A Day in the Life – Mother’s Day

empty tomb Our mothers are shaping us to pay attention today, so what I thought would be most appropriate for us to look at four moms in Scripture. We’re going to jump around a bit; we’re going to start in Genesis, and then we’ll hit Exodus, Ruth, and Luke.

These are lessons that moms teach us about life.

Let’s start off in Genesis; we’ll look at chapter 2, verses 18 to 24, and then chapter 4 verse 1.

The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

That word, helper – “ezer” in the Hebrew – means substantial significant help. This is not “honey, let me hold the flashlight while you fix that thing…”; No, this is important, substantial stuff.

Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field. But for Adam no suitable helper was found.

A quick story in reference to “Adam”: When I was learning Hebrew, I used a bunch of little Hebrew flashcards. I’m trying to learn Hebrew phonetically, but you read it from right to left, and none of the letters look anything like what you’ve seen, so it took a lot of concentration. I came across a word, and I’m trying to sound it out… “ahd-ahhmm”. I turned the card over and it says “dirt”. “ahdd-ahhm” ADAM! Oh! Adam’s name is dirt! So, husbands, don’t feel bad; in those times when you feel that your name is mud… you can say, “Hey, I’m just being like Adam. I’m just tying into my ancestry…” Adam, the man of dirt, has no suitable helper.

So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh.

That word, rib – “tsela” it means side or half. If we were to look at Exodus 25:12, we’d read this: “Cast four gold rings for it and fasten them to its four feet, with two rings on one side and two rings on the other.” So the woman in this story is not taken from a little rib; the picture is that God split Adam right down the middle, and then creates woman out of one half, and then re-creates man out of the other half. Men and women are truly complete opposites that are made of the same thing.

Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh…

Does that make more sense now that you get the picture of the man being split in half? So everything he sees now, this was just part of him…

…she shall be called ‘woman’, for she was taken out of man.”
That’s how we read it in English. I’ve also heard it translated like this: “WHOA! Man!” as a level to show appreciation…

For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

They will be re-united as one flesh. And then we look at chapter 4, verse 1:

Adam lay with his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said, “With the help of the LORD I have brought forth a man.”

This woman who is created in response to a need, so the story is very clear – the man needs, he cannot go through life alone – and so God splits him right down the middle and creates “the better half”! Well, now you know WHY it’s called that. God creates the better half, creates man and woman to function together, as a couple. In chapter 4 verse 1, I love this response of Eve’s… We don’t see Adam say this, but Eve says it: “With the help of the Lord I have brought forth a man.”

Our lesson from Eve: Rely on the help of the Lord.

We are not designed to walk through life alone. Now, let’s skip ahead; we’re going to Exodus chapter 2, and we’re going to look at Jochebed, a completely famous woman whose name no one knows. Jochebed is Moses’ mother’s name. I’ll be honest: I retain large amounts of mostly useless information, and I’m really good at trivia, but I did not know Moses’ mother’s name. Exodus chapter 2, we’ll look at the first nine verses:

Now a man of the house of Levi married a Levite woman, and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. When she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him for three months. But when she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed the child in it and put it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile. His sister stood at a distance to see what would happen to him. Then Pharaoh’s daughter went down to the Nile to bathe, and her attendants were walking along the river bank. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her slave girl to get it. She opened it and saw the baby. He was crying, and she felt sorry for him. “This is one of the Hebrew babies,” she said. Then his sister (Moses’ sister) asked Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?”

Gosh, it’s just a complete random “accident” that she’s there! Love that!

“Yes, go,” she answered. And the girl went and got the baby’s mother. Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this baby and nurse him for me, and I will pay you.” So the woman took the baby and nursed him.

There’s a few things to note here: this is a really well known story, thanks to Hollywood. The Ten Commandments movie has this referenced, as does the Prince of Egypt; so the idea of putting the baby in the basket and Moses being sent down the river (although that’s a terrible phrase)… but Moses goes on the river and he’s kept safe. Look at this: I want you to recognize what Jochebed is doing here: she defies the law. The law says that all of these Hebrew male children are to be killed; and she sees that Moses is healthy, and she loves him, and so she’s going to hide him for as long as she can. She defies that immoral law of Egypt on behalf of God, and she doesn’t just defy it as long as she can; she makes a plan to circumvent, to go around that immoral law.

Kids, I think this is one of the cool things about your moms. Moms have an ability to invent plans to get stuff done when they don’t have enough resources (supposedly) to get it done anyway. Moms, that is so cool about you!

Our lesson from Jochebed: Keep our head in stressful circumstances.

Just because the immediate way might be blocked doesn’t necessarily mean that whatever we’re trying to do won’t happen. Moms can find a way when nobody else can.

We are to rely on the help of the Lord; we are to keep our head in stressful situations. These have been two Moms that we’ve talked about: we want to talk about mothers-in-law, we wouldn’t want to leave them out, so we’re going to move forward and we’re going to look at the book of Ruth.

