We will return to a final week with both Brennan Manning’s Abba’s Child and also the final for this series next week. But because Mother’s Day landed in the midst, I thought it would be interesting to consider God as our mother as well, for Scripture does have a few references to how He loves like a good mother. Please know I am not saying that God is a woman, but that God the Father also has tender qualities that are like a good mother. Last week at our little church many shared how before God found them and made them His children, they thought of God as stern, as a judge, having more of the attributes we often associate with a very stern father. They were surprised after they came to Christ finding how deep His love was, and how tender. Indeed, fathers can be like that as well, though many are not. So this week, let’s consider His tender mothering qualities as a balm to our souls, for Satan wants to paint a very different picture of God to keep us backing up from Him. But indeed, He is as tender as a mother. We will see Tuesday a picture of how He describes Himself in Hosea, so tender, like a mother with a baby. My own Sally waited five long years for a child, and oh, how she showered tender love on her Sadie.
1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
2. If possible, share a tender memory of your mother and what it showed about her. Thank God.
3. How have you experienced the tender love of God, like a mother, recently?
Monday: Like One Who Lifts A Little Child to the Cheek
Indeed, in Hosea, God shows how tenderly and sorrowfully He loves His wayward children.
Our own Susan wrote:
It’s almost a mothering image. It shows us our Father’s true heart for us
(Photo courtesy of Tema Miroshinencko)
It was I who taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by the arms;
but they did not realize it was I who healed them.
I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love.
To them I was like one who lifts a little child to the cheek, and I bent down to feed them.
4. Read Hosea 11:1-4
A. What do you learn about God’s love and His broken heart in verses 1-2?
B. Have you ever had a child break your heart like this? If so, what did that child fail to realize about you, at least at that time? (And consider how our love pales with God’s!)
C. What did God’s people not realize about God according to verses 3-4. Look deeply at the images again (as I had you look at them last week). Take time – remember Howard Hendricks shares how at Seminary their professor made them make 30 observations from one verse!)
Tuesday: How Can I Give You Up, Ephraim?
Sometimes God calls us to give tough love, but it tears our tender mothers’ hearts apart. I remember how sternly Steve spanked our boys when they were 7 and 10 and had joined some older boys in stealing candy from a 7/11. I thought my heart would break, yet I do understand it was love that motivated him. God will do that as well, like a good father, but His heart churns within Him, like a mother. God did allow His people to be deported to Assyria in 722 B. C. after giving them many chances to repent, but it tore at His heart to do so, and He only could because He knew one day they would come trembling back.
Prepare your heart with this:
5. Even after God rescued them from the slavery of Egypt, Israel wanted to go back. What do you learn from “Painting Pictures of Egypt?” How can you identify?
6. Read Hosea 11:5-11
A. Israel is flitting between Assyria and Egypt – what are they refusing to do? (v. 5)
B. What does God see will happen to them as a result? (v. 6)
C. What are God’s people determined to do, yet what do they say? (v. 7)
D. Describe God’s heart concerning this? (Verses 8-9)
E. He will allow them to suffer, but only because He sees the future. What is it? (Vs. 10-11)
Derek Kidner says that here we see God’s anguish over our disobedience. We see that “divine love is more, not less, ardent and vulnerable than ours.”
Wednesday: Labor & Love
7. Read John 16:21
A. What grief does a mother need to go through to give birth when “her time” comes? (And in biblical days there was a great risk to her life.)
B. How does she feel after it is over?
C. What labor did Jesus have to go through when it was His time to suffer to give us new birth? Why did He do it?
D. Thoughts on the above?
8. To whom is Jesus speaking in Matthew 23:1 and also Matthew 23:29?
9. Read Matthew 23:37-39
A. When a name is spoken twice in Scripture, it is almost always in anguish. (Absalom, Absalom; Martha, Martha) What name does He say twice here and who is this city supposed to represent?
B. What have they done to those He sent to them?
C. Yet how does He feel about them?
D. What “feminine” picture is painted?
There is a story of firefighters in a National Park finding a calcified mother bird sitting on her nest. She stayed through the fire to protect her young.
Thursday: Can A Mother Forget?
10. Read Isaiah 49:15-16
A. What is the implication about mothers in verse 15a? If you are a mother, how true is that of you? How true was it of your mother?
B. What does God promise us even if we are forgotten?
C. What proof does He give in verse 16? (Engraved in Hebrew is like with a nail)
D. Jesus repeated this promising, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” For this reason, why is He our only Solid Rock?
Friday: Keller sermon on Isaiah 49:15.
11. Click below to hear his sermon and share your notes and comments:
12. What is your take-a-way and why?