Jesus, sermon

Wisdom

David died and was buried in Jerusalem. 

So Solomon – not without drama (read the first chapter of 1 Kings) – sat on the throne; and his kingdom was firmly established. By firmly established the writer means he had killed all known threats to his reign.  (read chapter 2)

Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of his father David; but he was not unpolluted by his people, who sacrificed and offered incense at the high places even though they weren’t supposed to.  They did it because the temple had not yet been built and they had no where else to worship.  

If you know the history of Israel, you know it was a chronic problem this failure to tear down the Ashera poles and altars in the high places …

Nonetheless, when Solomon went to Gibeon (the highest of the high places) to sacrifice, the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Ask what I should give you.” 

Maybe it was the story of Aladdin or maybe it was because I grew up watching “I Dream of Jeannie,” but when I was a kid my sisters and I often supposed what we would wish for if we had 3 wishes.  Our first wishes were always for stuff, our second wishes were always for more stuff and our third wishes were always for 3 more wishes.

But Solomon was different.

He replied, “You have always been good to my dad because he yielded his heart to you; and you have kept him in your great and steadfast love; You’ve kept your promise to put one of his sons on his throne. And now you have made me king, though I am only a little child and I do not know how to go out or come in.   

Solomon was not literally a little child (like Josiah was when he took the throne at age 8), he was probably 20.  What he likely meant was that he was young and inexperienced and didn’t know a thing about governing.

“Therefore,” Solomon continued, “give me an understanding mind to govern your people, able to discern between good and evil.”

In his podcast last week, Scott Jones harkened this passage back to Genesis 3, and he wondered how God would have responded had A & E asked for knowledge instead of grabbing it, since He seems pleased with the request here.  

But this is different.

Solomon didn’t ask for knowledge of good and evil – that ship had sailed – he already knew all about evil.  He had likely seen the evil deeds inflicted upon his father by his brother Absalom; he had likely heard stories about the evil his father inflicted upon his mom’s first husband, Uriah. He didn’t ask for a knowledge of good and evil, he asked for the ability to discern between the two.

Knowledge = awareness of facts

Discernment = ability to judge them well

The second big difference has to do with motive.  Adam and Eve bit into forbidden knowledge because they wanted to be like God.  We all want to be like Jesus, but this was different, they wanted to be on a par with God.

Solomon wanted the ability to judge between good and evil so he could govern well. He knew he was out of his league with this kingship, he knew he had big shoes to fill and he wanted to make his dad proud.  He wanted to make the Lord proud, too.

So he asked for the one thing he knew he needed in order to do a good job.

James understood the importance of asking with the right motive. He wrote: “You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you do ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”

It wasn’t so much Solomon’s request for the ability to discern between good and evil that pleased God, it was the motive behind it.  He didn’t want wisdom so he could show off it off, he wanted it so he could do right by God’s people.

“Because you have asked this,” God replied, “and have not asked for yourself long life or riches, or for the life of your enemies, I will indeed give you a wise and discerning mind.”

Wiser than anyone’s before you and after you.

I remember laying in my trundle bed one Sunday night after hearing this story in church.  It must have been before I was six because we stopped going to church when I was six. My older sister asked me what I’d rather have – riches or wisdom.

“Wisdom,” I said, seemed like a no-brainer.

I was surprised when she said, “Not me, I’d rather have riches.”

Had she not listened to the end of the story?

To Solomon God said, “I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honor all your life; no other king shall compare with you.

And.

 If you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, I will also lengthen your life.”

If you walk in my ways, if you keep my commandments…

If you continue to take me seriously.

When Solomon awoke he realized it had been a dream.

He returned to Jerusalem, stood before the ark of the Lord’s covenant and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. Then he gave a feast for all his court.

It wasn’t long before the Lord gave him an opportunity to use his newly bestowed wisdom.

You probably know the story well.

Two prostitutes came and stood before him.

They both lived in the same house.

They each had a son within 3 days of one another.

During the night one son died because his mother laid on him. 

The mother of the dead son switched the babies.

“Did not,” she said.

“Did so.”

And so they argued before the king.

“Bring me a sword,” he said.

So they brought him a sword. 

“Cut the living child in two and give half to one and half to the other.”

The woman whose son was alive was deeply moved out of love for her son and said to the king, “Please, my lord, give her the living baby! Don’t kill him!”

