Vol. 5, No. 10
Priscilla's Page *Editor's Note*
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Why was the woman created? After everything God created, the Bible says, "Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good" (Genesis 1:31a). Then the Lord God said, "It is not good that man should be alone; I will make a helper comparable to him" (Genesis 2:18). God created woman to be a helpmate or a helper suitable for man mentally, spiritually, emotionally, socially and physically.
Since woman is half of the human creation, her role is vitally important. The problem arises when either the man or the woman neglect his or her God-given role and attempt to cross over and presume the role of the other. Men and women are equal before God, but are given different roles within that equality.
Webster defines the word "agenda" as a list, plan or outline of things to be done, matters to be acted or voted upon. Looking at God's agenda for women, he has a plan of work for them to fulfill and matters to be acted upon. Unlike man's agendas, however, there is no place whatsoever for their vote! In Genesis 1:28, God gives the instruction to be fruitful and multiply. Being fruitful is to have purpose, direction and focus in life. To multiply is to take part in the continuance of the human race.
When Satan approached Eve about the forbidden fruit, she said in Genesis 3:3 that God said do not eat and do not touch for in the day they did they would surely die. God had not said one word about not touching (Genesis 2:16-17)! We commit a momentous error when we start adding, subtracting, substituting and watering down what God has said. It is the first step taken toward spiritual infidelity!
After Eve's disobedience, God's plan for her changed. The consequences of her disobedience are reflected in what God says to her. "To the woman He said, I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in pain you shall bring forth children; your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you" (Genesis 3:16). In pain you shall bring forth children -- Pain would accompany the act of giving birth to children, which is clearly a penalty for Eve's actions. Your desire shall be for your husband -- Eve would feel a deep emotional and sexual attraction toward Adam. He shall rule over you -- Eve is being warned she will continue to feel the urge to control Adam and act upon her own initiative. Yet, God reaffirms his original created order which would remain intact. The man is to take the lead and exercise rule in the spiritual realm.
We are given a beautiful passage in Proverbs regarding the marriage relationship. "The heart of her husband safely trusts her, so he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life" (Proverbs 31:11-12). Her husband safely trusts her -- Does your husband trust you? Husbands and wives should be able to say about each other, "I trust her/him with my life." He will have no lack of gain -- Does he have your support in his choice of jobs to provide for the family? Does he have your support if he decides to make a change in how he is supporting the family? Sometimes this means not only a change in job, but also a change in the location of that job. Does he have your support in the church? Do you encourage him in his position as an elder, deacon, preacher, Bible school teacher, song leader, treasurer or whatever his responsibility and privilege in the church happens to be? She does him good and not evil all the days of her life. You would never do anything to hurt him physically or emotionally no matter how upset you might get!
In speaking to the married in the church at Corinth, Paul said, "Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control" (1 Corinthians 7:5). Sex is NEVER to be used as a weapon by either the wife or the husband. Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time. The verse means exactly what it says! The couple has an understanding about how long they are going to be apart sexually. Giving yourselves to fasting and prayer -- How many wives have ever practiced this command in connection with being separated from their husbands for ANY length of time?
In Proverbs 31:28-29 it says, "Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: many daughters have done well, but you excel them all." Her children rise up and call her blessed -- What are your children rising up and calling you? What is it that they call you when they are with their friends and peers? How they view you as their mother and how they talk about you to their friends and peers depends on what kind of relationship you have with them, and how you brought them up. If you have sons, were they brought up to love, respect and protect you? If you have daughters, were they brought up to love, respect and admire their father?
This is Paul's instruction to a congregation facing problems over marriage, divorce and remarriage. "Now to the married I command, yet not I but the Lord: A wife is not to depart from her husband. But even if she does depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. And a husband is not to divorce his wife" (1 Corinthians 7:34). Jesus put it this way, "And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery" (Matthew 19:9). As long as a woman does not have proof that her husband is being unfaithful to her in a sexual way, she has no biblical grounds for divorce.
"The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit" (1 Corinthians 7:34). Holy both in body and in spirit -- This means her time, thoughts and energy are not divided between husband and children. She is free to do whatever she wants to do whenever she wants to do it in service to God. She is not involved in any kind of sexual immorality. She realizes her body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, she is not her own, she has been bought with a price and she glories God in her body and in her spirit, which are God's.
Paul's instruction to the widows in Corinth was, "A wife is bound by law as long as her husband lives; but if her husband dies, she is at liberty to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord" (1 Corinthians 7:39). What is Paul saying? A widow may marry again if the man she marries is a member of the Lord's church.
Paul addresses how widows are to be treated in 1 Timothy Chapter Five. No widow was to be taken into the number (supported by the church) under the age of 60, and then not unless she had been the wife of one man, and well reported for good works, if she had brought up children, if she had lodged strangers, if she had washed the saints' feet, if she had relieved the afflicted and diligently followed every good work. Then he says, "But refuse the younger widows; for when they have begun to grow wanton against Christ they desire to marry, having condemnation because they have cast off their first faith" (2 Timothy 5:11). "Therefore I desire that the younger widows marry, bear children, manage the house, give no opportunity to the adversary to speak reproachfully. For some have already turned aside after Satan" (1 Timothy 5:14-15).
"And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression" (1 Timothy 2:1214). While Adam and Eve shared the same transgression of eating the forbidden fruit, their sin was tampering with the created order of the male/female relationship. This was an absolute breaking away from and rejection of God's command. Once Eve bypassed the divine arrangement of submission by taking the initiative in a spiritual matter and exercising authority over her husband, she yielded herself to the deception and craftiness of Satan. This severest disobedience caused them to be driven from the garden.
God's "itemized agenda" for women is found in Titus 2:3-4, "The older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good thing, that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed." What is being said? Women are in submission based on what their instructions have been from Almighty God.
Ultimate authority originates and remains with God. He is the one who rules over all humans and all human relationships. When he said man was to have the lead in the church and in the home, he was speaking out of his absolute right as the Creator to appoint him to that awesome work. When he made woman as the companion of man and designated her role in life, he was again speaking out of his absolute right as the Creator. No human can successfully defy God's authority, his order or his arrangement. Who are we to think we can pass judgment on God's divine order? When a woman defies man's leadership role, it is God himself whom she is fighting! "But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God" (1 Corinthians 11:3).
There is a life full of work for women to do, without getting into competition with men. God help us as women to render very well our own God-given place of service, so our souls will prosper, and we can hear the two sentences we want to hear above all others: "Well done, good and faithful servant, you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your Lord" (Matthew 25:23).