Rachel Weeping For Her Children
Read Matthew 2:18
The title of our message this morning is, ďRachel weeping for her children.Ē This is one of the saddest events of history, and it is expressed by the most grievous of all expressions of grief, a motherís bitter tears for her children. We want to go back now, and look into the background and history of Rachelís life.
Rachel was quite a gal! She was a very lovely girl. Jacob loved Rachel from the very first moment he laid eyes on her. It was love at first sight.
He loved her so much that he gladly worked for her father Laban fourteen years of his life for her. Even after the first seven years when he was tricked by Laban, and was given Leah to wife instead, he still continued to work seven more years for Rachel. But those fourteen years only seemed like a day to him! Do we men feel that way about our wives? Would we have worked fourteen years for them? Well, I donít suppose weíll ever know this answer, but we trust that we love them that much.
Jacob continued to love Rachel long after he buried her in the way to Bethlehem. True love isnít buried in the grave, but continues on forever. My grandmother loved my grandfather so much. Years after his passing, all she wanted to talk about was Henry. Thatís alright, those of you who have lost your mates, you just keep on loving them the rest of your life, there is nothing wrong with that.
Now, Rachel wanted children more than anything else in this world, but the Lord only saw fit to give her two, Joseph and Benjamin. She only had two children compared to Leahís seven, and she died giving birth to Benjamin.
Hers, we might say, was a life of unfulfilled dreams, and disappointed hopes. She didnít get to see her children grow up, nor hold her grandchildren in her bosom. How very, very† sad was the premature demise of Rachelís life.
Perhaps it was because of her disappointed life and her tragic death, that Rachel was symbolically identified as the mother of the children of Israel, or at least the children of Israel who met with tragedy and disaster in their lives.
Here in the original prophecy, Rachel is seen weeping for the lands of Samaria and Judah, when Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon would besiege them, and kill thousands upon thousands of Israelites and take many more away captive.
There in the way to Bethlehem, Rachel rises up in her grave, as it were, to weep bitterly for her children who were slaughtered, and taken away captive by their enemies.
Here we see the future prophecy fulfilled in the slaughter of the innocents. Once again Rachel is aroused from her sleep of death, to weep again for the slaughter of her children.
Here once more, God used the greatest expression of human grief to portray the slaughter of innocent children, and that is of a mother rising up in her mournful tomb to bewail the horrific injustice of the massacre of her children.
Yes Rachel, you represent the highest human love, and the deepest human sorrow, the greatest of broken hearts - you represent women who grieve and weep for their children.
We want to notice three points this morning concerning Rachel weeping for her children.
1. First this morning, we want to consider a motherís love for her children.
There is no greater human love, than a motherís love for her children. It doesnít matter what you are or what you do, your mother still loves you. No matter of your shortcomings or your failures. No matter how many times you fall, or how far you fall, your mother loves you still. You children hear me this morning! No one loves you like your mother loves you.
There is no greater sorrow and grief than that of a mother for her children! The times when you are sick or suffering, she suffers with you. The times when you are hurt, she hurts with you. When you are wronged by people in the world, she feels their injustice and cruelty with you. When you go astray and your life is shipwrecked on the rocks of sin, she grieves and weeps for you. And when her children die an untimely death, she grieves with bitter weeping that will not be comforted. You children hear me this morning! Consider what you do to bring grief upon your mother.
There are no greater tears than a mothers tears for her children! There are no greater tears that God will hear than a mothers tears, and there are no tears that have more power with God. Mothers, donít quit weeping for your children. Keep the perpetual vigil with Rachel your representative in sorrows. Never quit loving, and grieving, and weeping for your children, and your childrenís children. No one in this world loves and cares for them like you do! Children of godly parents this morning, may God haunt you with this vision of Rachel weeping for her children Ė because Rachel is your mother!
2. Secondly, we want to see some examples of mothers weeping for their children.
1) First, we want to consider Hagar (Genesis 21).
We are very unsympathetic with Hagar because of what she symbolically represents, and because of the nations that came out of the loins of her son Ishmael. But she was not at fault because she bore a child to Abraham. Abraham and Sarah were to blame. Hagar was only a bondwoman who had no choice in the matter. Donít forget, believers are responsible for their actions. The fruit of our actions may turn out evil, but lets put the blame where it belongs!
Abraham gave Hagar a loaf of bread and a bottle of water, and sent her away into the wilderness. When the bottle of water was gone and she and the child were ready to die, she cast the child under a bush and walked off a bow-shot distance and sat down and cried. She couldnít bear to see her child die.
But God heard the tears of that poor bondwoman, and He spared Hagar and her son. He opened her eyes, and caused a well of water to appear in the wilderness. And the Bible says that God was with Ishmael, and that He made him a great nation.
2) Secondly, there was the Shunammite woman (2 Kings 4).
The Shunammite woman was called a great woman. She fed and cared for Elisha the prophet when he journeyed by her way. When she perceived that he was a prophet, she had her husband build Elisha a little prophetís quarters on the wall, where he could stay when he passed through.
