Lucia's Blog: IN THE GARDEN: SHE SHALL BE CALLED WOMAN - PART THREE - SUBMISSION
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Isaiah 55:8-9

Isaiah 55:8-9

Saturday, March 21, 2015

IN THE GARDEN: SHE SHALL BE CALLED WOMAN - PART THREE - SUBMISSION


"Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening." 
I Peter 3:1-6


WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT SUBMISSION?

There is a real war going on, a war against the Bible home.  It is a war fought for supposed equality and gender roles, Bible submission and, of course, Bible femininity.  Most of feminism mocks God like Goliath mocked David.  It looks like most of Israel is hiding from Goliath again today.  I have to be vocal here about these things and not just stick my head in the sand. It is happening now!  So, I challenge you to dig into the Scriptures with me and find the definitions and what the Word of God has to say about submission for wives and Bible headship.  My goal is to clarify some of these errors with the hope of changing that perception.

In today's feminist culture, the word "submission" has a bad reputation.  When our rebellious society hears "wives submit to your husband," they immediately get annoyed.  They tell us that submission to a man is demeaning.  They say it is a weakness.  They are in rebellion.  But against who are they rebelling?  I am sorry, but many of my sisters in Christ have headship upside down.  Just like the world, they seem to forget their obligation to submit to their husbands and respect their decisions.  Moreover, some husbands demand submission from their wives in obedience to the Lord but do not love their wives as God commands, nor do they model faithfulness or devotion to the Lord.  They demand sacrifice when they themselves will not sacrifice.  

I would like to start with the famous words of Ephesians 5:22-33.
"Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.  Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.  In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.  For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. 'Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.'  This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband."

Our text emphasizes the "submission" of wives to their husbands and the "love" of husbands toward their wives.  The roles of men and women are clear in the Scriptures from the very beginning of creation.  It is not a small thing that the apostle Paul inspired by the Holy Spirit reinforced the roles and relationship of husbands and wives by portraying them in the relationship between Jesus and His church.  

First, let us clarify what "submission" is not.  Submission is not defined as accepting abuse.  It does not mean that the wife is inferior.  Submission is not degrading.  It is not a sign of weakness, nor is it demeaning.  As a matter of fact, submission is a sign of strength.  Submission requires a great deal of strength and character.  Submission is that spirit of meekness and respect a wife has toward her husband.  Moreover, it is an attitude of the heart that is willing to help each other to live a more satisfying, fruitful, content and peaceful life together.  Problems and disagreements between husband and wife are inevitable, but that does not imply that a wife has permission to sin and take matters into her own hands.  Let us take heed here!  When a wife has the right attitude of heart, a submissive heart, a heart of respect for her husband, any problem or conflict in the marriage is more likely to be resolved harmoniously.  Such a heart leaves no room for unpleasant quarreling, bitterness, and resentment.  

There is a married couple that the Bible speaks of more than any other, Abraham and Sarah.   They were descendants of Noah's son, Shem.  They were highly favored in the eyes of God. God spoke to them regularly.  Consider what God said about them:
 "And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great so that you will be a blessing.  I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." Genesis 12:2-3
This special couple was happily married for many years.  God blessed them and gave them great prosperity.  He promised to bless all their descendants greatly.  Notice how strongly God describes Sarah in Scripture in the New Testament as the model wife for us to follow:

"Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening."  I Peter 3:1-6

This text must be of great importance to us, wives when it comes to submission.  It instructs us, wives, to submit willingly to our husbands.  Ironically, this is an unpopular and controversial command in our culture today.  Notice that although "holy women who hoped in God" in verse 5 is mentioned, Sarah is the only one named.  Also, in the text, we are called Sarah's daughters if we do well, what is right or good in other translations.  The "right" thing, she was praised for, was submitting to Abraham, her husband; treating him with respect and honor without being intimidated and afraid to do it.  Sarah called her husband "lord."  Not that long ago in our culture, godly women called their husbands "mister."  Mister and Mistress were titles akin to lord and lady.  They were titles of nobility that reflected the noble attitudes that our forefathers understood.  They were a recognition of the order of authority, and they were taught by Abraham and Sarah’s example.  The fact that we have lost that custom should alarm us.

