Bible Ballistics: Vol. 9 No.19 What Is A Mother???
As we celebrate ‘Mother’s Day’ here in the US, we want to take some time today to consider mothers and what they mean to us; in a relational sense, but also to see the import that the scriptures lend to motherhood—of having a good mother, and being a good mother. Of course the best place to start is at the ‘beginning’.
“And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.” Genesis 3:20
I believe in the normal and natural interpretation of Genesis, particularly the first 11 chapters. I believe that God created the earth in six literal days, and rested on the seventh. I believe that God created humanity in HIS image.
“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” Genesis 1:1
“And God said,
Let us make man in our image,
after our likeness:
and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
27 So God created man
in his own image,
in the image of God created he him;
male and female created he them.
28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them,
and replenish the earth,
and subdue it:
and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” Genesis 1:26-28
God created man and woman, Adam and Eve, for fellowship with Himself, and to be the crowning glory of His earthly creation. Man was given a perfect world, and God also gave man moral responsibility in that perfect world. Only one ‘rule’ and we broke it (In Adam!). Yet God had already set the plans for redemption in place, even before He created us—now THAT is ‘Amazing Grace’! But lest we loose our focus, we are looking at God’s plan for mothers, and the first thing that God established was the family—one man and one woman becoming ‘one’ in marriage, and giving birth to children to nurture and train to know God and His glory!
“And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. 24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” Genesis 2:23-24
God gave Adam a companion to share his life with, and brought her to him as a gift that they might pursue oneness. And within the marriage, oneness is an ongoing pursuit, which often leads to parenthood, and more specifically for our purposes today, ‘Motherhood’. Motherhood was intended to be inside of marriage, because that’s the way that God created it to be. How sad that our culture has so minimalized motherhood, children and the whole idea of the Biblical ‘family’, it’s no wonder that our culture, our whole world is in chaos! Partially, at least, because we have abandoned the import of the ‘intact’ family. The family as God created it—one man and one woman, together until death parts them!
How did we get so far from the heart of God? I think, partly because we just ignored God and went our own way. We let the enemy convince us through popular culture that we were entitled to have what we want, when we want it regardless of the cost, or the morality! We chose to believe the lies of Satan, rather than the truth of God’s Word. But family and ‘Mothers’ are a large part of God’s plan for the family and the world! What is a mother?
–a female parent,
–a mother-in-law, stepmother, or adoptive mother,
–a term of address for an older or elderly woman,
–a woman exercising control, influence or authority like that of a mother.
–to be the mother of, give rise to.
–to care for, or protect like a mother, act maternally toward.
‘A female parent, one who exercises control, influence or authority…..to be the mother of…’! Are we being parents, or are we settling for being our child’s “friend”? God calls us parents/mothers to ‘parent’ not to ‘befriend’ our children. We are to guide their way, not skip along mindlessly allowing our children to fall into the traps of the enemy. We are to guide their way to God, not lead them in the way to Hell. We must wake up to the truth and live it out in our daily lives—the eternal destiny of our families depends on it.
Eve was the first mother, the one who was created out of and united with Adam by the very Creator of the universe. As Adam so aptly called her, “the mother of all living”! Yet even this mother “of all living” had heartache because of the choices that she and Adam made in taking of the fruit in direct disobedience to God. They lost the intimate presence of God. They died spiritually, and their children after them made choices—the account we find in Genesis 4. While mothers have an affect on others, every person has the God-given privilege to make choices. We can instruct and lead our children to God, to the cross, or to the world, but their choices as adults are their own. While I believe that Eve shared her faith with her children, they didn’t both make good choices, and there were consequences of their choices.
“And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD. 2 And she again bare his brother Abel.
And Abel was a keeper of sheep,
but Cain was a tiller of the ground.
3 And in process of time it came to pass,
that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground
an offering unto the LORD.
4 And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof.
And the LORD had respect unto Abel
and to his offering:
5 But unto Cain
and to his offering
he had not respect.