But the other said, “Neither I nor you shall have him. Cut him in two!”

Then Solomon gave his ruling: “Give the living baby to the first woman. Do not kill him; she is his mother.”

When all Israel heard the verdict the king had given, they held the king in awe, because they saw that he had wisdom from God to administer justice.

Hooray.

Wisdom discerns between those who would destroy life and those who would protect it.   Wisdom discerns between selfishness and sacrifice.

And Wisdom sides with life.

Psalm 111:10 reads, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;”

Proverbs 9:10 says it, too:  “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”

Wisdom begins with the fear of the Lord.   So what, exactly, is the fear of the Lord? 

Rudy is one of the hub’s favorite movies so we watch it from time to time.  You know Rudy?  True story of a young man whose dream was to play football for Notre Dame in spite of having no real athletic ability, size or academic talent.

He studied hard at a community college, prayed hard, kept applying to Notre Dame and kept getting rejected.

He finally asked his mentor, Father Cavenaugh, for help. He wanted to know what else he could do besides study and pray. He wanted to know the mind of God.

The priest’s response says it all; “Son, in 35 years of religious studies I’ve come up with only two hard, incontrovertible facts:  There is a God and I’m not Him.”

That’s the fear of the Lord.

Realizing that, “I’m not Him,”

I’m not smarter than He is, I’m not kinder than He is, I’m not more compassionate than He is, I don’t care more than He does.

I don’t care nearly as much as He does.

Once we realize that – as Solomon did, we begin to depend on His intelligence, His goodness and His compassion and we ask for it in service to others.

The lectionary’s alternative OT text for today is Proverbs 9:1-6

Wisdom has built her house,
she has hewn her seven pillars.
She has slaughtered her animals, she has mixed her wine,
she has also set her table.
She has sent out her servant-girls, she calls
from the highest places in the town,
“You who are simple, turn in here!”
To those without sense she says,
“Come, eat of my bread
and drink of the wine I have mixed.
Lay aside immaturity, and live,
and walk in the way of insight.”

Okay first of all, wisdom is a woman.

I love how she has prepared a sacrifice and set out wine.  It ties in so well with our gospel.

“Come eat,” she says to the simple.

None of us has to has remain a fool because we are all invited to eat at Wisdom’s table.

But we must eat.  It’s not enough to just come and admire her beautiful china or read her beautifully crafted words, we must ingest what she has to offer.  We must chew and swallow and let it become part of our cells.

And we must be careful because folly is a woman, too.

Further down in Proverbs 9 it says,

Folly is an unruly woman who is simple and knows nothing.
She sits at the door of her house,
on a seat at the highest point of the city,
calling out to those who pass by,
who go straight on their way,
“Let all who are simple come to my house!”
To those who have no sense she says,
“Stolen water is sweet;
food eaten in secret is delicious!”
But little do they know that the dead are there,
that her guests are deep in the realm of the dead.

Welcome to the Hotel California. You can check out any time you like but you can never leave.

Sounds like pornography – sounds like an addiction to anything.

Both wisdom and folly call to the those who have no sense but one serves up Christ and the other serves up contraband.

If you need help discerning between the two, do as James advised when he wrote, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”

We can confidently say that a prayer request for wisdom is one to which God will always reply, “Yes!” There’s no, “no” or “wait” when it comes to a request fro wisdom, it’s always “Yes, yes, yes!, Right now!”

Because Wisdom keeps us out of trouble. Which brings us to our epistle.

Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil. So do not be foolish. Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit, as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts, giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.   Ephesians 5:15-20

When I was in college, my heart was broken by a young man who was not wise, who was not filled with the Spirit.  I’m talking debauchery.  

So my friend Sandy took me and my broken heart to the Peanut Barrel – some of you MSU alums might remember it – to get us drunk.  I wasn’t much of a drinker, but I do remember thinking, after a couple glasses of wine, “John who?”  And for one glorious moment I thought I had discovered the key to not feeling the hurt – just keep drinking wine. Every day, until time has healed the wound.

But then wisdom spoke up and said, “Yea, but then you’ll have to deal with a drinking problem.”

Dang it.  That’s wisdom for you, always calling us back to the high road.  Always keeping us from being a fool.

And wisdom is right, of course.  Psalms, hymns and gratitude are much better than wine at comforting a broken heart.

