my sins and life everlasting. Thank You that I am part of that great congregation who have an inheritance in the New Jerusalem. May I live a life that is worthy of my calling - to Your praise and glory. In Jesus' name I pray, AMEN.