Let us take a moment and consider this holy woman's great story:  

She is first introduced to us as "Sarai" in Genesis 12.  She was Abram's wife and half-sister. Although they had the same father, they had different mothers.  It was common in those days to marry those who were closely related.  It was not forbidden during the Patriarchal Age.  Later on in the Law of Moses, God did forbid it.  This couple left their home in Haran and went to live in Canaan, this being the land which God had promised to give them.  Soon after they arrived in Canaan, a famine struck the land, and God directed them to go to Egypt.  Although Sarah was 65 years old, she was still beautiful enough to attract a man's attention.  Notice what the Bible tells us:

"When he was about to enter Egypt, he said to Sarai his wife, 'I know that you are a woman beautiful in appearance, and when the Egyptians see you, they will say, This is his wife.' Then they will kill me, but they will let you live.  Say you are my sister, that it may go well with me because of you, and that my life may be spared for your sake.' When Abram entered Egypt, the Egyptians saw that the woman was very beautiful  And when the princes of Pharaoh saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh. And the woman was taken into Pharaoh's house."' Genesis 12:11-15.

The Egyptian people were under the control of a totalitarian system in which the Pharaoh was acknowledged as the superior lord of the land.  What this means is that he had absolute and complete control over everyone and everything in his realm.  His word was literally his law.  It implies that Pharaoh had all right and power, under their written system of law, to kill anyone he wished for whatever reason or none at all.  It was not uncommon for men with such power to take any beautiful woman he wished and had her husband killed.  This is awful!  So it was not unreasonable for Abram to expect that his wife, Sarai, would be taken into Pharaoh's house.  They only way that seemed logical to avoid such situation was not to go to Egypt, but God had asked him to go there.

"And for her sake he dealt well with Abram; and he had sheep, oxen, male donkeys, male servants, female servants, female donkeys, and camels.  But the Lord afflicted Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram's wife. So Pharaoh called Abram and said, 'What is this you have done to me? Why did you not tell me that she was your wife? Why did you say, 'She is my sister,' so that I took her for my wife? Now then, here is your wife; take her, and go.'  And Pharaoh gave men orders concerning him, and they sent him away with his wife and all that he had."'  Genesis 12:16-20

Later, in Genesis 20, we notice that Abram was instructing Sarai again to lie to Abimelech king of Gerar, saying that she was Abram's sister.  Isn't it amazing that Sarai does as Abram says?  It was wrong for Abraham to ask Sarah his wife to lie, telling a half-truth.  But we can be sure that Sarai would never have wanted to be in such a challenging and dangerous situation.  But still, it is remarkable that she obeyed Abram, and God protected her.

Sometimes it 's hard to trust the Lord.  It is undeniable that if Abram had resisted Pharaoh, the king might have attempted to kill him.  Just imagine if Abraham had been killed, as he expected it to be because he was Sarah's husband.  Don't you think that her situation would have been worse? Remember what he said to her in Genesis 12:13, 
"Say you are my sister, that it may go well with me because of you, and that my life may be spared for your sake."

Although God did not tell us what He thought of Abraham's stratagem, it is evident that He preserved this godly couple and continued to bless them.  And because of Sarah's righteous obedience to her husband, Abraham, she was praised and presented to us as a godly role model to all Christian women throughout all generations.

It is true that women in our culture disagree about the real meaning of submission.  There is nothing that makes feminists madder than the idea of a woman willingly submitting to her husband; that is being under the authority of a man.  It is infuriating to feminist women.  Even for many Christian women, the idea of wives submitting to their husbands is not a very welcome or acceptable one.

Some Evangelical feminists say that what Ephesians 5 tells women is not to try to rule over husbands but rather to share equal status with them, telling men to do the same.  But the good news is that this is not what Ephesians 5 is telling us to do. Paul is teaching these Ephesian women to correct their sinful practices and impulses in their relationship toward their husbands.  At no time is the apostle Paul saying to stop recognizing gender distinctions or to share the role of leadership equally in the home and the church.  Rather, Paul is saying, 
"Wives submit to your husbands" and "husbands love your wives."

From the beginning, God's intention was for women to submit to male leadership in the home as well as in the church.  But God also intended for men to lead their wives with love, honor, and respect, putting her needs above his own since she is the weaker vessel.  Submitting and the fear of God go hand in hand.  The fear of God is central to submission and is its most important principle.  Submission will yield voluntarily in love.  When we place Genesis 1-3 beside Ephesians 5, we see that God's Word is not teaching that gender roles are the result of the fall but rather His design from the beginning.  Christ did not come to eliminate gender distinctions but rather to repair and restore them so that they might work in such a way as to reveal His glory.  Therefore, wives are to submit to their husbands, not by force, but willingly instead of taking all matters into their own hands both in the home and in the church.  Then, of course, husbands are to love their wives, leading with grace.

