Summary: I have often told the kids: “If you ever get lost in a crowd and separated from us, there is one thing that you must do. You find a mother with children or pushing a stroller and you go ask her to help you find your mother and 99% of the time, you’ll be s
Opening Statement: I have often told the kids: “If you ever get lost in a crowd and separated from us, there is one thing that you must do. You find a mother with children or pushing a stroller and you go ask her to help you find your mother and 99% of the time, you’ll be safe and OK.” Why? There is great safety in a mother’s love.
Transition: Today, we celebrate a mother’s love but we do so from an unconventional Mother’s Day passage.
Title: A Mother’s Love
Text: 1 Kings 3:16-28
Proposition: If you are a mother or would like to express the love of a mother, I want you to know something. The love that you express or withhold is a life-changing influence that impacts your children for the rest of their lives.
Background: There is an interesting passage that that underscores a mother’s love. While the main theme is the wisdom of King Solomon, it also shows us how he wisely appealed to a mother’s love. Listen to the story.
Recitation: The very next thing, two prostitutes showed up before the king. The one woman said, “My master, this woman and I live in the same house. While we were living together, I had a baby. Three days after I gave birth, this woman also had a baby. We were alone – there wasn’t anyone else in the house except for the two of us. [The is an important detail. Otherwise, someone else could have done the deed.] The infant son of this woman died one night when she rolled over on him in her sleep. She got up in the middle of the night and took my son – I was sound asleep, mind you! – and put him at her breast and put her dead son at my breast. When I got up in the morning to nurse my son, here was this dead baby! But when I looked at him in the morning light, I saw immediately that he wasn’t my baby. [You cannot fool a mother. I tried to do it as a child and succeeded very few times. No, a mother knows her child.] “Not so!” said the other woman. “The living one’s mine; the dead one’s yours.” The first woman countered, “No!” Your son’s the dead one; mine’s the living one.” They went back and forth this way in front of the king. The king said, “What are we to do? This woman says, ‘The living son is mine and the dead one is yours,’ and this woman says, ‘No, the dead one’s yours and the living one’s mine.’”
[The king is in a dilemma. It is impossible to prove by conventional means which of the women had a just case. There were no witnesses and DNA testing was not available to the king. What is a king to do? He came up with an idea. His method would probably be illegal today, but nevertheless, let’s see what happened.]
After a moment the king said, “Bring me a sword.” [When the true mother saw the sword, Solomon knew that it would present her with an emergency situation. Her response to the very thought of what he might do to her child would create emotions that only a mother could express.] They brought the sword to the king. Then he said, “Cut the living baby in two – give half to one and half to the other.” The real mother of the living baby was overcome with emotion [the Hebrew word means to “grow hot or get excited”] for her son and said, “Oh no, master! Give her the whole baby alive; don’t kill him!” But the other one said, “If I can’t have him, you can’t have him – cut away!” The king gave his decision: “Give the living baby to the first woman. Nobody is going to kill this baby. She is the real mother.” The word got around – everyone in Israel heard of the king’s judgment. They were I awe of the king, realizing that it was God’s wisdom that enabled him to judge truly.” [The implication is that God must have answered Solomon’s prayer for wisdom. If Solomon is this wise and caring about a dispute involving two social outcasts, imagine what he will do for the rest of his subjects.] (The Message)
Observation: This passage doesn’t moralize about harlotry. It doesn’t moralize about the wretched behavior of the woman who stole the other woman’s baby and lied about it to the king. It doesn’t moralize about the summary execution of a helpless innocent child. What it does do is show us a king who is smart enough to appeal to the loving maternal instinct in order to find the truth.
Key Word: In this process, this passage recognizes TWO KINDS OF MOTHERS.