Honoring Our Moms

Dr. Rob Green May 10, 2020 Selected Passages
Outline

4 truths that explain why honoring our mom is so important

I. The Constitution for God’s Chosen People Included the Command to Honor Your Mother

Exodus 20:12 - Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the LORD your God gives you.

A. It was the first commandment involving our relationships with each other

B. It was the first commandment with a promise

C. The case law showed God took this command seriously

Exodus 21:15 - He who strikes his father or his mother shall surely be put to death.

Exodus 21:17 - He who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death.

D. It was directed at the people of all ages

II. When “Mother” Is Used as an Illustration, It Is Often an Extreme Illustration

A. Illustration of grief

Psalm 35:14 - I went about as though it were my friend or brother; I bowed down mourning, as one who sorrows for a mother.

B. Illustration of abandonment

Psalm 27:10 - For my father and my mother have forsaken me, But the LORD will take me up.

C. Illustration of judgment

Psalm 109:14 - Let the iniquity of his fathers be remembered before the LORD, And do not let the sin of his mother be blotted out.

D. Illustration of compassion and comfort

Isaiah 66:13 - As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; And you will be comforted in Jerusalem.

1Thessalonians 2:7 - But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children.

III. Honoring One’s Mother Was a Sign of Wisdom

A. Listen to her instruction

Proverbs 6:20 - My son, observe the commandment of your father And do not forsake the teaching of your mother…

Proverbs 15:20 - A wise son makes a father glad, but a foolish man despises his mother.

Proverbs 29:15 - The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother.

B. Treat her with dignity and respect

Proverbs 19:26 - He who assaults his father and drives his mother away Is a shameful and disgraceful son.

Proverbs 20:20 - He who curses his father or his mother, his lamp will go out in time of darkness.

Proverbs 23:25 - Let your father and your mother be glad, and let her rejoice who gave birth to you.

C. Care for her in her old age

Proverbs 23:22 - Listen to your father who begot you, and do not despise your mother when she is old.

Proverbs 30:11 - There is a kind of man who curses his father and does not bless his mother.

IV. Honoring One’s Mother Remains a Significant Part of God’s Heart for His People

A. Honoring without excuses

Matthew 15:3-6 - And He answered and said to them, “Why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? For God said, ‘HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER,’ and, ‘HE WHO SPEAKS EVIL OF FATHER OR MOTHER IS TO BE PUT TO DEATH.’ But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, “Whatever I have that would help you has been given to God,” he is not to honor his father or his mother.’ And by this you invalidated the word of God for the sake of your tradition.”

B. The stakes could not be higher

Ephesians 6:2-3 - HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER (which is the first commandment with a promise), SO THAT IT MAY BE WELL WITH YOU, AND THAT YOU MAY LIVE LONG ON THE EARTH.

Proverbs 31:28-29 - Her children rise up and bless her; her husband also, and he praises her, saying: “Many daughters have done nobly, but you excel them all.”

Good morning and thank you for joining us. My name is Rob Green and I serve as the pastor of counseling and seminary ministries.

