I read of a young mother whose life has been totally devastated. The husband of this mother of young children admitted he was a homosexual and then walked away. Before he abandoned his family, he confessed to having a homosexual relationship with her own father, a closeted homosexual. Both the homosexual husband and father-in-law were involved in full-time ministry.
This mother reminded me of some of the mothers in Matthew 1 that God used in spite of their horrific families.
1. Tamar the Mistreated Mother (Matthew 1:3) (See Part One)
2. Rahab the Prostitute (Matthew 1:5)
Whereas Tamar was a prostitute for a day, Rahab was a career prostitute. In Joshua 2, Rahab runs a brothel in Jericho. Joshua sends the two spies to check out Jericho before they conquer the city. Rahab along with all the other Jerichoites had heard how Israel’s God had delivered Israel out of Egypt and had defeated the Amorites. She requests that when Israel invades and defeats the city that she and her family be spared.
God honored her faith and did spare her and her family. This former prostitute is mentioned twice in the New Testament because of her faith. She is mentioned in Hebrews 11, the hero of faith chapter, along side of Abraham, Moses, and Joshua. “By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace” (11:31). James mentions Rahab as one of his two examples of faith, that if genuine, works in James 2:24-26.
Rahab the harlot became Rahab the heroine of faith. Rahab who once exerted bad influence became a godly influence and was used of God to save her family.
Thank God for every mom who has trusted Christ and is seeking to win her children and grandchildren. If you have such a mother you should rise up and call her blessed.
The next mother in Jesus’ family tree was not a prostitute but she had them in her past relatives.
3. Ruth the Victim (Matthew 1:5)
Ruth was born with all kinds of baggage that was not her fought. She was a Moabite. The nation of Moab came about because the two daughters of Lot got him drunk and committed incest with their own dad. The older daughter gave birth to the nation of Moab and the younger to the nation of Ammon. The Moabites became enemies of Israel and were forbidden from entering the congregation of Israel (Dt. 23:3). Ruth was born into this family.
When Ruth the Moabite was exposed to the true God by Naomi who came to Moab to escape hard times in Israel, Ruth believed in the one true God as her own words testify in Ruth 1:16-17. When Naomi whose husband died, along with her two sons who were married to Ruth and Orpah, Naomi decided to go back to Israel. She told her two Moabite daughter-in-laws to stay in Moab and remarry, but Ruth refused because she now also was a believer.
Ruth did not allow her wicked relatives before her to influence her. Just because parents are drunkards or perverts doesn’t mean we have to be. Some children live their entire adult lives blaming their parents. Some children live in bitterness. Every person has overcome issues whether it be parents or other Christians that have disappointed us, etc.
Even though Ruth was a victim, she did not have the victim mentality. Ruth had a beautiful marriage with Boaz even though she had a terrible background of incest.
She refuses to think of herself as a victim. She is moving ahead with her life and service to the Lord.
The last imperfect mother spotlighted is Bathsheba.
4. Bathsheba the Adulteress (Matthew 1:6)
Matthew doesn’t even mention her by name perhaps to stress she was the wife of Uriah who was a Hittite or another Gentile woman in Jesus’ Jewish family tree. Bathsheba was David’s neighbor who had some indiscreet outdoor bathing habits. She was also the willing accomplice in David’s great sin of adultery in 2 Samuel 11-12. There is no sign that she was forced or raped by David. She willingly sinned with him.
She, however, evidently became a positive influence in David’s life and Solomon her son. In first Kings 1, when David is old and inattentive to the affairs of his kingdom. David’s son Adonijah, attempts to become the next king when Solomon was David’s and God’s choice. Bathsheba goes into the king’s presence to tell him of the attempted coup of Adonijah. David acts swiftly, thanks to Bathsheba, and Solomon is made king.
God uses Bathsheba to keep the line through which Jesus will descend. Matthew 1:6 says that Solomon was the link to David through whom Jesus was born. Not Adonijah!
Imperfect people are all the people with whom God has to work. There is not one model family in Scripture to my knowledge. Was Adam and Eve’s family exemplary? Their older son murdered his younger son out of jealousy. What about Abraham and Sara? Abraham was a chronic liar. Isaac was deceived by his son Jacob because of his fleshly appetite. Jacob was a deceiver. Noah got drunk. David’s sins are common knowledge. Even Jesus’ brothers and sisters rejected Him until after they were grown.
What is the Message of these Imperfect Mothers?
1. Jesus can save and forgive any sinner. As a matter of fact, every time Jesus saves and forgives a person, He saves and forgives a sinner because all of us are sinners. He can save a Tamar or a Rahab or a Ruth or a Bathsheba.
2. Jesus uses imperfect people who are forgiven. God does not condone our sin, He forgives our sins and changes us and delivers us from our sin and uses us to help others in sin.
3. Jesus uses people who come from imperfect homes or tragic backgrounds who have been abused, mistreated, or neglected.
Mothers here this morning, you are a blessing and we thank God for you. If your mother is passed you can still give God thanks for her. Everyone of us can be used of God.
Elisa Morgan is the former president of MOPS International (Mothers of Preschoolers). While she was president, MOPS expanded from 350 to over 4,000 groups in the USA plus 30 more groups in other countries around the world. MOPs impacts 100,000 mothers each year. You might be thinking, Elias Morgan must have come from a strong Christian home to carry out all that. Right? Wrong!
I’m probably the least likely person to head a mothering organization that impacts thousands of mother’s lives for the gospel. I grew up in a broken home. My parents were divorced when I was five. My older sister, younger brother, and I were raised by my alcoholic mother. While my mother meant well, most of my memories are of my mothering her, rather than her mothering me. Alcohol altered her love. I remember her weaving down the hall of our ranch home in Houston, Texas, glass of scotch in hand. I would wake her at seven each morning to try to get her off to work.
Ten years ago, when I was asked to consider leading MOPS International, a vital ministry that nurtures mothers, I went straight to my knees. How could God use me – who had never been mothered – to nurture other mothers? The answer came, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” (II Corinthians 12:9) God would take my deficits and make them my offering to Him – and find His grace to be sufficient in my weakness.
Arian Warnock’s sermon on Mother’s Day
Sermons on Mothers at The Gospel Coalition
Sermons on Mothers by John Piper
Sermon on Mothers by John MacArthur
Sermon: A Tribute to Moms by Stephen Davey