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How to Be a Godly Mother

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
November 27, 2023 3:00 am

How to Be a Godly Mother

Grace To You / John MacArthur

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November 27, 2023 3:00 am

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Grace To You
John MacArthur

So there was Hannah in a hard place to raise a child, in a hard place to be secure, in a divided family, and yet she had a right relationship to her husband because they shared worship and they shared love and those two things eliminated conflict. Welcome to Grace to You with John MacArthur.

I'm your host, Phil Johnson. Quite some time ago, Reader's Digest magazine published a feature called Heroes for Today, keying on the notion that it's good, if not necessary, for people to have excellent examples to follow. But of course, if you're a Christian, you'll need a special brand of hero, one chosen by God himself. And today, John MacArthur looks to God's Word to begin some fascinating character studies, or hero studies, you could say.

It's a series he calls, appropriately, Heaven's Heroes. And you know, John, most people probably would say that it was easier to find heroes in past generations, and that these days, it's hard to find people for our kids to look up to, or for anyone to look up to, for that matter. And I know you go back to Scripture to find heroes, so talk a little bit about that. Well, yeah, if there's anything that is emblematic of the superficiality of this culture, it is their heroes. People in the movies, people on television, people in sports, or even cartoon characters, but nothing of any substance. This culture could use a dose of Heaven's Heroes.

And I love the fact that we're doing this. Their heroes, not just in our estimation, but their heroes in the view of our Lord himself, who really renders the final verdict on everyone's life. To find these heroes, you need to look no further than the pages of the Word of God.

And that's why we're going to be launching today into our series, Heaven's Heroes. And we're going to show you the heroes as we open the pages of Scripture. This series will address one of the areas of greatest potential for seeing God change our lives.

And here it is, by following the models and the examples set by genuinely faithful believers who are deemed so, actually, on the pages of the Bible. So look at the lives of those who can help you to be the person you want to be, a more godly mother, a more joyful and sacrificial person, a more focused and sympathetic Christian, a person more willing to take risks for God's kingdom. We'll be learning some excellent lessons from the lives of Hannah, Paul, Timothy, and Epaphroditus. And there are so many observations to make and practical lessons to glean from these biblical models, we don't want you to miss a day of the series, Heaven's Heroes. That's right, friends.

Stay with us. You'll be blessed by the lessons in this series. And now, to introduce us to the first on our list of Heaven's Heroes, here's John. Look with me, if you will, in the Old Testament to the book of 1 Samuel. And I want to share with you what I see to be here a profile of a godly mother named Hannah.

We're not going to take the time to develop all that's potentially here in the text, but at least to touch the surface of some very, very important things. Obviously I'm very concerned about what's happening to the American family today. It's shocking to me to think that only 7 percent, that's 7 percent, of the people of the United States live in a traditional family with a breadwinner father and a homemaker mother. It's really shocking. The White House Conference on the Family changed its name.

They changed the name to the White House Conference on the Families because they didn't want anybody to assume that they thought there was only one kind of family with a male father and a female mother. Shocking. Dr. Basil Jackson, he's a psychiatrist from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and he said this to me. He said, a child will never come to full psychological development and maturation in adulthood unless that child has had a mother in the home. That's a pretty strong statement for a psychiatrist to make. It's utterly essential to the life of a child that it have a mother in the home, that there be a right perspective in the home.

But we know the home is falling apart. A recent article along the line of what's happening with weddings says, in many weddings so long as we both shall live has been replaced by so long as we both shall love. Many couples feel that the latter statement is more realistic.

It says an Episcopalian minister from Akron, Ohio, kids 19, 20, 21 are not willing to make the commitment until death do us part. They're not thinking about their silver or golden anniversary. What they want to be doing now is more important to them than what's going to happen 40 years from now, and so they want to substitute as long as we both shall love. People are going into marriage anticipating that they're going to want to get out. Parents have shirked the responsibility of the home.

Last month there was this article. When the victims of the winter are finally identified, the list will go far beyond the owners of ski resorts, salt spreaders and snow plows. Somewhere near the top will be working mothers and their children, especially their children. Mothers and some fathers who have jobs or inflexible commitments outside the home have faced the quandary almost a panic about what to do when their children get sick. Inflation has parents talking survival and they maintain that their children will just have to understand that their jobs come first, even if the child is ill. It's really a problem, one mother admitted to me, my job is important to me and the family has gotten used to the extra income. My husband has a very high-powered job and I can't expect him to take time off, but I can't either.

