“I want my mommy!” Almost everyone has either said or heard this phrase more than once in their lifetime, as we usually all turn to our moms in times of pain, sorrow or excitement. Mothers often have the answers for our problems, or they know how to take away our hurts and heartaches at even the darkest hour. Moms are doctors, teachers, therapists, housecleaners, comforters and the best ones are spiritual leaders throughout our lives. God’s word has many passages about mothers, including the one found in Proverbs 31:28, that says, “Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.” This verse defines the ideal woman and mother who sacrifices much for the sake of her children and family, and it is what all Christian moms strive to achieve. In the Bible, there are hundreds of references to moms, but the top seven verses about mothers are as follows:
Genesis 17:16 (NIV) “I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations, kings of peoples will come from her.”
Sarah, the mother of Isaac, is often considered the “mother” of the Israelite nation. Her husband, Abraham, was called to leave his family and friends in Ur of the Chaldeans and go to a place that God would show him. Abraham obeyed the Lord’s call, and traveled a great distance to get to the land of Canaan where God promised him that he would become a great nation. At the time, Sarah was barren, but the Lord came to Abraham and told him that they would have a son, Isaac. When this precious son was 12 years old, the Lord tested Abraham and asked him to take Isaac up on the mountain and sacrifice him. In spite of Abraham’s horror and pain, he took his son to a mountain in the region of Moriah and was prepared to give him back to God. However, at the last second, God provided an alternate sacrifice, and the boy was saved. This son of promise, and his descendants, eventually became the nation of Israel just as the Lord said in this passage. Sarah was blessed, and many kings came from her lineage because of her obedience to God and to Abraham.
Exodus 2:8 (ESV) “And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, ‘Go.’ So the girl went and called the child’s mother.”
Another mother of great importance in the Old Testament is Jochebed, the mother of Moses. We don’t know a lot about her, except that she was a slave in Egypt along with all of the other Israelites at that time. She already had two children, Aaron and Miriam, when Moses was born. However, Pharoah had just decreed that all Israelite male babies should be killed, because they were becoming too large of a people group in the land. So Jochebed hid her baby as best she could for three months, and then decided to place him in a basket in the Nile River with Miriam as a lookout in order to keep him safe. According to God’s plan, Pharoah’s daughter heard baby Moses’ cries, and after seeing him she decided to adopt him as her own. Knowing that the princess would need a wet nurse for Moses, Miriam talked to her and then went and got Jochebed to take care of her own son under Pharoah’s protection. Jochebed obviously loved her son greatly and was willing to go to extraordinary lengths to save him from an early death. Then she was willing to give him up to Pharoah’s daughter to raise. As a result of her love for her child, he grew up to free the Jewish nation from their Egyptian captors.
I Samuel 2:19 (ESV) “And his mother used to make for him a little robe and take it to him each year when she went up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice.”
Hannah was the prophet, Samuel’s, mother. She had prayed and asked the Lord for a son for a long time, until finally the Lord granted her this request. Eli, the priest, even thought that she was drunk, as she was weeping and praying so passionately for a son during one of her visits to the tabernacle. In exchange for a son, Hannah promised the Lord that she would give him back to serve in the tabernacle. This took a great sacrifice on her part, as she had longed for a son for so long. But she followed through on her promise, and she gave him to Eli in the tabernacle after he was weaned. For her obedience, God blessed Hannah with several additional children, but she always visited Samuel in the tabernacle each year and took him a handmade robe, as mentioned in the verse above. Because of Hannah’s faithfulness and sacrifice, Samuel grew up to be a great prophet, serving God in the tabernacle, and eventually the Lord used him to anoint Saul and later David as kings over Israel. In fact, all of Israel was blessed because of Samuel’s service to the Lord.
2 Kings 4:30 (ESV) “Then the mother of the child said, ‘As the LORD lives and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.’ So he arose and followed her.”
A rather obscure, but important mother also mentioned in the Bible, is the Shunammite woman. We don’t even have her name, but her story is one of hospitality, faith and blessings. She had met the prophet Elisha on one of his visits through her city, and so she asked her husband if they could build a room for him to stay in when he was around. For her kindness, he asked her if she wanted anything from the Lord, but she said no, “I have a home among my own people.” However, Elisha’s servant Gehazi told him that she did not have any children, so Elisha prayed for her to have one and she did. A few years later, the son died suddenly of a fever, and the Shunammite woman went immediately to seek Elisha to have him pray for her son. She kept telling everyone that her son was fine, and in the end Elisha’s prayers were answered. Her son came back to life, and her hospitality and faith were rewarded by the Lord.
