Next Sunday is the day in the States we’ve set aside to honor mothers. While there are many stories of mothers in the Bible, both good and bad, today I’d like to talk about Rizpah’s motherly love.
Recently, a vulture flew over the backyard, and I thought of Rizpah.
She was King Saul’s concubine, the mother who shooed vultures and wild beasts away from the bodies of her two sons after they were murdered out of vengeance by the Gibeonites.
Because Saul broke a promise made to the Gibeonites, they hung Rizpah’s sons and left their bodies for the wild animals to finish off (2 Samuel 21:1-14).
Gruesome. I know. That’s not what I want us to dwell on, however. What I want us to consider is how Rizpah expressed her motherly love.
It was her love and devotion for her sons that caused brave Rizpah to spend day and night shooing the vultures and carnivorous beasts away from her sons’ corpses.
We aren’t told exactly how long she stayed there protecting her loved ones’ bodies before King David heard about it. But once David found out, he ordered the bodies taken down and buried. We’re only told Rizpah was there from the beginning of the barley harvests until rain fell once again on the earth.
She probably spent a lengthy amount of time keeping vigil. She may have gone without proper food or water. Maybe the nights were cold and the days were hot. Perhaps she had to fend off wild beasts or thieves.
It was Rizpah’s motherly love that moved her to do this. Nothing else.
Her devotion…love…courage…chutzpah have always impressed me. I can’t imagine being in such a horrible situation. Yet, as the mother of an adult son, I can relate in some small way with this Old Testament woman.
To imagine our children, our loved ones, being left to such a horrific end is sobering. Most would do all in their power to care for and protect their children.
While I think about Rizpah, I can’t help but think about people we may know who don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus as their Savior.
In my mind, I think of them as the bodies of Rizpah’s sons left to the wild beasts. I consider those of us secure in our salvation through the shed blood of Jesus Christ on Calvary’s cross as Rizpahs.
Christ calls those of us who follow him to leave our comfort zones and go out in his strength and power to those who don’t know him. Perhaps, our children are listed among them. No matter the person, I believe Jesus wants us to shoo away the vultures and carnivorous beasts, so the lost can have life eternal through him.
It’s hard to know how long Rizpah protected her sons’ bodies from the vultures and wild beasts. The Bible tells us is it was from the beginning of the barley harvests to when the rain fell. Don’t you believe Jesus wants us to do as much for those we know who are lost?
I wish you well.