It is difficult to underestimate the power and influence of mothers. They give us life, and they teach us everything we need to know in order to function in life. They comfort us when we’re hurt or sick or sad, and they correct us when we go astray. They teach us what love is, and become the first object of our love. In many respects, the old adage, “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world,” is absolutely true.
These truths are all the more important when we consider the spiritual influence mothers have. The scriptures teach that both fathers and mothers share responsibility for the spiritual development of their children (Deut. 6:4-9; Eph. 6:4), but we also know that mothers have a special influence in this regard. Their influence is typically greater than fathers’ simply because they are with us more hours in the day than our fathers are. This being so, it is vitally important that mothers be women who fear the Lord.
Solomon used this phrase to describe the worthy woman in Prov. 31. As he brought his praise of this godly woman to a close, he said, “Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised” (v. 30). The term “fears” in this context does not mean being terrified of God. Instead, it conveys the idea of reverence for God. This is a common Old Testament expression for one’s devotion to and respect for Almighty God. One who fears the Lord honors Him by doing His will in every circumstance.
This is an essential attitude for everyone, of course, because without this attitude, none of us would ever obey the Lord’s will. In mothers, however, this attitude, or the lack of it, is multiplied in the lives of her children. A mother who does not fear the Lord will raise children who do not fear the Lord. One such woman was Athaliah, the mother of King Ahaziah of Judah. In 2 Chr. 22:3, speaking of Ahaziah, the scripture says, “He also walked in the ways of the house of Ahab, for his mother was his counselor to do wickedly.” How said and horrible that a mother would purposely counsel her son to do wickedly! As a result of her wickedness, her son was also wicked, and the whole nation of Judah suffered.
In contrast to Athaliah, however, are two women who truly feared the Lord. Their names are Lois and Eunice, and Paul spoke of them in 2 Tim. 1:5. Speaking to Timothy, Paul said, “For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well.” In 2 Tim. 3:15 Paul revealed how these women who feared the Lord instilled faith in Timothy. They taught him “the sacred writings” from the time he was a child.
Lois and Eunice are important examples of how mothers should conduct themselves. They did not let the fact that Timothy’s father was an unbeliever deter them in the exercise of their own faith, or in instilling faith in Timothy. They lived their faith before Timothy so he would know what it means to be a believer, and they taught him God’s word so he would know for himself what the Lord requires of His people.
This is a model that every mother who fears the Lord must follow today. The souls of our children are too precious for their spiritual development to be neglected. A mother who fears the Lord will show her reverence for God by living in accordance with His will every day. She will also do everything within her power to instill the same fear of the Lord in her children. Those who do so will be worthy of praise, just as Solomon wrote so long ago. Those who fail to do so place their souls and the souls of their children in eternal jeopardy.
May every mother be a woman who fears the Lord!