God has always given wisdom lavishly.  Even in the midst of their obstinance, God, through the mouth of Isaiah, promised the voice of wisdom to the ancient Israelites. 

 “Whether you turn to the right or to the left,” He said, “your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’”

Likewise, Jesus promised His disciples that the Holy Spirit would guide them into all truth.

In our gospel reading He said, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

If we tie the gospel reading to the OT texts, the bread He’s talking about here is wisdom.  

And the wisdom that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.

“Man shall not live on bread alone,” Jesus said to the tempter after 40 days in the wilderness, “but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

When He said that He was quoting Deuteronomy 8:3 which says: “He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.”

Manna was food for the body.

Jesus is food for the spirit.

I like how Thomas Nash put it in in his book entitled Worthy is the Lamb: “As the bread-like manna sustained ancient Israel en route to their earthly Promised Land, so too, Christ, the ‘true bread from heaven’  leads us to our eternal paradise … Thus Jesus became not only the perfect Passover Sacrifice for our sins, but also the perfect Passover meal to sustain us spiritually unto heaven.”

At the churches I’ve attended in the past, the Lord’s Supper is celebrated only once a month, but I like our weekly eucharist.  I need weekly sustenance for the long, hard journey to heaven.

I’ll end with a quote that Scott Jones shared on the podcast I mentioned earlier.  It’s taken from Dale Bruner’s commentary on the book of John.

“The sacraments are not a second way of salvation, they are simply Jesus’ one way of salvation scaled down, physicalized, individualized, simplified and concretized [in other words, they are object lessons]. From heart to hands, from soul to body, from group to individual, Jesus was eminently wise when he instituted the sacraments for His disciples.  He knew that we need not only spiritual things but also physical things in order to grasp Him more easily, to come to Him more specifically.”

As I listened to the quote, I thought of all of us, lined up in the aisle, our attention focused for the moment on receiving Christ.

I like the image I saw of us – young and old – simply participating in the weekly reminder that Jesus is our spiritual strength; the weekly reminder that salvation is a gift, placed in our hands, not taken.

“Come,’ wisdom says, “eat.”

Amen.

#SundaysSermon

Lectionary readings:

1 Kings 2:10-12; 3:3-14
Psalm 111
Ephesians 5:15-20
John 6:51-58

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Jesus, Light

Pleasant Fiction & Simple Wisdom

I appreciate flowery phrases as much as anyone else – especially in poetry and memoirs. But when it comes to exegesis, or any discussion of God for that matter, I prefer simple wisdom. Partly because much of the flowery discourse penned by academics in lofty places is more pleasant fiction than solid truth.

Jesus kept it simple.

Don’t get me wrong, Jesus can be flowery. He is the Genius behind every beautiful phrase that has ever been crafted. But when He was living among us, when He was Jesus in the streets, He imparted simple, meaningful wisdom.

He said things like this:

“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?  If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”  – Matthew 7

Now those are words you can use.

Back when I was ministering to practical, up-close and personal needs on a daily basis, someone gave me a sweet book – a compilation of stories told by Mother Teresa entitled Reaching Out In Love.

Her short, simple stories do so much more for my heart than flowery words ever will.

“I could not have been a Missionary of Charity,” she told her Sisters, “if I had passed by when I saw and smelt that woman who was eaten up by rats – her face, her legs. But I returned, picked her up and took her to a hospital. If I had not, the Society would have died. Feelings of repugnance are human but if I see the face of Jesus in his most distressing disguise, I will be holy.” – p. 25

Flowery phrases cause me to sigh, to hit a like button, to admire the skill of the author. But simple words telling of great love make me long to get back out there on the streets and take someone’s face in my hands.

Here’s what Mother said to those who offered to help her in her mission:

“A clean heart can see God. And we should see God in each other. This is what Jesus taught us: ‘Love one another. You did it to me. That small thing, you did it to me.'”

“We are not social workers. We may be doing social work in the eyes of some people, but we do it for Jesus.” Then she gave this example:

“One day, one of our Sisters picked up a man from the street, and in lifting him up, his skin remained on the footpath. The sister took him home but it took her a long time to care for him, for his body was full of worms. After two or three hours, he died with the most wonderful smile on his face. I asked that Sister, ‘What did you feel when you were touching that body? When you were touching so closely?’

