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Scripture: 2 Samuel 21:10-14                                                                                                                                                                          May 12, 2019

Sermon: “Characteristics of a Caring Mother”                                                                                   Pastor John Young


I read a few funny tidbits about mothers the other day:

     The words of a church sign read as follows:  ‘If Evolution is true, how come mothers still have only two hands?’

     A cartoon in the Saturday Evening Post showed a young boy about five or six years old talking on the telephone, saying, ‘Mom is in the hospital, the twins and Roxie and Billie and Sally and the dog and me and Dad are all home alone!’

     A Spanish proverb reads:  ‘An ounce of mother is worth a pound of clergy.’

But not every story is funny:

     A weary mother tucked her children into bed and returned to the den to relax.  Her heart fell as she saw on the floor a page torn from an encyclopedia.  Little pieces of the page were all over the floor.  Despite her frustration she gathered the pieces and started taping the picture together.  It was the face of a child.  When the task was finished, the mother turned the picture over and discovered the reverse side was a world map.  “I guess this is what it is all about,” she sighed, “as I shape the lives of my children, I am really shaping the world.”

     Many of us today would agree that our lives have been shaped, to a great extent, as a result of our mothers (whether good or bad).  In this hectic world of two income families, after school activities, church, community, social activities, and housekeeping, the pressure on “today’s” mom is enormous!  Many of them feel like the plate spinner at the old time carnival—they can hardly keep all the plates in the air at one time.  A young mother sat down to relax for a moment in her easy chair after spending the day chauffeuring her kids to school, soccer practice and piano lessons.  As she relaxed in her chair she instinctively reached over to fasten her seat belt!  Sometimes it just gets too much!  Amen?

     The background to our story is a sad one.  Two sons and five grandsons of King Saul were hanged to make atonement for Saul’s disobedience regarding the Gibeonites.  We don’t have time to get into the particulars of this story (a very sad one, to be sure), but the mother who was caught in the middle of this judgment and punishment was named, Rizpah.  Like many mothers today, Rizpah did not have control over the environment or circumstances of her children, but in verse 10 she demonstrated two characteristics found in most mothers. 

  1. First, notice how she DEFENDED her children-v 10 (read).
    1. It is certainly true that a mother has a special heart for her children.

1.    I have come to realize that once you have felt life in your womb there is a bond that is never broken.

2.    I’m sure as a mother you understand Rizpah’s pain.  You understand why she did what she did.

        1. She camps out by her two son’s bodies and determines that she is going to keep the vultures and beasts away!
        2. She was powerless to stop their execution (she could not control their environment or circumstances), but this is something she can, and will do.
        3. She defended them from those who would do her children harm!
    1. There is a great example in her actions for all moms today.
      1. Caring mothers realize the need to keep the vultures and beasts away from their children. 
        1. Our children face obvious vultures and beasts every day.
          1. They face the pressures to conform.
          2. They face the vultures of substance abuse.
          3. They face the beasts of immoral behavior.
          4. Moms may not be able to control their children’s environment or circumstances, but they can work at keeping these vultures away.
        2. Then, there are vultures that are not as easy to spot.  These are the beasts of:
          1. A Trivialized Life.
            1. We are living in a day when life is destroyed on television hundreds of times in a week.
            2. We’ve been conditioned to cheer when our hero’s kill someone.
            3. Video games tantalize children and adults alike with points for how many characters they can kill.  In many of these games you are ‘awarded’ weapons of greater destruction the more successful you are.
            4. The graphics on both television and video games have become so realistic that many kids are having trouble separating reality from game.
            5. As a result, life is losing its preciousness and value.
            6. You can hear it in the music today.
            7. You can see it in our art.
            8. If you watch the news you witness it almost every day!
            9. If you get close you can hear it in their voices. 
            10. You can witness it in their choices (abortion being the greatest example).
            11. We must guard our children from these vultures that trivialize life!
          2. An Undisciplined Life.
            1. We live at a time when everyone is urged to live for the moment.  Indulgence, not sacrifice, is the watchword!
            2. We need to teach our children how to appreciate what they have and to realize ‘things’ cannot determine who they are.
            3. That, if you want something, you must be committed and disciplined to go get it!
            4. The vultures of the world want to corrupt our children’s mind into believing they are entitled.  That they don’t have to work and that there is no reason to dream.
            5. Mother’s must defend against these beasts!
          3. Misplaced Priorities in Life.
            1. A common question all of us ask during life is: “What should I do?”
            2. Sadly, instead of consulting the Bible for the answer to this question, we embrace and follow our own opinions.  As a result, our priorities get misplaced and the things that should be most important get placed after things that we ‘want’ (not all of them are bad…just misplaced)!
            3. This vulture will eat your children’s devotion to God, His Word, His Will and His Church!  Good mothers defend their children from these vultures and they do it because they care!!!
  1. Secondly, notice how DEVOTED she was to her children-v 10 “from the beginning of harvest until water dropped upon them out of heaven.
    1. The barley harvest came in April and the early rains didn’t arrive until around October or November.
      1. This meant that this mother guarded those decomposing bodies in those deplorable conditions for around six months!  Amazing!
        1. Rizpah was devoted!! 
        2. She didn’t start out fast and then fizzle.
        3. She stayed the course.  I’m sure she got tired, overheated, and maybe even sick.  I’m sure she contemplated whether her efforts were worth it!  But she kept at it!
    2. Today, however, women are increasingly choosing escape as a method of coping.
      1. Ten years ago, for every wife and mother who left a marriage, six hundred husband and fathers did.
      2. Today, for each man who walks away, two women do!  How things have changed!!
      3. And this is not just true in marriage; it’s true in every situation!
      4. In his book, Finishing Touch, Chuck Swindoll wrote, “Once upon a time, when the going got tough, the tough got going.  No longer!  Contrary to our great American heritage, many of today’s citizens would rather switch than fight….or more honestly, quit than stick.  That which was once not even an option is now standard operating procedure.
      5. Illustration:  A husband came home after work one day and discovered a note on the kitchen table from his wife.  It read like this: “I’ve had it!  You don’t appreciate me and the kids don’t listen to me.  I’m tired of being ignored and taken for granted.  I’m going to start a new life somewhere else.  Don’t follow or try to find me.”  Can you believe that?  She left behind three children ages 18 months, 4 and 7 years old and never returned!!   This is a true story!!
      6. Caring mothers are not like this.  They are devoted no matter the situation.  They stick with it even when they don’t feel like it, or don’t feel like they can!  They’re devoted!
      7. Rizpah was such a mother! 

Conclusion: Many of you here today (perhaps all of you?) are like Rizpah (most moms are).  You attempt to defend your children from the vultures of this world and you are devoted in your labors.  You want your children to grow up and become good citizens and contributors to society.  This is great, but it falls short in one important area.  In planning for this life, you have neglected eternity.  The bible reminds us in Mark 8:36, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”  No matter how successful you are as a mother in raising your children, neglecting their spiritual needs will have terrible consequences.  The best way to give attention to your children’s spiritual needs is to first deal with your own.  I hope you will do this today.

Let’s pray

  • Are you diligently defending your children from the vultures of life?  Perhaps you need to reassess your approach.
  • Are you on the verge of giving up?  Choose devotion my friend.  Refuse to surrender what is good and right for what is easy.
  • Are you unsure of your spiritual condition?  Why not let us help you today?  We would love to take a couple minutes with you right now to settle the issue.  Will you let us?

And for those of you who find Mother’s Day a painful reminder of a terrible loss, please understand, God knows your pain.  He is standing by ready to comfort you.  Cast your care upon Him right now