Ruth, chapter 2 verses 22 and 23, and then the first two verses of chapter 3. For those of you who might not be too familiar with the story of Ruth: her mother-in-law has two boys, and they marry two non-Jewish women; they leave Israel. After they leave Israel, they die. So now you’ve got a mother-in-law and two daughters-in-law, and they’ve got no visible means of support – they’re female. They’re in a world of hurt, so they need to find A MAN – a husband! But the mother-in-law can’t provide a husband because she has no more sons. She’s very concerned about how she’s going to provide for her daughters-in-law. Now, Naomi (the mother-in-law of the two young women) tries to send these daughters-in-law away, back to their families. “My boys aren’t here anymore; we can’t care for you; go back home.” One of them goes back, but Ruth says, “I will not leave you. Your people will be my people, and your God my God.” That’s a pretty big act of faith.

Here is what Naomi, the mother-in-law (otherwise known as Mara – she’s changed her name because Mara means “bitter” and she’s pretty upset about this whole situation) does:

Naomi said to Ruth her daughter-in-law, “It will be good for you, my daughter, to go with his girls…

They have landed at the farm of a shirttail relative, and that man has serving girls.

…go with his girls, because in someone else’s field you might be harmed.” So Ruth stayed close to the servant girls of Boaz to glean until the barley and wheat harvests were finished. And she lived with her mother-in-law. One day Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, “My daughter, should I not try to find a home for you, where you will be well provided for? Is not Boaz, with whose servant girls you have been, a kinsman of ours? Tonight he will be winnowing barley on the threshing floor.

Now there’s a Jewish law that says if a man dies and does not give a child to his bride, then a brother, would marry that woman and provide children in that brother’s name. (Deut. 25:5-6) This can be expanded to kinsman when property is concerned as well, and that’s what Boaz is here: he’s a kinsman-redeemer.

Our lesson from Naomi: Watch out for each other.

I’m a parent; I have the same three daughters that Jami has; but when the kids ask, “Hey Dad, can I go do this?” I’ll say, “Sure! Whatever!” It doesn’t even occur to me to ask questions like “where are you going, when are you going to be there, do you have your bike helmet…” That’s Mom’s thing. She’s watching out for them. “What about this, or this, or this?” I’m sure that part of that is just her skill with detail, but I think a big chunk of that is just being a Mom.

I’m the Dad! I’m the protector! I deal with the problems after they happen. But Moms try to prevent the problems from happening in the first place! So, listen to your mother! Really! Moms – they teach us to watch out for each other.

And then finally, let’s look at Mary, Jesus’ mom. So we turn to Luke chapter 1. Now Scripture doesn’t specifically tell us how old she was when she gets this announcement; tradition says that she’s a teenager, that Mary was a very young mom. Let’s look at verses 28 to 38, and focus especially on those last two verses.

For nothing is impossible with God.”

And look at Mary’s response to the announcement by the angel:

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her.

This is a message from the Archangel Gabriel who stands in the Presence of God all the time. He comes down and meets with a teenager; this is so far out of Mary’s experience… In every other example where an angel shows up, what do the people do? They panic! Often, the first words out of an angels mouth are often “Fear Not” – don’t be afraid! Look at verse 28 & 29:

The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.

Why? This is an angel showing up. This is a big deal. And notice that Mary, once she gets over this initial shock, (I love this about Mary) she questions the plan of God. Look at verse 34 – he tells her “you’re going to give birth to the savior of the world…​”

“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

She’s says – “Okay… how are You going to do that, God?” One of the things that Mary teaches us is that it’s okay to ask questions.

“Lord, you say you’re going to be sending me to do this place and do this thing… I don’t know how You’re going to work that out. How are You going to work that out, Lord?” That’s okay for us to ask. But Mary’s response, in verse 38, even after the questioning, is a gem:

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her.

Our lesson from Mary: Cooperate with God.

I look back in my own life, and I wasn’t really raised in a Christian home. I have found out from my older sisters that my parents did have some religious influence in their lives, but by the time I came around, we just never talked about it. And I remember being 5 years old and reading in the encyclopedia that everybody needed God, and so I said, “Mom, I want to be a Christian.” Her response was, “You’re too young; we don’t talk about that; come back and talk to me when you’re 12.”

Well, I remembered that, and I didn’t say anything about it (not word one) for 7 years. And on my 12th birthday, “Mom! I need to get baptized!” And she didn’t say “you don’t know what you’re talking about”; this woman said, “well, if that’s what we need to do, then we will find you a church and get you in.” They never really went; that wasn’t something they were interested in, but they made sure I found my way to confirmation classes. Cooperating with God. And I wouldn’t be here if this woman, who barely talked about God at all, didn’t cooperate with His plan.

We rely on the help of the Lord because of a mother; we keep our head in stressful circumstances because of a mother. We watch out for each other because of a mother; and we cooperate with God.

What do all of these moms have in common with each other? Sacrifice. These lessons benefit everyone who put them into practice, not just moms. Not just females – male or female, this isn’t about mothers, but about how God uses moms to shape us.

Moms, think about it: when you show us by example what sacrifice means? You are like Jesus. You have the opportunities to be Jesus in the lives of the people around you. Your kids watch you; your husbands watch you; your parents watch you!

Thank you for the example that you set.

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