Thursday, May 5, 2011

Mother's Day

May eighth is Mother's Day, and most of us have been blessed with a loving mother. Very many of us have also been blessed to have women in our lives who are loving mothers to our children and grandchildren. In honor of them, I would like to share a glimpse of a couple of mothers mentioned in the Bible.

In the book of 1 Samuel chapter 1 we read the story of Hannah. Hannah was married to a man by the name of Elkanah, but she had no children. In fact, it appeared that she was barren, and would never have children; a condition which is felt to be a tragedy to many women even today, but possibly even more so in ancient Israel. But Hannah cried out to God in her frustration, and promised that if he would allow her to bear a son, that she would dedicate the boy's life to serving him. God answered her prayer, and she and her husband had a child and named him Samuel. Her prayer of thanksgiving is recorded in 1 Samuel 2: 1-10

And Hannah prayed, and said, My heart rejoiceth in the LORD, mine horn is exalted in the LORD: my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; because I rejoice in thy salvation. There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God.
Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the LORD is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed. The bows of the mighty men are broken, and they that stumbled are girded with strength. They that were full have hired out themselves for bread; and they that were hungry ceased: so that the barren hath born seven; and she that hath many children is waxed feeble. The LORD killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up. The LORD maketh poor, and maketh rich: he bringeth low, and lifteth up. He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the LORD's, and he hath set the world upon them. He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail. The adversaries of the LORD shall be broken to pieces; out of heaven shall he thunder upon them: the LORD shall judge the ends of the earth; and he shall give strength unto his king, and exalt the horn of his anointed.

Hannah fulfilled her promise to God. Her son Samuel's life was indeed dedicated to God's service. In fact, later in life, Samuel, as the last of the judges of Israel, would be the one chosen by God to anoint King David.

Hannah's story is a remarkable one, but in many ways it foreshadowed the story of another, even more well known mother mentioned in the Bible; Mary, the mother of Jesus.

Mary had an astounding faith. In the book of Luke we read how an angel came to her and related how that she would bear a son who would be the long awaited Messiah. Her response was reasonable enough: she asked how that could be since she was a virgin. The angel then gave an even bigger piece of news. Her son would not only be the Messiah, but he would be the Son of God! Her response? "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word." In other words, I am God's servant, and I believe that whatever God says will happen.

When Mary went to visit her cousin Elisabeth, who incidentally would be the mother of John the Baptist, what she said is recorded in Luke 1: 46-55

And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation. He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy; As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.

Now, if we compare Hannah's prayer with Mary's, we find many similarities. Both of them begin with rejoicing in the Lord and in his salvation. Both of them speak of the proud being brought low, and the humble lifted up. And is it any wonder that their prayers are so similar. Hannah showed her faith when she trusted that God would answer her prayer for a son. Mary showed her faith when she trusted God's word that she would bear the Messiah.

Both of them understood that the proud, those who think themselves good enough to please God on their own merit, would be brought down. Both of them understood that the humble, those who understood they could never be good enough to measure up to God's standards, would be raised up by the mercy of God their Saviour.

Hannah and Mary both had faith in the fact that God was their Saviour. Hannah had that faith long before her Saviour would come and die on the cross to pay the penalty for her sin. Mary had that same faith right at that point in time when Christ Jesus was about to enter into the world as the spotless Lamb of God. Both of them put their faith in the fact that God would show his mercy and provide a sacrifice for their sins.

Now it has been done. Jesus paid the penalty for your sin when he died on the cross. All that remains is for you to put your trust in his promise that he will forgive all those who will humble themselves and come to him, repenting of their sins.


Dan said...

Praise the Lord for Mommy's!

Anonymous said...
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St. Lee said...

Thank you, Anonymous, for taking the time to search the Scripture and pick out the verses that you think best describe your own mother, however they are far out of context and thus not appropriate for this comment section.