Calvary Road Baptist Church

“MOTHERHOOD FROM A BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVE”

 

You will excuse me on this Mothers Day as I bring a message from God’s Word on the subject of motherhood from a Biblical perspective. I have no intention of trying to be inclusive in my remarks for the purpose of making people of other religious faiths and faith systems comfortable, for reasons that I will state. After all, our name is on the building and we are without apology a Baptist church. My design will be to address the topic of motherhood as it was intended to be by the One who created the woman who became the first mother. I will seek to do this in direct, historically Baptist, fashion.

What I say will be wholly incompatible with the Muslim faith because the Word of God, unlike the Quran, does not describe women (and therefore mothers) as dirt. As well, the Bible shows that men (and therefore fathers) and women (and therefore mothers) are of equal status in eyes of God, though they are created to serve and glorify Him in different capacities, unlike Islam’s view from the Quran that women are unreliable, untrustworthy, and of inferior character to men. What I say will also be wholly incompatible with the Hindu faith because Hinduism, prior to the prohibition of the practice in 1829 by British colonizers, treated Hindu women as mere appendages to Hindu men, consigning surviving widows to being burned alive on their husband’s funeral pyre in a practice called sati.[1] This obviously reflects the Hindu religion’s view of the status of women (and therefore mothers) that the Word of God does not condone. I could go on about women and mothers in the Buddhist religion, and also women and mothers as viewed by secular humanists and modern day feminists, but you get the point. Only the Bible shows that women (and therefore mothers) have equal standing with men in the eyes of God. Only the Bible requires equal punishment for equal crimes committed against men and women (and therefore mothers), with the famous phrase “an eye for an eye” specifically related the first time it is found in the Bible to the punishment to be meted out to anyone who even accidentally terminates a pregnancy so as to result in the death of the baby.[2]

Mothers Day, or anything like it, did not arise in the thousands of years old cultures of Persia, or China, or India, or anywhere in ancient Africa or Europe, or among the native Americans in either North or South America. Such a thing as Mothers Day did not exist in ancient Egypt, in ancient Greece, or in Imperial Rome, where women were seen as little more than brood mares to give men pleasure and to bear their offspring. Neither would Mothers Day, or anything like it, have begun under any communist regime, where soon after the October Revolution in Russia, V. I. Lenin abolished marriage as a vestige of capitalism, and would have required all women to provide sexual favors to all men based upon the communist principle of from each according to his ability and to each according to his need, had he not faced such an outcry from even his most faithful followers that he was forced to renege. It seems not even communists want to be the children of their mothers by unknown men.

Therefore, today I am exclusively and narrowly focusing on motherhood as it is conceived by God in the Bible. I do so to pay tribute to you women who are mothers, and to you who shall someday be mothers, and to encourage you to be the best mothers to your children you can possibly be by God’s grace. God created motherhood, and because God is good His concept of motherhood is the only truly good plan for any woman who is or would be a mom.

Four aspects of motherhood on this Mothers Day, a celebration born in our very young country (as countries go), that in the beginning was so influenced by God’s Word, for your consideration, moms and moms to be:

 

First, THE MOTHER’S LAW

 

Did you know that God’s Word, the Bible, makes reference to “the law of thy mother”? It surely does. Many moms didn’t know that. You do not find such a concept in cultures that are not greatly influenced by exposure to the Bible, but you do find such a thing in scripture. Yessirree. When King Solomon penned a portion of the Old Testament book of Proverbs for the benefit of his son’s upbringing, he wrote these words in Proverbs 1.8: “My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother.” That Hebrew word translated law might sound familiar to some of you. It is pronounced torah, and is the word Jewish people use to designate the first five books of the Hebrew scriptures, known to us as the Pentateuch.[3] However, Proverbs 1.8 is not an isolated instance of referencing a mother’s law. We see mention made by Solomon again in Proverbs 6.20: “My son, keep thy father’s commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother.”

