Bible Study from Calvary Chapel Newberg

with Tom Fuller

In Honor of Mothers

There is an old Jewish proverb that reads: "God could not be everywhere, and therefore he made mothers."

There's a lot of truth to that proverb - we depend on our mothers to supply our every need - and many mother's feel the burden of needing to be everywhere at once - straddled between crying babies, dirty laundry, boiling-over pots, and keeping kids out of mischief.

Later we count on our wives as the mother of our children to take one child to the doctor while another has a soccer practice and the third wants to go shopping at the mall with five of her friends - and needs money too.

Mothers are hard working, dedicated, loving, nurturing - tired women who deserve far more praise than they receive.

Anne Morrow Lindbergh said: "By and large, mothers and housewives are the only workers who do not have regular time off. They are the great vacationless class."

Mothers have a tremendous impact on their children - and today we're going to look at the examples and truths that eight women imparted to their sons, daughters, and even their nation - examples that should encourage mothers everywhere to carry on in a most noble task - and urge us to appreciate the mothers amongst us more.

Rebekah for Jacob - Genesis 27

Rebekah urged Jacob to masquerade as his older brother, lie to his father, and cheat his way into getting the blessing.

Now, lying and cheating are not exactly virtues we want to pattern for our sons and daughters.

It was a wrong to Esau - who was deprived of the blessing due the older brother, it was also a wrong to Jacob, who she taught to lie.

She could have gone to Isaac and reminded him that God had said "the elder will serve the younger." But God left it up to her to do it her way - and got the glory for bringing good out of evil.

But Rebekah loved Jacob, and knew that God had a blessing for him. She wanted Jacob to get all that God had for him - and even lowered herself to deceit in order to get the best for him.

Point: A mother is an advocate - unashamedly - for her children. We can never discount the power of a mother in her child's life. It is a virtue to be cherished.

Jocabed: Moses' mother - Exodus 2

Jocabed knew her son was in peril. She obeyed Pharaoh's command, but with a twist.

In contrast to Rebekah, this woman hid her son (which was illegal) until she could hide him no more. So she threw him into the river (which was the command). But instead of drowning him, she put him in a boat, obviously hoping someone would find him before the little ark turned over or the crocodiles got hungry.

It paid off - and God took her faith and put Moses into the hands of the one woman who could mother him without worrying about the king's edict - Pharaoh's daughter.

Point: Mothers have a special bond with their children, and a reluctance to release them into a hostile world. Yet with adequate preparation and faith, God can take the child, encased in an ark, and put him or her into the right place at the right time.

Deborah (a mother to Israel) - Judges 5:7

As a "mother" to an entire country she was:

- Arbitrator (she settled disputes under a tree by her name)
- Rescuer (she told Israel to attack their enemy)
- Encourager of men (Encouraged Barak to fight Sisera)
- Example to women (Jael - who put a tent peg through his temple)
- Source of peace (Israel had it for 40 years with her)

Point: As a mother, you can do amazing things when you love your children. And you can see your children accomplish amazing things too. You too are arbiter, rescuer, encourager, example, and source of peace. Do not underestimate yourself.

Hannah, mother of Samuel - 1 Samuel 1

Hannah - the second wife (like the second house of women) - no kids
She cried out to the Lord - the thing she wanted the most was to bear children.
Amazingly, she told the Lord that if He'd grant her petition, she would give the child back to Him. Even more amazingly, she followed through with the promise. She never lost track of Samuel, bringing him a little cloak each year.

Point: What you want most of all, eventually you have to let go into the Lord's hands - but you never lose track, interest, or influence. It was not easy to let him go, for the priesthood was in great disarray, but through her faithfulness she received back - Samuel became a great man of God who chose king David - the man who is in the line of Christ - and she received children - three sons and two daughters - you can't out give God.

Athaliah - mother of Ahaziah - 2 Chronicles 22:2 (encouraged to do wrong)

On the other side of the scale - there is Athaliah.
Athaliah encouraged her son Ahaziah - not to do right, but to do wrong.
She wanted him to follow the ways of Ahab - the man who married Jezebel, followed Jereboam, and served Baal and worshiped him.
He ruled only one year before being executed.

Point: You cannot be perfect, but be assured, if you lead your kids into sin, they will follow - and their lives will be ruined. But if you encourage them to do good, this too effects their future direction.

Mother of Lemuel - Proverbs 31:2 (teaching noble character)

The Proverbs 31 woman was actually an oracle, delivered to king Lemuel, by his mother. She was advising him not to waste his time on chasing women or personal pleasures - but to look for a woman of noble character to spend his life with, to emulate.

