Not A Silent Partner
About 5 or 6 years ago, I overheard a conversation between our former pastor and one of the women of that little congregation. She was giving him updates on a venture in Mexico she and her husband were working on. The couple, we’ll call them Bob and Gabby, were relatively new to our gathering. However, they had a desire to go to Mexico for ministry. This was the update that Gabby was filling the pastor in on.
Gabby was from Mexico and had a heart for her home country and her husband, although from the States, also had a heart for Mexico. They were looking at properties down there that could accommodate the ministry, as well as Bob’s business…he was an electrician. They had a couple of options and Gabby was letting the pastor know of their progress and the decisions that had to be made. But, then I heard something that did not sit right with me.
Now, I was not really eavesdropping…they were in the middle of a common room where we all gathered before the “service”. Nonetheless, I could hear bits and pieces, merely because of my proximity. I then heard her talk about deciding on what property and such, when the pastor interrupted her and told her, “Let Bob decide. He is your husband. He must make the decision.” When she began to try to explain, he interrupted her again, “He must decide.”
Gabby knew Mexico. She knew the land and the people. She was also a strong, intelligent, capable woman. She looked a little perplexed when the pastor insisted that all the decisions must be made by her husband. I am sure her husband trusted her in the dealings and they discussed these things together – it was not as if she was going gang-busters on a venture and leaving her husband in the dark. He was in full agreement with her, and doing what was within his own capabilities of what needed to be done in order to achieve their goal. Yet, the pastor insisted that she was to fully yield to her husband and acquiesce to only what he decides.
Well, not long after that conversation, perhaps in a matter of a few weeks, she left her husband. I can’t help but think that this male-centric manner of thinking pushed her to that decision. Did she leave him because she did not want to be married to the boss? I am not fully certain, but the timing seems very coincidental, to me.
Is that what God created woman for? Was she meant to be a silent side-kick, always ready to yield to the decisions or demands of men? Is the wife merely a “suitable help-meet”? Let me answer each of these questions…
Now, let’s see what that “suitable help-meet” thing really is.
In Ransomed Heart (ransomedheart.com/daily-reading/ezer-kenegdo) an excerpt from Wild at Heart is shared, explaining what we translate as “suitable help-meet”, comes from the Hebrew, ezer kenegdo. In my last blog, Mike Willingham showed some details concerning creation and God in Genesis 1 and how the Hebrew has more details than what we read in English. Now, here is another detail, concerning God’s creation of woman and who/what He intended her to be.
Eve is given to Adam as his ezer kenegdo—or as many translations have it, his “help meet” or “helper.” Doesn’t sound like much, does it? It makes me think of Hamburger Helper. But Robert Alter says this is “a notoriously difficult word to translate.” It means something far more powerful than just “helper”; it means “lifesaver.” The phrase is only used elsewhere of God, when you need him to come through for you desperately. “There is no one like the God of Jeshurun, who rides on the heavens to help you” (Deut. 33:26). Eve is a life giver; she is Adam’s ally. It is to both of them that the charter for adventure is given. It will take both of them to sustain life. And they will both need to fight together.
Eve is deceived . . . and rather easily, as my friend Jan Meyers points out. In The Allure of Hope, Jan says, “Eve was convinced that God was withholding something from her.” Not even the extravagance of Eden could convince her that God’s heart is good. “When Eve was [deceived], the artistry of being a woman took a fateful dive into the barren places of control and loneliness.” Now every daughter of Eve wants to “control her surroundings, her relationships, her God.” No longer is she vulnerable; now she will be grasping. No longer does she want simply to share in the adventure; now she wants to control it. And as for her beauty, she either hides it in fear and anger, or she uses it to secure her place in the world. “In our fear that no one will speak on our behalf or protect us or fight for us, we start to recreate both ourselves and our role in the story. We manipulate our surroundings so we don’t feel so defenseless.” Fallen Eve either becomes rigid or clingy. Put simply, Eve is no longer simply inviting. She is either hiding in busyness or demanding that Adam come through for her; usually, an odd combination of both. – excerpt from Wild At Heart
As I learn more of what scripture has to really say about these things, I am more and more convinced that men began to gear interpretations, words and rules in their favor, in order to rule and reign over women. Even the language used in teachings, makes Eve out to be the one who messed it all up and caused the fall of mankind. Well, even in English, we can see that Eve was not accountable…Adam was.
In the next post, we will examine that idea. With the help, once again, of my friend Mike, we will see how Adam was the accountable one and how the supposed curses really weren’t curses, at all. Future posts will show the women God used for His purposes, even leading above men. Hold tight…this is just starting to get interesting.