Picture of Pastor Gettys

Sermon delivered May 13, 2006 by Pastor Donald J. Gettys

McDonald Road Seventh-day Adventist Church

McDonald, Tennessee

Biblical quotations are from the New International Version NIV unless otherwise noted. Divine pronouns and titles are capitalized.

A Real Mother's Example

(RealAudio Version available)

I Kings 3:16-28

Tomorrow is Mother's Day. But I really think every day is Mother's Day, mother's day to do this and mother's day to do that. Did you know that the typical stay-at-home mother works ninety-one hours a week? If her wages were computed according to the skills she is required to do the average mother would earn $134,121 per year. Who could afford to pay her?

Notice an exciting Bible story in 1 Kings 3:16-21. Now two prostitutes came to the king (Solomon) and stood before him. One of them said, "My lord, this woman and I live in the same house. I had a baby while she was there with me. The third day after my child was born, this woman also had a baby. We were alone; there was no one in the house but the two of us."

"During the night this woman's son died because she lay on him. So she got up in the middle of the night and took my son from my side while I your servant was asleep. She put him by her breast and put her dead son by my breast. The next morning, I got up to nurse my son--and he was dead! But when I looked at him closely in the morning light, I saw that it wasn't the son I had borne." The other woman said, "No! The living one is my son; the dead one is yours."

But the first one insisted, "No! The dead one is yours; the living one is mine." And so they argued before the king.

Here is a story of two harlot mothers. Now, in zeroing in on this story, there are many lessons we can learn about Mother's Day and about mothers.

1. Good Mothers are not Perfect. Would you agree? Have you met a perfect mother? Are you one?

Both were harlots. Now, not all mothers are that bad, but very few. They had to serve as their own midwives. Their families had deserted them. Even the neighbors did not come. There were no witnesses. And so, we see two imperfect mothers. Both are ladies of the night. Deep into sin. They both made poor choices. Yet they are mothers. No mother is ever fully prepared for motherhood. Simply having a baby does not magically make a woman a mother any more than owning a violin makes a person a violinist. We have a violin at our house, but I can't play the thing. Yet God can take imperfect mothers who are dedicated to Him and produce a model child from bad circumstances. I suppose that's the reason ladies become mothers, because they recognize they don't have the power to do it all themselves. But God does. And God, through them can produce an awesome child.

The boy would be raised in a quarreling home without a Father. Two women lived in the same house. It sounds something like a same-sex marriage doesn't it? The boy would have many disadvantages. His home had little money, zero integrity and a bad reputation with a continuing bad example. A house divided against itself cannot stand any more than a baby divided into two halves can't live. So, they had a problem. Only his real mother stood between him and certain death. Often times that's the way. A mother is the only thing preventing a child from eternal death.

2. Good mothers never give up.

This harlot was desperate. She had argued with the other harlot till she was blue in the face. There were no witnesses she could get to this nocturnal kidnaping. She had probably contacted the police and maybe the priest. She had exhausted every possibility. She decided to carry it all the way to the supreme court of Solomon. She came to the king. She stood there. She had done everything to clear up this matter. We give up on our kids too early. We need to keep trying. We need to loving our kids. We need to keep praying for our kids. We need to keep fighting for them. Eventually, success will come, but don't give up.

Good mothers go to great extremes for their children. Good mothers drive them to a Christian school, they fix lunches for them; they take them to music lessons; they sit on those hard bleachers at the little league; they drive them to rehearsals; they attend special programs with their camera in hand; they are totally involved in the lives of their children.

Good mothers keep trying, they don't give up. You would think that the first day your child comes home in the first grade with home work that you would only have to say this once: "Here is a new rule for you, kid: Whenever you have homework be sure to get it done, and get it done on time! And turn it in." You just have to say it once, right? That's not the way it is with parenthood. We have to battle with that thing over and over all through their school days. But good mothers are persistent. Their children think they are pestering but the mother knows she is simply persisting.

