December 16

The M/Other Side of God

Genesis 1:27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

Isaiah 49:14-15 But Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me, and my Lord has forgotten me.” Can a woman forget her nursing child, and not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, yet I will not forget you.

Isaiah 66:12-13a For thus says the LORD: “Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river…Then you shall feed; on her sides shall you be carried, and be dandled on her knees. As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you….”

Luke 13:34 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing!

While the Lord has clearly told us to call Him Father (see yesterday’s devotional), He has also exhibited characteristics we usually associate with mothers, and isn’t hesitant to make the direct comparison. The scriptures from Isaiah (above) don’t shy away from telling us how tender our Father’s heart is toward us by using such classic maternal images as dandling on the knees and comforting when we need it.

No, God isn’t male or female, and leaning too much into what we think of as the female characteristics of God could take us dangerously close to Goddess worship. Also, we can’t look at any human and say, “God is like that.” That would be making God into our image, perhaps the greatest idolatrous error of the age.

But as disciples, we must be open to receiving everything our God tells us about Himself, including the human examples He provides as springboards for understanding Him more. For example, moms are merciful, and tend to be more so than fathers. God is merciful. James 2:13b tells us that “Mercy triumphs over justice,” a Scripture that still resounds with victory 2000 years after it was written. “His mercy endures forever” is a staple phrase of the Old Testament. We’re told in Hebrews 4:16 to come boldly to the throne of grace to find…mercy.

Moms comfort, something they generally do far better than fathers. God calls Himself a comforter. John 15:26 even calls the Holy Spirit the Comforter, and II Corinthians 1 calls God “the Father of mercies and God of all comfort.” That’s quite a definition of tenderness and consolation.

Moms are also generally on our side, with fathers often taking a counter position to teach us things. Yet if you’re a believer, God is on your side. Romans 8:31b emphatically and definitively states, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” That’s a position closer to what we might experience with mothers rather than fathers.

The bottom line? God is bigger than Whomever we think He is right now. Let’s let His word stretch our understanding of Who He is by including the maternal aspects He tells us He has.

Prayer: Father, I accept all You say about Yourself, including your mercy, Your desire to comfort and Your kindhearted tenderness to us. Open my eyes to see these things about You, and thank You for telling us more about Yourself in Your word.