A Mothers Love
1 Then there was a famine in the days of David three years, year after year; and David inquired of the Lord. And the Lord answered, It is for Saul, and for his bloody house, because he slew the Gibeonites. 2 And the king called the Gibeonites, and said unto them; (now the Gibeonites were not of the children of Israel, but of the remnant of the Amorites; and the children of Israel had sworn unto them: and Saul sought to slay them in his zeal to the children of Israel and Judah.) 3 Wherefore David said unto the Gibeonites, What shall I do for you? and wherewith shall I make the atonement, that ye may bless the inheritance of the Lord? 4 And the Gibeonites said unto him, We will have no silver nor gold of Saul, nor of his house; neither for us shalt thou kill any man in Israel. And he said, What ye shall say, that will I do for you. 5 And they answered the king, The man that consumed us, and that devised against us that we should be destroyed from remaining in any of the coasts of Israel, 6 Let seven men of his sons be delivered unto us, and we will hang them up unto the Lord in Gibeah of Saul, whom the Lord did choose. And the king said, I will give them. 7 But the king spared Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan the son of Saul, because of the Lord’s oath that was between them, between David and Jonathan the son of Saul. 8 But the king took the two sons of Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, whom she bare unto Saul, Armoni and Mephibosheth; and the five sons of Michal the daughter of Saul, whom she brought up for Adriel the son of Barzillai the Meholathite: 9 And he delivered them into the hands of the Gibeonites, and they hanged them in the hill before the Lord: and they fell all seven together, and were put to death in the days of harvest, in the first days, in the beginning of barley harvest. 10 And Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth, and spread it for her upon the rock, from the beginning of harvest until water dropped upon them out of heaven, and suffered neither the birds of the air to rest on them by day, nor the beasts of the field by night. 11 And it was told David what Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, the concubine of Saul, had done. 12 And David went and took the bones of Saul and the bones of Jonathan his son from the men of Jabesh-gilead, which had stolen them from the street of Beth-shan, where the Philistines had hanged them, when the Philistines had slain Saul in Gilboa: 13 And he brought up from thence the bones of Saul and the bones of Jonathan his son; and they gathered the bones of them that were hanged.
A young preacher was preparing to preach his very first sermon. Knowing that it was his first sermon, he wanted it to hit a home run and wanted to have a smashing introduction to set it off. He went to an older pastor, and asked him if he had a great introduction guaranteed to grab everyone’s attention.
The pastor did, and said, "Son, I have an illustration that works every single time. I have used it for years, and it is guaranteed to work. When you get into the pulpit, make this statement, ‘Some of the greatest days of my life I spent in the arms of another man’s wife.’ Then, wait a moment, and say, ‘My mother!’" He went on to say, "Remember, don’t forget to pause for a moment, and whatever you do, don’t forget to say, ‘My mother!’"
Finally, the Sunday came that the young man was to preach. He walked into the pulpit with two problems; one, he was scared to ; and, two, he had forgot to tell his wife what he was going to open his sermon with. So, the young preacher cleared his throat, confident of his smashing introduction and said, "Some of the greatest days of my life I spent in the arms of another man’s wife." He waited for a moment; but about that time, his wife, who was a hot-tempered lady, got up out of her seat and headed toward the pulpit.
Alarmed by the fact that his wife was walking toward the platform, he forgot the words he was told not to forget. So he said it again hoping this time he could remember the punch line. "Some of the greatest days of my life I have spent in the arms of another man’s wife." He paused and panic-stricken said, "And, for the life of me, I can’t remember who that woman was!”
Well, I trust that on Mother’s Day or any day, you have no problem remembering and recognising your mother.
Abraham Lincoln once said: "Behind every great man, is a great mother!"
It is indeed mothers day today and the portion of text I have chosen may not be the go to text for Mothers day, as our account is a bit depressing to say the least.
There are many great examples of mothers in the scriptures, we can think of Mary the mother of our Lord and many others
But this morning the star of our show is Rizpah and we find her II Samuel 21.
In the account we find that famine had come to the land of Israel and David inquired of the Lord for the reason. The Lord revealed the actions of Saul toward the Gibeonites was the cause of the famine. Israel had made a covenant with the Gibeonites years before but Saul breaks the covenant. As a result, God is displeased with Israel.