I am competing with people who don't have the same responsibility. And so I hate to say it, but more often than not, I send the kids off to school even if they are sick. The number of sick children in school has created anxiety. The mother gets anxious at work if their child is ill at school or at home alone and they feel anxious when they stay home because they worry about the job. If they take their sick days for the benefit of their sick children, then they have to go to work when they get sick. From the child's perspective, the choice is no better.

Either he drags through the day at school sick or faces the loneliness at home. The suggestion of the article is that we could have a babysitting bank managed by an agency such as a charity or a church. It would consist of men and women available for sitting with children in such an emergency like substitute teachers. Now this has become such a problem in one school that they have sent a letter home defining the symptoms that are unacceptable in the classroom.

The message is loud and clear. Schools don't want children to come in if they belong in bed. But what is happening to the children who must stay home? Apparently more and more parents are leaving their sick elementary school children home unattended. I personally know, says the writer of eight, nine and ten-year-olds and I've heard of some as young as seven who are left at home alone until three-thirty or four when a babysitter arrives or an older brother or sister comes home from school. For the major part of the day, these children are quite literally nursing themselves back to health all alone. You probably think it's terrible, a recent divorce he told me with a shrug, but I have no choice but to leave my son home by himself.

I can't get any help. I did stay home a couple of days and people at work were quite understanding, but now I sense my boss's patience is running out and I just can't jeopardize my job. The women I talk with are not happy about these arrangements. They tell me they feel anxious. I hope so. And then the suggestion comes that what we need to do is get a rent-a-granny, rent-a-nanny, rent-a-parent, whatever you want to call it, and a mother with a sick child could call a central number and describe her problem and for a fee they would send out a rent-a-granny. It would certainly not benefit...or rather it would certainly benefit not only the contagious classroom but the sick child who needs warm, reassuring company.

Who's under the illusion that somebody called a rent-a-granny is going to give warm, reassuring company? But it points up the fact that we are facing an incredible time in our society when children are fast moving down the priority list. This is the curse of our society. And with the White House Conference on the Family coming up, there's going to be another devastating blow at the family.

They're advocating that the real family is not the only kind of family, that families can be any kinds of people who choose to live in a house in any kind of way. It's a tragic and sad thing. I really don't know what the answer is for the world.

I don't think there is one. But for the church, it's certainly a reaffirmation of what the family is to be. But in the world, in ancient Greek by the name of Demosthenes had an interesting idea. He suggested that whenever a child made a mistake at school, one of the parents be spanked.

Maybe that's a good suggestion. It's a sad day in which we live. One writer said, no nation is ever greater than its mothers, for they are the makers of men. The rabbis used to teach God can't be everywhere at the same time, so He made mothers.

They have a very special place in society, very high priority. The Bible exalts motherhood. Sarah, Rachel, Jacob, Deborah, Ruth, Elizabeth, Mary.

Motherhood is a great and wonderful thing. I want us to look at one mother by the name of Hannah in 1 Samuel. You know, we think we live in a tough time today, and in many ways we do. But the time we live in today is no tougher than the time in which Hannah lived. It was the period of the judges in Israel. And the situation in Israel was extremely difficult. Samson had died. And with the death of Samson, there was no great leader in the land. And the land was in a state of fluctuation and turmoil and confusion. And there was a desperate need for a great leader in the chaos and the sinfulness of that day.

And I say again, it was a day that was perhaps the parallel of our day, but even worse. The Philistines who were the arch enemies of the Israelites were gaining ground. The priesthood that was supposed to lead the people of God had become totally corrupted. They were vile and sinful men in the priesthood.

Even in the temple itself, there were moral scandals so that the children of the high priest himself were carrying on sexual orgies at the foot of the temple steps. It was a wretched time, a time of gross evil, a time when not only was the leadership gone, but the priesthood had abandoned its calling. The nation was weak, the nation was impotent, and the nation additionally had limited prophetic voice. There were no great preachers.

It was a time of a tremendous slide away from the divine standard. And so it was a time when God needed a special man. And in order to make a special man, you need a special woman. And Hannah was that woman. Verse 1 of 1 Samuel chapter 2, and Hannah prayed and said, My heart rejoiceth in the Lord. My horn is exalted in the Lord.

My mouth is enlarged over mine enemies because I rejoice in Thy salvation. There is none holy like the Lord, for there is none beside Thee, neither is any rock like our God. Now that's the best way I know to introduce you to Hannah. Hannah was a special lady who really knew God. She had a divine perspective. And I think chapter 2 of the first couple of verses really opens up our understanding to what kind of a woman this was.

