God’s Promises for Mothers (Genesis 21:8-20)
Happy Mother’s Day, what a beautiful day. In preparing for this message, I did a little research on the origins of Mother’s Day. I was surprised to learn that Mother’s Day got it’s start in the US just in this century.
Anna Jarvis was born to Ann Marie Jarvis in 1864 in Webster, West Virginia, the 9th of 11 children. Anna’s mother taught Sunday School. One day Anna was in class listening to her mother teach a lesson on the “Mothers of the Bible.” At the end of the lesson Anna’s mother prayed that someone, sometime would found a memorial mother’s day honoring mothers. Anna never forgot that prayer. When her mother passed away on May 9, 1905 Anna made a vow to establish a Mother’s Day by the grace of God. At each anniversary of her mother’s death, Anna held a local memorial service for her. She passed out a carnation (her mother’s favorite flower) to each person who attended. Anna wrote hundreds of letter and spoke at many functions promoting the idea of a Mother’s Day. She wanted to let our mothers “know that we appreciate them, though we do not show it as often as we ought”
Within the next few years, the idea of a day to honor mothers gained popularity, and Mother’s Day was observed in a number of large cities in the U.S. On May 9, 1914, by an act of Congress, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day. He established the day as a time for “public expression of our love and reverence for the mothers of our country.” I think it was a good idea. I think that the dream Anna had was from God. He helped that dream become a reality that we enjoy today.
Everyone here has a mother, no exceptions. We are grateful for our mother’s love. A mother’s job is immense. In many homes she is the primary caregiver, spending the most time with the children. She cares for physical needs, feeding, changing diapers, giving baths, washing clothes, buying groceries and cooking. She prays for her children, sings and reads to them. She teaches them about life, about family and about God. Raising children is a huge job of great significance. Sometimes a mother may feel alone in her mothering. The task may seem overwhelming. Sometimes problems happen, where do you turn? Some mothers are alone, some are single, divorced or widowed. Others have husbands who for one reason or another aren’t able to help much. Even if your husband is great at helping, sometimes you may still feel alone.
In those times God is there. Today, we’re going to look at the story of a mother who felt all alone and see how God responded to her. My message today is entitled: God’s Promises for Mothers. The mother we’re going to be talking about was named Hagar. Let me tell you Hagar’s story which is found in Genesis 21.
Abraham was married to Sarah, but they were childless. Rather than wait for God’s promise to be fulfilled, Sarah followed the customs of the society and gave her maidservant Hagar to her husband to have children. Hagar bore a child who was named Ishmael. When Ishmael was 14, Sarah finally became pregnant and had a son Isaac. When Isaac is weaned, Abraham and Isaac hold a great feast. In the midst of the feast, Sarah notices Ishmael mocking. It is more than she can take and she tells Abraham to get rid of Hagar and her son Ishmael. Abraham was distressed over this turn of affairs and asked God what to do. God told him to send Hagar and Ishmael away and He would care for them. So Abraham sends Hagar and Ishmael off with provisions for the journey.
So under these unusual circumstances, Hagar becomes a single mother. She wanders in the desert with her son. Their provision of food and water was soon exhausted and she put her son under a bush to shade him from the sun. Her situation seemed hopeless, she was alone and afraid. What could she do? Today, we’re going to look at three promises from God for mothers that Hagar learned.