Our text today is Is 3:12, which says, “As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.” Over many years in the ministry, we have observed this verse in the homes of some Christian families. And so we need to discuss this today.
In some homes, mothers are not just keeping the home (Titus 2:5), they are running it. The way they gain control is through the children, particularly daughters. This isn’t the way God set up the home and this isn’t the way that it ought to be run. The proper order is found in 1 Cor 11:3, Gen 3:16, and Eph 6:1-3. So, we need to talk about this verse in Isaiah that says women rule over them.
It is natural for mothers to care for and protect their children. A mother is the one who “goes to death’s door,” (1 Sam 4:20) as the saying goes, to bring her children into this world. And she would as soon give her own life as watch them pass before she does. Mothers will do just about anything for their children. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Samuel’s mother, Hannah, made him a coat every year and brought it to him when she came with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice, 1 Sam 2:19. The woman of Shunem ran to Elisha when her child died of heat stroke, apparently, 2 Ki 4:18-22. Her efforts resulted in that boy being raised from the dead. These are examples of mothers doing great things for their children.
But sometimes, mothers can be so concerned about their children that they go over board and do things that are harmful. Jacob’s mother, Rebekah, nearly got her son killed with the scheme she pulled to steal Esau’s blessing, Gen 27. As it was, she was the reason Jacob had to run to Laban, and, evidently, she died before she ever saw her son again. That was a terrible move.
Zebedee’s wife, the mother of John and James, petitioned Jesus to give her sons the seats on either side of Jesus in his kingdom, Matt 20:20-24. All she did was cause indignation between the rest of the disciples and them. This took place just days before the Lord’s crucifixion. Some mothers can think of no one else but their own little kids. John and James were men by now, but their mother was treating them like they were still children.
I have seen multiple instances where mothers make decisions based on what they think their daughters want or need and everybody else just has to go along with that. Those little girls are spoiled. And those houses are being run by their mamas. In one instance, where the mother’s husband was not the father of her daughter, a preacher friend of mine referred to that man as a “steer.” You’ll get that in a minute.
Ultimately, houses that are run like this are upside down. The children become “their oppressors.” They get away with what ever they want and their mothers shield them, make excuses for them, cover for them, accommodate them, and basically become their enablers. Children take advantage of their mothers’ instinct to protect them and end up doing what they want, whenever they want. If the man in the house puts his foot down he’s liable to lose it. So, he just goes along with whatever the children’s mother says and goes back to work. He may be the head of the household, but she’s the boss.
What ends up happening to both the mother and the man in the house, whether he is the father of the children, or just the husband of the mother, is that they turn against anyone who doesn’t see their children the way they do. They despise preaching like you’re hearing right now. They despise peace officers when they catch these little darlings in a crime. They despise teachers who reprove and discipline their children. Their little babies can do no wrong.
Look at a perfect example in Jud 17:1-4. Micah stole eleven hundred shekels of silver from his mother. Micah’s mother spoke to him about it and, evidently, he lied to her. She also cursed whomever took it. Nevertheless, when her little angel confessed to his deed, she said, “Blessed be thou of the Lord, my son.” Are you kidding me? She even offered to let him keep the money based on a vow she made. You see how it goes with some mothers.
Houses that are run like this are a wreck because God is along for the ride as much as the man of the house is. The wrong people are in charge. Is 3:12 says, “they which lead thee cause thee to err.” Children are supposed to obey their parents; it’s not supposed to be the other way around. But when children start oppressing, mothers start ruling. Or when mothers start ruling, children start oppressing. It works both ways. Children that don’t learn to obey their parents, usually don’t learn to obey God. And that’s what destroys “the way of thy paths,” as Is 3:12 says.
Did you ever notice that the prodigal son’s mother never intervened when Dad gave him the inheritance and let him go? That boy wasted his living with riotous living and his mother didn’t try to rescue him from danger. She’s not even mentioned in Lk 15. And yet, that boy came to himself and got right with God and his family. That would have never happened in a household under the rule of a woman. She would have been all over her husband to do something for that boy or she would have been in that far country with him. She could not have changed him and she would have destroyed her own house in the process.
If you are living in a home where things are this whacked out, you need to stop and get right with God.
Dad, you need to open the Bible and start praying. You need to humble yourself before God and start following him and his instructions for you. You are going need all of God’s grace if you are ever going to regain control of your home. I hate to say this but, it may be too late. The concrete may have already been so hardened in the foundation of your home that you’d tear it down trying to fix it now.
Mom, you need to open the Bible and start praying. You need to humble yourself before God and start following his instructions for you. Your husband needs to rule and you need to trust God to lead your family though him. That’s want God said to you in 1 Pet 3:1-7. If you don’t trust God, you won’t see God’s hand in your family’s future direction. You will “destroy the way of thy paths.” You can’t let your children keep oppressing your home. They will just do the same thing in their homes when they raise your grandchildren. Make the change now, while you still can.