Now let's back up and meet some of the details in chapter 1 verse 1. There was a certain man of Ramathaim Zophim of Mount Ephraim and his name was Elkanah, the son of Jeraham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zeph and Ephraimite. And he had two wives, the name of the one was Hannah and the name of the other Paninah. And Paninah had children, but Hannah had no children.

Now we meet a family, a strange one at that. Two wives, Paninah and Hannah. Paninah had children, Hannah did not. And Elkanah, who was a Levite, was her husband.

And if he was a Levite, it means that he was at least in the priestly family. Now this particular woman becomes the mother that we want to concentrate on, not Paninah but Hannah. And she demonstrates for us, and we're just going to look at them briefly, three aspects that are necessary for a godly mother, three things that are mandatory for a godly mother. Number one, a right relationship to her husband, a right relationship to her husband. And we're going to see that beginning in verse 3. First of all, she shared with her husband in worship. Did you get that?

That's the first thing. There are several points in a right relationship to her husband. The first one, she shared with him in worship, verse 3. And this man, Elkanah, went up out of his city yearly to worship and to sacrifice unto the Lord of Hosts in Shiloh, where the ark was.

And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, the priests of the Lord, were there. Now Hannah had a believing, worshiping husband. He worshiped God faithfully. He went up at least each year.

And by the way, pilgrimage to Shiloh was supposed to be three times yearly according to Exodus 23, and the text does not preclude the fact that he did that, that when it says he went up yearly, it meant he went up each year the number of times that were prescribed. He was a faithful, worshiping man. She had a right relationship to her husband in that she was a part of his worship. Now I really believe, people, that godly fathers make for better mothers.

Do you believe that? Since woman is a responder to man and man is to be the head of the family, a godly father makes a better mother of his wife. And when Elkanah expressed his worship, she was there. Verse 7, and as he did so year by year, when she went up to the house of the Lord, and that you can stop right there, she went with him. That's the implication of verse 7. When he went, she went. In other words, they had a common bond of worship. I really believe for the full expression of godly motherhood, there must be a shared spiritual strength in the home. It's very difficult and some of you live in that situation where you have a partner that's an unbeliever and you know what difficulty it is to bring about the rearing of godly children in a divided house.

Very difficult. Hannah followed him. Now he wasn't a perfect man, was he? He had his faults, did he not? What was one of them? He was a polygamist. I'd say that's a pretty serious one. You say, well, does the Old Testament advocate polygamy?

Not at all. It was a sin. But it was culturally accepted in this early time. And so it was not uncommon for this to occur, particularly when you had a wife that was barren and couldn't raise up a child.

Then you would be pressed by the society around you to get another wife who could raise up a son for you, which may be the case that Hannah was first and since she could not give birth to a child, he went on to marry Peninnah and Peninnah gave him children. But nonetheless, in spite of a serious imperfection in his character, they had a mutual spiritual expression of worship. And I would just add this, ladies, and men as well. You will not find your partner to be perfect, but that should not preclude the fact that you can worship the Lord together in your imperfections.

Don't expect perfection. Where you find the love and the worship of the Lord, that should be sufficient, for none of us is perfect. So first of all, it's important to know that the right husband relationship involves a sharing in worship. Secondly, it involves a sharing of love.

Marriage is not just spiritual, it is also physical and emotional and psychological. And not only did they share their worship, but they shared their affection and their love. Back up to verse 4, and when the time was that Elkanah offered, he gave to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and her daughters portions. Apparently she had proliferated children for him. But unto Hannah he gave a worthy portion.

Why? For he...what?...he loved Hannah. Apparently he felt obligated to Peninnah. She had provided the children and so he gave what was right. But unto Hannah he gave a worthy portion. That adjective is not included in what he gave to Peninnah.

But whatever the worthy portion means, it was something more magnanimous than the legal restriction which he just met in the case of Peninnah. And he did that because he loved Hannah, even though the Lord had shut up her womb. And of course, Peninnah, her adversary had provoked her relentlessly to make her fret because the Lord had shut up her womb. You put two women in the same house, you're going to have trouble anyway. You put two women in the same house and have the husband love one of them and you're going to have a lot of trouble. And if the husband happens to love the one who has no children, the one who has children will really mock the one who doesn't because that's how she'll get back at the husband.

That's what happened. And of course, Hannah was a lovely, sensitive person. And so, it says, and as he did so year by year when she went up to the house of the Lord, so Peninnah provoked her, therefore she wept and did not eat. Then said Elkanah, her husband to her, Hannah, why weepest thou? And why eatest thou not? And why is thy heart grieved?