David approaches the Gibeonites to find out how he can make things right. The Gibeonites request that seven sons of Saul be hanged.
The seven men slain for Saul’s offence against the Gibeonites included the two sons of Rizpah, the concubine of Saul and the five sons of Michal, Saul’s eldest daughter.
It is from these events we are presented with one of the most affecting narratives in the Bible. It is the solitary vigil that Rizpah keeps as she watches with a mother’s love over the bodies of her two sons.
The death of Rizpah’s two sons left her a childless widow, a terribly vulnerable position for some women in ancient times. Yet, rather than mourn for herself, she set out to guard the remains of her two sons.
Rizpah could do nothing to save them, but she was determined to do what little she could to save them from the ultimate disgrace of that time - to die without a proper burial.
It was the law, of that day, that anyone put to death, under these circumstances could not be buried. They had to hang there until the vultures picked them clean, or the beasts tore them down;
HOWEVER, Rizpah was determined her sons were going to have an honourable burial.
There is a message here brighter than the gloom of this tragedy. The great theme underlying this story is the depth of a mother’s love.
She was not allowed to move the bodies of her sons, but she could keep the wild animals away that would feast on the flesh of her dead sons, by keeping watch day and night to protect them.
So let us look at this tragic story and find the precious truths in the example of this mothers love. Firstly
1. Her Preference was an Example
1. Her Preference was an Example
Rizpah loved her sons and her devotion to them is an example for us. She preferred them above the comforts of her home. Her children were a top priority to her.
She would rather die here before she would let some wild beast have the corpses of her sons.She was willing to make personal sacrifice for them!
Her love for her sons caused her to identify with the suffering and embarrassment of these boys. She did not shun them in their time of need. She was there by her sons.
Though her boys were grown and , though their bodies were left hanging as a sign of contempt and condemnation, she still loved them. This is the way it is with love. When you love someone, distance is no barrier; time is no deterrent.
The latter part of verse 10 tells her activity during her vigil over her sons bodies.
10 And Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth, and spread it for her upon the rock, from the beginning of harvest until water dropped upon them out of heaven, and suffered neither the birds of the air to rest on them by day, nor the beasts of the field by night.
She kept the birds of prey and the wild beasts from devouring the bodies of her sons. It was the intent of the Gibeonites to have these sons of Saul ripped apart by the vultures and wild beasts.
Rizpah wanted a burial for her sons. She stood by doing her best to keep the vultures away. Why? Her love to her sons was so great.
Rizpah is an example because she was devoted to the children. She saw her children as a blessing and not as a burden.
Some mothers favour comfort over children
Rizpah did not consider her comforts; she was devoted to her sons. She did not leave them. She was not self centered. She was child-centered, and what an example she leaves us
2. Her Presence was an Example
2. Her Presence was an Example
Imagine the beast of the field she would have to fight of. David had to fight off a lion and a bear to protect his sheep.
She had the courage to stand her ground.
She willingly put her life on the line for her boys.
She had courage to fight against those that wanted her sons.
Should we not stand against the world, the flesh, and the devil that want to devour our children?
Should we not bravely contend with the foes of our children as Rizpah did with the beast of the night and the day?
Our you ready to fight for your children, to fight the spiritual battle for their souls, to pray ferevntly for them, to bring them up in the ways of the Lord, to live an example for them to follow, to do what it takes to win them for Christ!
I can only imagine the courage it took Rizpah to fight against those that wanted to devour her sons, she battled for the ones she loved, she was there when times were tough.
We need mothers who are loyal to their children. Now this does not mean that we should approve of their sins. However, we should be loyal to our children wherever they are and whatever they are doing. Are you committed to your children? Are you there when they need you?
Being a mother is a lifetime job, and its not an easy one.
Mother’s day is traditionally the day when children get to show a little appreciation for there mothers, to give something back to their mothers for all the love and devotion shown to them.
This is the day mothers are rewarded for washing all those sheets in the middle of the night, cleaning the sick up of the floor, for the nursing and nurturing, for the late nights and early starts
Its really a day to say “thank you mum for being there”
The sad thing is so many Mothers today aren’t!
Rizpah’s example to us? she was there for her children
Then finally we see that
3. Her Perseverance was an Example
3. Her Perseverance was an Example
How long did she guard her boys. What is just a couple days and a couple of nights?
And Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth, and spread it for her upon the rock, from the beginning of harvest until water dropped upon them out of heaven, and suffered neither the birds of the air to rest on them by day, nor the beasts of the field by night.
The text says, Rizpah stayed with the bodies of her sons "from beginning of harvest until water dropped upon them out of heaven.” Most commentators indicate this means from April to October.
For five to six long months she stood against the wild animals that wanted to feed on the bodies of her two sons.
She did not give up. She refused to give up. This broken-hearted mother endured the fatigue of watching the bodies of her sons for more than five months.
For five to six months she stood between the birds of prey and beast of the field and her two sons.
The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is that one comes from a strong will, and the other from a strong won’t.
For five to six months she fought of those that desired to devour her two sons.
Mothers, how much time are you willing to give to the responsibility of Motherhood? How diligent, persistent, and dedicated are you willing to be?
Rizpah never left their sides. She was there night and day. She couldn’t give them a decent burial but she could keep the buzzards away. She couldn’t change the situation, but she could let the passers by see her devotion to her sons.
Right now it may not be as you wish with your children. However, the final results are not in.
Rizpah didn’t succeed in a month or two, but her perseverance led her onward. Mother, don’t give up hope; continue to be dedicated to the ongoing task of being a Mother.
Rizpah Persevered In the Face of Difficulties.
Rizpah stayed with it How did she do it? The bottom line is, she was dedicated to her task.
Rizpah Persevered in the Face of Danger.
As the vultures would perch in the trees high above the bodies, she would chase them away. As the wild beasts would come sneaking up to steal the carcasses in the night, she stood protection of those precious bodies.
IT IS EXPENSIVE TO BE EFFECTIVE, and one not willing to pay the price will be one who will not accomplish much in their service to the Lord.
Rizpah had a special love, and we see her love recorded!
But, not only do we see her love recorded, but, we see her love rewarded.
Notice verse 11.
And it was told David what Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, the concubine of Saul, had done.
David gets the news of what Rizpah has done, and while many would have thought her to mad, and insane, he was moved by her care, concern, and compassion.
Notice verse 12,13
12 And David went and took the bones of Saul and the bones of Jonathan his son from the men of Jabesh-gilead, which had stolen them from the street of Beth-shan, where the Philistines had hanged them, when the Philistines had slain Saul in Gilboa: 13 And he brought up from thence the bones of Saul and the bones of Jonathan his son; and they gathered the bones of them that were hanged.
David goes and takes the bodies of those 7 boys, including Rizpah’s 2 boys, and prepares a proper burial for them.
Rizpah wanted a burial for her sons, but she never dreamed they would receive a royal burial. These two sons died, not because of their own doings, but because of the sins of their father, Saul. Yet their mother stands by their side until King David sends and gives them a decent burial.
May God give us mothers like Rizpah who will hazard her own life and body to care for and protect her young. She was rewarded for her preference, presence and perseverance.
As we close let me wrap this up and make application, for I am acutely aware that Mothers day isn't a source of happiness for all.
I myself lost my mother when I was 18, in fact this August is the 20 year anniversary of her death, so I have had 20 years of mothers days to get through where people get celebrate with the Mothers and make the day special for them, but for me its a day where I remember what I lost
So I am aware that this day can bring certain negative thoughts or feelings for some.
Maybe your mother abandoned you, maybe she was abusive, maybe like mine she is no longer with you.
Or maybe you have never had children maybe you have seen others with there family but for whatever reason that was not your path.
What about the folks that are disconnect from this day and this message of a mothers love.
Well, heres the thing
point to tagline on wall
you see when you are born again you are adopted into the family of God and you now belong to the largest family there is!
31 There came then his brethren and his mother, and, standing without, sent unto him, calling him. 32 And the multitude sat about him, and they said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee. 33 And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren? 34 And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!
So here is my challenge to you this morning ladies, those of you who are more mature in the faith, I want you to be mothers to those who are young in the faith, to come alongside them, spend time with them, persevere with them when they get things wrong or stray the wrong way, be a Rizpah and show forth her example for you have many sons and daughters in the family of God, that need you to be there in the good times and the bad times, as they walk and grow in there faith.
This Mother’s Day wed would do well to look to the example left to us by Rizpah and determine to be the best that we can be for our natural children and our children in the faith.