The Scriptures Speak Of Mothers

 

 

 

The Scriptures Speak of Mothers

 

Let me begin by sharing a few bible verse with you, that are appropriate for today..

“Strength and honor are her clothing;  And she shall rejoice in time to come.  She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.  She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.  Her children arise up, and call her blessed;  Her husband also, and he praiseth her.  Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.”

Those words are from  Proverbs 31, verses 25 thru 29.   And of course they speak of godly mothers.

And God speaks these words, in  Isaiah 66:13;  “As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you..”  

 

Mothers of the Bible

 

Today I’d like to share with you a couple stories from the bible, about two different women.  One of the women was named Jochebed, and the other was named Hannah.  These two women lived at different times,  but they have one thing in common;  They were both “mothers”.  And they both serve as examples to us, of faith in God, and of a mother’s love for their children.

 

Let’s begin with the story of the woman, and the mother, named Jochebed.  Now you may not be familiar with this woman by name, but I’m pretty sure you’re familiar with her story.  Jochebed is introduced to us in  Exodus 2, verses 1 & 2,  but her name isn’t given, until later on in scripture, when a genealogy is given.  And that genealogy is given in  Exodus 6, verse 20.   And here’s what it says;  “And Amram took unto him Jochebed, his father’s sister, to be his wife;  And she bare him Aaron and Moses:  And the years of the life of Amram were an hundred and thirty and seven years.”  

So then Jochebed, was the mother of Moses.  And a very faithful and loving mother she was.  And Jochebed was a mother, who impacted the very history of God’s people.   And I don’t know if you’ve ever really appreciated what a touching story this is, but it really is, a touching story, of a mother’s love for her child, and of course, her faith in God.

 

But it’s in  Exodus 2, verses 1 & 2,  that we’re first introduced to the story of this godly mother.  And here’s how the story begins..  “Now a man from the house of Levi, went and married a daughter of Levi.  (in other words, another descendent of Levi) The woman conceived and bore a son, and when she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him three months.”  

And why did Jochebed hide her newborn son?  It was because of what Pharaoh had commanded, in  chapter 1, verse 22;  “..“Every son that is born to the Hebrews, you shall cast into the Nile;  But you shall let every daughter live.”  

Well, Jochebed obviously loved her new born son, and she also loved God.  And so rather than obey the edict of man, she obeyed the will of God, and she hid her newborn son from the Egyptians.  Now let me read  Exodus 2, verses 3 thru 10..

“But when she could no longer hide him, she got him a papyrus basket and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed the child in the basket, and set it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile.  (So she didn’t “cast her son into the Nile” but rather, she “set him along the bank”)  And his sister stood at a distance to see what would happen to him.  (That would have been an older daughter of Jochebed, a sister to Moses, who was there watching what her mother was doing with her brother)  Soon the daughter of Pharaoh went down to bathe in the Nile, and her attendants were walking along the riverbank.  And when she saw the basket among the reeds, she sent her maidservant to retrieve it.  When she opened it, she saw the child, and behold, the little boy was crying.  So she had compassion on him and said, “This is one of the Hebrew children.”  So then not all Egyptians were so cruel as Pharaoh was.  One of his very daughters, had compassion.  It could be that maybe she was a mother too, but we don’t know. 

“Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, (again, that would be the older sister of Moses.  And she must have been kind of “watching out” for her baby brother) So she said to Pharaoh’s daughter..  “Shall I go and call one of the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?”   Sounds like Jochebed raised a pretty smart daughter.  “I’ll go get a Hebrew woman to nurse that child for you.”  She already had the makings of becoming a pretty shrewd mom herself.

“And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Go.” So the girl went and called the child’s mother.”  Isn’t it amazing how the providence of God can work, especially when you’ve got faithful people involved too?

“Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, (to the mother of Moses) “Take this child and nurse him for me, and I will pay your wages.” So the woman took the boy and nursed him.”  The providence of God, and the love of a mother, working together.  Jochebed not only got to nurse her very own son, but she got paid for it!

But now listen to this next verse,  verse 10;  “When the child grew older, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became HER son.   She named him Moses, “Because,” she said, “I drew him out of the water.”  

There’s a saying that says..  “If you love someone, you’ve got to let them go.”  Jochebed loved Moses, and she knew she had to let him go, and so she did.  And she evidently trusted God, to do what was right.  I’m pretty sure that Jochebed, never got to see what God would do with her son Moses, in raising him up as a prophet of God, to lead his people out of slavery in Egypt.  After all, it would be another 80 years until God would call Moses out of the wilderness at Mount Horeb.  But once again, Jochebed, in being faithful, simply put her trust in the Lord.

And isn’t that what we all have to do?  Simply trust in the Lord, to do what’s good.  “And we know that God causes all things to work for good, to those who love God, who are called according to His purpose.”  (Romans 8:28)  

As mothers, and as fathers, and as sons and daughters, we simply need to trust in the Lord.

But isn’t that a touching story about the love of a mother for her child?  And of a mother’s trust in God.

 

 A Mother Named Hannah

 

Now let’s take a look at the story of our second mother, the one named Hannah.  Of course even in her adult married life, Hannah wasn’t always a mother.  As a matter of fact, Hannah was barren for many years.  But she prayed to God for a child.  She prayed to become a mother.  And God granted her wish and her prayer, and allowed her to become a mother, by giving her a son.  And after being given that son, Hannah then proved herself to be faithful to God, by keeping a promise that she had made to God.  And this story shows the sacrifice that a mother can make, for the good of her child.