  • On Sundays, I serve at the East campus. I count it a unique privilege to be able to address the entire church body today.
  • I know that all of us are looking forward to the day when we can be together at our respective campuses. Lord willing, that is coming soon.
  • Each person, whether mother or not, even girl or not, can feel very strongly about a day like today. Mother’s Day is not simply another Sunday. There are many strong emotions that people are feeling.
  • We want to rejoice with those rejoicing and weep with those who are weeping.
    • If you have lost a child or if pregnancy has been difficult for you, we have many who have struggled. If today is the day you decide that you want to talk about that with someone please let me or your regular service pastor know.
  • We would be happy to connect you with a woman who will help you from the Scriptures grieve and see the compassion of a loving savior.
  • Last year we acknowledged that the role of the mother is difficult. There are personal expectations, there are lots of social media avenues to compare yourself with other moms, and there is a lot of pressure that comes with either perceived or genuine failure.
    • As a result we spent our time reflecting on how God’s peace, God’s grace, God’s help in the challenges, and his indwelling Spirit provide what you need to glorify the Lord in your parenting and in your personal thinking.
  • We showed how these promises from our great God reshape a mother’s thoughts, her heart, and her actions to turn her attention to Jesus and not to the particular failures or shortcomings, or even to a prideful heart over supposed successes.
  • I reminded every mom that you are not at war against your children, you are at war for them and for their hearts.
  • You did not ask to homeschool, but you are doing it anyway. You did not ask to be the family technology director, but when it doesn’t work they are coming to you.
  • As Mackenzie and I teased in our little video, you have had a lot more time with your husband around the house. For good and ill.
  • While we are on the subject of videos, Did you notice that Mackenzie absolutely killed it while Dad … uhhh … left much to be desired? I did not even realize how many times I said, “I agree” until I watched the whole thing --- can you say, “Rob could not remember his lines?!” Can you say that Rob just got fired from doing videos ever again!
  • We know there are a lot of potential situations. There might be a family unit where dad and the kids are doing things as a family. There might be a situation where you are trying to contact your mom in another state. Please personalize this focus on honoring your mom.
  • The first key document, one to be kept in the Holy of Holy places inside the ark of the covenant was the ten commandments. It served as the constitution for the covenant relationship between God and his people.
  • God stressed the nuclear family in the old covenant under the mosaic law and he stresses the nuclear family in the church under the law of Christ.
  • To the nation of Israel it was a promise that they would live long in the land that God was going to give them. That command was repeated exactly as is in Deuteronomy 5 as the nation was about ready to enter the promised land.
  • Think of it as visiting the national archives in the morning to see the declaration of independence and the constitution and then walking to the library at the Supreme court. Their library is full of how the constitution was applied to specific questions.
  • You see, these commands to honor father and mother were not just for little ones. They were given first to adults.
  • While it most certainly included children, it was not exclusively for them.
  • I found out it was 214x. Many of the occurrences are what you would expect … identifying a particular person. Others specifically talk about honor. A few occurrences teach us something different. But it highlights another reason to honor.
  • I was in the store the other day picking up some essential groceries like cookies and ice cream. After all, there are some necessities even in the midst of a pandemic.
  • I am standing right in front of the section of Oreo cookies and I noticed that I could buy the regular Oreos, a family size, mint Oreos, even extra stuffing and then I saw them … bing … “Mega stuffed.” These were not just two chocolate flavored cookies with cream in the middle.
  • I imagined that someone in the Oreo plant was jamming every last bit of cream between these cookies before they explode. That is a MEGA stuff.
  • He could have said that he cried. He could have said that he cried until morning. He could have said he made his couch swim (like Psalm 6). What he said this time is this … You want to know what my life is like?
  • Think about the day you learned your mom died. That is the sorrow I am experiencing.
  • I was speaking with a friend some time ago who lost both parents in a relatively short time. I don’t remember the exact question I asked, but it was something about the difference between losing a dad and losing a mom. His reply was very simple. He said losing your mom is just different. There was no further explanation needed. When David wanted to express the level of his grief, he put in the context of losing a mother.
  • One of the classic family stories happened when I was in 3d grade. I got good grades but in those days they also gave you behavioral marks. Let’s just say that there was much room for improvement. My mom goes to the teacher and asks where all the learning centers are. Oh my, she had my back. Even when she shouldn’t.
  • The end of the story is that my dad told the teacher that he would deal with it and his idea of dealing with it had nothing to do with her adding learning centers.
  • When I grew up there were two words that could always take an argument to throwing punches. Those words were “your mama.” When you want to say something extreme you could do so by talking about mothers.
  • It is so powerful and so unique that when you wanted to speak in extremes you could use the illustration of a mom to make the point.
  • Even if it might seem like she is asking you to do something you do not want to do, obeying her is a characteristic of wisdom.
  • Start now.
  • I want to encourage you not to let those thoughts dwell in your mind. Because the natural and logical conclusion to that line of thinking is a movement away from your parents, to gossip about their faults with your friends, and to ignore their advice.
  • It is near NYC. It contains a mass grave for all those who died whose families have not claimed them. They normally have about 25 burials per week in mass graves but during the pandemic it has risen to 125 per week.
  • I am doing that with the word mother today and showing how the Bible’s overwhelming evidence is to honor our moms. It is in the constitution of Israel, mothers are used as illustrations of extreme blessings and challenges, and Proverbs explains the wisdom of having a right attitude and relationship with you mom.
  • In the law of Christ, everything is greater not less. We do not enjoy freedom to do whatever we want, but to by his grace live more fully for him.
  • How your life goes …. That it be well with you
  • And Even how long your life is … that you may live long on the earth
  • Maybe your mom has been witnessing to you. She has explained the gospel to you time and time again and you have been rejecting it. Realizing your need and trusting Christ could be the best Mother’s Day present she could ever ask for. The Lord might be working on you to do that today to help you see your need for Christ.
  • Maybe you and your mom have not been getting along so well. Frankly, you are being stubborn. It may be that the Lord is convicting you about that and he wants you to ask her forgiveness.
  • Maybe a message like this has been really hard to hear because you did not have a very good mom. Maybe she neglected you and abused you. Let me encourage you that you can find strength in Jesus to honor your mom. There may be consequences from her prior actions, but the Lord is strong enough and big enough to help you in the midst of that struggle. By God’s grace, the Lord might even use you and your behavior to help you win your mom to Christ.
  • Maybe you have had the joy of having a great mom … or a great wife who is a mom to your children. A little thanksgiving for all that she did /is doing, a little honoring, and a little blessing might be in order.
  • - Proverbs 31:28 Her children rise up and bless her; Her husband also, and he praises her, saying: 29 “Many daughters have done nobly, But you excel them all.”