What do you suppose Solomon was referring to when he wrote about “the law of thy mother?” He is certainly indicating to sons that they are to pay heed to their fathers and their mothers. Two things come to my mind that clarify: What first comes to my mind is how God wants children raised. Contrary to what some people think (by looking at their kids), children are not to be left entirely to themselves, as if they need no guidance, no direction, and no instruction. Because “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child,” Proverbs 22.15, kids need very determined rearing, sometimes with a bit of whooping when it’s called for. What I am specifically referring to is the child training called for in Deuteronomy 6.4-12:

 

4      Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:

5      And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

6      And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:

7      And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

8      And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.

9      And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.

10    And it shall be, when the LORD thy God shall have brought thee into the land which he sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee great and goodly cities, which thou buildedst not,

11    And houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and wells digged, which thou diggedst not, vineyards and olive trees, which thou plantedst not; when thou shalt have eaten and be full;

12    Then beware lest thou forget the LORD, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.

 

What I just read to you is the broad curriculum that Jewish children were to be taught as they were growing up. That is the first thing that comes to mind related to the “law of thy mother,” that moms are to teach and teach and teach things about God and their people. The second thing has to do with this word law, torah, the torah of thy mother. Translated in the two verses I read to you in Proverbs as law, the word also includes the concept of teaching and training. Thus, while a child is to hear his father’s instruction and keep his father’s commandments, the primary responsibility for teaching and training children has been assigned by God to moms.

That means mothers are primarily tasked by God to be instructors and guides, not maids and cooks. And if my mother did anything right in connection with my upbringing (and I am convinced she did), it was training her sons to cook, and to wash dishes, and to clean, and to iron shirts and handkerchiefs, and to fold clothes, and to run the vacuum, and to change bed linens. Why is this important? For two reasons: First, being a mother is too important to restrict yourself to only being a maid when your primary responsibility is to teach and train and mold young lives. Therefore, as soon as those kids get old enough, give them a sense of competency and the ability to make their own way in life by teaching them domestic skills. My brother and I were raised to cook, to clean, to shop, to take care of the lawn, to scrub toilets, to empty trash, and even to alter our clothes for a better fit. No mother with kids old enough to be taught such things should spend her time functioning as a maid. That is what kids are to be trained to do as they are growing up. Why should you train your kids to do those chores, mom? So you will have time to plan what you are going to teach them and then to teach them. It baffles me why some dads undermine moms by not reinforcing the best use of a mother’s time, to teach and train children rather than to function only as a cook and a maid.

 

Next, THE MOTHER’S FEAR

 

There are so many pathetic mothers in the world who are obviously frightened at the prospect that their child may get mad at them or disapprove of them, but the fact is that a child should possess a healthy dose of fear toward his mother. In Leviticus 19.3 we read the words God told Moses to speak to the people of Israel, as He was building a nation and a culture: “Ye shall fear every man his mother, and his father, and keep my sabbaths: I am the LORD your God.” We understand from numerous passages in the Bible that it is appropriate for God’s creatures to fear Him, and that the fear of the LORD is foundational to wisdom, knowledge and understanding. However, such truth needs to be taught to a people, because it is not knowledge anyone is born with.[4] This provides understanding of why children should fear their mothers, and it is not because some moms shriek with anger and tremble with frustrated rage. That is a bad move for moms. The reality is that you represent God in your home, as does a father. And since we are to fear the LORD, so should we fear those who are assigned to our oversight by God. It is all a matter of respect, don’t you see?