In  1 Samuel chapter 1,  we have the story of a man named Elkanah.   And the scriptures say in  verse 2;  “He had two wives.  The name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other, Pen-in-nah’.  And Pen-in-nah’ had children, but Hannah had no children.”   And we learn from subsequent verses, that Pen-in-nah’ wasn’t a nice person at all.  As a matter of fact, she was a quite nasty person.  And she made fun of, and ridiculed Hannah consistently, because as  verse 6  says;  “..the LORD had closed Hannah’s womb.”   

And Hannah was grieved, greatly grieved.   Verse 7  says;  “..therefore she wept, and did not eat.”  But Hannah was the faithful one.  Even though she hadn’t received the blessings of children, like Pen-ni-nah’ had received, still, Hannah was the faithful one.  And she prayed to the Lord always.  Verse 8  says;  “And Elkanah, her husband, said to her, “Hannah, why do you weep? And why do you not eat? And why is your heart sad? Am I not more to you than ten sons?”  I don’t know if Elkanah simply didn’t understand.  Of it’s great for wives to have husbands, and for husbands to have wives, but a child is different, isn’t it?  I think the scriptures show children to be a special blessing.

Do you remember in last week’s lesson I talked about Sarah, the wife of Abraham;  And how when she was nearly 90 years old, God promised her a son.  And Sarah said to herself, in  Genesis 18, verse 12;  “After I have become old, am I to have delight, my lord being old also?”  Sarah viewed the prospect of motherhood, to be an absolute delight.

 

But back to Elkanah and Hannah.  You know, I skipped over  verses 3, 4 and 5,  of  1 Samuel chapter 1,  but let me read those verses now;  “Now this man used to go up year by year from his city, to worship and to sacrifice to the LORD of hosts at Shiloh, where the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were priests of the LORD.  When the day came that Elkanah sacrificed, he would give portions to Pen-in-nah’ his wife and to all her sons and her daughters;  But to Hannah, he would give a double portion, for he loved her, even though the LORD had closed her womb.”   And that was probably another reason why Pen-ni-nah’ would antagonize Hannah so.  

And now we get to the part of the story that shows Hannah’s faithfulness and trust in the Lord.  Beginning with  verse 9,  the scripture says;  “So after they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh, Hannah stood up.  Now Eli the priest was sitting on a chair by the doorpost of the temple of the LORD.  She (Hannah) was deeply distressed and prayed to the LORD, and wept bitterly.  And she vowed a vow and said, “O LORD of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head.”  

Hannah obviously considered it to be such a blessing, to have the opportunity to become a mother, that she was willing to repay the Lord, by giving that child back to God in return.  Quite a sacrifice wasn’t it?

But let’s continue reading the story.  Beginning with  verse 12  now..  “Now it came about, as she continued praying before the LORD, that Eli was watching her mouth.  (Remember, Eli was the priest)  Hannah was praying in her heart, and though her lips were moving, her voice could not be heard.  So Eli thought she was drunk.  Then Eli said to her, “How long will you make yourself drunk?  Put away your wine from you.  No, my lord,” Hannah replied. “I am a woman oppressed in spirit. I have not had any wine or strong drink, but I have poured out my soul before the LORD.  Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; for all this time I have been praying out of the depth of my anguish and grief.  Then Eli answered, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel, grant your petition, that you have made to Him.”

“May the God of Israel grant your petition.”   Can you imagine how Hannah felt after hearing those words?  “And she said, “Let your servant find favor in your eyes.” Then the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.  They rose early in the morning and worshiped before the LORD;  Then they went back to their house at Ramah.  And Elkanah knew Hannah his wife, and the LORD remembered her.”   Hannah was going to be a mother!

And now beginning with  verse 20,  the scripture says;  “And in due time Hannah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Samuel, for she said, “I have asked for him from the LORD.  (the name Samuel, means..  “God has heard”)  

“Then Elkanah and all his house, went up to make the annual sacrifice to the LORD, and to fulfill his vow.  But Hannah did not go up, for she said to her husband, “As soon as the child is weaned, I will bring him, so that he may appear in the presence of the LORD, and dwell there forever.  Do what you think is best,” her husband Elkanah replied, “and stay here until you have weaned him.  Only may the LORD confirm His word.  So Hannah stayed and nursed her son until she had weaned him.”

“And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour, and a skin of wine, and she brought him to the house of the LORD at Shiloh.  And the child was young.  And when they had slaughtered the bull, they brought the boy to Eli.  And she said, “Oh, my lord!  As you live, my lord, I am the woman who was standing here in your presence, praying to the LORD.  For this child I prayed, and the LORD has granted me my petition that I made to him.  Therefore I have lent him to the LORD. As long as he lives, he is lent to the LORD.” And he worshiped the LORD there.”   

How difficult do you think that was for Hannah to do?  To leave her son who she had prayed so earnestly for, and to go back home without him.  Hannah loved her son Samuel.  God had heard her!  But she also loved God.  And for the blessing that God had given to her, she let Samuel go, to serve God.

Now  Chapter 2, verses 1 & 2;  “And Hannah prayed and said, “My heart exults in the LORD; my horn is exalted in the LORD. My mouth derides my enemies, because I rejoice in your salvation.  There is none holy like the LORD:  For there is none besides you;  There is no rock like our God.”   What a godly mother, and faithful woman, Hannah was!

Now let me skip over to  verses 18 thru 22;  “Samuel was ministering before the LORD, a boy clothed with a linen ephod.  (an ephod is the clothing that a priest wears)  And his mother used to make for him a little robe, and take it to him each year when she went up with her husband, to offer the yearly sacrifice.  Then Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife, and say, “May the LORD give you children by this woman, for the petition she asked of the LORD.”  So then they would return to their home.  Indeed the LORD visited Hannah, and she conceived and bore three sons and two daughters.  And the boy Samuel grew in the presence of the LORD.”  

I hope you enjoyed these two stories about faithful mothers, who loved their children, and who loved God.

 

 

 

 

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