Our generation habitually makes all kinds of excuses.  We have forced ourselves to invent all kinds of exceptions when it comes to submission.  We simply don't like it.  Submission is against the modern nature.  For a woman having to do what her husband thinks is best or having to do what she doesn't want to do, is not very appealing.  It is true that most of us don't like anyone telling us what to do, period.  It is a real and ugly fact.  We want to be our own boss and do whatever we think is right. Unfortunately, that is our nature but it ought not to be.  We are here to please God in doing His will and not our own will.  Let us take heed!

Frankly, submission is hard because we all have been brainwashed by a "feminist worldview" one way or another, but we must work hard at it if we want to be saved.  We must remember that it is not our opinion that matters.  It is God's opinion that matters and nothing else!  The Bible is crystal clear about wives submitting to their husbands.  This is what God demands and requires of us, wives.  Let us consider other Scriptures besides I Peter 3 and Ephesians 5:22-24 that exhort us to submit to our husbands and in some ways to all male authority.
"Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord."  Colossians 3:18
"Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet."  I Timothy 2:11-12
Let us keep in mind that a woman's submission to God is the first step in her submission to her husband.  She must not resist God's will, His commands or direction.  

The Paradox of Submission:

Every woman I know struggles with submission.  It is a fact that we all are feminists at heart going back to Eve.  We want to be independent.  That is the way we are, but it is not the way God made us.

The Bible is full of paradoxes:  the last shall be first.  The greatest of all is the servant of all.  If you lose your life, you will find your life. Submission is another one of these paradoxes.

Many think that submission implies weakness, being a doormat.  In fact, it is just the opposite. Why?  Because it demands great strength and character.  It is difficult!  It is not the weak women who submit respectfully but rather the strong women.  Do not get me wrong here!  In submission, we will have strength because when we obey God, we find favor with Him.  Notice what the Bible has to say:
"In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength."  Isaiah 30:15
"Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love."  Psalm 33:18
One of the reasons submission is so hard for women is because they want to be the ones in control.  So they believe that when they submit they are renouncing their power, making them feel as if they are losing their influence.  In fact, submission gives us great influence (because is legitimate influence), elevating us in the eyes of our husbands, bringing contentment and satisfaction to both. One great example of this great and good influence of wives over their husbands is found in I Peter 3:1-2,
"Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct."  

Our hope must be that of winning our husbands when they are in any kind of error.  Our primary motive must never be that of manipulating but rather in submitting to our husbands as unto the Lord.  This is simply obeying God. Why?  Because submission is simply an act of obedience toward God and His rule.  This is how we show our obedience and hope in Him.  Nothing else but submission to His will allows Him to make all things work for our own good.  Our hope is not in our husbands because they will make mistakes even when they are mature and godly.  Our hope must be in God because He is our Supreme Ruler.  He never makes mistakes.  He never fails us.  

This leads me to the following questions:  Is submission a sign of strength or weakness?  In what areas as a wife do you need to become more submissive to your husbands?  Of course, you must first submit to God and His authority.  Is submission hard to practice and obey in your walk with Christ? Does your submission show your faith in God? 

What Does it Mean to "Be Subject"?
"Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands."  
Although submission is hard for many, God in His everlasting Word instructs wives how to be submissive to their husbands.  God's will is for wives to submit to their husbands' will.  In a few words, you as a wife must comply with your husband's plan of action, rather than resisting it and trying to execute yours alone.

Suppose your husband tells you one day that he wants to start having a daily devotional Bible reading in the morning rather than in the evening.  Let's say you refuse to do this because you are not a morning person, and you resist change no matter what it is.  You simply like your routine.

Now you have here two ways of action.  One is not to care and do nothing about it, making your husband have to repeat the same request until he may become a little cross.  He may tell you, "I want you to get up now!"  This, of course, will provoke you into feeling sour and resentful.  When you refuse to submit willingly to him, you are in the position of having to obey.  Most of us, women, hate this.  Why?  Simply because we don't much like to be told what to do.  So what happens when we refuse to submit?  We find ourselves in the role of a child:  we are brought to the point of obeying orders which are against our will.