Granted, children are most usually not very wise, and therefore have to be trained to fear God, and trained to fear their fathers, and trained to fear their mothers. This is where our whole culture, and our churches, and also every father should come into play. Allow me to illustrate, by repeating two true incidents many of you have heard before: When we were teens, my brother and I were constantly at each other for one reason or another. One day my mom had had enough, and she told us she was sick and tired of our constant warfare. My dad then stepped in and told the two of us that if we didn’t straighten up and do exactly what our mother directed us to do he would kick our rear ends out. I remember looking at my brother as he looked at me, and we both smiled. My dad stepping up and supporting our mother absolutely thrilled us. He was demanding that we exhibit a proper respect for our mother or he was going to do something about it. What my dad did was what dads are supposed to do. That is one way kids learn the fear of their mother, from their dad. Another incident occurred with a couple whose marriage I had performed years earlier. Dad came home from work and mom met him at the door, telling him she had difficulties with their oldest son, in his mid-teens, being disrespectful to his mother and not complying with her wishes. The dad walked into the den and, after getting the younger kids out, got up into his son’s face and let him know in no uncertain terms that while she was the boy’s mother, she was also his wife, and he would tolerate no disrespect whatsoever toward his wife from anyone, including his children. That lad was taught to fear his mother by his father. Excuse me, but a guy is not much of a man who won’t back his wife up that way to his kids. Do you men agree with me? This is also where churches come in, and where our culture used to properly function before it headed south. We have an environment in our congregation that shows respect for mothers, and lets children know that their mothers are not the only ones who think they should fear their mother. Such is certainly not taught in cultures unaffected and uninfluenced by the Word of God. You do not see this in the Middle East. Mothers really do not have to shriek and blow their stacks to get respect and the proper response from their kids, unless they just don’t know how to get it done the right way. Again, this is where churches come in, as we open God’s Word to teach and set good examples for others to follow, so men will know how to be good husbands and fathers, and so moms can receive support and help in doing what may be the toughest job in the world.

 

Third, THE MOTHER’S CHILD

 

May I now direct my attention to you who have mothers? I would like to remind you of the debt of gratitude you owe to your mother, regardless of how you were brought up. I urge you to recognize that you owe your mother a lifelong debt of gratitude, and that you need to spend your premium years getting ready to take care of your mother in her golden years. That is not government’s responsibility. That is your responsibility. Why do you owe your mother? You owe your mother because you are here today, alive and in reasonably good health, despite the fact that millions of people who might have been your age had they survived are not alive today because of decisions made by their mothers. Thank you, mom, for not doing to me what so many other moms decided to do. What a terrible thing it is that women like Margaret Sanger and Planned Parenthood have succeeded in tricking and deceiving so many young mothers into transforming what should be the safest possible sanctuary for a developing child (her womb), into a torture and death chamber. So long as you have breath you need to thank our good God and your mom that she preserved your life and delivered you safely and in good health.

In addition to being thankful for your life, you may also have good cause to be thankful to your mother for feeding you, for clothing you, for taking care of you when you got sick, for giving you a soft bosom to cry on when you were in pain, and the lessons of life that she taught you.

If, on top of those reasons, you also had a mother who raised you in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, who prayed for you and with you, who read the Bible to you as a child, and who took you with her to church on Sundays, then you have even more cause for gratitude.

There is no such thing as a mom who does not deserve the gratitude and support of her children. If for nothing else she gave you life, then you should be profoundly grateful to her for your life. If she additionally blessed you with physical, material, and emotional support you have even more reasons to be grateful to her. Finally, if she also attended to your spiritual needs, then you have even more cause to show her your gratitude.

Keep in mind that God requires that children honor their mothers, Exodus 20.12. It is the first of God’s commands dealing with each person’s relations with other people. Therefore, if you cannot show respect for your own mother, and that would include showing her your love and appreciation for at least your life, then it is unlikely you will find any success in your relationships with anyone else. If it is not presently right with mom, make it right with mom as quickly as possible.

 

Finally, THE LORD JESUS CHRIST’S MOTHER

 

We know her as a virgin named Mary, Miriam to Jewish people, since she had the same Hebrew name as Moses’ big sister, though she lived her life some 1,600 years after Moses’ sister. The mother of our Lord Jesus Christ was a truly remarkable woman, at least partly because God chose her to be the only woman to ever become a mother without the participation of a man. Not that God is in any way dismissive of men, but because there was a serious problem that had to be addressed without the involvement of any man. Because the first man, Adam, sinned the whole human race descended from Adam was contaminated by sin. Adam became a sinner by first sinning, but each of us since Adam has been conceived a sinner who sinned because we already are sinners.