She said: ‘Mother, I’ve never before felt the presence of Christ, but really, really I was sure, I was touching his body.'” – p. 26

Just wondering this Friday afternoon what lofty, flowery words those towery guys would pen if they were to touch His body that closely.

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And longing this Friday afternoon to see a wonderful smile on a wonderful face.

 

 

 

 

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Food, life

The Making of Huevos Rancheros

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As I was whipping up a simple guacamole about an hour ago – red onion, avocado, lime juice, cilantro, salt, pepper and the slightest wisp of cumin – I started thinking about people who have nerve. Nerve has been off and on my mind since it arrived in my inbox this morning. From WordPress. To prompt me.

I kept thinking about nerve as I followed the making of the guac with the making of a 3:00-in-the-afternoon huevos rancheros. My first meal of the day. And you are correct if you are guessing that I am not yet dressed.

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Ordinarily I would grate the cheese directly onto some tortilla chips and then melt the cheese/toast the chips in the oven, but I’m lazy today so I grated it directly into the egg pan. So as not to dirty a cookie sheet. I agree, I need to stop being lazy and clean my stove.

Anyway, I was thinking about a young woman I met a few weeks ago.

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I was hoping the cheddar would become crisp – like grated Parmesan in the fry pan does – but it didn’t. So I just globbed it on.

The young woman, upon learning that I am an abstinence speaker, asked how long I have been speaking on the subject. I told her I started my ministry 13 years ago, and that I was speaking on the subject long before that as the director of a crisis pregnancy center.

I’m not sure if any of my answer registered, because she then asked, “Have you ever heard of Pam Stenzel?”

I smiled and nodded yes.

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Make sure you keep the eggs over easy so the velvety, buttery yolks run onto the chips below.

Her  question reminded me of all the times during the twelve years I was directing the pregnancy help center, appearing in promotional videos for Right to Life and writing letters to the editor on the subject of abortion, that people, upon discovering the work I was doing, would ask, “Have you ever heard of Roe v. Wade?”

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Put a little jarred salsa on there. Organic.

The young woman proceeded to tell me all about abstinence; all the things she tells the high school cheerleaders she coaches.

I smiled and nodded and, when I could quickly squeeze a word in, said, “They are fortunate to have you.”

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Now pile on the guac you just made and sprinkle a little extra cilantro on top. Because you can never have too much cilantro. Just smile and nod you cilantro haters.

Why do people do that?

Is it just plain old nerve?

Or do they think they are always the smartest, most well-informed person in the room? Even when there are people in the room who have been devoting their lives to whatever-the-subject since they were in diapers?

Or do I just look like I’m a moron?

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See what I mean about the yokes running? Ya’ gotta’ have that. The hub doesn’t like runny yokes. His loss.

Please God, don’t let me ever be so eager to show off what little I know (I do hope I’ve aged beyond that) that I cause someone I meet to nod and smile.

#nerve

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church nonsense, Light

Horny, Ornery & Honorable

When it comes to how they relate to women, the Bible portrays at least three types of men:  the horny, the ornery and the honorable.

The ornery are know-it-alls who have no use for the wisdom of their wives.  They see them as mere adornments.  Take Xerxes for example. You can read all about him in the book of Esther.  You can also read about him in history books.  He was extremely tall and he came from an extremely brutal lineage.

The book of Esther opens with a pair of massive parties, thrown by the king.  All the men of Xerxes’s kingdom were invited to attend – presumably so he could get them onboard with his plans to invade Greece.

The party dripped with opulence, alcohol and testosterone.

In the middle of one of the feasts, Xerxes had an impulse to show off his amazingly beautiful wife, Vashti.  He called for her to come and parade herself in front of him and all his drunken guests, wearing her crown.  She refused to come because a.) She was busy hosting a party of her own and couldn’t exactly leave her guests, and b.)  It was in poor taste.

Some commentaries say she was to come wearing only her crown, but I don’t think so.  Even fully clothed it would have been improper for her to parade herself in front of the cat calls of a bunch of drunken men.

Scripture doesn’t say in what manner she refused the invitation – perhaps it was tactful, perhaps it was not.  But it does say that Xerxes made an angry, drunken, impulsive decision based on the advice of his seven drunken advisors.   A decision that Scripture hints he may have regretted (Esther 2:1).