However, it is vital that we not put ourselves in that position.  Why?  Because we do not want to submit or cooperate with our husbands.  Unfortunately, this kind of behavior forces our husbands to order us to do what we refused to do willingly earlier.  It becomes an unpleasant situation to be in!  This refusal to submit voluntarily must be avoided.  It is terrible for our marriages and our homes.

This being said regarding the first way of action, let us examine the second way of action.  It is the right and godly way of action:

Let's start with the same scenario.  Your husband wants everyone to start early with a devotional Bible reading.  And although you don't want to change the family schedule the way that your husband is directing everyone, but in obedience to the will of God, knowing that you should submit, you right away start thinking about how to make his instruction happen.  Now take notice of the most important part of this whole scenario:  she, the wife, starts thinking about how to follow her husband's instructions without hesitation and resistance.  Here, the wife is not in the position of doing her will against her husband's as in the first case.  Why?  Because she simply submitted to her husband's will.  She is now in the driver's seat with her husband.  She is being cooperative instead of resisting.  And this is precisely the right thing wives are supposed to do!  The wife is trying to accomplish what her husband wants or needs.

We are beginning to see what Bible submission looks like.  It is a wife making a choice not to resist or argue with her husband's will.  Arguing with her husband is not only an ungodly behavior but a terrible example to her children.  Although a wife's opinion on any matter might differ, she can still express it in a respectful and honoring manner without belittling confrontations.  Such discretion brings harmony and peace to the marriage and her family.  For her to express her opinions, advice and suggestions will always be a valuable aspect of the help she gives her husband as long as she is doing it with a meek and quiet spirit.  

My questions are:  Are you failing to submit to your husband and in which areas?  What can you do to be on board with your husband's wishes?  Are you going to resist and rebel or are you willing to do God's will by submitting to his headship?

How Can We Better Help Our Husbands Lead?

Although some wives don't have any problem with submitting to the headship of the husband, they often wish that their husbands would awaken and show some manifestation or indication of it. Women complain that no matter how hard they try to help the husbands acknowledge this responsibility or obligation, they still don't get it.  In fact, I have been asked by some, "How can I make my husband lead the way God has intended him to do?  It is an unbiblical question.   Why?  Simply, because you cannot force or make your husband lead.  But, you can help him be a leader by following him.  How can a wife help her husband be the leader?  By sincerely encouraging him to lead and then by following, respecting and honoring his headship/leadership.  Even when they are not leading in the best way. 

My next question, what if the husband is not governing right?  What if he is not leading in the right and best direction?  This is really difficult for wives to decide or establish.  Frankly, I have met some sisters who were sure they were wiser and godlier than their husbands.  They were very outspoken about this without any reservation whatsoever.  To be honest, I had my doubts even when I had never met their husbands.  Why?  Because to me, these sisters seemed arrogant and self-righteous.  It is sinful!  And they need to repent of this.

I am not going to deny that some women are more family oriented than their husbands are.   For example, a wife may take the time to instruct the children either in their education or Bible while the husband is at work all day.  She makes the best of her time for the sake of her children.  This is how she is helping him as a helper in the biblical sense of the word, not by taking the headship into her own hands but by merely helping him where there is a need.

So, my next question is:  How do we help our husbands consider God's will?  Here, we as wives must behave in a manner that is chaste and respectful even when the husband is not obeying the Lord the way he should.  As a matter of fact, a wife is called to behave in a chaste and respectful way in every circumstance of her life. 

A wife can respectfully ask her husband's opinion on any matter as long as she is doing it in a godly way.  On the other hand, when a wife assumes or undertakes the husband's leadership or headship, she is indisputably hindering him in his leadership.  Eventually, it destroys his confidence in his ability to lead.  Without a doubt, this can turn into "tearing her house down with her own hands." 
"The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish tears it down with her own hands."  Proverbs 14:1

You might be thinking, "Well certainly I'm the one taking the leadership!  My husband does not show any ability to lead!"  Frankly, that is not Biblical nor is it true.  The endpoint is that the husband is the head of the wife.  There is no other way!   He is given by God the position of leadership, period.   Even, when he appears not to be leading, he is still leading.  He is just leading poorly.  Here it gets dangerous for the strong, stubborn and assertive wife as she tends to make things much worse for him.  It will be a disaster for the marriage and the family. Why?  Because when the wife takes control, her husband's leadership and headship is distorted and abused.  This is not within God's created order.  It is a violation of His Word!

