Summary: Mothers can find release in the Sovereignty of God even when they are unsure of their wayward children and doubt their effectiveness as a parent. This story of Tamar puts a new spin on Mother’s Day.
Give Me a Break!
Finding Release in the Sovereignty of God
Steven A. Miller
May 13, 2001
It was told to me that for my Mother’s Day message, I should make the mothers feel very honored and special; that I should esteem them. And while that may be true for many here today as Grandmother’s, I think the primary need for a mother today is just to get a break. They need a break from the cleaning, cooking, laundry, and odd as it may sound to the Fathers, they might just need a break from you and the children. Well, this morning, I am going to give you the best break I as a minister of God’s Word can give you and that is that you can find release in the sovereignty of God.
It seems to be a general American problem, both men and women alike, but mother’s especially value themselves, not by who they truly are, but by how they are controlling the situations around them. They place too much self-worth on things like house cleaning and what daytime talk shows say about moms-on-the-go, but most importantly, they evaluate their significance as a person on how their children are doing.
A mother will too heavily judge herself by how her children behave once they know better. In essence, mothers unnecessarily burden themselves with how their older and grown children live their lives.
The truth of the matter is this: mothers, you cannot successfully manage the world, not even those in your closest circle. Even doing the best that you can,, sometimes, will not make things go as you have designed. But don’t be alarmed, you are already frantic enough, God is in control, He is sovereign, find release in the sovereignty of God.
So, for you mothers who attempt to parent perfectly, while attentively loving a husband or single-handedly going it alone, while holding down career after career, while participating in civic and church functions, while raising your children’s children or raising the neighbor kids, while…whatever, you must release your need to control every circumstance in life—because you ultimately cannot. You must release yourself from the build-up of guilt or pride of the past because it is only God whose business it is, to make the world go around. So this morning, give yourself a break.
The Text: Gen. 38:27-30
Our text is probably unfamiliar to you, especially for a Mother’s Day sermon, but I feel that before I pressure you with platitudes of the Proverbs 31 Woman, or remind you of the spiritual legacy of Eunice and Lois, you need to know that your children have turned out to some degree because of your motherhood, but to every degree they have been under the sovereignty of God. Listen: While you are responsible for and while you are, bringing up your children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Eph. 6.4), the Lord is, right up along side of you, guiding, molding, disciplining, and using them in ways that you cannot see.
The sovereignty of God means that God’s authority and power is supreme and over the entire universe—that includes you and your kid’s lives. Mothers, this relieves you of your self-appointed task to bear the over-powering burden of guilt from your parental mistakes and your children’s mistakes that hurt, embarrass, or grieve you from time to time.
You see, the text I chose for you this morning is about much more than a woman giving birth to a set of twins—that’s already been recorded in Bible History. The text hides deep within it a powerful truth that God wants you to know about. He wants to reveal that though you may do good or though you may do bad as a woman, a wife, a mother, a friend, He is sovereign over every moment.
Let me tell you the short version of the story of how this woman came to be a mother. It begins with Judah who is the son of Jacob, a.k.a. Israel, and brother to eleven other boys. Joseph, one of the brothers, was just sold into slavery to the Ishmaelites when chapter 38 begins. Judah married a Canaanitess and later chose a Canaanitess for a daughter-in-law—that was Tamar. Er, Tamar’s husband was the oldest of three of Judah’s boys but was wicked before the Lord and so he died leaving Tamar a widow and childless. According to the Levirate laws of marriage, Tamar would be given to Judah’s next son to raise up children in his deceased father’s name. So Tamar was joined to Onan; but, he too, was wicked and he died leaving no son for Tamar. Judah had a third son named Shelah. But Judah said that he was too young and sent Tamar back to her father’s for Shelah to grow-up. Well the time passed and Tamar knew that Judah was not going to send for her so she planned to trick Judah into producing a child from his family. By this time, Judah’s wife passed on and he was heading to a nearby town on business. Tamar put on a disguise that made her look like a prostitute and when Judah passed by, not recognizing her, he made Tamar an offer. Tamar bargained for some personal things of Judah as payment and they consummated the arrangement. Well, it turns out that she became pregnant and when Judah found that his widowed daughter-in-law must have been prostituting herself, he declared that she should be burned to death. But she quickly revealed that the father of the illegitimate pregnancy was the one who owned the things she held in her hand. They were, of course, Judah’s personal things and he admitted to the deed and even declared that Tamar was more righteous than he was because he did not fulfill the duty to allow Tamar to raise children with Shelah.