Monday, May 17, 2010

A Mother's Honor

The family is God's idea. You see can see it all the way back in Genesis 2 when God said, "It is not good that man should be alone." The family is God's design, as the "little church," to glorify Himself through the relationships of His people. The way a husband/father leads, a wife/mother follows and nurtures, and children respect, honor, and obey can proclaim gospel truths and put the character of God on display like nothing else.

The Bible has a lot to say about the different responsibilities of men and women in the home. God is clear that the man is the head of the home. But, with what He says in His Word about women, and the make-up with which He's created women (especially emotionally), I think God is clear that the woman is the heart is the home. A woman's influence over the atmosphere of the home is far superior to that of a man's. One might not think that would be the case with men, in general, being bigger, stronger, more intimidating, and the leader of the home. However, God does not think how one might think, and He has created and blessed the home with such an interesting dynamic in the partnership of the husband/father and wife/mother.

King Solomon writes in Proverbs 1.8, "Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching…" Fathers instruct and mothers teach – they share this responsibility. I want to encourage mothers that this responsibility to teach your children is an immeasurably significant privilege, opportunity, and experience. A mother's heart is, among so many things, warm, kind, gentle, and nurturing. A mother can teach and touch the hearts of her children in a way a father just cannot. And I believe, therefore, the honor that is due a Godly mother is beyond any words man can utter.

A prime example for us to see is the relationship between Bathsheba and Solomon. Solomon is king of Israel. He was famous, powerful, and supreme in all the land. People bowed in his presence. They did what he said. He had immense authority and honor. You need to know that Bathsheba, Solomon's mother, married David, Solomon's father, under disgraceful circumstances that were tainted with arrogance, covetousness, lust, adultery, and murder – very displeasing to God. But she was his mother, nonetheless. Now, not only is Solomon king – but he is known as the wealthiest and, perhaps, wisest king in Israel's great history. So, how did he treat his mother in this exalted role? See what is says in 1 Kings 2.19 - So Bathsheba went to King Solomon to speak to him…and the king rose to meet her and bowed down to her. Then he sat on his throne and had a seat brought for the king’s mother, and she sat on his right. Then they had their conversation. He rose for her. He bowed to her. And he called for a throne to be put beside his for their conversation. She was his mother. Even kings stoop when their mothers enter the room.

Solomon was not a perfect king - he was not a perfect man. None of the writers of the Bible were perfect but God guided their insights, Solomon's insights, and preserved for us true ones in His book – the Bible.
God has a way of nullifying the greatness of the great and exalting the lowliness of the lowly. In our culture motherhood is, I think, on the upswing – but only after decades of unusual lowliness and bad press. God ordains a reward for sons and daughters who do not forsake the teaching of their parents and honor them (Ephesians 6.2). Solomon goes on in Proverbs 1 to say - 9for (because) they (hearing your father's instruction and not forsaking you mother's teaching) are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck. What this verse makes plain is that the instruction of fathers and the teaching of mothers, rooted in the fear of the Lord, is good news.

Kids don't always feel that way. Even at age thirty-one, my father still has things to teach me, and wisdom he can share with me - I am still my father's son. But, to be honest, while I don’t necessarily have to obey my father, I don’t always honor him like I should and still roll my eyes and throw my stubbornness at him. Sometimes parents have not grown up into grace enough to feel it, either. But that's what the verse says - hearing a father's instruction and not forsaking a mother's teaching will be a wreath of grace and glory and joy; it will be like gifts and prizes around your neck. In other words, it will mean triumph and celebration and joy.

As parents, let's seek the Lord for the grace, patience, and understanding to continue teaching our children - and build up trust in our children and create an atmosphere in which they are urged on toward obedience.

As children (of any age), let's pray for the humility to obey and/or honor our parents by recognizing their wisdom and God-ordained position in our lives.