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Mothers in the Bible

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Mothers in the Bible

Hilltop Chapel

May 11, 2003

  1. Introduction
    1. Mother’s day
    2. Motherhood a common topic in Bible – “mother” appears 331 times in KJV
    3. Uniformly translated

                                                    i.     Single word “ame” in Hebrew – all but 6 times translated as “mother”, the others as “dam”

                                                  ii.     Single word “meter” in Greek – always translated as “mother”

    1. Motherhood a great responsibility, not just a biologic function
    2. Bible has both bad and good examples:

                                                    i.     Bad – Rebecca (Gen 27 – teaching dishonesty), Maachah (1Ki 15 – mother of King Asa who practiced idolatry), Athaliah (2Ki 11 – mother of King Ahaziah who was a murderess)

                                                  ii.     Good – Jochebed (mother of Moses), Hannah (mother of Samuel), Mary (mother of Jesus), Eunice (mother of Timothy)

    1. Will discuss some of the good ones to show the ministry mothers have in the lives of their children  
  1. Jochebed the mother of Moses
    1. Jochebed means “Jehovah is glory” #. Mentioned by name twice – Ex 6 and Num 20, as the wife of Amram
    2.  Ex 2:1-10   And there went a man of the house of Levi, and took to wife a daughter of Levi. 2  And the woman conceived, and bare a son: and when she saw him that he was a goodly child, she hid him three months. 3  And when she could not longer hide him, she took for him an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein; and she laid it in the flags by the river’s brink. 4  And his sister stood afar off, to wit what would be done to him. 5 ¶  And the daughter of Pharaoh came down to wash herself at the river; and her maidens walked along by the river’s side; and when she saw the ark among the flags, she sent her maid to fetch it. 6  And when she had opened it, she saw the child: and, behold, the babe wept. And she had compassion on him, and said, This is one of the Hebrews’ children. 7  Then said his sister to Pharaoh’s daughter, Shall I go and call to thee a nurse of the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for thee? 8  And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, Go. And the maid went and called the child’s mother. 9  And Pharaoh’s daughter said unto her, Take this child away, and nurse it for me, and I will give thee thy wages. And the woman took the child, and nursed it. 10  And the child grew, and she brought him unto Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. And she called his name Moses: and she said, Because I drew him out of the water.
    3. Heb 11:23  By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king’s commandment.

                                                    i.     (explain the story)

                                                  ii.     She trusted in God for his protection during his 1st 3 months of life, probably at risk of her own life had he been discovered

                                                iii.     She trusted God for his deliverance when she placed him in the ark

                                                iv.     Was receptive to God’s leading in the carrying out of her plan – the outcome shows God was prompting her actions

                                                  v.     God even rewarded her monetarily for this – she got paid by Pharaoh’s daughter for nursing Moses! (2:9)

                                                vi.     Additional reward of being listed among the heroes of faith in Heb 11

    1. Our lesson from Jochebed - Trust in God concerning all aspects of the lives of our children

  1.  Hannah the mother of Samuel
    1. Hannah means “grace” #. Discussed in 1Sa 1 – 2
    2.  Was one of Elkanah’s 2 wives – 1Sa 1:1-7  Now there was a certain man of Ramathaimzophim, of mount Ephraim, and his name was Elkanah, the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephrathite: 2  And he had two wives; the name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah: and Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children. 3  And this man went up out of his city yearly to worship and to sacrifice unto the LORD of hosts in Shiloh. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, the priests of the LORD, were there. 4  And when the time was that Elkanah offered, he gave to Peninnah his wife, and to all her sons and her daughters, portions: 5  But unto Hannah he gave a worthy portion; for he loved Hannah: but the LORD had shut up her womb. 6  And her adversary also provoked her sore, for to make her fret, because the LORD had shut up her womb. 7  And as he did so year by year, when she went up to the house of the LORD, so she provoked her; therefore she wept, and did not eat.

                                                    i.     Bible mentions polygamy here but does not condone it

                                                  ii.     While she was barren, her husband actually loved and favored her more than his other wife who had borne him children

                                                iii.     Led to strife in the family, just as it had in the families of Abraham and Jacob

    1. Hannah’s 1st prayer – 1Sa 1:10-13   And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore. 11  And she vowed a vow, and said, O LORD of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head. 12  And it came to pass, as she continued praying before the LORD, that Eli marked her mouth. 13  Now Hannah, she spake in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard: therefore Eli thought she had been drunken.