I asked Gaylene to pray today because the Lord has given her much grace and she is very sensitive to those who long to be moms as to those who have lost little ones. Just as Gaylene prayed today, I want to acknowledge that we know Mother’s Day evokes a series of different emotions. Some of you are rejoicing, others of you are grieving, some of you might be experiencing guilt while others have anger.

Let me also say many of you might remember that I spoke at Mother’s Day last year. The circumstances around 2019 are very different than today.

Today, our world has been turned upside down. Since March 12th or thereabouts we have had shelter-in-place orders. Schools have gone online, which has been a major transition for teachers, students, and parents alike. Some businesses have been closed and thus … mom … you have found yourself with a series of added duties.

So, here was our thought … instead of reminding you of your responsibilities (as appropriate as that might be), instead of reminding you how the Lord Jesus will help you in your duties (as appropriate as that might be), we thought what we might do today is focus on thanking you, loving you, and honoring you. To let you sit back for a moment and thank the Lord that he has given you such an important position – the position of mom.

You normally carry a significant load, but right now we have asked you to do even more. That is why Mackenzie and I put together that little video. The messages, videos, and comments we received were awesome. Jeremy Vegter is going to release more of them in the coming days so you might want to stay tuned.

The focus of the video was to ask every family to make today special. We hope that whatever “special” looks like in your home, that is exactly what happened so far and what will happen the rest of the day.

What I want to do with my time this morning is provide the theological evidence for focusing this year on honoring our mothers. I could do this in one single passage, but this year I have done a few studies that I have really enjoyed --- that is I have traced a theme from start to finish in the Bible to see what is there.

Today’s message is called Honoring Our Moms and I want us to consider 4 truths that explain why honoring our mom is so important.

Let’s start our journey with the establishment of the nation of Israel.

I. The Constitution for God’s Chosen People included the command to Honor Your Mother

When God set apart the nation of Israel to be his people he gave them ten commandments. These commandments served as God’s self-revelation for how he wanted his people to respond to him and to one another.

Many years later when Jesus is asked, “What is the greatest commandment?” The answer was simple, Love the Lord with everything you have and love your neighbor as yourself. That was Jesus’ summary statement of the Mosaic law.

Many people explain that the first four commandments concern our relationship with God. Notice commandment #5.

