- What the Scriptures say about Godly authority
- Deborah as an example for women
- The beauty of the woman's role & purpose
- The root of resistance to God's ordained roles (coming)
- Answers to common questions
What then is the purpose for which woman was created and why is it so critical that she submit to man? One could simply say, "God commanded woman to submit to the man, and that's enough." While that is accurate, God doesn't do things arbitrarily. There is a reason for everything He does...even when we cannot understand it (Isaiah 55:9, Romans 11:34).
"And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him." Genesis 2:18
We stated earlier how the woman must submit to man as a result of Eve's sin in the Garden of Eden. However, notice that her purpose in providing companionship for, and being a help to, man was part of God's original plan. From the beginning, woman was created for man (not man for woman).
The question then becomes, "How is the woman to help the man?" In answering that we find understanding for the role she is to serve and why submission is necessary.
The Heart of the Matter
"And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man." Genesis 2:21-23
When God was creating woman, He took one of Adam's ribs in order to form her. This small point is not insignificant. Again, God does everything for a reason.
The ribs provide one main function: protection for the heart and the lungs. Both the heart and lungs are critical to the life of the body, yet the nature of their work requires that these organs be soft, delicate, and pliable (and thereby in need of protection).
The heart keeps blood flowing, ensuring that life reaches other parts of the body. It also provides a place of refreshing where the blood can get re-oxygenated or revived in order to continue its work. As such, the heart needs to be sensitive and flexible enough to the respond to the body's electrical impulses regarding contraction in order to keep the blood pumping. It is strong and is one of the largest muscles in the human body. It is an involuntary muscle meaning we do not have to consciously tell the heart to beat. It is created to anticipate the needs of the body and does so automatically.
The lungs are the place where gas exchange occurs within the human body; it collects the oxygen needed to give energy to the blood and expels toxins such as carbon dioxide. Similar to the heart, the lungs must be elastic enough to inflate/deflate as needed to support the inhaling and exhaling of air. Again, the lungs are involuntary muscles and expand/contract without willful thought by nature of their design.
The heart and lungs work around the clock, processing on average 8,000 - 9,000 liters of blood and air respectively a day. When they don't work properly, it impacts the whole body's ability to function as it should.
Understanding the functional purpose that these delicate organs serve and how vital their work is to the health of the body, it is clear to see why God - in His infinite wisdom - encased the heart and lungs under the protection of the ribs.
The Air We Breathe
God made Eve from Adam's rib; the part of his body that supports and protects his heart and lungs. The analogy is that the woman is the "heart and lungs", while the man is the "ribcage" which protects her.
Scripture says that the life of the flesh is in the blood (Leviticus 17:11). So when we discuss the functions of the heart and lungs, we are specifically addressing those organs needed to sustain and promote life in the body. This is a parallel to who woman is and what she does.
Is a woman's role only relevant to a husband and wife relationship? No! It has nothing to do with being married or having children. We are speaking of how God has designed women with the primary purpose of her carrying and supporting life - in all areas. Woman is a life-giver whether dealing with the family of her parents, the family of her husband, or the family of God. This is simply who she is and it can be expressed via the role of a wife, a mother, and/or a handmaiden to the Lord.
Let's look at this more closely.
- The Heart of the Home
- A Breath of Fresh Air
- A Place of Refreshing
- An Inner Strength and Might
- Symbiotic Alignment
- Industrious Nature
- Delicate and Pliable
There is a saying that the woman is the "heart of the home." Notice that she is the heart of the "home", not the heart of a house. In other words, a woman makes a house a home by what she brings to it. She is the life force in the home, both spiritually and physically.
"Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands." Proverbs 14:1
"She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens." Proverbs 31:15
The Hebrew word for Eve is Chavvah which means "life". The woman is the one who propagates and regenerates life; she physically nurtures and gives birth to life, but she is also a spiritual life-giver.
The same attributes a woman physically provides to a baby in the the womb is what the woman brings spiritually to other environments: nourishment, sustenance, nurturing, insulation, warmth, comfort, a place conducive for growth, etc.
Whether one is ever a mother physically or not, like Deborah, a woman can serve as a spiritual mother to God's people.
A Breath of Fresh Air
As a life-giver, the woman is to the family what the Holy Spirit is to the Church. The word "spirit" in the New Testament is the Greek work pneuma, which means "air". The Holy Spirit is a Comforter; births and raises God's children for Him; and pursues only the will of the Father. He is an intercessor between the God and His children, and grieves/mourns when the children go astray. The Holy Spirit never seeks attention for Himself, but works to direct all eyes to God.
Like the work of the lungs in providing oxygen to give life to the body, the spirit the woman carries determines whether she brings life or death wherever she goes.
"A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones." Proverbs 12:4
Look at how closely tied the state of the woman is to the health and well-being of her husband. The right attitude is a crowning glory, a contrary one is a sickness.
"It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house." Proverbs 21:9
"It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman." Proverbs 21:19
"It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman and in a wide house." Proverbs 25:24
"A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike." Proverbs 27:15
Is God picking on women here? No, He is trying to help us understand how the disposition of a woman can affect everything around her. One of the strongest evidences to woman as a definer of the atmosphere is seen in the verse below.
"Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; while they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear." I Peter 3:1-2
The right spirit in a woman is enough to even convert an unbelieving husband. Why? It is the witness of how she lives her life that is the testimony. The woman's spirit affects the quality of the air (or the atmosphere)...whether for good or for evil.
A Place of Refreshing
The woman is to be a place of refreshing for the man, both physically and spiritually.
"Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love." Proverbs 5:18-19
"Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD." Proverbs 18:22
"Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity: for that is thy portion in this life, and in thy labour which thou takest under the sun." Ecclesiastes 9:9
An Inner Strength and Might
Because the heart and lungs are delicately constructed, you might look at them and assume that they are weak organs. However, we know from the amount of blood and air they process that they are in fact very resilient. The strength of these organs then is not something that is relayed in physical appearance; it is an inner strength.
"Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies." Proverbs 31:10
The word for virtuous in that text is the Hebrew word "chayil" which means: strength, might, efficiency, wealth, force, army.
It is not that God created woman to be without strength. He created her to show strength in a different way. What is the evidence of a woman's strength, wealth, and might? It is found in her virtue. Such, according to God, is priceless.
Both the heart and lungs are involuntary muscles meaning that they are designed to support the body in an almost unnoticed way. We don't have to tell the heart and lungs what to do. They are sensitive and responsive enough to the inputs from the body to anticipate what is needed. The heart and lungs work without us being consciously aware that they are actually doing what they do.
So to is the woman designed to be in support of others. She anticipates the needs of her family and moves to meet those needs.
"House and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife is from the LORD." Proverbs 19:4
The word prudent here is the Hebrew word sakal which means "to wisely understand, to have insight, to be circumspect, to comprehend".
"The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life." Proverbs 31:11-12
There is a common bond built upon trust because the husband knows that she will always strive to do good. This allows them to work together, complementing each other as they accomplish the work set before them.
The heart and the lungs are always working, multi-tasking, 24/7. Women are also designed to be productive, hard workers.
"She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness." Proverbs 31:27
"Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house" Psalms 128:3a
"She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar." Proverbs 31:13-14
"She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms. She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night. She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff." Proverbs 31:16-19
Remember, woman is a life-giver. This is not limited to the marital relationship; it is who she was created to be. This same work ethic and diligence is to be used for the benefit of the church and those in need.
"Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus" Romans 16:3
"Greet Mary, who bestowed much labour on us." Romans 16:6
"Salute Tryphena and Tryphosa, who labour in the Lord. Salute the beloved Persis, which laboured much in the Lord. " Romans 16:12
"She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy." Proverbs 31:20
A woman is to be busy with the things of God so that she is not caught up in things that steal life rather than promoting it.
"A foolish woman is clamorous: she is simple, and knoweth nothing." Proverbs 9:13
"But the younger widows refuse: for when they have begun to wax wanton against Christ, they will marry; Having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith. And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not." I Timothy 5:11-13
"The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; 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 2:3-5
Delicate and Pliable
Like the heart and lungs, the nature of woman's role requires that she be delicate and pliable. She needs to be sensitive to the needs of those around her. She is given intuition to anticipate the needs of others. She needs to be tender in order to nurture. She needs to be delicate in order to show forth gentleness. She needs to be pliable so that she can adjust to the changing demands of her family.
While being in the critical role of a life-giver, we know that the Scriptures indicate that woman is the weaker vessel.
"Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered. " I Peter 3:7
As we saw above, "weakness" does not mean an absence of strength. It simply denotes that she requires protection so that she can do the work God has purposed for her.
Further, notice that the husband's responsibility to the wife is one of giving her "honor". The role of a husband in protecting the wife is not an insult. On the contrary, it is a manifestation of his understanding and appreciation of the role she plays as his help.
True Gender Equality
Woman is equal to man. The woman was taken from the side of man; not from his head as if she is his authority, and not from his foot as is she is beneath him. This does not mean, however that they can - or were even made to - serve in the same roles.
Consider Jesus. He is equal to God and equally God (John 5:18; Philemon 2:6). Yet, His role is one of a Son in relation to God. This requires that Jesus submit Himself to the authority of His Father. It is not His will that He does, but that of His Father. He must obey, He must submit, He must reverence His Father because His role demands it. This does not make Him any less God.
The woman is called to respect and reverence the man; the man is called to love and honor the woman. This makes perfect sense. Remember, God has a reason for everything He does. Woman respects man because - as the ribs - he is in the position of taking the hard blows of life. He is called to lay down his life each day so as to protect the woman (Ephesians 5:25). In turn, understanding how essential her role is to completing what he is called to do, the man loves and honors the woman in appreciation for her tireless efforts to support him and his work.
Please see the comparison. We reverence Jesus because He is worthy. Why is He worthy? He laid down His life for His bride (Revelations 5:1-10). He took the hard blows for us (His Bride) in paying a debt that we were unable, and were not created, to pay. In turn, He loves and honors us because we have submitted to his authority so that He might work through us to accomplish his work of saving souls.
How can you appreciate and reverence the magnificence of Jesus' sacrifice and yet at the same time despise the reflection of that same sacrifice as depicted in the role of man? You cannot. When you reject the patriarchal order of God, you simultaneously reject the Lordship of Jesus Christ Himself.
"Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised." Proverbs 31:30-31
Does a Godly woman love God's people, her husband, and her children? Yes, but that is not why she does what she does. She embraces the role of a woman and seeks to bring glory to patriarchal authority because she has a fear and reverence for the Lord.
Bless God for His love, divine wisdom, and sovereignty in that He has designed a creation that is so beautifully a reflection of Himself. What joy to know that He has directed man to love and honor the woman so that she may promote life as she supports and submits to the authority He has established.
So, what does the rebellious woman say? "I don't want to be loved. I don't want to be honored. I don't want to be protected." A woman who asserts that she needs no such protection is akin to a heart or lung which determines that it no longer needs the ribs. Exposed and unprotected, at the slightest blow the organs would fail and the entire body would die.
Below is a teachig on biblical womanhood as seen in Titus Chapter 2 by Dr. Voddie Baucham which is truly worth listening to. These videos will set the foundation for our next topic in this series which will deal with the root causes of the rebellion to this role for women and men.