My next question will be, what if the husband is not a believer or Christian?  Is the wife commanded to submit to him?  Why not go to the source of all Truth and find the answer to this question?  Let us consider what I Peter 3 has to say concerning our manner of behavior toward the non-believer husbands.
"In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior."  I Peter 3:1-2.
We can well see that a wife's chaste and respectful behavior toward her husband who is not a believer can win him without a word; this being the right and godly way of action, the right strategy. I believe this can apply to all believing and non-believing husbands.  Our chaste and respectful behavior is not only right and godly, but also it is the only way we are going to win his love, respect, and trust as well as to encourage him to be godly.

We Christian women along with all Christian men well know that God created the heavens and the earth by His spoken Word.  Moreover, He was able to raise the dead back to life.  God can transform and regenerate the heart of man.  And there is no doubt in my heart that He, God, can change our husbands' hearts from glory to glory.  Do you doubt it?  

My question is, "do you find yourself manipulating your husband rather than encouraging him to lead, trusting God to refine and change his heart so that he may be godly?"


Why Do Women Take Matters Into Their Own Hands?

There is one part that is vital to the learning process of submission, and that is never to take matters into our own hands.  Even Sarah, who has been given to us in I Peter 3 as an example of submission, failed in this area of submission.  She suffered the consequences of such failure.  Let us go back and read the story in Genesis 15.  God made a covenant with Abram in which He promised his offspring (descendants) would be innumerable as the stars that he counted in the sky.  We are told that Abram believed God "and He reckoned it to him as righteousness."  However, there was a problem with this promise.  Sarai was barren.  She had not been able to conceive even after many years of being married to Abram.  And since she was barren, how was she going to be able to have that many descendants?  

Sarai's failure was to think she had found the answer to her problem when she told her husband, Abram, to go to her slave.  Without realizing it, she thought she would offer her slave Hagar to Abram so that she might obtain children through her.  In the Middle East, this was a common practice.  By having Hagar, her slave, conceive for her, this would legally make her child Sarai's. Thinking that this was the solution to her problem, she gave her slave to Abram.  Hagar did conceive a child.  Needless to say, this solution to her problem generated nothing but more trouble for Sarai. Why?  Because Sarai began treating Hagar with contempt; she was scornful.  It was evident that there was tension and trouble between the two.  Then later, when Hagar gave birth to his son, Ishmael, Sarai became jealous and treated her and the child harshly.  She said to Abraham, "Cast out this slave woman with her son, for the son of this slave woman shall not be heir with my son Isaac." And the thing was very displeasing to Abraham on account of his son."'  Genesis 21:8-14.  There was a strife between the two women and their sons.

Although Sarai knew God's plan and believed it, it is evident that she had trouble believing and trusting in God's promise.  That God was going to keep His promise without her, Sarai, taking matters into her own hands.  Her urging Abram to carry out her plan is similar to that of Adam and Eve back in the Garden:
"And to Adam he said, 'Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life."'  Genesis 3:17

It is indisputable that both of these husbands, Adam and Abram, got into trouble by letting their wives carry out their own plans.  Their failure was in listening to their wives' voices instead of God's voice and instruction.  The surprising thing is that both of these men were godly.

I am not saying that wives always lead their husbands astray nor am I saying that the text is saying that.  Moreover, I am not saying that the wife should never make suggestions and give advice to her husband at all.  On the contrary, one of the ways a wife can be a helper to her husband is to offer wise counsel.  But as wives who are respectful to their husbands, we need to be careful and not cross the line.  Remember that our words carry a lot of value and importance to our husbands.  You may not realize it, but we can influence our husbands a great deal to do good or evil.  This is true in both good and bad marriages.  So let us be careful and not destroy our homes with our own hands because we will have to give an account for this to God.

All this being said, let us be particularly careful about the manner in which we influence our husbands when he is making important decisions or choices.  Why?  Because this will change the future of our families drastically.  Why not fervently pray that God will give your husband enough wisdom and discernment that he may lead well, pleasing God and doing His perfect will?  Instead of trying to persuade or entice him to accept your point of view.  Why not encourage your husband by telling him that you are praying for him that the Lord may help him to lead the family in the best direction and make the right choices?  I assure you as a wife that this will be good and wise.