God’s solution to addressing that sin problem was to send His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, from heaven to earth to be born a man. In order for Him to be born a sinless man He had to be born of a woman but not a man; He had to be born of a virgin. So, as the angel said to Mary, “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.”[5]

Though He was the sinless Son of the living God, the Second Person of the Triune Godhead, eternal God, and the Bible declares that from infancy He “increased in wisdom,” implying as one might expect of one growing up, that His mother taught Him.[6] Imagine raising a Son who never sinned, who was never rebellious, who never threw a tantrum, and who never needed a spanking. It sure was different than raising the four sons and two daughters that she later had with Joseph, don’t you know.[7]

I bring all this to your attention, mom, because there is something that Mary said when she was pregnant with the Christ child that I want you to take notice of. In Luke chapter one we are told that Mary traveled to see her cousin Elizabeth, who was pregnant with John the Baptist, who was born six months before the Lord Jesus Christ was born. It was when she arrived as Elizabeth’s home, something she said about herself, that I want you to take note of.

Please turn to Luke 1.46-47:

 

46    And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord,

47    And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.

 

This statement is part of what has come to be known as Mary’s Magnificat. What is important for us to see today, however, is Mary’s final phrase in verse 47: “God my Saviour.” Please note that the Virgin Mary, the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, both needed and had a savior. Mom, that shows that even the Virgin Mary needed to be saved from her sins. If the Virgin Mary needed to be saved from her sins, then you need to be saved from your sins.

 

A brief story before I conclude: About fifteen years ago, as I approached the entrance to Denny’s on the corner of Santa Anita and Huntington Drive, I passed a man coming out that I recognized. I turned to him and asked, “Are you Irv Ruben, chairman of the Jewish Defense League? I am John Waldrip, and I pastor Calvary Road Baptist Church in Monrovia.” His response was immediate and aggressive. He asked me if I agreed with the president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s recent statement that Jewish people needed to be saved from their sins. I thought for just a second, and then said, “If my mother needs to be saved from her sins, then you need to be saved from your sins.” That stopped him dead in his tracks and we then had an amiable chat before he left.

Mom, what I said about my mother was true of the Savior’s mother. Mary recognized that she needed a savior, and testified that she had a savior. Three weeks ago was what would have been my mother’s 85th birthday. This coming October she will have been gone for ten years. It deeply saddens me that I have no confidence concerning my mother’s eternal well-being, and I have suffered a great deal because of it. Please understand that you occupy an honored place in God’s scheme of things, and that you have been chosen by God to play a profoundly important role in the lives of your children as their mother. They owe you a lifelong debt of gratitude. That said, if even the Savior’s mother needed a savior, then you need a savior.

He came from heaven’s glory by means of the virgin birth, lived a sinless life and died a sacrificial death, rose from the dead on the third day and ascended to God’s right hand in heaven, so that He might save sinners from their sins, giving forgiveness and eternal life to those who trust Him. For Christ’s sake, for your own sake, and for your children’s sake, don’t make them live out their lives knowing their momma died an unsaved woman. I promise that you have nothing to fear from the Lord Jesus Christ. He is not mad at mothers. He loves mothers. However, He only saves mothers who trust Him for the forgiveness of their sins.

Can we talk? Can you and I sit down and address this important matter of where you will spend eternity, of how your sins will be forgiven, of how you can be reconciled to God and have heaven as your eternal home? Please do not leave this life without your children knowing where their mother will spend eternity. Do not put off until tomorrow what needs to be dealt with today.



[2] Exodus 21.22-24

[3] Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary, (New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1996), page 1925.

[4] 1 Samuel 11.7; 2 Samuel 23.3; 2 Chronicles 14.14; 17.10; 19.7, 9; 20.29; Nehemiah 5.9, 15; Job 28.28; Psalm 19.9; 34.11; 36.1; 111.10; 119.120; Proverbs 1.7, 29; 2.5; 8.13; 9.10; 10.27; 14.26-27; 15.16, 33; 16.6; 19.23; Isaiah 2.10, 19, 21; 11.2-3; 33.6; Acts 9.31; Romans 3.18; 2 Corinthians 7.1; Ephesians 5.21

[5] Luke 1.35

[6] Luke 2.52

[7] Matthew 13.55-56

Would you like to contact Dr. Waldrip about this sermon? Please contact him by clicking on the link below. Please do not change the subject within your email message. Thank you.

pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org