Today is the day we get to publicly talk about women! I get to say anything I want and it's alright. So, here I go. From the first book of the Bible, Genesis, detailing the first woman, Eve, to the last book of the Bible, Revelation, detailing the last woman, the Lamb's wife, (Rev 21:9), women are shown to be beautiful, but mysterious, to say the least. A man can live with a woman all his life and never exactly know how she will respond in any given situation. A woman is a bundle of love, gift wrapped in a million emotions, sprinkled with perfumes, and then given by God to men and children.
A woman has needs. A woman needs to be fought for, swept up, and rescued from life's castle of evil. She needs to be captured and secured by her knight in shinning armor. Eve should have been rescued, captured, and secured by Adam, not seduced by Satan. Sarah should have been rescued, captured, and secured by Abraham, not Pharaoh and Abimelech. David did capture Bathsheba showing us capturing a woman can be of Satan, or of God as Jesus rescued, captured, and secured his wife the church.
The Bible identifies most men by what they do, from where they came - city or ancestry, for example, David the king, Jesus of Nazareth, John son of Zechariah, etc. We learn men of their identities around what they do or from where they came. However, most women are identified in the Bible by relationships. For example, Peter's mother-in-law, Bathsheba the wife of Uriah, Lot's wife, Mary mother of Jesus, etc. We learn a woman is a relational being forming her identity around family and children. Identifying with her child is what makes a woman a mother. Giving birth does not make a woman a mother any more than siring a child makes a man a father.
With that said, let's read today's passage.
1 Kings 3:16-28 Now TWO PROSTITUTES came to the king 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. 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. He then gave an order: "Cut the living child in two and give half to one and half to the other." 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!" 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.
I wouldn't use hookers as examples for a Mother's Day lesson, but it's not "Wife's Day," or "Saints Day" we're celebrating. It's Mother's Day. All mothers are not wives. All mothers are not Saints. Mary, the mother of Jesus, definitely wasn't a hooker, but neither was she a wife. Yet, she was selected by God to raise his son. We all know single moms who are great mothers. We all know great mothers who conceived when not yet married. A mother forms her identity from her children, not by what she does. What unwed mom more than Mary is identified with her child Jesus?
These hookers lived together. Let's call them hooker #1 and hooker #2 for our study's sake. Both hookers become pregnant. I'm certain in that day contraception was guesswork and, for them, an occupational hazard.
Both hookers conceived. Two innocent babies conceived in the sinful act of prostitution. Did the women even know who the father was? Possibly not, but did God care about those babies though society called them illegitimate? Of course, he did.
Psalms 139:13 For YOU CREATED my inmost being; YOU KNIT ME TOGETHER in my mother's womb.
Psalms 127:3 Children are a GIFT FROM the LORD; they are a reward from him.
Psalms 139:16 your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were WRITTEN IN YOUR BOOK BEFORE one of them came to be.
No baby is illegitimate to God. He formed them. God gave them as a gift no matter the circumstances of their conception. The women may have been surprised by their pregnancy, but God wasn't. It was already written in his book. God loved those babies.
God also loved those women even with their faults. Though few moms are hookers, no mom is perfect without faults. I'm not pointing this out on Mother's Day to put moms down. Instead, I say it to build moms up. Many moms beat themselves for their failures. Mom, you are human and every human makes mistakes. You're not always going to do life perfect and if there's anyone we all should forgive for mistakes, it's our mom. She forgave all of ours and she always will. A mother identifying with her child gives her the understanding to forgive.
Both hookers birthed and kept their newborn sons. I wonder if that is how this story would roll out today in our crazy world of choice and abortion? I'll shed a little more insight. In that day a son was extremely valuable to a woman. He was her life support when she grew old (as it should be today). So, these hookers keeping their sons may not have been as righteous a decision as first thought, but does give us more insight for the dastardly deception following.
The sons were born within days of each other. During the night, hooker #2, sleeping with her baby, accidentally rolled over upon the day(s) old infant either smothering or crushing him. Instead of mourning and giving her baby a proper burial, she devised an evil plan to take hooker #1's child, thinking hooker #1 would not know the difference showing hooker #2 was a woman, but not a mother. As hooker #1 slept, hooker #2 switched the baby boys. Imagine the shock and horror of both waking to a dead infant.