It is imperative for a wife to use discretion and wisdom when trying to give advice to her husband. She must keep in mind that it is God's will and not her will that she wants to be done.  We must remember that God has ordained for the husband to be the head of the family.  There is no other way!

Another example given in the Bible of a wife who also took matters into her own hands was Rebekah, the wife of Isaac, Sarah's son:
"And Isaac prayed to the Lord for his wife, because she was barren. And the Lord granted his prayer, and Rebekah his wife conceived. The children struggled together within her, and she said, 'If it is thus, why is this happening to me?' So she went to inquire of the Lord. And the Lord said to her, 'Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you shall be divided; the one shall be stronger than the other, the older shall serve the younger."'  Genesis 25:21-23.
God had made it clear to Rebekah that the younger twin, Jacob, would be his chosen, God's man. However, Jacob would need to be broken by God to fashion him into a great man, God's man.  
"When the boys grew up, Esau was a skillful hunter, a man of the field, while Jacob was a quiet man, dwelling in tents. Isaac loved Esau because he ate of his game, but Rebekah loved Jacob."  Genesis 25:27-28
Later in this chapter, we are told that Esau sold his birthright for a bowl of lentil soup to Jacob, his brother.  In the book of Hebrews, we are told what God thought of this act, and of Esau as well:
"Lest there be any fornication, or profane person, as Esau, who for one mess of meat sold his own birthright."  Hebrews12:16
Another sharp text that mentions Esau is found in Malachi 1:2-3:
"I have loved you,' says the Lord. But you say, 'How have you loved us?' 'Is not Esau Jacob's brother?' declares the Lord. 'Yet I have loved Jacob but Esau I have hated. I have laid waste his hill country and left his heritage to jackals of the desert."'
We are told in Genesis 25 that Rebekah loved Jacob and that Isaac loved Esau.  I am sure that Rebekah knew which of her two sons was going to be God's chosen man.  Later in Genesis 27, we are told that Isaac was getting old and that his eyes were dim and could not see.  When Isaac realized that his death was approaching, he called for Esau, being his favorite son, and asked him to prepare to receive his blessing.  Rebekah knowing that this was not what was supposed to happen and that Jacob was the chosen one to receive the blessing, she fabricated a plan:  Jacob would disguise himself as Esau and deceive his father, Isaac in order to receive the blessing.  Jacob agreed to carry out the plan. And it worked!  Her plan succeeded, but at a terrible cost to her and all her family.

When Esau found out what his brother had done, he planned to kill him:
"But the words of Esau her older son were told to Rebekah. So she sent and called Jacob her younger son and said to him, 'Behold, your brother Esau comforts himself about you by planning to kill you. Now therefore, my son, obey my voice. Arise, flee to Laban, my brother in Haran and stay with him a while, until your brother's fury turns away— until your brother's anger turns away from you, and he forgets what you have done to him. Then I will send and bring you from there. Why should I be bereft of you both in one day?"'  Genesis 27:42-45
Jacob now is forced to flee for his life.  He wound up at the home of Laban, his mother's brother. While working for his uncle, Jacob fell in love with Rachael, his cousin.  He agreed to work for Rachael seven years instead of the usual three.  And since Jacob did not have the support of his father and other men from his household, he ended up completing all negotiations on his own.  This made it easier for his uncle, Laban, to take advantage and abuse him terribly. Laban deceived Jacob giving him Leah, his older daughter, instead of Rachael on his wedding night. Poor Jacob ended up working another seven years to win the bride he wanted, the one he had been promised.

Laban treated Jacob exceedingly unfairly.  I think that the reason Laban mistreated Jacob and took advantage of him was because he was penniless and needy when he arrived at Laban’s house.  Jacob brought these circumstances on himself because he had to flee for his life.

Now, just think for a moment what it meant for Rebekah when she realized her favorite son was gone not just for a few days as she had planned but rather for twenty years.  The last time we hear of Rebekah in the Bible was when she gave Jacob her farewell instructions.  She must have died before Jacob came home.  That means she never saw her beloved son again.  How sad!

