“She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.” Proverbs 31:25-26
God has blessed women with the gift of life. Women give birth to their children and become nurturers, mothers. There are many mothers named and unnamed in the Bible. I would like to share just a few of my favorites. I’m sure each of you have your favorites as well.
Sarah was the waiting mother. She waited a very long time to have a child. Abraham was 100 years old and Sarah was 90 when God promised that in the next year they would have a son. Sarah even laughed at the thought of it. (Many of us would probably have laughed.) But with God all things are possible and Isaac was born! And through Isaac, all of the Israelites are descended!
Jochebed was the self-sacrificing, protective mother. She was willing to give her son up to another woman in order to save his life. In Egypt, with Joseph gone, the new pharaoh ordered that the Israelites be enslaved and that all male children born to them should be “cast into the river”. Jochebed hid her son for three months. (I can’t imagine trying to hide a crying infant that long without anyone finding out!) When she could no longer hide him, she coated a basket with tar and pitch and placed her son in the river while Pharaoh’s daughter was bathing. She had her daughter Miriam keep watch as Pharaoh’s daughter found the baby and had pity on him. Miriam then offered to find a Hebrew woman to nurse the baby. Jochebed got to care for her baby until he was weaned and then she gave her son to Pharaoh’s daughter who named him Moses. (I wonder what Jochebed called her son.)
The Shunammite woman was the trusting faithful mother. She is never named. She offered the prophet Elisha food and a room in her home whenever he would pass through her town. She recognized that he was a “holy man of God”. Elisha asked what he could do to repay her kindness to him. A servant told Elisha that she had no son and her husband was old. Elisha told her that in a year she would have a son to “embrace”. The son grew strong; but one day, while helping his father in the fields, he complained that his head hurt. They took him home to his mother and she held him until he died. This Shunammite woman took a donkey and provisions and headed out to find Elisha. Every person she met along the way inquired if everything was alright. She always gave the same reply, “It is well”. When she arrived, Elisha went with her to her son, Elisha prayed and lay over the boy’s body and her son lived! Her faith and trust were rewarded by God.
At this point, I realize that even if I give a short summary of all of my favorite mothers in the Bible, it will become a book and not a devotional! So I will simply list a few more of my favorites since many of these stories will be familiar.
Hannah was the thankful mother. She received her son, Samuel, as the answer to a prayer and returned him to God (the temple) as a young boy.
Elizabeth was another waiting and faithful mother. She was also an older mother and her son was John the Baptist.
Mary was the trusting, joyful mother. Mary, the mother of our Savior, Jesus Christ, trusted God and rejoiced in her role.
Naomi was the faith-sharing and wise mother. (Technically a mother-in-law) She shared with Ruth her faith in God and gave advice on how to live in her adopted country.
This week, let’s give thanks to God for our mothers and to those women we have appreciated as our “other” mothers. I lost my mother much too early. She passed away the night before “9/11” in 2001. But I still thank God for her and miss her phone calls and special visits and her love of life.
For all of you who are mothers, thank you for your love, dedication, belief, patience, self-sacrifice, protection, trust, joy, wisdom, and faithful instruction!
I thank God for each of you! And I thank you for joining me today to celebrate mothers and Mother’s Day.
Happy Mother’s Day!