Kids don't think down the road very far. The mother says, "Brush your teeth" because the mother visualizes the results of not brushing. She can picture in her mind her child fifty years later. She sees a dirty glass sitting beside the bathroom sink of her grown up child with tarnished dentures soaking in some compound. That is why she says to her child: "Brush your teeth!" A kid can't see that far.

Of course good mothers have proper priorities. A good mother will not pester to the point of no return on trivial issues. Probably your child will never be in the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame, or be another Ludwig van Beethoven. It is okay if your kid has to wear dentures for the last 25 years but Heaven is eternal. Don't give up on that. Good mothers make heaven their highest priority!

3. Good mothers know their children.

This harlot loved her son and because she did, she had examined him closely and without a doubt he was the right child. He was her baby. Mothers look long at their baby's face. They notice each little trait. They lovingly admire this new gift from God. A good mother knows her children.

4. Good Mothers put their children first.

The careless harlot did not do that. She was tired and wanted to get to sleep. When we had our first baby I quickly found out real quick that new parents are dog tired during the first several weeks. That is why you have them when you are young, or you would never have any. You couldn't do it when you get older. She should have placed her baby in a safe spot. Instead she put him in bed with her. She must have been exceedingly tired because during the night she rolled over on him and his life was crushed out.

The real mother lost her baby. Her baby had been swapped for a dead baby. Only then did she became wide awake. Only then did she take time to consider her plight. Only then did she take action. You know, we're like that here in the year 2006. If she would have put as much effort into protecting the life of her baby as she did in stealing the baby of someone else, she probably would not have lost her son. So often a parent will shut the barn door after the horse has run away. So often we begin to have family worship only after our child has been caught in sin. We begin to attend church only after a teenage pregnancy steals our daughter. We ought to do those things before the crisis and not just afterward. That way the crisis might be averted.

1 Kings 3:23-26. The king said, "This one says, 'My son is alive and your son is dead,' while that one says, 'No! Your son is dead and mine is alive.'"

Then the king said, "Bring me a sword." So they brought a sword for the king. 25 - He then gave an order: "Cut the living child in two and give half to one and half to the other." You know, judges are so logical, aren't they.

The woman whose son was alive was filled with compassion for her son and said to the king, "Please, my lord, give her the living baby! Don't kill him!" But the other said, "Neither I nor you shall have him. Cut him in two!"

This mother was cruel. Are there bad mothers in this world? You may be stuck with a bad mother. A few mothers seem to live to make others miserable. Mother's Day is a hard time for her kids. Some mother criticize, they jeopardize the happiness of their children. It's like they say, "Cut Him in half! I don't care!" This solution sounds terrible. Do we cut our kids in half today? Yes in a way we do. Judges still cut kids in half when they rule that after the divorce the child will live with the dad on certain days and the mother other days. The youngster's affection and loyalty as been effectively cut in half.

The question to be determined by Solomon is very simple: Which woman is the true mother? Both claim to be the true mother. To solve the vexing problem Solomon decides to cut the baby in half and give half to each "Mother".

A mother read this story to her little son and then asked him: "Now what do you suppose the real mother told the king?" The child said: "That she wanted the bigger half."1 We might always want the biggest for our self but a true mother always wants the best for her children. How many times did I hear my mother say "I am not hungry for desert today, you can have my piece of pie.".

5. Good mothers always sacrifice for their children.

The real mother was willing to give up her son and let the other harlot raise him tan t destroy him. She sacrificed. She gave up a lot. And you might have to give up a career to be a good mother You might have to give up a hobby or some expensive thing-a-ma- bob that you were going to buy to put your child first. Put your child first.

6. Good Mothers put their children in God's hands.

1 Kings 3:16 say, Two prostitutes came to the king and stood before him. The King represents God. Bring you child to God. Put your child in God's hands. Come to the king early and not as a last resort. Ask God for help. James 1:5. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault.

