Last week we attended the burial of a dear sister. For many years she had been in our gathering, and was indeed the mother, grandmother or great-grandmother of several in our company. A couple of years ago she moved to be close to one of her daughters, so we had to travel to Scotland to be at the occasion. I will not give her name: she would not have Many who know me personally know who I am referring to.
Like the prophetess Deborah, she was a mother in Israel. For me she was one to whom you could go with any problem. If you needed some advice, she had it – and if she had a word from the Lord for you, she gave it. She was not afraid to speak her mind. We missed her, but she was always available by phone. Now she is not: she is with Christ which is far better.
Deborah was a leader, a judge. That would not have been normal. You would have expected a man to hold that position. Perhaps there was not a man in Israel who had the qualifications. There was Barak, but he lacked faith and was timid. She encouraged him, and there was a victory.
I raise the question – How many mothers in Israel are there? I even said, ‘Are there any left?’ Maybe that is lack of faith on my part. Maybe part of the reason is that her generation had to face the hardships of the second world war. Those of us who were born at the end of the war or afterwards did not, and really we have had things pretty easy.
This is a greatly needed service. Paul talked about being a nursing mother, normally a service for a sister. Gifted brothers have the public services of preaching the gospel and serving in ministry. Prophecy, or the ability to bring God’s mind into a situation, is a gift, open to all. But it has a particular effect when vested in a sister. She does not give a word publicly, but gets near, like a mother, one-to-one. Indeed it is a greater gift according to 1 Cor 14:5.
May there be more mothers in Israel.