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Hey, Zeruiah, the ‘Maintenance Required’ Light is On! 

By Kim Thompson


Titus 3:8, 14 “This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works.  These things are good and profitable unto men… And let ours also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful.”


I’ve read the Bible through many times, and I do confess there were times that I read it in a lazy manner.  I zipped through genealogies and chose not to spend a second longer than necessary on the pronunciation of names such as: Sabtecha, Naphtuhim, Pathrusim, etc. (My husband has such a great sense of humor! He would have enjoyed coming up with nicknames for those guys!) I would have read the name Zeruiah many times before I ever even realized she was a woman! Now, as I proceed with this blog, please understand I’m taking liberty with my thoughts about Zeruiah.  Holy Scriptures doesn’t give us many details about who she was emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.  We do, however, know a tad bit more about her offspring; and with it being Mother’s Day month, I’d like to take a look at this mother Zeruiah.


The name Zeruiah means Balsam from Jehovah-what a sweet sentiment!  With a great brood of guys in the house, (King) David being the youngest boy, maybe her mother was thrilled to have this sweet daughter to help out with the domestic chores and to experience constant female companionship in the home. Whatever the case, the meaning of her name signifies a great start. The fact that her name is mentioned around 25 times in the Bible must also mean she was a woman of prominence. Curiosity compels me to ask many questions: Was David her little sidekick back in the day? Or was she the classic bossy big sis? Was she proud of David when he told of how the Lord enabled him to kill the giant Goliath? (I’ve smiled at the different filial scenarios that might have taken place in the house of Jesse.) In the end though, did grandparents, parents, or brothers spoil this Balsam? Was there a point in her childhood or married life that made this balsamic (healing) woman bitter?


At some point, Zeruiah marries and has 3 sons.  I Chronicles 2:16 “…And the sons of Zeruiah; Abishai, and Joab, and Asahel, three.” We know that Joab, Abishai, and Asahel were men of action!  If a job needed done, these were your guys! However, these “sons of Zeruiah” grieved the heart of King David, the authority of the day – and after reading I Samuel 13:14, we know that the heart of David sought to align itself with the heart of God!  Thus something was askew in the lives of these sons.  Did Mom Zeruiah flippantly fulfill her role as mother? My hope is that Zeruiah reared her children with the philosophy that my own mother possessed – “Maintain good works” in words and actions.

Maintenance in our daily lives keeps the HEART right.


My maternal grandmother, for a time, turned her back on her Christian upbringing.  She married out of the Lord’s will, and by the time my mother was born, my maternal grandfather was an alcoholic.  With a thankful heart, my mom will testify that she didn’t experience the harshness that her older siblings lived with this drunken father.  My mother only remembers being surrounded by a godly, repentant mother and such godly grandparents! (I loved my great grandfather– what a precious man!  He was a soulwinner back in the day before that particular word had been invented!)  My mother is now 78 years old, and I’m so happy and grateful that she maintained good works in her words and actions, even when her heart must have been screaming at and even demanding her to scrap the maintenance – it’s just not worth it.  My mom’s journey has not been easy - my father passed away at the age of 40 due to Lymphoma.  Mom was a widow at the age of 33 with five kids – my baby sister being exactly 1 month old when Dad passed.  My mother is my earthly example that a Heavenly Father is real.  I know now from our adult conversations that there were moments when she ignored the spiritual Maintenance Required light, but she eventually made the necessary reparations in her heart and spirit. 


After my own salvation and as I continued to age and mature, I realized that what was good for my precious, loving mother was good for me!  It was time for me to learn to maintain good works so that I won’t be unfruitful! And as I write this article, I’m motivated more than ever to MAINTAIN GOOD WORKS. In 2024, we’re living some crazy “woke” times. 

We as Bible-believing mothers must be diligent in rearing the next generation!


As I think of Zeruiah, I can’t help but assume she chose to ignore the “Maintenance Required” light and that she chose to selfishly execute her own way and will… I believe the lives of her sons show that! “And I am this day weak, though anointed king; and these men the sons of Zeruiah be too hard for me…” (II Samuel 3:39) “What have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah?” (II Samuel 16:10) These sons lacked loyalty; these sons softened the importance of full submission to God-given leadership, and these sons made their own agenda their final authority. Oh, if only Momma Zeruiah had been more aware, heeded the signs, and been “careful to maintain good works,” we might have read in the eternal Scriptures about hers also maintaining “good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful.” Instead we see the tragic end, the “car crash” if you will, of the lives of her sons.  Don’t be weary in well doing, sisters! The effort and energy required for the daily maintenance of one’s heart and life is truly easier in the long run than the effort and energy demanded for the salvaging of a totaled life.  May the Lord bless you all!


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