Motherhood is the location of one of the prime battlegrounds in the war between good and evil. Mothers are in a spiritual warfare. This battle is playing out in your living room, in the family room. Too often the family room has become the TV room. A titanic struggle is being waged in your home because Satan wants possession of your baby. He wants to kidnap your child. Just remember, when you come to the king you don't have to fight this battle alone the King is going to be on your side. A Christian mother always has an ally. You might lose battle after battle, but never give up on your children. If you do the war is over. You and Jesus will make a unbeatable team to save your kids.

7. Good mothers pray.

The real mother said, "Please Don't kill him." She intervened by speaking directly to the King. You've got to talk with the King. You've got to talk to Him often about your children. Good Mothers keep petitioning. They keep on praying. My mother taught me to pray. As a boy I visualized God as having a kind beautiful face like my mother's. My mother and my dad represented God to me. I grew to love a God like that.

8. Good mothers trust God.

The harlot mother trusted her most precious possession to the King because she trusted the King. She did not know the future for her son but she trusted the King. If you really love your child you will trust him into the hands of the King. Give your children to Jesus. Not once but every day. Trust your baby into God's hands. In giving your child to Jesus you agree to accept God's will. The first Harlot was even willing for the selfish harlot to raise her son in order to save his life. Yet she would never forget him. Isaiah 49:15 Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, Iwill not forget you. Isaiah 49:16. See, I have engraved you in the palms of my hands, your walls are ever before me.

King Solomon demonstrated unusual wisdom and knowledge as he administered his judgment. 1 Kings 3:27,28. Then the king gave his ruling: "Give the living baby to the first woman. Do not kill him; she is his mother."

When all Israel heard the verdict the king had given, they held the king in awe, because they saw that he had wisdom from God to administer justice. And, our King does.

The son was given back to his real mother. I imagine her raising him for God. Think about this story and apply it to our modern life today: 1. Often our wickedness destroys our children. Now you think about that. If you smoke while your child is a baby, you're going to affect that fetus, that child for the rest of his life. Your iniquity can destroy your children and grandchildren and your great grandchildren. Parents, Clean up your life, overcome that sin. Dr. Arlene Taylor, a brain researcher, told of a man who had a heart transplant. Very soon the man with the new heart began craving alcohol. He had never even tasted alcohol in his entire life. The cellular level of his new heart had changed his being. Later he asked if the hospital could find out if the donor was an alcoholic. They told him that the donor died from the effects of a wreck in which the donor was driving under the influence of alcohol. The cells in that heart transmitted that tendency to his whole body.

When a young parent continues a bad habit and never overcomes it, that weakness will be passed on to their child. That tendency will continue to even the third and fourth generation. You've got to overcome. Numbers 14:18. The Lord is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion. Yet He does not leave the guilty unpunished; He punished the children of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.

Our sin will affect our children beyond our life. The harlot mother's lifestyle caused the loss of her son. Uncorrected faults become bad habits which are propagated to our offspring. We must overcome our unacceptable behavior. It just has to happen. There are many things in this life that are out to steal your children. Be vigilant.

2. Only the Sword brought out the truth. Never be afraid to use the powerful sharp weaponry of God's word in raising your children. Immerse your child in the wisdom of the Bible. The Bible can save your children only if they are exposed to it. The sword is not Barney or Cartoon Network, it's the bible. Use the Bible.

We have a wonderful God. Bring you child to the King. You can't bring him to the King unless you know Who the King is.

Abraham Lincoln said: "All that I am or hope to be I owe to my angel mother."

I want to pray for all the mothers here.

Dear Father in heaven, Please bless every mother here, and maybe some of the mothers who aren't here. Please protect them. Lead them, give them super wisdom that they may be an instrument in Your hands through the power of the Holy Spirit to lead their child, their youngster to Jesus Christ before it's too late. I ask in Jesus' name, amen.


1. Glen V. Wheeler, 1010 Illustrations, Poems and Quotes, Cincinnati, Ohio Standard Publishing, 1967 page 189.

 Hymn of Praise: #223,  Crown Him with Many Crowns
Scripture:  Responsive Reading #828
Hymn of Response: #655,  Happy the Home

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