And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.” Genesis 4:1-5
In the process of time Cain and Abel became adults, and the time came for them to determine their own relationship to God. I think it plausible that Cain and Abel knew about the blood sacrifice because God had taught their parents when He slew the animals from which their clothes of ‘skins’ were made. The covering for their nakedness cost the life of an innocent animal. The cost of sin! As Cain and Abel were old enough to choose for themselves, each brought an offering—one in obedience and faith and the other in self-willed unbelief. Unbelief to the point that Cain thought he could come to God ‘his own way’ rather than ‘God’s way’! Sometimes even the influence of a godly mother of faith can’t change her children’s choices or the consequences of those choices. We have an obligation as children and parents to do what pleases God, but we can’t force others to do right. But we are to pursue and live righteousness.
“Children, obey your parents
in the Lord:
for this is right.
2 Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) 3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.
4 And, ye fathers,
provoke not your children to wrath:
but bring them up
in the nurture
of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:1-4
How can children obey when they aren’t taught God’s principles, or the boundaries of the Word of God? They can’t, and we therefor reap the consequences of our own abandonment of God’s truth. Yet mothers can make a difference, as we pursue godliness in our own lives.
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge:
but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
8 My son,
hear the instruction of thy father,
and forsake not the law of thy mother:
9 For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck. 10 My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.” Proverbs 1:7-10
A call to heed the wisdom of our father and mother; and that implies that we mothers are to pursue God’s wisdom, and God’s knowledge and share it. As we pursue God’s wisdom, we must remember that we can do nothing on our own, apart from HIM! (See John 15:5)
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. 11 For by me thy days shall be multiplied, and the years of thy life shall be increased.” Proverbs 9:10-11
And when we are pursuing God’s wisdom, we will affect the lives of others. We don’t always see the results we desire now, but we can trust that God will use us as HE sees fit. Wisdom helps our children see the right way, and while the old adage says, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink”; we can ‘salt his oats’ and create a thirst for God as we reflect God’s light and glory!
“My son, keep thy father’s commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother:
21 Bind them continually upon thine heart,
and tie them about thy neck.
22 When thou goest,
it shall lead thee;
when thou sleepest,
it shall keep thee;
and when thou awakest,
it shall talk with thee.
23 For the commandment is a lamp;
and the law is light;
and reproofs of instruction
are the way of life:” Proverbs 6:20-23
We mothers are to be a lamp and light to our children, our grandchildren, our extended family, friends, co-workers and those we encounter day by day! Like the Proverbs 31 woman, may we strive to make a difference in our homes, our churches, our community—and in our world? May we help turn the tide of a lost and dying world—one life at a time! Will we faithfully invest in our own spiritual growth so that others may see Jesus in us? And in closing I’d like to share that great passage for us all—male or female, for the characteristics in this passage apply to us all.
“Who can find a virtuous woman?
for her price is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband
doth safely trust in her,
so that he shall have no need of spoil.
12 She will do him good
and not evil
all the days of her life.
13 She seeketh wool, and flax,
and worketh willingly with her hands.
14 She is like the merchants’ ships;
she bringeth her food from afar.
15 She riseth also while it is yet night,
and giveth meat to her household,
and a portion to her maidens.
16 She considereth a field,
and buyeth it:
with the fruit of her hands
she planteth a vineyard.
17 She girdeth her loins with strength,
and strengtheneth her arms.
18 She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.
19 She layeth her hands to the spindle,
and her hands hold the distaff.
20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor;
yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid
of the snow for her household:
for all her household
are clothed with scarlet.
22 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry;
her clothing is silk and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.
24 She maketh fine linen,
and selleth it;
and delivereth girdles
unto the merchant.
25 Strength and honour are her clothing;
and she shall rejoice in time to come.
26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom;
and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
27 She looketh well to the ways of her household,
and eateth not the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed;
her husband also,
and he praiseth her.
29 Many daughters have done virtuously,
but thou excellest them all.
30 Favour is deceitful,
and beauty is vain:
but a woman that feareth the LORD,
she shall be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands;
and let her own works
praise her in the gates.” Proverbs 31:10-31
A mother is one whose “own works praise her”. May we spend time considering these traits and truly pursue “virtue”– Jesus seen in us! And Jesus ‘in us’ can change the world—one heart at a time! “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:27 (Virtue in action!!!)
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20