Happy mother’s day!
Reading: Proverbs 1:8-9, 31:1-9
As we’ve been reading the Bible it is interesting that 2 Chronicles takes care to mention the mothers of half of the kings of Judah. Our reading text for today, from Proverbs, presents us with clear counsel and instruction from God’s word to listen and heed the teaching of our mothers.
What’s it like to be mother of a king? Bathsheba is the first mother of the Davidic line of kings of Judah. She enters Bible history as the wife of Uriah the Hittite. They almost certainly didn’t have any children together, or she would never have become the wife of David the king, and later the mother of Solomon.
After Solomon, this is the list of mothers of the kings:
Rehoboam – Naamah, an Ammonite
Abijah – Maacah, who was later deposed from being queen mother by king Asa, for making and worshiping an Ashera Pole
Jehoshaphat – Azubah, daughter of Shilhi
Ahaziah – Athaliah, daughter of Jezebel and Ahab
Joash – Zibiah, from Beersheba
Amaziah – Jehoaddan, from Jerusalem
Uzziah – Jecoliah, from Jerusalem
Jotham -Jerusha, daughter of Zadok, probably a priest
Hezekiah – Abijah, daughter of Zechariah (not the prophet)
Here’s a good Jeopardy question: Who in the Davidic line is the most famous biblical mother of a king? It has to be Mary, mother of Jesus, right?
This week we read from 2 Chronicles 8-35. David’s descendants who served as kings of Judah are listed in Matthew 1:6-11. Their bios are given to us in 1&2 Kings and 1&2 Chronicles in brief summary form (except for Solomon). The Chronicler’s main interest is whether or not they were faithful and how things turned out because of this. These kings were all able to impact the entire nation for good or ill religiously. Their faith in the Lord, or lack thereof, directed the course of the nation to serve the Lord or to turn from the Lord to idolatry. Throughout the history of the Judaean kingdom, the great temple of Solomon went through periods of impressive deep devotion to the Lord and faithful service, led by those kings whose hearts were fully committed to the Lord. On the other hand, it also witnessed periods where it fell into disrepair and even closed doors during the reigns of unfaithful, idolatrous leaders. In the Chronicles, Manasseh, son of Hezekiah, interestingly enough, experiences both. First, he becomes the absolute worst idolater in the Davidic line, leading the nation into terrible darkness (33:5-9). but under punishment from God, Manasseh humbled himself and turns his heart to seeking God, and God restores him and Manasseh finishes in faithfulness. The Chronicler tells us of this positive ending of Manasseh’s reign, whereas 2 Kings 21 (which also records Manasseh’s reign) is silent concerning Manasseh’s repentance. Instead, 2 Kings goes on to tell us that even though there was a great revival later under Josiah’s reign, Manasseh’s sins had already pushed things too far to recover. Listen to 2 Kings 23:25-27.
Manasseh is credited with the sad label of “worst king of the Davidic line.” Interestingly, his mother’s name is never listed. I wonder who she was, do you? Did she have anything to do with Manasseh’s rejection of the Lord and terrible wickedness? We don’t know.
Manasseh’s grandson, Josiah, became the very best king of Judah. He was a reformer in who’s time the Law of Moses was discovered and Josiah heard it with faith and did all within his power to restore Judah and even northern Israel to the Lord. We don’t have his mother’s name either, but it would seem she, or someone else, influenced her son toward faith in the Lord.
Of all human relationships, motherhood stirs our hearts and forms our character like no other. A godly, faithful mother is perhaps the best moral medicine a person can take. In the movie, “Hook” Peter’s daughter looks at Captain Hook’s misbehavior and says, “You need a mother very badly!” Someone has said, “The hand that rocks the cradle, rules the world.” Mothers carry the future of the world in their wombs and guide the hearts and lives of the next generation of church and world leadership. Just think of it: When God decided to rescue Israel, he sent a baby. Jochebed bore Moses. When God planned to save the world from sin, he chose a virgin to bear a child, His Son, and Mary gave birth to Jesus, the eternal King of kings and Lord of lords.
This world desperately needs a mother very badly, a mother that will share her faith and shape her children’s character toward an undivided heart for God. Kendall and I were talking Friday about how one of the very best gifts a child can give to their parents is to lead a faithful life. Conversely, the best gift a parent can give to their children is ironically the same thing.
Proverbs 31 closes with an epilogue on the wife and mother of noble character. Verse 28 says, “Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” Then verse 30 – Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Amen?
Let’s all stand. Husbands and children, look around you right now. See the mothers God has blessed this church with, whether your own or someone else’s. Take a moment right now to tell them you appreciate them and give them a holy hug.