1 Kings 3:21 But when I looked at him closely in the morning light, I SAW THAT IT WASN'T THE SON I HAD BORNE.
Hooker #1 knew he was not her son. This is fascinating to me how mothers do this. This may just be me, but I can't tell a lot of difference between three day old babies. I remember walking up to the hospital nursery window with Judy to see one of our newborn children. From our position, I couldn't see the names on the basinets. I didn't know which baby was mine. I didn't want to act dumb being the father. I surveyed the twenty babies. Then I tried to peripherally see which one Judy was looking at. She was looking at me knowing I was lost. Finally I asked, "Ok. Which one is ours?" Today, looking at my own children's birth pictures, I continue needing to ask Judy, "Which one is this?" It's no problem for her. She's a mother. Immediately after birth, she went over every inch of her baby. She already identified with that baby. She knew that baby as well as she knew herself. We men think about all the things we will do for our children. A mother is identifying with her children. She will know them as well as they can be known. Hooker #1 was a mother. She knew this was not the child she birthed.
Both women claimed and battled for the living child. One was its mother. One was a liar. We don't know how long the case took to reach Solomon the king for judgment. It ran due process as the king was as our Supreme Court. Only the most complicated judgments went to him. Nonetheless, our mother, hooker #1, would not give up.
We see another trait of a mother. A mother never gives up battling for her child. A dad will, but not a mom. I have a sister-in-law who amazes me with this. It's because a mother so identifies with her child. Giving up on her child is like giving up on herself and her own life. It's not going to happen.
Finally, before King Solomon they bowed. I want us to see the real mom took it to the throne room. A great mother will always take situations attempting to take her child away to the throne room of God. Every great mother has gone to the throne of God pleading for her child.
Unable to properly determine the real mother, Solomon gave the two women the ultimate mother test. "Bring me a sword," Solomon said. "Cut the living child in two and give half to one and half to the other."
1 Kings 3:26 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!"
The true mother already sacrificed her pride fighting for her child. If anyone didn't know she was a prostitute, they knew by now. She probably sacrificed any money she had fighting through the courts. We don't know how much time she sacrificed. Now she's willing to sacrifice living with her child if it means the child lives. She would rather another woman raise her child than the child die.
A mother's identity with their child is shown through sacrifice. They will sacrifice anything - first, her body, then their time, money, talents, personal goals, health, even their life - for their child.
Now they will use that sacrifice on us. How many have heard your mom say, "After all I've done for you and now you..." She's right. We don't appreciate all the sacrifices our mothers did for us. But, that's her identity. She wouldn't have it any other way. SHE LIVES FOR THIS! She won't admit it, but she does.
This mother faced the ultimate test. She willingly sacrificed her identity with her child so he would live. Here's the lesson. That's what set her apart from the other woman. That's what sets a mother apart from any woman or wife. For a woman, it's all about her. For a mother, it's all about the child. (A mother who is also a wife finds a way to work it out, but husbands realize, usually the "mother" overrides the "wife." A good husband understands this. You heard about the young son being put to bed by his mom during a thunder and lighting storm. He said, "Mom, will you sleep with me tonight?" She said, "You know I have to sleep with your Dad." The boy said, "The big sissy! Please mom? Just tonight?" Mom said, "I'll be right back. I'll tell your dad I'm sleeping with you tonight." We men can't be big sissies when it comes to mother or wife. If you let her be mother, you'll have a great wife.)
1 Kings 3:28 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.
Just prior to this story (same chapter), God gave King Solomon a "blank check." God would give Solomon anything. Solomon didn't ask for riches or power or long life.
1 Kings 3:9 So give your servant a DISCERNING HEART to govern your people and to DISTINGUISH BETWEEN RIGHT AND WRONG. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?"
You likely heard Solomon asked for wisdom. No. Wisdom comes from a discerning heart to distinguish between right and wrong. God didn't give Solomon a discerning heart producing wisdom so people would "ooh" and "ah." He gave it for Solomon to judge accurately.
If there is one thing any mother needs - hooker moms, hockey moms, single moms, adoptive moms, step-moms, special needs moms, all moms - it is a discerning heart so you will know when and how to use the sword.
Ephesians 6:17 Take the helmet of salvation and THE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT, WHICH IS THE WORD OF GOD.
Solomon required the sword to find the truth. Mothers, there are times when only God's Spirit and God's Word will give you a discerning heart and bring you required wisdom. Go before God's throne. Ask for a discerning heart. God will give you wisdom and much, much more. Mothers, your children are gifts from God. You, mother, have much judging to do if you properly raise the children God has given you. A discerning heart will save your child and your identity with your child. That's why we Dads say, "Ask your Mother."
© Life Gate Ministries