Mother's Day - Mothers of the Bible

By Leslie Olin

Hagar was a woman who was a pawn in many ways. She went from being a slave, to the mother of the son everyone thought would be Abraham’s heir, to being a single mother cast out of her home with no means of support.  Reading her story we feel her desperation as she sat weeping, a bowshot away, the Bible says, from Ishmael who she thought would die from her inability to provide for him.  But God was with her and gave her all that she needed to raise her son.  The Bible says “God was with the boy as he grew up.”  God cares about single mothers.

Jochebed was a mother whose child was born in a crisis situation.  She was creative and courageous in saving his life.  She had only 12 years to teach and train Moses in the ways of God, and yet those 12 years had a lifelong influence on her son.  The Bible says that Moses chose to suffer with the people of God rather than be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter.  God is with mothers who face crisis and honors their efforts to raise godly children.

Eunice was a mother who raised her son in a spiritually divided home.  The Bible says that she was a believer, but his father was a Greek implying that he wasn’t a Christian. Timothy was an effective worker in the early Christian church from a young age.  God cares about mothers who are the sole spiritual leader in their homes and comes along beside them to raise workers for His kingdom.

Bathsheba is often remembered only for her part in David’s great sin.  It is very likely that she was also a pawn in the events of her life.  Attracting the attention of the king of Israel was the beginning of a painful chapter in her life.  It says a lot about Bathsheba though when we read about the humble, devoted spirit of Solomon early in his reign as the king of Israel.  Of all of David’s sons, Solomon had a heart to serve God.  God can redeem terrible situations that mothers find themselves in and save their children.

Ruth didn’t grow up as a believer, but became a devoted follower of God, leaving her family and friends and finding her place in the lineage of Jesus as the mother of Obed.  She may have felt inadequate at times to raise her child to know God since she herself did not have the advantage of growing up in a home where the true God was honored, but God gave her the wisdom that she needed.  God provides guidance for all mothers however great or small their knowledge of Him. 

Rahab is an amazing story of a mother who with a single good decision changed the course of her family.  We first find her living as a prostitute in the city of Jericho, saving the lives of the Israelite spies, requesting protection for her family when the city was destroyed.  The next place we find her in scripture is in the genealogy of Jesus as the mother (or grandmother) of Boaz.  Rahab is a wonderful example of how a mother can change her family’s story, how her decisions can shape generations after her.

Hannah was a woman who struggled with the pain of infertility.  She is also the first mother in the Bible to give us the example of dedicating her child to God, for her quite literally as she left him at the temple with priest Eli.  God understands the pain of women who find themselves unable to conceive.  He honors our hearts desire to dedicate our children back to Him.

Leah was a mother who experienced a deeply troubled marriage,  You can hear her heart in the names of her sons. Her pain is reflected poignantly in their names.  Her firstborn, Reuben, she named saying, “It is because the Lord has seen my misery. Surely my husband will love me now.”  When her next son came along, we hear the pain still, “Because the Lord heard that I am not loved, he gave me this one too.” So she named him Simeon. Yet again her third son’s name reflects her deep pain, “Now at last my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.” So he was named Levi. Finally with her 4th son we find her in a more positive place, “This time I will praise the Lord.” So she named him Judah.  God understands the struggles of mothers whose marriages are not ideal.

Eve was a mother who understood the pain of having a child turn away; the incomprehensible pain of having one child murder another.  Yet she didn’t give up and later gave birth to Seth who was a God fearing man.  God created a perfect human race and we’ve all turned away.  He understands the pain of a mother’s heart when despite her best efforts her child turns away from God’s way.  He promises to never stop seeking those children.

Sarah was a mother who never expected to be a mother, but we find her in the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11.  The name Isaac literally means laughter.  Imagine the joy she and Abraham must have felt when the promised son was born.  God rejoices with mothers in their joy at the birth of their children.

Elisabeth was another mother who never expected to be a mother.  And yet she too had an amazing influence on her son, John the Baptist.  He preached unceasingly, calling men and women to repentance and at the end of his life, unfairly imprisoned, hearing the news of the great popularity of Jesus, told his own disciples “he (Jesus) must become greater and greater, but I must become less and less.”  What an amazing power a mother has to shape the character of her children!

These mothers found themselves in many different situations and God was with all of them.  He loved them and he loved their children. He understands the challenges of mothers.  Motherhood expands a women’s  heart in ways she never thought possible and is the most challenging job she will ever have.  The power of her influence is as far reaching as eternity.

Abraham Lincoln once said, “I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me.  They have clung to me all my life.”

Happy Mother’s Day moms!  May our prayers always cling to our children as well!