Point: You might feel like the advice you give your kids goes in one ear and out the other - or just bounces off their hard heads and echoes around the room. But it does go in - and will come back to your kids to guide them later on.

Mary - Luke 2:51 treasured all these things in her heart

Jesus did something that upset Mary - He stayed behind at the feast after his family left. Mary said "Why have you treated us this way!" They were anxious - as most parents would be. Jesus told them He was about His Father's business. That seemed to be enough.

Luke says He was obedient to them - but Mary "treasured" all these things in her heart. It means "to watch thoroughly" or "observe strictly". Jesus did a lot of things that Mary didn't understand - at Cana when He said "Dear woman, why do you involve me?" - and later in Matthew 12:48 when His family tried to see Him and he replied "who is my mother?"

Mary knew from the start that Jesus had a special mission from God - and that she was but the agent for His coming into the world. But you know that she anguished over him - cared for Him so deeply, yet felt so helpless as He marched resolutely toward death.

Seeing Mary's pain at the crucifixion of her Son, I was reminded of the anguish mother's feel as they raise their kids, as they see them make mistakes, even fall away. It comes from the curse that fell on us from Adam and Eve.

In Genesis God told Eve that she would bring forth children in pain - I think it meant not just the physical pain of childbirth - but the emotional pain of bringing kids into this cursed world, and seeing the effects that curse has on them.

Eunice Timothy's mother - Acts 16:1, 2 Timothy 1:5

Faith was passed down from Lois (Timothy's grandmother) through his mother (Eunice) then to him. Timothy, of course, became Paul's protege and pastor. His faith is called "sincere".

Point: Mom's are often the strongest spiritual force in a home. That faith rubs off on sons and daughters and grandchildren.

Rufus' mother - Romans 16:3 Mother to Paul too

Romans 16:13 "Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother, who has been a mother to me, too."

At some point Rufus' mom treated Paul in a way that blessed him, made him feel at home, and cared for.

Point: Be a mom to those the Lord puts in your path, you never know who they will become and how you will help them achieve that.

Rebekah: Advocate
Jocabed: Protector
Deborah: Encourager
Hannah: Influence
Athalia: Example
Lemuel's mom: Guide
Mary: Nurturer
Rufus' mom: Surrogate Mom
Eunice: Shepherd

Bottom line:
o Don't be discouraged, you are doing a good work
o Don't worry, rest will come eventually
o Don't fret, God will take your efforts, mix it with faith, and produce good fruit

And for those of us who are not or not yet mothers

o Take time to put yourselves in a mother's shoes - to appreciate her role
o Be open to your mother inputting wisdom into your life
o Think of something good your mother has done for you, and thank her for it

Erma Bombeck's Mother's Day Column
Dear Mother,
When the Good Lord was creating mothers He was into His 6th day of "overtime" when the angel appeared and said, "You're doing a lot of fiddling around on this one."
And the Lord said, "Have you read the specification on this order?"
"She has to be completely washable but not plastic"
"Have 180 movable parts . . . all replaceable"
"Run on black coffee and leftovers"
"Have a lap the disappears when she stands up"
"A kiss that can cure anything from a broken leg to a disappointed love affair"
"And 6 pairs of hands"
The angel shook her head slowly and said, "6 pairs of way."
"It's not the hands that are causing me the problems," said the Lord, "It's the three pairs of eyes that Mothers have to have."
"That's in the standard model?" asked the angel.
The Lord nodded. "One pair that sees through closed doors when she asks 'What are you kids doing in there?' when she already knows. Another here in the back of her head that sees what she shouldn't but what she has to know, and of course the ones here in front so that she can look at a child when he goofs and say, 'I understand and I love you' without so much as uttering a word."
"Lord," said the angel touching his sleeve gently, "come to bed. Tomorrow . . . "
"I can't," said the Lord, "I'm so close to creating something so close to myself. Already I have one that heals herself when she is sick . . . can feed a family of six on one pound of hamburger . . . and can get a 9 yr. old to stand under a shower."
The angel circled the model of a Mother very slowly. "It's too soft," she sighed.
"But tough!" said the Lord excitedly. "You cannot imagine what this Mother can do or endure."
"Can it think?"
"Not only think, but it can reason and compromise," said the Creator.
Finally, the angel bent over and ran a finger across the cheek. "There's a leak," she pronounced. "I told You You were trying to put too much into this model."
"It's not a leak," said the Lord. "It's a tear."
"What's it for?"
"It's for joy, sadness, disappointment, pain, loneliness, and pride."
"You are a genius," said the angel.
The Lord looked somber. "I didn't put it there"