Monday, 26 September 2011

Matriarch's on a Monday - Eve

I have been thinking.  (I hear could hear the strange noise, ALL the way from wherever you are...!) I have been thinking about how many women are mentioned in the Bible, and JUST how much there is to learnt from them.  As women in the 21st century, you could think that these ladies are just a part of the story of salvation, with little to apply to our modern lives!?  How wrong you would be.  Their lessons reach out to us across the thousands of years that have passed, and still have relevance today.  Indeed, they have more to teach us than so many of the bad examples of womanhood from today's society.

Where to start?  Well, there can only be one place to start, really.  At the beginning!  The woman who we "blame" for all our problems.  The one who passed onto us such things as the pain of childbirth.  And yet.....and YET, there are positive lessons to learn from the mother of all living.  Eve.

Can you imagine the first conscious moments of Eve.  To become aware of her surroundings, as God breathed life into her.  The most perfect picture of man that was ever created, was right before her.  (And you thought YOUR man was the most perfect picture of manhood?...sorry to disappoint!).  An absolutely stunning world, filled with beauty and splendour.  And, of course, I'm sure the feeling was mutual, as Adam woke from his deep sleep!  It's not everyone who wakes from his sleep to see something as beautiful as Eve, for the first time!

There is a tremendous picture for us, simply in the creation OF Eve.  Eve was created because "it was NOT good" for the first time in God's creation.  He created Adam, and realised that he was not complete.   That something - someone - was needed to complete his creation of man.  He NEEDED woman.  He had created all creatures male and female, so that they could procreate "after their kind".  But for man, it was so much more than that.  He was a living soul - different from the animals.  He needed a companion.  So, God created Eve.  To complete him.  So that they could be one.

I have always loved the analogy, heard so many times.  God did not take some of Adam's skull, so that woman would be over him, or from his foot, so that she would be under him - he took it from his side, so that she would be protected, close to his side, under his arm and equal with him before God.

However, don't we so often look to the biggie.  The part where everything falls apart.  Eve - the one who took the fruit.  The one who convinced her husband that he should eat of it, too.  The one who brought the curse upon womankind, so that they would forever have to submit to out husbands, and have pain in childbirth?  It's true, though.  Because these are the things that we SO need to learn from - lessons which we have to learn.  HARD lessons - but, needful lessons.

I think, before we look at these hard, but needful, lessons, we need to first look at the positive.  God created us, women, to be the completion of our husbands.  We have a vital part to play, in making our marriages a complete thing.  It's a God-created position.  Not something to be belittled, scorned or even dismissed.  Why should we NOT want to be all we can for our husbands.  That help meet  - or suitable - for him.  We are perfectly suited to be the wives we should be for them.  God created us for it!  It's not contrived by the 50's housewife brigade!  It's stated clearly in God's Word.

It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
Genesis 2:18

Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one 
Gen 2:24  

God gave it as a pattern for us - something that is right and good.  That man and woman, as one, should cleave - hold fast to each other - stick close together - in all that they do as man and wife.

There are so many marriages where they as well not be married.  The husband is off doing his own thing, evening after evening - or the wife is forever off with her girlie friends, leaving her husband at home alone.  You forsake that single life when you get married.  You should desire to be together when you can - sticking close to each other, not to other people!  I'm not saying you can never have a night out, but there are some people who just want to be out ALL the time, and those football/pamper nights (that's an "or" - can't imagine them TOGETHER!) take priority over their marriage.  We have to cherish our time together.  We have to desire that oneness and closeness that God has gifted us with!

In the New Testament, we again see instruction as to where our place is.

 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 
 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. 
Titus 2:4-5

I think these are some of the most sobering verses directed to me as a woman!  If I DON'T do these things - I am blaspheming the word of God!  That's VERY serious!   You can't add "but, things have changed, so we don't need to do this any more....."  God's Word NEVER changes.  If we are to love our husband and children, then we equally should be keepers at home!  We should WANT to stay at home, and care for it.  To be the guardians of our domain.  It's no weak position, or some menial task.  It's a HUGE responsibility and a privilege to undertake!  It's no job for a weakling! In fact, I have always maintained that the EASY thing would be to go and work outside the home.  But, who said that obeying God was easy.....?

Again, I am not saying there is never a circumstance that a woman should work outside of the home, but it is not the primary responsibility and role given to women.  We shouldn't go LOOKING for ways to escape our responsibilities, just because we don't like  the role that we have been given!  There are many scenarios where  it has become a necessary.  But, it's NOT the pattern that God has given us.

Now, to the negative.  The bad part we always think of, from which we can glean important lessons.

Eve was deceived by Satan.  She believed his lies.  She was convinced enough that she questioned God's Word.

"hath God said?......", said the serpent.

The first sin was doubting God's Word.  She doubted what she had been told about the trees.  She believed the word of the serpent, and not the Word of her creator - the one with whom she fellow-shipped with in the garden.  She lusted after something other than the perfect life that God had given her.

Is this not one of our temptations?  To doubt that the role God has given us is the best one for us?  That our place at home as a wife and mother is better than anything else we could possibly do?

"Hath God said that you can't go and work outside the home and put your children in day-care, just because you might be able to do something worthwhile elsewhere?"

"Hath God said that doing some kind of ministry outside of the home is more important than looking after YOUR family - God's VERY important ministry for you?"

Dear sister - don't doubt God!  Don't doubt the vital role you  have to play.  As an encourager and help to your husband.  As the one to nurture and care for your children, and train them up in the way they should go.  If GOD has given you this role, there could be NOTHING more important out there for you to do!  It's such a special job, that there couldn't be something more exciting or rewarding elsewhere!  I KNOW there are tough days (I just had a whole pile of them!....)  I KNOW that it isn't always easy!  But, it's still the BEST.

Then comes the other "biggie"!  Submission.

"and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee."
Genesis 3:16

Ohhhhhh, how we struggle with this concept!  Our husbands have the final word and authority over us.  Our flesh rebels and despises that, so very often!   We don't like having to obey, especially when we think we are right (*gasp*.....).  We don't like having to obey, when it goes against what WE want to do.  But, it's God's pattern.

Meekness is the key.  Meek is NOT weak.  Meekness is humility.  We have to be humble enough to accept that our husband has the final word, and that is the way that GOD has planned it.  Not out husband.  Not our Church leaders.  GOD!  We have to humbly accept that his decisions are the final word, whether they are our first choice or not.  In ALL areas.  Big and small.  Hard, isn't it?  But, the reassurance is, it's GOD'S way.  And, in His perfect wisdom, he has ordained that our husbands have the final authority.  I'm not saying that we shouldn't have good enough relationships to share ideas.  Or, that husbands should be unloving  tyrants who give no value to our opinions.  Rather, we need to trust them to have that authority that God has given them.  We have to trust that they are honouring God in their decisions, and that even if we don't understand the "why's and wherefore's", that we should still lovingly, and humbly submit to what they decide.  AND, remember that God is sovereign, and so long as they are not asking us to do something sinful, God will work all things together for our good - so long as we are obeying HIM! Plus, we need to DO it with a loving, happy and contented attitude.  Submission isn't real if anyone can plainly see we don't actually WANT to submit to our husband's authority!

Eve, these are hard lessons we are learning from you.  Hard, but SO important.  Right up there at the top of our list of "things to do"!   Thank-you for being an example for us.  May God give us the grace to learn from you.

(PS - sorry for the silence for a little while....things have been happening around here....getting ready for a house move, and various other thing, large and small.....I'll expand on some of the things as as soon as I can, but would appreciate your prayers as our family goes through some changes!)

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