The ‘KEY’ ROLE of a MOTHER as a ‘LIFE-MODEL’ to her CHILDREN
May 9 Bible Reading: 2 Chronicles Chapters 22-24
"Ahaziah was forty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned one year in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Athaliah the granddaughter of Omri. He also walked in the ways of the house of Ahab, for his mother advised him to do wickedly. Therefore he did evil in the sight of the Lord, like the house of Ahab; for they were his counselors after the death of his father, to his destruction" (2 Chron. 22:2-4).
Just like a ripple effect when a stone is thrown into a tranquil body of water, the decision of Ahab the king of Israel to marry a heathen woman Jezebel, the daughter of the King of Sidon (1 Kings 16:29-33), had an adverse ripple effect down the generation. She brought idol worship into Israel, and the people of Israel bowed before wooden images in disobedience to the first of the Ten Commandments given by God to Moses on Mount Sinai. Ahab and Jezebel had a wicked daughter called Athaliah, who followed her mother’s footsteps in serving Baal and adversely influenced her husband Jehoram, who then did evil in the sight of God (2 Chron. 21:5-6).
However, Athaliah also became a bad role-model for her son Ahaziah, and influenced him as well, even though he was 42 years old when he became the king of Judah. The writer of Chronicles tells us that Ahaziah’s mother Athaliah “advised him to do wickedly. Therefore he did evil in the sight of the Lord, like the house of Ahab”. He followed all the wicked practices of the “house of Ahab”, and this resulted in “his destruction" (22:4b). He was eventually brought out of hiding and killed by Jehu, a sad ending of the grandson of the godly Jehoshaphat "who had sought the Lord with all his heart" (22:9b).
As we can learn from this narrative, mothers everywhere play a key role in the lives of their children. From the time she carries the baby in her womb, the physical and emotional growth of the child is directly influenced by her eating habits and emotional stability. After the child is born, the mother is the primary influencer of the child’s perspective of the outside world. She becomes the 'real' life-model of her child, and very soon the child imitates her words and action. A mother’s influence on her children is far greater than even she may realize!
During the early growth of the child, the mother (and even the grandmother) has a key-role in transmitting the Christian faith and become a life-model of godly living. It is not surprising that Apostle Paul remarked this about his spiritual son Timothy who was born of a Greek father and a Jewish mother (see Acts 16:1-2): "...when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also. Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands" (2 Tim. 1:5-6).
We find other specific examples from the Old Testament of godly mothers like Jochebed who nursed and raised up her youngest son Moses in Pharaoh’s palace - as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter (Exodus 2:8-10), or, Hannah who stayed back at her home and nursed Samuel until she had weaned him before handing him over to Eli the priest (1 Samuel 1:21-28) as part of her vow to the Lord (1 Samuel 1:11).
As Mother Theresa has once remarked, even if you cannot do great things, do small things but with great love. An old Jewish proverb tells us that “God could not be everywhere so he created mothers”. Let all mothers take their God-given responsibility seriously of being godly life-models before their children in all their attitude, words and actions – today and always!