                                                    i.     Prayed intently, promising to giver her son to the Lord should she have one

                                                  ii.     So much so that the high priest, who was given to drink himself, misinterpreted her actions as indicating drunkenness

    1. Hannah’s 2nd prayer – 1Sa 2:1-10                                                     i.     An intent prayer of praise and thanks

                                                  ii.     Similar in many ways to the prayer of Mary in Luke 1:46-55

    1. Our lessons from Hannah                                                     i.     She put God 1st

                                                  ii.     She believed in prayer, practiced it regularly, and prayed for her son fervently both before and after his birth

                                                iii.     She kept her vows

                                                iv.     She gave God all the glory

  1. Mary the mother of Jesus
    1. Actually as many as 7 different Mary’s in the NT #. Same word as Miriam in the OT, means “bitter”
    2. Many references to her – I’m mainly interested in her character traits, best illustrated at Jesus conception
    3. Luke 1:26-38     26  And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,  27  To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.  28  And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.  29  And when she saw him , she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.  30  And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.  31  And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.  32  He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:  33  And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.  34  Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?  35  And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.  36  And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.  37  For with God nothing shall be impossible.  38  And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her. 
    4. Key verses are 27, 28 and 38

                                                    i.     Reveal her to be a virgin – key to fulfillment of Is 7:14

                                                  ii.     “highly favored” – rendered “acceptable” the one other time this Gk word appears in the Bible

1.     A compound word, based on a Gk word that KJV generally translates as “grace”

2.     Forms the basis for the Catholic “Hail Mary” prayer - Draws from this verse and from Lk 1:42 (“blessed is the fruit of thy womb”)

a.      The 1st half of this prayer is direct quotation from Scripture, although I wonder about the appropriateness of using it as a prayer

b.     The 2nd half of this prayer (“Holy Mary … “) is pure fantasy, an expression of Mariolatry

                                                iii.     “blessed among women”

1.     God recognized her as a special person, one who had been faithful to him in her life up to that point

2.     Yet not without sin! She still needed a savior

3.     (Both these are obvious from her prayer which follows)

                                                iv.     “be it done unto me”

1.     She is receptive to the will of God – unquestioning acceptance

2.     In doing so she was risking disgrace and divorce

    1. She was also a woman of prayer who was faithful to God in her daily life – Luke 1: 46-55    And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord,  47  And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.  48  For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.  49  For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name.  50  And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation.  51  He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.  52  He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree.  53  He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away.  54  He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy;  55  As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.

                                                    i.     As with many Biblical prayers, reveals a deep knowledge of the grace and love of God

                                                  ii.     Also her knowledge of the history of God’s dealings with her people

    1. Our lessons from Mary                                                     i.     Children are a blessing (“blessed are you”) – Ps 127:3-5     Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.  4  As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.  5  Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate. 

                                                  ii.     God will reveal his will for our children if we allow him to do so

                                                iii.     Prayer is a vital part of our responsibility as parents

  1. Eunice
    1. Name means “good victory” #. Only referred to twice in Bible

                                                    i.     Indirectly - Acts 16:1    Then came he to Derbe and Lystra: and, behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess, and believed; but his father was a Greek:

                                                  ii.     Directly - 2Ti 1:5   When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also. 

    1. Her activities mentioned indirectly once – 2Ti 3:15  And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
    2. All indicate her faithfulness in raising Timothy in the faith from early childhood
    3. Shows she understood her scriptural role – Prov 22:6   Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

  1. Summary
    1. Motherhood in scripture an honorable occupation #. Faithful mothers spoken of very highly
    2. Some characteristics of a good mother

                                                    i.     Trusts God in all aspects of their lives

                                                  ii.     Prays for her children (several ways!)

1.     Asks God to give them to her

2.     Asks for God’s guidance in their nurture

3.     Asks for God’s protection upon them

                                                iii.     Obeys God’s will for them as expressed in the Scripture

                                                iv.     Obeys any promises made concerning them

                                                  v.     Brings them up in the faith

    1. Performance of these roles will bring God’s special blessing
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