Ex. 20:12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the LORD your God gives you.

It was the first commandment involving our relationships with each other

As I am reading the constitution. This command begins the section that helps us understand how to function in a covenant community with the Lord and each other. Family relationships were part of that covenant. The nuclear family was an important part of the covenant that God established with his people.

We will look at this in a bit more detail, but I ask you, is the commandment to honor your father and your mother active in the church? Did Jesus want this to be obeyed or was this like the sacrifices that were no longer necessary or important?

Mother’s Day is an opportunity for us, as believers in Christ, to demonstrate one way that we can accurately reflect the heart and mind of God.

This is not simply a hallmark holiday – I realize some are very excited about all the hallmark holidays. It is a day that reminds us of one element of what it means to be a genuine follower of Jesus.

Not only does the Exodus text remind us that this command was part of their national constitution.

It was the first commandment with a promise

This wording comes from Ephesians which we will get to in due course. For now, as I am speaking, skim read Exodus 20:3-11 on your own. You have the command to (1) have no other gods (2) to not make an idol (3) to not take the Lord’s name in vain and (4) to keep the sabbath. None of those commands provide a promise if you do them.

This command has a promise. That promise is tied to the very promise to Abraham given many years before. God promised him seed (and of course they have grown tremendously by Exodus 20), land, and blessing. The 5th commandment ties back to the land promise to Abraham that they have been waiting to receive for centuries.

The Lord, for purposes known only to him, decided that children honoring their parents was going to be one foundational element for the existence of his covenant community.

I mentioned that Exodus 20 is like the constitution for the nation of Israel. Well, in Exodus 21-23 we have their first example of those laws applied to actual cases.

God decides to give the first case law book and notice …

The case law showed God took this command seriously

Ex. 21:15 “He who strikes his father or his mother shall surely be put to death.

Ex. 21:17 “He who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death.

Put to death!? You mean you do not just have to bring a goat? These are serious crimes in the mind of the Lord.

I think we need to remember that this text is not talking about a small disagreement, it is talking about the delinquent child. Even so, wow. The Lord was pretty serious about how he wanted children to function with respect to their parents.

Here is the temptation … to think that these commands are given primarily to the 8 year olds in our church. One way that we avoid the uncomfortable challenges that passages like this create is to limit it as much as possible. In reality,

It was directed at the people of all ages

The instructions given by God to the people were accepted and ratified in Exodus 24. All that the Lord has said, we will do.

I am convinced that while honor will change with time, we all have the responsibility of honoring our parents.

The nation of Israel was supposed to be different than other nations. They were to worship the Lord, and they were to follow the Lord’s commands. Their covenant community was supposed to be something wonderful. One of the ways they were to be wonderful, related to the family.

I mentioned that we were on a journey in the Bible. We are evaluating how the Bible speaks about honoring our moms. In my preparation for this message I decided to look at how many times the mother is used in the NASB version of the Bible.

Not only do we honor because it properly expressed the Lord’s heart but also …

II. When “mother” is used as an illustration it is often an extreme illustration

The word mother is used in passages comparing something. Every culture finds ways of making things sound really important, even extreme. For example, in English we might add the word “mega” to something.

Well, when the Bible wants to talk about extremes, it sometimes uses the concept of mother to do it.

Illustration of Grief

Psa. 35:14 I went about as though it were my friend or brother; I bowed down mourning, as one who sorrows for a mother.

David describes a time when his enemies seem to have the upper hand. He is asking the Lord to rescue him. As he describes his experiences, he uses the words of v. 14. “I bowed down mourning, as one who sorrows for a mother.”

By God’s grace, both of my parents are living. I have not experienced the death of a parent. I have spoken with those who have.

Illustration of Abandonment

Psalm 27:10 says, For my father and my mother have forsaken me, But the LORD will take me up.

David is the writer again. This time he expresses trust in the Lord despite the fact that everyone around him has abandoned him. He only sees one path of rescue: the Lord must intervene.

The way he describes being forsaken by everyone is to say that mom and dad left too. They would be the last ones who would leave, but they are gone as well.