Luke 1:43 (ESV) “And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me?”
Elizabeth was the mother of John the Baptist and a cousin to Mary, the mother of Jesus. She was a godly woman who was chosen by God to give birth to Jesus’ forerunner. Her husband, Zachariah, was a priest in the temple, and an angel appeared to him telling him that he and Elizabeth would be having a son. He was told that his son should be named, John, and that he should be set apart in his service to the Lord. When Elizabeth was six months pregnant, Mary came to visit her. The baby in Elizabeth’s womb jumped when Mary walked in the room, and Elizabeth recognized that Spirit of God was all over Mary. She also realized that Mary had been chosen to carry the son of God, and she rejoiced in the fact that her cousin had come to visit her. Both women were obviously very special, as they were hand-picked by God to be the mothers of two exceedingly important men in the history of the world. Eventually, Elizabeth would have to endure the sacrifice of seeing her son living in the dessert, eating locusts and honey, dressing in animal skins and eventually being killed for the calling on his life.
Luke 2:51 (ESV) “And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart.”
The most important mother mentioned in the Bible is Mary, the mother of Jesus. She was apparently a young woman highly favored by the Lord, as well as a willing vessel for God’s Kingdom purposes, and she was chosen to carry the son of God in her womb. Mary was blessed to see angels on multiple occasions before and after the birth of her son, Jesus. She also saw shepherds come to worship her baby, and wise men from the east arrive with expensive gifts for her son. Then her husband, Joseph, received a supernatural warning to go to Egypt and escape a death attempt against her baby, while continually experiencing first-hand the care and provision of the Lord for her family. So when Jesus was 12 years old, and they took him back to the temple with them for one of the feasts, they should have known that God would do something amazing on Jesus’ behalf. This happened when Jesus stayed behind in the temple talking to the leaders of his day and amazing them with his knowledge and wisdom. Even though Jesus gave his parents a “scare” by staying in Jerusalem when they headed home, this verse states that Jesus was obedient and submissive to his parents, and he went back to Nazareth with them after this occasion. This passage is also significant, because it explains how Mary treasured all of these events in her heart. It’s not clear at this point if she knew that one day she would be called upon to sacrifice her son for the sake of mankind, but her love for her child is most evident and clear.
2 Timothy 1:5 (ESV) “I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.”
Eunice, the mother of Timothy, was a woman of great faith who is mentioned by the apostle Paul in one of his letters. He refers to her as being significant, because she was following in her mother, Lois’, footsteps. Following God was important in their family tree, and this faith was being passed down from generation to generation. Paul applauds Timothy’s family for their faithfulness and dedication to the Lord. In fact, he goes on to tell Timothy that he shouldn’t “let anyone look down on him, because [he] is young, but to set an example in life, in speech, in love and in purity” (I Timothy 4:12). In that way, their godliness would continue as a spiritual heritage for years to come. Eunice loved her son, Timothy, and in spite of possible persecution for their faith, she became a Christian and taught her son to follow Christ as well. This choice could have led them to sacrificing their lives for the sake of the Kingdom, but it was a choice they were willing to make.
All of these women had passion, purpose and potential, and their offspring changed the world, each in their own way. They had been called by God for a special assignment, and like the mother mentioned in the book of Proverbs, they were praised and blessed for their obedience and faithfulness. Each of the women mentioned in these seven verses, was called upon to “give up” their son in one way or another. That requires a special kind of love that only some women are able to give. But because of their calling and sacrifice, all of their offspring made a difference to those around them and some even changed the course of history. As a mother of four children myself, I have been honored and blessed to be called a mom, and I believe that with God on their side my children can also change the world.
Article by Karla Hawkins
God has been good to me over the years, and I have so much to be grateful for to Him. First of all, I feel blessed to be the pastor’s wife of a thriving church in northern Michigan and the mother of four amazing grown children. It is also very rewarding to be a Christian author, editor and translator for the Kingdom of God. Some of my favorite pastimes include supporting my children’s contemporary Christian band ONLY9AM, singing on the worship team at church, traveling, and connecting with family and friends via social media. My favorite song this summer has been “You Make Me Brave” by Amanda Cook from Bethel Church, as God has been stretching my faith and walk with Him in new ways recently. When I am not working, I love spending time with my family and especially with my precious three-year-old grandson.