What We Can Learn From Elizabeth: Bobby Chaw
City Harvest Church celebrated Mother’s Day with a moving drama and lessons to learn from a very special Bible mother.
The role of a mother is not an easy one. A mother has to live up to the standards of her family and society while dealing with her own inner conflicts. One may have to face the pressures of raising a special needs child, another endure the pain of losing her baby. But none of these things can bring a mother down; she is that superwoman in our lives, holding our universe together.
To honor the mothers during the recent Mother’s Day weekend (May 12-13), City Harvest’s drama team put together a show that depicted a mother’s journey. Presented in six vignettes, the drama brought the congregation through the joys of conceiving and new birth, the exhaustion that growing children bring, the problems teenagers and unmarried young adult children bring, the pain and guilt of giving birth to a special child and finally the joy when children start their own families.
LESSONS LEARNED FROM ELIZABETH
Bobby Chaw, CHC’s executive pastor delivered a timely message to encourage the congregation, especially the mothers.
He started by recognizing the pressures a mother faces every day. Even in the ancient days, mothers did not have it easy. Take Eve for example, who was not only blamed for the original sin of eating the fruit of the tree of good and evil, but also had to suffer the loss of her younger son Abel, who was murdered by her older son Cain.
Mary had no proper room to give birth in and had to go into labor in a stable. When King Herod intended to kill all the infants in the vicinity, she had to flee to Egypt with baby Jesus. In the later years of her life, she witnessed Jesus’ trial and crucifixion.
Chaw’s sermon, however, focused on the story of Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist. Elizabeth came from a long line of noble priests, a God-fearing and righteous woman. However, she was unable to conceive, a condition that brought great shame in the day and age. Those around her ridiculed her as she was still childless in her old age. In those times, it was a wife’s duty to bear her husband children.
Finally, an angel appeared to Zechariah, Elizabeth’s husband, in Luke 1:13, and declared that they were going to have a son.
Chaw added that the name Elizabeth means the “oath of God”—God keeps His promises. “God is a promise keeper, so don’t give up on confessing the promises of God, and don’t give up on acting on the promises of God.”
Chaw then used Numbers 23:19 to remind the congregation that God is an unchanging and unfailing God. He shared the example of a member, Abel Koh. He mixed with the wrong company in his youth and started doing drugs.
To support his drug addiction, he had to borrow money from all his friends and family, and when they stopped lending to him, he resorted to cheating. Koh eventually wound up in jail multiple times. All his family members gave up on him, except his mother, who held on to the belief that God still had a future and a hope for her son.
Eventually, thanks to his mother’s constant prayer and God’s divine intervention, Koh saw the error of his ways and determined to clean up his act for good. He came back to God and is now a fervent Christian.
Chaw shared that through Christ, all disgrace is removed. “Even when you fail to meet societal or personal expectations, like Elizabeth did by being barren, God is able to remove all your shame.”
He went on to reference Isaiah 54:4, in which God promises to protect and rid His people from all shame and humiliation.
“God has come to fix what is broken down and restore it back to its original intent and purpose, to remove every shame and disgrace and bring about healing and restoration,” said Chaw.
The pastor then shared how God had taken away shame and humiliation from his own life. When he was young, his parents faced bankruptcy and his mother was forced to frequently borrow money from his relatives. Over time, all his relatives began to avoid his her. Although she was not Christian, she asked her son to pray for a miracle and deliverance from bankruptcy. God answered Chaw’s prayers, and the family repaid all their debts in a few short years.
“Even when we are faithless, God is faithful!” Chaw declared.
Elizabeth was barren until she was very old. She would have wondered many times in her life, “When will my redeemer come?” Chaw shared that he is asked this very question often by churchgoers undergoing trials and tribulation.
“I do not know when deliverance will come, but we know for a fact that our Redeemer lives.,” said Chaw. “In the end, we will find that Jesus standing with us. He will remove all our shame and disgrace!”
The pastor encouraged the mothers in the congregation to keep living righteously and to pray unceasingly. God came through for Elizabeth in her old age. She went on to become one of the greatest mothers of all time, the mother of John the Baptist.
Chaw ended the sermon by assuring the congregation that through Christ, all their prayers have been heard and they have been restored from disgrace.
by Dawn Seow