I can understand this. Of all the people on the planet who think I do the most things right, it is my mom. She has polarized her glasses in such a way that she cannot see any of my failures.

Of course, there are plenty of other people in my life who have a more realistic appraisal of the various things I do. But there is something amazing about mom having your back – even when you are goof. Friends, when David thought of total and utter abandonment, he thought about even mom not standing with you.

Illustration of Judgment

Psa. 109:14 Let the iniquity of his fathers be remembered before the LORD, And do not let the sin of his mother be blotted out.

Psalm 109 is an imprecatory Psalm. The writer is asking God to bring about judgment for his acts of sin, treachery, and cruelty. The way he describes it is very powerful. Just as your mom gave loyalty to you, there was also loyalty back to mom.

Illustration of compassion and comfort

Is. 66:13 “As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; And you will be comforted in Jerusalem.”

Isaiah is a tough book. I am glad that we have Pastor Aucoin who loves to teach from Isaiah. I have always found that the big picture is pretty easy, but the details make it a very tough nut to crack. In this passage, God says that he is going to comfort his people like a mother comforts her children.

As a father of three children I can remember many times when I was physically present when my children were hurt, but they would go in the house, they would go out of the house, they would go to a ton of extra effort to have mom care for their wound.

There is something about a kiss from mom that makes something all better.

1Th. 2:7 But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children.

Paul, when writing to the church at Thessalonica reminds them of the kind of ministry he had … it was like a nursing mom.

You might say, Rob, none of these passages tell us to honor our moms. You are right, they do not do that. But what they show is this very unique relationship that exists between mothers and children.

It provides some larger relational context to the command to honor our moms. It reminds us of the practical importance of doing so.

My point so far is to highlight that God’s covenant people were only going to live in the land and were only going to enjoy right relationships with God and others when they properly honored their moms.

Let’s consider a third point.

III. Honoring one’s mother was a sign of wisdom

I am going to focus on passages in Proverbs in this section. When I first learned about the “my son” speeches in the book of Proverbs, I have always been fascinated by them. In Proverbs 1-9 there are a series of speeches that begin with the words “my son” and there are also speeches made by lady wisdom. Then, for most of the rest of the book, we have a series of wisdom statements. Notice what we find …

A. Listen to her instruction

Prov. 6:20 My son, observe the commandment of your father And do not forsake the teaching of your mother;

Prov. 15:20 A wise son makes a father glad, But a foolish man despises his mother.

Prov. 29:15 The rod and reproof give wisdom, But a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother.

These passages remind us of the value of our mom’s words. They are not taken lightly nor are they dismissed easily.

Let me say a word to the younger people listening today. Develop the habit of listening carefully to your mom and obeying what she says.

B. Treat her with dignity and respect

Prov. 19:26 He who assaults his father and drives his mother away Is a shameful and disgraceful son.

Prov. 20:20 He who curses his father or his mother, His lamp will go out in time of darkness.

Prov. 23:25 Let your father and your mother be glad, And let her rejoice who gave birth to you.

I would like to speak to you teens for a moment. Many teens go through a period where it seems their parents are overly restrictive, unduly cautious, and too protective.

I want to encourage you to repent of that attitude. Today, might be the best day to do that. Maybe what would honor your mom the most today is a humble and repentant heart over the way that you have treated her. Especially if you are teen son. This could be one of the areas where your daily life could change the most.

The proverbs continue and add a third element

C. Care for her in her old age

Prov. 23:22 Listen to your father who begot you, And do not despise your mother when she is old.

I am going to say more about this point in a minute, but for now we see that we adults have something to think about. I suppose there are many ways to despise your mother when she is old. One of the more striking ways caught my attention through this pandemic.

I saw an article about a place called Hart Island.

I was sad when I heard about the number of deaths, but I also wondered how long those people had been alone. Surely there are many different kinds of stories here, but how many lived and died lonely while their children paid them no mind?

God did not want his covenant people functioning like that.

One of final uses in proverbs stresses the importance of honoring our moms. Sometimes people become so full of their own pride that they treat their moms as if they are unimportant.

