In honor of Mom’s Day, let’s take a look at three interesting moms in the Bible and see what we can learn from them: Eve, Sarah, and Mary.
God created Eve at the end of Creation Week1. She actually didn’t see God create anything like Adam had, so naturally, Satan chose to go to her with his proposal. Notice his Modus Operandi. First create doubt, “Yea, hath God said…2” then follow that up with direct denial, “Thou shall not surely die3.” He does the same thing with us4. Watch for that. Make sure your armor is intact5.
Anyway, back to Eve as a mom. She had a whole passel of kids. Only three are named in the text, but in Genesis 5, Adam lived eight hundred years after Seth was born and sired other sons and daughters6. Can you imagine what it was like to become pregnant for the first time ever? There were no OB-GYNs to go talk to. She didn’t have a mom of her own to go get advice from. No books, no internet, no source of information about what was happening and what to expect, but it wasn’t all bad news. Fortunately, she also didn’t have any “helpful friends” telling her horror stories about the difficult labor others had experienced. There wasn’t any contradictory “helpful advice” from other moms, either. It’s easy to assume that God gave her information directly, but we don’t know that. She might have had to make it up as she went. Wow. What courage and what faith in God!
It was no picnic once the kids were born. Her firstborn murdered the second over a burnt offering. What kind of grief she must have felt. Eve had seen other things die, but there were only four humans on the face of the earth at that point, and her own son kills her only other kid. We can assume that while in the Garden of Eden, God taught Adam and Eve about his eternal plan, but we don’t know that, either. We deal with grief now with the knowledge that there is salvation and heaven. Did Eve have that assurance we so heavily lean on? Possibly, but we can’t know for certain.
Sarah was another mom with an interesting story. Back in the day, to be childless was an incredibly bad stigma for a married girlie person. Abraham was 99 years old when God promised to make a great nation of his descendants7. Sarah? She was all of 89 years old at that time8, and they had no kids. Oh, Abraham had Ishmael from Hagar, but Sarah still hadn’t had any children. Yet God promised to make nations of their children. Both Abraham and Sarah had a good laugh at that9. In fact God called Sarah on the laughter. Consider her reaction: she denied it10. How often do we get a conviction of the Holy Spirit and try to pretend it didn’t happen? Look at God’s response, “Is anything too hard for the LORD11?” He spoke the world into existence, so I really don’t think so. Three chapters later, Sarah, being 90 years old, has a kid. True enough, people were still living over a hundred years at that point, but can you imagine chasing a toddler around at 93 years old? People talk about the patience of Job. How about the patience of Sarah?
Finally, let’s have a look at the mom of our Savior. Mary probably wasn’t all that old. It was not uncommon even up through the Renaissance for a girl to get married to a guy many times older not much after she entered child-bearing age. Speculation that Mary might have been as young as 14 or so is not such a wild idea. She could have been much older, but early teenager is very possible. She was already engaged to Joseph when the angel dropped in for a visit12. In ancient Israel, engaged was as good as married for some purposes. Sexual relations with another person while engaged carried the same punishment as adultery13. That’s why Joseph wanted to put Mary away privately14. Even though they weren’t officially married, he would have had to divorce her to break the engagement. Because of the dream, he chose not to divorce her, but can you imagine the stigma? She was found pregnant before her marriage. Jesus was considered an illegitimate child15.
Small towns can be brutal places to grow up with rumor mill going nuts even today, but back at a time when everyone knew the business of everyone else, it would have been much worse. Gossip has always been one of the most painful sins. Still, Mary raised her children in that environment and taught them what they needed to know. We don’t know anything explicitly about Jesus’ years growing up in Nazareth, but Psalm 69 is believed by some to give insight into Jesus’ childhood16.
Jesus was obedient to her, too. Yep, that’s right. The King of the Universe obeyed a human woman for a time17. Then the first recorded miracle was turning the water to wine in Cana. Some say that “wine” would have been “new wine” which might not be much more than slightly potent grape juice, but the fellow running the party comments that the best wine was kept for last. Still, check out the events here in John 2. The wine ran out and the guests went to Mary to fix it. She went to Jesus. At first it looks like he’s going to balk, but he does get the job done18.
Moms are courageous, patient, and faithful people. They have to be. They put up with us kids …
1 Genesis 2:23
2 Genesis 3:1
3 Genesis 3:4
4 Hovind, Kent. Creation Seminar. Creation Science Evangelism.
5 Ephesians 6:10-20
6 Genesis 5:4
7 Genesis 17:1
8 Genesis 17:17
9 Ibid., Genesis 18:12
10 Genesis 18:15
11 Genesis 18:14
12 Luke 1:27
13 Deuteronomy 22:23-4
14 Matthew 1:18-25
15 John 8:41
16 Missler, Chuck. Verse by Verse Commentary on Psalms. Koinonia House.
17 Luke 2:51
18 John 2:4-10