We are continuing to look at mothers of the Bible who showed great faith and made sacrifices for their children. This week we’ll look at two mothers whose faith did not allow them to give up on their children even when all seemed to be lost.
A Shunammite woman, who had been childless, gave birth to a son after the prophecy of Elisha. But one day the boy became ill and died. The woman left the boy on the bed Elisha had slept on, saddled a donkey and rode off to find Elisha. When she told Elisha what had happened, Elisha commanded his servant Gehazi to go and lay his staff on the boy’s face. But the Shunammite woman said, "As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee" (11 Kings 4:30). So Elisha had no choice but to follow her. When they got to her house, Elisha "went up and lay upon the child ..." (V34) and the child was restored to life.
Rizpah was another mother of the Bible of whom little was known. But her unprecedented act of courage caused her name to be written in the annals of history. She was one of Saul’s concubines and she had borne him two sons. Saul slew some of the Gibeonites, and because of that there was a great famine in the land. Therefore David delivered Rizpah’s two sons, along with five of Saul’s other sons, over to the Gibeonites who hanged them in the hill as an act of revenge for what Saul had done. But Rizpah took sackcloth and spread it on a rock , "From the beginning of harvest until water dropped upon them out of heaven, and suffered neither the birds of the air to rest on them by day, nor the beasts of the field by night" (11 Samuel 21: 10, KJV).
When David heard what Rizpah had done, he went and gathered the bones of Saul and Johanathan his son, as well as the bones of those that were hanged. Rizpah did not have her sons brought back to life, but her courageous deed reached the king’s ears, and her sons were accorded a proper burial. And the Bible says that after that God answered prayer in behalf of the land.
How many of us would have the courage to equal that of these two women? They did not give up on their children even after they were dead. The Shunammite woman sought to have her son brought back to life, and Rizpah shielded her dead sons’ bodies from the beasts of the field and the birds of the air. If we would have just a fraction of these women’s faith and courage, we too would be greatly rewarded by God.