Am not I better to thee than ten sons? See, he knew why she was crying. She was crying because she couldn't have a child because he would hear Peninnah really laying that stuff on her. But he said, Am I not enough Hannah?

Giving a worthy portion, or we could translate it a double portion, was usually a gesture in the East and the Orient for an honored guest, a preferred guest. Elkanah loved her in a special way and his love was her security. You know, there are some women who are very jealous, very, very jealous and they even panic over women who are not in the household.

Can you imagine what it would be like for your husband to also be married to someone else who was having all his children? Now I'll tell you, a woman who could tolerate that is a woman of great grace and understanding and forgiveness. And that's the kind of woman she was. You say, Well, what in the world ever provided her security in that situation? Why if I find out that Charlie even winks at another woman, I'll have his neck.

I mean, this is ludicrous. You know what secured her in the midst of an impossible situation? She knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that he...what?...loved her. They shared love. So there was Hannah in a hard place to raise a child, in a hard place to be secure, in a divided family and yet she had a right relationship to her husband because they shared worship and they shared love and those two things eliminated conflict. Now I don't care what the conflict around you is, there's no circumstance that is so severe that a shared love of God and a shared love of each other can't overcome it.

And I get weary of people who always want to get out of their marriage. But when all of this is put together, the missing ingredient is children. She had no children.

Why? Verse 5, the Lord had shut up her womb. That was sovereign. The first thing then about a godly woman is she has a right husband relationship. The second one, she has a right heavenly relationship. She has a right heavenly relationship. When she has a problem, she doesn't lash out at her husband. When she has a problem, she doesn't lash out at her adversary, Penina. She doesn't lash out at the children in the house.

She doesn't lose her cool all around, she goes directly to whom? To the Lord. So Hannah rose up, verse 9, after they had eaten in Shiloh and after they had drunk. Now Eli the priest sat upon a seat by a post of the temple of the Lord. The reason he sat around all the time was he was a huge, big, fat guy who finally fell over off his stool and broke his neck and died. He was a proverbial slob is what he was.

He couldn't even get up off of whatever he sat on to check on his own kids. And there he was plopped on a seat leaning on a post that held up the temple. And so she...pretty vivid, isn't it? And so she came in, you know, for some spiritual advice to see the high priest. She was bitterness of soul and I love it in verse 10, she prayed unto the Lord and wept bitterly.

Listen, ladies, not only do you need a right heavenly...or rather a right husband relationship, but a right heavenly one too. It's needful that when you have some problem, you go to the Lord with it. And she vowed a vow. She said, O Lord of hosts, O Lord of hosts, if thou wilt. And she began to pray.

Now what do we see in this right heavenly relationship? Number one, she had a passion for God's best. She had a passion for God's best.

And you know what God's best was? Children. Children. The fact that she didn't have children, she felt, meant that she didn't have God's best. Children aren't a heritage from the Lord. She says in verse 11, if you'll just look on my affliction and remember me and not forget me and all of that means, give me a child, give me a child, give me a child.

That's why she wept. She had a passion for God's best. You're listening to John MacArthur, Chancellor of the Masters University and Seminary. His current study here on Grace To You is titled Heaven's Heroes. Now if you would like to dig deeper into these lessons, let me recommend the Grace To You Sermons app and the Study Bible app. These two apps give you access to Grace To You's sermons, devotionals, and other Bible study tools that will help you better understand Scripture and apply it to your life. Get these free apps from us today.

You can download both of these apps from our website The Sermons app gives you access to more than 3,600 messages by John on your mobile device, including all the lessons from this current series, Heaven's Heroes. And the Study Bible app gives you the full text of Scripture and connects you to an abundance of free Bible study tools, including sermon videos, blog posts, and more. And for a modest price, you can add the notes from the MacArthur Study Bible.

That's 25,000 footnotes explaining basically every passage of God's Word. Again, to get the Study Bible app and the Sermons app, visit And if you want to pick up a MacArthur Study Bible or another resource for a loved one this Christmas, check out everything we have at

Shipping is free, but with the usual slowdown of deliveries this time of year, be sure you place your order right away. That's Now for John MacArthur, I'm Phil Johnson. Be here tomorrow when John examines one of Heaven's great heroes, showing you a model of godliness that you can follow. It's another 30 minutes of unleashing God's truth, one verse at a time, on Grace to You.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-27 05:45:21 / 2023-11-27 05:55:18 / 10

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