Upon reflection, Elisha decided to do some dead of kindness for this woman in return for all the good she had done for him. Elisha told his servant Gehazi to find out what he could do for this woman. It was decided that her only need was a child, because she had no children and her husband was getting old. Elisha then prophesied that she would bear a son, and so it happened according to the word of the prophet. By and by, after the child was grown, it came to pass that one day in the field her son suddenly felt a great pain in his head. He was quickly taken to his mother, where he sat on her knees until noon and then died.
The woman immediately set out to find the man of God. As she drew near to him, Elisha sent his servant to see if all was well with her, her husband, and with her son. She told him that all was well. But when she came to the man of God, she caught him by his feet in her grief and despair. Gehazi tried to thrust her away, but Elijah told him to leave her alone. He said that the woman was sore vexed and that God had hid it from him.
Elisha went with the woman to her house where he performed a great miracle, and the Shunammiteís son was raised from the dead.
Yes, beloved, there is power in a motherís grieving heart, and power in her tears for her children.
3) Thirdly, there was the widow of Nain (Luke 7).
Her only son had died, and Jesus made a special trip just to break up the funeral procession. He came to her, and had compassion on her. He told her to weep not. He touched the funeral bier, and her son was miraculously raised from the dead.
Yes, beloved, there is power in a motherís heart of grief, and power in her tears for her children. This womanís tears were not in vain, but she saw her son raised again.
4) Fourthly, there was Mary the Mother of Jesus, as she stood at the foot of the cross of Jesus (John 19:26-27).
She beheld her precious Son; beaten and bloody. He was marred more than any man, so as He could scarcely be recognized. She heard the cruel mockings and the railings of the soldiers, and the priests and Pharisees, and even the two thieves on either side that derided Him.
I realize that it doesnít say that she wept, but the context suggests her deep grief, and what loving mother with any feelings at all would not have wept, even though her Son was also her Saviour? Three days later Mary Magdalene wept at Jesus tomb, how much more His mother at His cross? But Maryís tears were rewarded, when Jesus rose again from the dead the third day, and she saw her Son alive again to live forevermore for her.
What about you mothers here this morning? The Lord hears your broken hearts for your children, and your tears and weeping. Keep weeping with Rachel; she wept a long time for her children, and she is still weeping for them yet today. Donít give up on your tears, and much more so, donít give up on your God.
3. Thirdly, we want to notice some analogies of Rachel weeping for her children.
1) First, we want to consider some other times when Rachel may have wept for Israel.
How about in 70 AD when Titus the Roman general marched on Jerusalem and destroyed the city, and mercilessly killed thousands upon thousands of Rachelís children. Jesus even wept over the prospect of this great destruction by Titus, when He looked upon Jerusalem in Luke 19:41-44:
ďAnd when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, 42 Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. 43 For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, 44 And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.
What about the Holocaust of the Jews by the Nazis during WWII. Yes, Rachel was weeping for her children then, as millions of Jews were mercilessly slaughtered like animals.
What about the spiritual unbelief of the Jewish people over the centuries, and their spiritual blindness, and rejection of their Messiah. This is the most grievous of all her childrenís woes. Rachel has great cause to weep here.
But beloved, there is hope for Israel! (READ Jeremiah 31:16-17). Rachelís tears will be rewarded. Israel is going to be restored. They have been restored to their land. One day soon they will be restored spiritually to their Messiah. One day soon they will be made the ruling nation of the world, with the Lord Jesus Christ reigning as King of Kings and Lord of Lords upon the throne of David. Yes Rachel, your tears are not in vain, you shall see your desire upon your children.
2) Secondly, we want to consider the Lordís churches and people.
I think of the early apostolic churches weeping over their spiritual children. I think of them grieving over the martyred blood that was shed down through the centuries of the dark ages. I think of them grieving over the cold, indifferent, and unfaithful state of the churches today.
I think of the Holy Spirit grieving over the state of the Lordís churches today. I think of the Holy Spirit grieving over individual Christians today when we go astray, and when we leave our first love, and go a whoring after this sinful world. Yes beloved, we can and we do grieve the Holy Spirit when we love not the Lord, and follow not after His ways that He has given in His Word.
Are you a mother who weeps for your children? Keep up your love and your tears for them. No one cares for them in this life like you do?
Are you a child whose mother is weeping for you? Is she weeping over your soul? Is she weeping over your waywardness? May you hear your motherís tears.
As a church, would we grieve our forefathers if they could behold our order, and our faith, and our lives as members of the Lordís church? As a church, are we grieving the Holy Spirit by what we believe, or by what we practice as a church?
As individual believers are we grieving the Holy Spirit by the way we live our lives? May the Lord help us to examine ourselves, especially in light of observing the Lordís Supper this evening.
Finally, have you beheld Jesus dying on that old cross for you? Can you weep in knowing that it was your sins that nailed Him there? Can you weep at His tomb knowing it was your sins that put Him in there? Can you rejoice in knowing that He came out of that tomb the third day to live forevermore for you? Believe this Gospel and be saved right now!
Yes, beloved, Rachel wept bitterly for her children, but one day her tears will be turned to joy. Likewise, one day your tears in this life are going to be turned to joy. Donít lose heart, and donít lose hope, but keep on crying, and keep on caring for those you love because the Lord hears your tears.