Prov. 30:11 There is a kind of man who curses his father And does not bless his mother.

Let’s take a quick breather and remind ourselves why we are on this journey. I believe it is important for us to remember that when we study our Bibles sometimes the best thing to do is look at one passage for however long it takes to understand it. There are other times that a theme occurs in the Bible. It is helpful to trace the theme.

At this point we have yet to get to the NT passages. I would like us to see that the call to honor does not change at all. In fact, if anything it is even more intense due to the coming and empowerment of Christ. Notice that …

IV. Honoring one’s Mother remains a significant part God’s heart for his people

Honoring without excuses

Early in Matthew 15 the religious leaders were challenging Jesus because his disciples ate before washing their hands. The argument they gave is that they broke the tradition of the elders. Jesus responds by saying …

Matt. 15:3 And He answered and said to them, “Why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? 4 “For God said, ‘HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER,’ and, ‘HE WHO SPEAKS EVIL OF FATHER OR MOTHER IS TO BE PUT TO DEATH.” 5 “But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, “Whatever I have that would help you has been given to God,6 he is not to honor his father or his mother.’ And by this you invalidated the word of God for the sake of your tradition.

I highly doubt that anyone would make that argument today. Well mom, I would help you but you see I gave everything over to God. But I do think it is possible to invalidate the word of God for other reasons.

Maybe honoring mom (or helping your children honor their mom) is reminding the children that life is not all about what they want to do. There can refuse to honor mom simply because they have video games to play, Instagram posts to read, texts to reply to, and friends to be with.

For us adults, we might invalidate the word of God because we are too busy. We have to do dance lessons on Tuesday, soccer practice every night with games on Sundays, we have gymnastics on Wednesday, Friday, and on Saturdays when there is a full moon. That is why our parents are off at a facility and we have no time to call or visit.

We do not have a cultural concept of giving something over to God so our parents cannot use it, but we can certainly find other ways of destroying the family unit God designed.

The stakes could not be higher

Ephesians 6:2-3 HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER (which is the first commandment with a promise), 3 SO THAT IT MAY BE WELL WITH YOU, AND THAT YOU MAY LIVE LONG ON THE EARTH.

If you have been part of Faith for a while, then you know that we believe when Jesus came he offered abundant life. He offered freedom from the Mosaic law, but he brought the law of Christ.

Including this area. Verse 3 could not say it any clearer. Our promises are not based on a piece of ground in the middle east. As a part of the church of Jesus Christ we are not given the land of Israel so Paul, under inspiration, quotes Exodus 20 with a slight adjustment --- so that you may live long on the earth.

There are, of course, many examples of lives cut short in the Bible to disease, war, and the like. But in a proverbs like fashion the Lord reminds us that honoring your mom could be choice related to

I realize that as I trace this theme it is possible to miss the empowerment of it. The Lord Jesus died on the cross so that our sin might be paid for. He died so that you and I might live.

Maybe the following words should characterize our attitude and actions …

Honoring your mom will look different depending on a number of factors, but it is one of the characteristics of a community in covenant with the Lord. Let’s make this Mother’s Day a day to remember … and not just because of the virus.

Dr. Rob Green

Roles

Pastor of Counseling and Seminary Ministries - Faith Church

Pastor of Counseling and Seminary Ministries - Faith Biblical Counseling Ministries

MABC Department Chair, Instructor - Faith Bible Seminary

Bio

B.S. - Engineering Physics, Ohio State University
M.Div. - Baptist Bible Seminary
Ph.D. - New Testament, Baptist Bible Seminary

Dr. Rob Green joined the Faith Church staff in August, 2005. Rob’s responsibilities include oversight of the Faith Biblical Counseling Ministry and teaching New Testament at Faith Bible Seminary. He serves on the Council Board of the Biblical Counseling Coalition and as a fellow for the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors. Pastor Green has authored, co-authored, and contributed to 9 books/booklets. Rob and his wife Stephanie have three children.

Read Rob Green's Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Green to Faith Church.