Unfortunately, guys like Xerxes don’t admit they made a mistake, and they don’t act against the approval of their buddies.  His buddies wanted him to set an example for all the men of the kingdom by subduing his wife right off the throne.

So he did.

He booted Vashti and replaced her with another beautiful ornament.  His choice of a new queen had brains as well as beauty. If you know the story of Esther, you know that she was really God’s choice and that God chose her for a specific reason.

You also know that Xerxes’, evil advisor, Haman, hated the Jews.  So with his slimy, slithering, forked tongue, he manipulated Xerxes into issuing a decree to destroy them.  The decree was signed and sealed – no taking it back – and the annihilation of the Jews was imminent.

But yay for God!

He used Esther to outsmart Haman, save His people, and keep Xerxes from doing something very regrettable.  She was the kind of divine help Genesis 2 is talking about.

Xerxes was a lame and impulsive know-it-all.  The kind who will take the advice of his buddies without consulting his queen.*

Have you known anyone like that?  I have.

Some churches are full of men like that.

Some churches insist upon men being like that.

Some churches teach that Adam’s sin was in listening to his wife.  And they extrapolate that into teaching that godly men are the head of their homes and they make all the decisions and they don’t listen to their wives. Ever.

But not so fast. In Genesis 21:12 God told Abraham to listen to his wife.

There was nothing wrong with Eve speaking and Adam listening to her.

The problem was that Adam listened to his wife in general, the problem was that he chose to listen to her even though what she said was in direct opposition to what God had specifically told him.

In the NIV, verse 17 reads, “Because you listened to you wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you…” I think God emphasized the “you”.

Remember, Eve did not get the command first hand, Adam did.

It’s time to stop telling men to “man up” when manning up means ignoring the wisdom of their wives. Men feel pressure from their buddies or from their church to get control of their wives when deep down they know they can’t and shouldn’t. But the pressure is there, so they pretend in public and then they sometimes turn to pornography in private.  Phone sex girl is not going to give anyone a hard time – unless some poor soul pays her to do so.  But that’s a post for another day.

– excepted from my Bible study © 2010

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life

She Was a Beautiful Girl

“You are remarkably lucid for being high,” I said, noticing her pupils.

“Oh, yeah,” she said.  “I’m normal when I’m high.  It’s when I’m not high, when I’m desperate for a fix, that I act crazed.”

She was a college student, home for the summer, in for a free pregnancy test and very concerned about the effects of heroin on a fetus.

We both let out a sigh of relief when the test turned out negative.

“Where do you see yourself in ten years,” I asked.

“Between the heroin and the Hepatitis C, I’ll be dead in ten years,” she answered.

“What’s so great about heroin that you are willing to die for it?”

“It’s not that the heroin is so great, it’s that the withdrawal is so horrible.  It can take 18 months to get the effects out of your system.  I’ve been in rehab three times and it’s just too hard.  I won’t try again.”

She didn’t think she got the Hep C from a dirty heroin needle, she thought she contracted it from an unsanitary tattoo needle.  Her plan was to stay high until she died.  In the meantime she was in college studying interior design.

I asked her how a talented, intelligent girl from the ‘burbs, with a loving family, ended up addicted to heroin.

She said when she was in seventh grade she learned that marijuana is a gateway drug.  She didn’t believe it.  So she and her friends tried it.  Before long they got ahold of some that was laced with LSD.  From there it was a short progression to heroin.  And heroin is a powerful addiction. (As I told you in I Still Break Her Heart, when I was a social worker I saw moms choose heroin over their children every time.  Not because they loved heroin more, but because it takes that strong a hold.)

She said I could tell her story and I do.   I tell it often.

I usually ask for feedback after I speak to a group of kids.  What did you like?  What did you learn?  What was helpful?

Most of them say they liked the stories best.

True stories.  Cautionary tales.  From my years as a social worker and pregnancy center director.

It takes 25 years for the human brain to develop completely.  The last thing to develop is the ability to look ahead and understand the long term consequences of your actions.  That’s probably why they like the stories best.  It helps to know how things play out.

And that’s why God gave them parents, teachers, pastors, principals, coaches, mentors, big brothers and big sisters.

So tell your cautionary tales.  And if you don’t have any, tell mine.

Kids need to know.

