Today is Mother’s Day!

“Honor your father and your mother, as Adonai your God ordered you to do, so that you will live long and have things go well with you in the land Adonai your God is giving you.”  (Deuteronomy 5:16)
Today is Mother’s Day!  What a wonderful opportunity to take time to bless our mothers and the mothers we know who embody the grace and love of God.
For Mother’s Day, let us also contemplate the Jewish mothers in the Bible whose grace, love, and faith still speak profoundly to us today.
Here are five of those mothers in honor of Mother’s Day.

Moses’ Mother, by Alexey Tyranov
Yocheved: Mother of Moses
The Book of Exodus reveals that the Jewish People were growing strong in Egypt.  Pharaoh felt threatened by their strength, fearing they would join forces with the enemies of Egypt.  To prevent this, he decided to keep the population under control by drowning newborn Jewish boys in the Nile.
During this time, Yocheved (Jochebed), a Levite woman, gave birth to Moshe (Moses).
For three months she bravely hid him.  When she could no longer do so, she entrusted his future to the Lord, placing him in a small basket, but not alone.  She sent her daughter Miriam to watch over the basket as it rested among the reeds of the Nile.
When Miriam saw Pharaoh’s daughter find the infant and take pity on him, she told her she knew a wet nurse who could feed and care for him.  In this way Jochebed was hired by the Pharaoh’s daughter to nurse her own son, Moshe.
Through a very tough time, Yocheved trusted Adonai, faithfully refusing to do what she knew was wrong.  In doing so, she saved her son’s life.  And, in the fullness of time, Moshe fulfilled his calling by saving all the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt.
Sometimes, a mother might break a rule that is in keeping with the world’s plan in order to play a role in fulfilling God’s plan, and that can only be a source of blessing to many.

The Annunciation to Manoah’s Wife, by Jacoppo Tintoretto

Zlelponi: Samson’s Mother
Judges 13 tells us of a barren woman whom God blessed with a son.  An angel warned her not to drink wine or eat anything unclean while pregnant with him.  He also instructed her not to cut his hair, since the child would be dedicated to Adonai as a Nazirite.
Samson’s mother, known as Zlelponi to the Babylonian rabbis, trusted the angel and did as she was told.
Though an angel didn’t tell Samson to live this lifestyle, he obeyed his mother, never cutting his hair.  The Lord blessed his obedience and used him to defeat the Philistines.
Our mothers are often given wisdom from the Lord about our lives that we may never understand.  But by trusting our mothers, we will find ourselves fulfilling our destiny.

Ruth’s Wise Choice (Source: Providence Lithograth)
Naomi: Ruth’s Mother-in-Law
The Book of Ruth describes Naomi, who lost her husband and two sons while living in Moab.
When Naomi decided to return to Israel, she told her daughters-in-law to seek new husbands in Moab.
Ruth, however, refused to leave Naomi; instead, she returned with her to Israel where she gleaned in the field.  Naomi essentially orchestrated Ruth’s marriage to Boaz.
Ruth may not have understood the practice of the Kinsman Redeemer that would save her from a life alone, but she trusted Naomi and followed her advice.
As a result, Ruth was blessed with a husband and a son.  Likewise, Naomi was blessed with powerful and godly descendants: King David and Yeshua HaMashiach, two essential men in God’s destiny for Israel.

Anna Shows Her Son Samuel to the Priest Eli,
by Gerbrand van den Eeckhout
Chanah: Mother of Shmuel
In 1 Samuel, we read of Chanah (Hannah), who was married to the Levite Elkanah.  Although Elkanah loved her very much, she had not borne him a child.
Elkanah’s other wife, Peninah had children, but humiliated Chanah for being childless.
When Elkanah took his family on a pilgrimage to the Tabernacle in Shiloh, Chanah silently and tearfully poured out her heart to God.  Thinking she was drunk, the High Priest, Eli, reprimanded her.
When she responded in her defense, telling him that she has been praying with great sorrow, he blessed her.  The next year, she gave birth to Shmuel (Samuel).  After being weaned, she presented him to the priest in the Tabernacle.
With his life dedicated to God, he grew to become the fearless judge and prophet who crowned Israel’s first kings: Saul and David.
Hannah speaks to all who have a desperate need.  In her own distress, she turned to God for relief.  God heard and answered her passionate but silent prayer.
And because she dedicated Shmuel to the Lord, that answer to prayer played an important role in God’s destiny for Israel. May each of us, like Chanah, turn to God with our needs and give back to Him what He graciously bestows on us when He hears and answers our prayers.
Miriam: Mother of Yeshua
Miriam (Mary), Mother of Yeshua, may be the most famous mother in the Bible.
God chose her to give birth to Israel’s Messiah.  While she was still an unmarried teen, an angel disclosed this plan to her.  Rather than fret that she might be accused of being a fornicator, she accepted God’s plan and answered, “I am the servant of Adonai; may it happen to me as You have said.”  (Luke 1:38)
RosesMiriam relied on Adonai to help her fulfill this calling, and indeed, when Yosef (Joseph) thought he would quietly put her away, he too was visited by an angel who revealed God’s plan for her.
Throughout Yeshua’s life, Miriam treasured and pondered in her heart the signs of His promise and destiny.  In her calling as His mother, she endured a tramua that no mother should experience — the cruel mockery, beating, and murder of her child. Yet, her tragedy turned to eternal joy when she witnessed His resurrection and victory over death.
As  destiny, and the destiny of Israel, and the destiny of mankind played out before her, Miriam remained humble, an example of faith, hope, endurance, and love.  May each of us follow her example, remaining Adonai’s servant even when we face the uncertainties and demands of this world.
Godly mothers leave a legacy of faith, playing their own special role in helping their children fulfill their destinies and participate in Adonai’s great plans for the Salvation of the Jewish People and even the entire world.

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