Imagine Rebekah having to live with Esau along with his pagan and annoying wives.  I am pretty sure this is something she did not plan for and may have tried to avoid.  All this because she wanted Jacob to receive the blessing and inherit his father's land!

The Bible never again makes mention of Rebekah, of her death or her burial. Perhaps, this is an indication of dishonor.  How could Rebekah thwart Jacob, who was trying to do the right thing, knowing that ultimately God had other plans?  She surely knew that legally Esau was the rightful heir to continue the godly line.  Evidently, she thought that God was not able to cause it to happen without her taking the issue into her own hands.

None of us can deny that on some occasions we have tried (or have been tempted) to take matters into our own hands.  It should be very unsettling to us.  It is disturbing and even alarming!  Why?  Because instead of us, as wives, taking matters into our own hands, we should be praying fervently, honoring our husbands, behaving in a chaste and respectful manner, waiting on God and trusting Him to come to our rescue and save us from all of our trials.  Let us not forget that our God is able!  He is our deliverer!  We as wives must wait patiently for God's deliverance instead of being presumptuous, taking all matters into our own hands.  We must believe this and take it to heart!
"The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold."  Psalm 18:2
"Since I am afflicted and needy, Let the Lord be mindful of me.  You are my help and my deliverer; Do not delay, O my God."  Psalm 40:17
"My lovingkindness and my fortress, My stronghold and my deliverer, My shield and He in whom I take refuge, Who subdues my people under me."  Psalm 144:2
"Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.  And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."  James 1:2-4
I want to finish with a few questions to meditate on.  Do you think it is better to trust God and wait for His deliverance instead of taking matters into own our hands?  What do you say is the opposite of submitting?  What is the opposite of head?  What is the opposite of subject?  What is the opposite of love?  And finally, what is the opposite of giving?


CONCLUSION:

We, wives, must submit to the Lord first so that we may submit to our husbands.  Our Lord and Savior is declaring His glory in SUBMISSION, and He is also teaching wives what it means to SUBMIT to Him.  We must seek to be delivered from the bankruptcy of the way the world sees marriage.  It is our duty as those who walk in Truth and love to replace this distorted vision of marriage with a heavenly one.  Let us not forget that marriage displays the glory of the Gospel of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Everything that pertains to marriage is resolved by applying the foundational principles taught in the Word of God.  Moreover, every married couple must be willing to humbly understand and accept God's will and purpose for marriage.  It is not about "my needs" or "my rights."   The "her needs" kind of vision of marriage afflicts many.  If we indeed love the Truth, we must accept and follow God’s vision of marriage! So, it is time to awaken from our slumber and stand up and live out God's divine design for us.  Of course, that is if we truly trust God and  revere His holy Word.  Let us be children of Light and not surrender to the pressure of our pagan culture which forces us to reject everything that is godly and righteous.  And let us fix our eyes ONLY on God and not our pagan culture.  With a sincere heart, let us fix our eyes on Him alone and not the giant, feminism, who rebels against God and all  righteousness.  Remember God's ways are perfect and best for us.  Let us let God and His Word work in us.

Until men and women start realizing what God wants and demands of them as husbands and wives, submitting to His headship and His rule, it is going to be difficult for our marriages to operate and be transformed the way God has intended from the beginning.    Sadly, God's vision of marriage has been severely damaged but in Christ through His glorious Gospel of grace, it can be restored.

It is my fervent prayer that God in some way will help wives submit to their husbands as unto Him with a sincere and pure heart, the way He has purposed for them.  I know that it is not easy since Satan has tried so hard to pervert our hearts against God's will.  But deep in my heart, I know that it is possible if we start thinking and behaving in a godly manner.  Thanks be to God for the Gospel, which is His power unto salvation.

So, let us reject and go back to the ancient pathways, rejecting all the lies of feminism.  Thanks be to God for that beautiful vision of marriage He has set for us which is so much better than our own vision, more wonderful, unusual and more life-giving. 

May we submit to our husbands as unto the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife as also our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ is the head of His church and the Savior of the body.  May it be as the Lord our God has spoken.  May we from a sincere and contrite heart change the course of our marriages.  May we give God much more than we are currently giving Him.  May we stand up like David did and fight the giant, feminism, embracing God-defined femininity.  And may we allow His eternal Word to transform, regenerate, refine and change us for His glory

In my next study, I will be discussing, “What does the Bible say about the excellent wife?”

Luci