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faith, Light, war on women

Help Meet

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I had the word “helpmate” thrown at me the other day by a woman who was schooling me in my “biblical” role as a woman.  I did not bother to debate her, however, since I had already laid out my viewpoint and she was deaf to it.  Any further pearls tossed her way would likely be trampled.

But, since the word “helpmate” is still being used, erroneously, let’s deconstruct:

The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone.  I will make a helper suitable for him.”   Genesis 2:18

The word for helper here is the Hebrew word ‘ezer.  It is the same word translated as help in the following Psalms:

Psalm 33:20:  We wait in hope for the Lord;
he is our help and our shield.

Psalm 70:5  But as for me, I am poor and needy;
come quickly to me, O God.
You are my help and my deliverer;
Lord, do not delay.

Psalm 121:1-2  I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

Psalm 124:8  Our help is in the name of the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

Did you catch that the word implies divine help?

God is our helper, and He is certainly not our servant.  So when did we twist divine help into subservient help?

Some translations call woman a “suitable” helper; King James calls her a “help meet”.

The Hebrew word translated “suitable” or “help meet” is neged.  The definition:  “in front of, in the sight or presence of, before the eyes of, face to face”.

In other words, woman is divine help that man can see.  She is face-to-face help he can look in the eye; divine help that is standing right in front of him.  Scripture has more to say about that, but I’ll save it for another post.

In the meantime, I like Rachel Held Evans’ description of the kind of help she is to her husband because it describes my hubby and me:

The teaching that men are to be the “spiritual leaders” of their homes is found nowhere in Scripture, and yet I—along with far too many young evangelical women—spent hours upon hours fretting over this in college, worrying I’d never find a guy who was more knowledgeable about the Bible than I, who was always more emotionally connected to God than I,  who was better at leading in the church than I, and who consistently exhibited more faithfulness and wisdom than I. (In fact, under this paradigm, I came to see many of my gifts as liabilities, impediments to settling down with a good “spiritual leader”!)

Well guess what. I never found such a person. I never found a spiritual “leader.” Instead, I found a spiritual companion to travel with me on the journey of faith, for better or worse, in good times and bad, in times of spiritual wealth and in times of spiritual poverty.  Dan isn’t expected to always be the strong one while I am always the weak one. Instead, we cheer each other on, help each other up, and challenge each other to do better. Sometimes we walk side by side, moving along at a quick pace. Sometimes we help each other over boulders and fallen trees. Sometimes I’m leading the way; sometimes Dan is. Sometimes I carry him and sometimes he carries me. The journey of faith is far too treacherous and exciting and beautiful to spend it looking at the back of another person’s head. Jesus leads us down the path, and we tackle it together, one step at a time.   (You can read the rest of her post here.)

The church has been promulgating an erroneous understanding of the role of women for far too long, but thank God He is calling many of us to take a fresh look at the Scriptures.  So look, and before you utter the phrase “help mate” or “help meet”, understand that it means divine, face to face help.  Otherwise, a whole lot of men, marriages and churches will continue to miss out on the divine wisdom God has given them.  And that would be a pity.

© The Reluctant Baptist, 2014

 

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Light

Wise Bestowment

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For me, “The Daily Post” is becoming “The Daily Opportunity to Procrastinate.”  And I appreciate it.  Here’s today’s question:

You’ve been granted the power to predict the future! The catch — each time you use your power, it costs you one day (as in, you’ll live one day less). How would you use this power, if at all?

Knowing the future would certainly have its benefits.  I would know how much money I need to save for retirement and how much I could blow on travel.  If I had known that my dad was going to die suddenly, I could have told him one more time how much I love and admire him.

But I trust the Father’s wise bestowment.  I trust He gives us the knowledge we need when we need it.

Corrie ten Boom said it best in The Hiding Place:

But that night as he [Father] stepped through the door I burst into tears, “I need you!” I sobbed.  “You can’t die!  You can’t!”

   …Father sat down on the edge of the narrow bed.  “Corrie,” he began gently, “when you and I go to Amsterdam – when do I give you your ticket?”

   I sniffed a few times, considering this,”Why,  just before we get on the train.”

   “Exactly.  And our wise Father in heaven knows when we’re going to need things, too.  Don’t run out ahead of Him, Corrie.  When the time comes that some of us will have to die, you will look into your heart and find the strength you need – just in time.”

 

Meatier post on Monday.  Or Tuesday.  Have a great weekend!

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