by William J. Stewart
1 Kings 3:16-28
There are several great texts and examples of mothers we could look at from the Scriptures for Mother’s Day. The text chosen may not be commonly used to discuss motherhood, but I believe there are some wonderful lessons for us to glean from it.
Two Harlots Come To The King
Think about that! How do two harlots not only gain access to the king’s court, but have their cause heard by him? Both women had given birth, presumably out of wedlock, and it is likely (given their lifestyle) neither knew who the fathers of their babies were. These women were characterized by what they did, and what they did was not good!
And yet Solomon was willing, not only to have them come into his court, but permitted them to approach him, and lay their petition before him. Why? They were in his realm, and Solomon was concerned for people in his realm. This was not just about showing off his wisdom. He had genuine concern for them; for God, whom he served, had concern for them.
The scenario should be familiar to us. Our Lord also received tax collectors and sinners to Himself. After Matthew began to follow Jesus, he hosted a feast (Matthew 9). The Pharisees spoke against Jesus for receiving wicked people to Himself, but Jesus came to receive and reform sinners by imparting mercy and forgiveness. He continues to do the same today, transforming sinners into saints. We may not be guilty of prostitution, be all have sinned (Romans 3:23). Every responsible soul among us has transgressed God’s law.
May we learn from Solomon (and Jesus) how to respond to those who are in bondage to sin. The Pharisees rejected such, looked down upon them and vilified them. The two harlot mothers who came to Solomon were not living as they ought, but he loved their souls enough to receive them and sought to help them. Do we have love for lost souls?
They Sought Wise Counsel
We’ve acknowledged that Solomon received them into his presence and heard their case, but let’s back up a bit and realize they went to the right source for counsel—Solomon, a godly king. Where we go for answers to life’s tough questions is important. There is no shortage of wrong places to turn to. Here are a few examples:
- Horoscopes—the Bible condemns astrology (Deut 18:9-14, 18-22).
- Worldly friends— when Rehoboam became king, rather than heed the sound words of his father’s advisors, he sought counsel among his friends (1 Ki 12).
- Psychologists—there are some good psychologists, but there are also some who willfully excuse sin and will declare it to be normal and good.
These two women went to the right place to get an answer, to king Solomon who had been endowed with wisdom from God. His wisdom was not to ooh and aah the crowds, but so he could solve problems, so he could affect the nation for good. In this particular case, the best interest of this little baby was at stake.
Mothers (and everyone else) – we need to go to the right source to receive the right answers to our problems. Whatever challenges we’re facing, we can bring them to the Lord to receive an answer. To do so, we need to be diligent students of His word, be fervent in prayer and seek to apply His word to our lives. God’s word was designed to give the answers to life (2 Peter 1:3; 2 Timothy 3:16-17).
A Mother’s Love
When presented with the scenario of the two women, Solomon came up with a rather extreme solution. We’ll just cut the boy in two and give each woman a half (1 Kings 3:26). What kind of solution is that? The problem is there was already one dead son, how would killing the other solve the issue? Of course Solomon had no intention of harming the child—he was testing the hearts of the women. One of them had a natural affection for this child, the other was hurting because of the loss of her own son. One woman’s whole world was bound up in this baby, the other woman’s whole world was falling apart because her child was no more. One was filled with love and concern, the other was filled with envy and bitterness. You get the picture.
How great is the natural affection God has instilled in a mother? She is willing to sacrifice her own happiness for her child’s life. To be a good mother, you need to be willing to give up some things. Personal sacrifice is an ongoing part of motherhood; beginning at the point of conception.
- A mom may never regain the figure she had before childbirth, but she’s OK with that, for she has gained so much more;
- For the first several months, she sacrifices sleep with overnight feedings;
- She may not be able to go all the places or do all the things she once did;
- She patiently nurses the sick child back to health, cleaning up messes that make some of us men squeamish;
- She fills so many roles that require her to make sacrifices (private chef, housekeeper, chauffer, hair stylist, teacher, entertainment coordinator, family therapist, wardrobe stylist, event planner, safety patrol, seamstress, etc.). All this and more, because she loves her children.
Solomon knew the boy’s mother would not want him sacrificed, but would be willing to sacrifice for him. Friends, may we not forget the love and sacrifices that have been made for us (and for our children) by mothers and mother-like figures in our lives. May we give honour to those who have in the past, presently are, or in the future will take up the godly charge of being mothers.
Happy Mother’s Day!