2 Samuel 21:1-10
: Throughout the Bible there are many mothers of whom we could look to inspiration in the bible on this Mother’s Day, but possibly one of the most unique ones is a woman by the name of Rizpah.
: So Who is this Rizpah?
She was a woman of tragedy!
David Legge wrote an article (you can find the entirety of it in www. Preachtheword.com) asking and then addressing 4 critical questions? It is from this article that I base my thoughts today.
: So, let’s go after this a little.
I. Motherhood included the probability to Series of Difficulties
This is not the first time Rizpah has suffered as an innocent victim.
2 Samuel 3:7,
One day Ishbosheth,
Saul’s son, accused Abner of sleeping with one of his father’s concubines, a woman named Rizpah, daughter of Aiah.”
Now what’s going on here in 2 Samuel 3 is that Saul has died, and Ishbosheth Saul’s son has now accused Abner, Saul’s General of the army, of relations with Rizpah.
If anyone was to have sexual relations with one of the king’s women, whether it was the king’s wife or the king’s harem, that was understood in the custom of the days that we’re speaking of as an attempt to take the throne.
Now we don’t know from the Bible whether Abner was guilty of sleeping with Rizpah – but either way, it doesn’t really matter whether he did or whether he didn’t, I ask you a question tonight: who is the victim in this whole scenario? Rizpah. Whether she was raped is immaterial in a sense to the fact that she was slandered, any reputation she may have had in the court was now in tatters, and all at the expense of someone else’s squabble.
: So, what are you saying Pastor? That Rizpah, like most women are tough! They are loyal. The are resilient. They are warriors and guardians!
Right away, before we even enter 2 Samuel 21, the biblical author paints a portrait for us of Rizpah as
one who was used and abused by others, trodden upon as others climbed their status ladder
Now Rizpah suffers a second cruelty, for her two sons to King Saul are now hanging on a tree – Armoni is the name of one, and Mephibosheth the name of the other, and they are both dead.
To add insult to injury, the fact of the gruesome death is not enough, they are not granted a proper burial – there they are left to hang in the open air, exposed to the elements. I ask you the question on Rizpah’s behalf: did she deserve this? NO! But she was a Guardian of her galaxy every time difficulty came!
II. Motherhood Includes ‘Getting Through Stuff!’
Indeed, you will note that Rizpah makes no attempt to cut down these bodies.
Perhaps she shows her submission to the righteous judgement of God.
But even if that be the case, the fact of the matter is: “
she is still there, she is still mourning, she is still loving, she’s still praying, she’s still interceding, she’s still mediating
What a lesson there is for us all, especially those who are parents.
: How did she get through it?
That’s how things had come to this, but how did she get through this? Well, if I was to answer that I probably could do it in just one word, she got through it all by
You see, love covers a multitude of sins. But if I was to be more specific, she got through this ordeal through a love that was expressed in
Now please do not think that Rizpah was a wee woman, weepy-eyed and weak-kneed. This was a woman whose devotion manifested itself in a steely eyed
She is one of the most persevering, persistent characters in the whole of the word of God.
: The third question that needs answering is can anything good come out of tragedy and difficulty; love, devotion and determination in this case.
III. Motherhood Always Involves Growth and Development of Others
Now here is a New Testament lesson for us, for we read in
Romans chapter 5 verses 3-4
‘And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope
: And what about a mother’s example! It means everything in the world.
that: “here’s a woman who had no rights, it would seem, she had little power in the court in the land, she had now been stripped of any family or social dignity she may have had – yet she made a resolution to sit there for five months until her sons were buried.” (Legge)
“She wasn’t deterred by her hunger, by exhaustion, by the stench of the decomposing bodies, by her own grief, by hopelessness of her situation, by the reactions of others who passed by – but her tribulation worked patience, and her patience experience, and her experience hope. She never gave up! She loved, and because she loved she was devoted, and because she was devoted she persevered, and because she persevered it gave birth to hope in her heart. How do you get through? How do I get through? Hope. You see when you lose hope, you lose everything.”
: Like Rizpah’s children, your children will surely do wrong – and though you should never condone any wrong that they do, never ever ever cut them off from your love.
: Sometimes I hear very harsh Christians saying: ‘If he goes that far, or does that thing, that’s it, I don’t want to see him or her again’ – that’s a tragedy.
However these two sons died, they were still her sons. When you walk down the street and see a man lying in the gutter, or drive through the centre of town late at night and see the working girls, we of all people as Christians ought to remember that that is some mother’s son, some mother’s daughter – a human being that used to be in the cradle that sin has destroyed.
Whatever they had done,
tells us Rizpah remained near the bodies, protecting them from scavengers from the barley harvest in late April until the early rains in October
: So, let’s look at the last question Legge asked and addressed. What can we learn from all of this?
IV. Motherhood Demonstrates The Power of One
After 6 months David is told (possibly reminded) that Rizpah is still there and he commands that they be taken down.
“Did any good come out of this awful situation? Yes. Not only did this wee woman, because of her hope, get her two sons buried, but she pricked the conscience of a King who remembered a similar situation where Saul and his son Jonathan, who David loved better than the love of women, were slain and hung, impaled to the wall of the city of Bethshan – and how the brave men of Jabeshgilead went, against all odds, and retrieved their dismembered bodies and buried them there.
David realized that they had not been given a proper burial the way they should have been, and his conscience was moved to do it – why? Because of this little woman!
David’s action is directly related to the determinate devotion of an insignificant concubine called Rizpah. Surely now this used and abused victim had come into her own?”
“Can I say to you ladies tonight: the power of one woman, one tragic woman and yet one highly compassionate, deeply loving, devoted woman who persevered, never lost hope, who turned the heart of a King – what a woman!”
: Children raised by single parents:
When you’re bringing up two young boys [Louis, and Leon, now 27] you don’t have time or money to spare. Apart from going to China to see Louis compete in the 2008 Olympics, I haven’t been abroad since before the boys were born. Our holidays were a caravan in Hunstanton, Norfolk, with my late mum Dilys.
“I worked part-time as a hairdresser, fitting my hours around the kids, and money was a struggle. Louis was four when he started gymnastics
Motherhood demonstrates the Power of One!
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