This Sunday will be Mother’s Day. And we will gather with the body of Christ to worship our Lord. What will the main teaching text be? The next chapter, Judges 11. But isn’t that quite an obscure passage about a nearly unheard-of Bible character. What does that have to do with Mother’s Day? A lot!
I hope you will take the time to prepare your heart for worship by reading the text and praying for the Holy Spirit to impact hearts with the Scriptures; your own heart and everyone else’s too. Read Judges 11 and think about all God has to say to us in it. Here are some pointers.
Last Sunday Judges 10 sounded pretty bleak, didn’t it. The people of God had turned to idolatry yet again and God’s patience had run out. They didn’t even sound sorry for their actions. Verse 13 actually says that God told them “I will save you no more” from the coming consequences of disobedience. Surprisingly chapter 11 tells us that another rescuer comes on the scene who is empowered by God to rescue them yet again. How did things change from chapter 10 to chapter 11? How did it go from no mercy left to mercy yet again?
This is huge for women on Mother’s Day but it is huge for us all. There are heart wrenching situations where we’ve lost all hope that a particular person will ever change. We’ve gone past the limit of our patience with them. Or we know surely we’re the one who has gone past the limit of God’s patience. How could God ever find the motivation to continue showing mercy and kindness on those so undeserving? And how can we ever find the motivation to show mercy when there just isn’t any left in us?
Jephthah is the warrior who becomes the next judge used by God to rescue the people. He’s the hero. But he’s a terrible hero. He makes an extremely foolish, prideful vow to God that leads to him ending the life of his daughter. This terrible hero leaves us longing for a great and true rescuer. This is where the text points us to Jesus. Think through the descriptions of Jephthah. Is there anything about him that leads you to think of Jesus? And is there anything there that causes you to see what could possibly motivate God to show mercy yet again on those deserving no mercy?
Here are three things people commonly think motivate God. God loves people so much He cannot bear to see them suffer. God sees such potential and worth inside people that it causes Him to save them. He can see in the future that they one day will be the kind of person who repents so He gives them another chance. Many verses in the Bible tell us these are all false notions. Yet the Bible tells us what the one thing is that motivates God to do all that He does – His love for His own glorious name.
The Bible tells us this in several places. One of those is Ezekiel 36:21. “But I had concern for My holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the nations where they went. Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for My holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you went.” God’s motivation for showing mercy to those undeserving is to uphold His own glory. There’s no higher motivation for God.
In that we find a beautiful message for Mother’s Day and every day. How can one find the motivation to continue in lovingkindness and mercy even on those who don’t deserve it? Look to the great glory of God. He upholds His glory by showing Himself to be the relentlessly gracious Redeemer even sending His own Son to die to rescue sinners. When we remember that we were the sinners God sent Jesus to rescue a desire to hold God’s glory high grows inside us more and more. We want the name of our great God to be loved and adored so we strive to show the same kind of mercy He showed.
Thank God for Judges 11! Thank God for the gospel!