“Isaac went out to meditate in the field toward evening; and he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, camels were coming.
“Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac she dismounted from the camel. She said to the servant, ‘Who is that man walking in the field to meet us?’ And the servant said, ‘He is my master.’
“Then she took her veil and covered herself. The servant told Isaac all the things that he had done.
“Then Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent, and he took Rebekah, and she became his wife, and he loved her; thus Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.” (Gen 24:63-67)
Of late, I’ve had a number of readings on the original entry, ‘When a Man Loves a Woman’. Because of this, I felt it carried a message that would be worthwhile to give again. This rendering will bring it up to date, with some minor adjustments.
But before I share it again, I want to urge all my readers – If you have experienced pain and even shame in your married life, please, once again, take time to renew yourself to the Lord. God’s love and forgiveness is for you. And, no matter what happened in the past, now is the time to pick up your life. Begin afresh with a total heart dedication to the Lord Jesus.
And so we begin –
This entry is for you guys and gals who need the romantic stirrings of your heart to be in the right place. Let’s talk about God’s gifts of maleness and femaleness.
The two most beautiful love stories in the Bible are those of Ruth and Boaz, and of Isaac and Rebecca. Each story is a prophetic picture of the love of Jesus for His Church. But they are also stories that apply individually to God’s people through the ages. There is so much more I would like to share but this will give us a start.
Let’s begin with Adam and Eve. Here is what the apostle wrote,
“ … for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body. … This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.” (Eph 5:29-33)
God’s gift of maleness and femaleness
God’s ancient Hebrew people were instructed not to be like the pagan nations around them. The Hebrews were to place the highest value on marriage. Men were to hold their wife in great favor. She was said to be God’s greatest gift to the man.
They taught that God was especially careful when he brought a man and woman together in a marriage. This is why the Hebrews often spoke of God as the great Shadchan. (‘Marriage maker’.)
Of course sin always mars the picture. As the Church became more institutionalized, with this came strange notions about marriage. Celibacy began to be promoted as the perfect life style. Over time this led to a celibate priesthood for the Roman Catholic system. But this was never God’s purpose for His people, not in the former testament or in the
From the beginning the rule of God was, “It is not good for man to be alone.”
But these strange teaching were in place. For example in some early writings there came this strange notion about the act of love in marriage. One writer went so far as to say that the Holy Spirit would leave the room during this time because the Spirit was embarrassed.
Not so with God’s people. The act of love in marriage was considered to be sacred. The Hebrews even referred to it as ‘the Sabbath delight.’ It was expected that this sanctified time would especially be in place on the Sabbath as well as at other times.
Anyway, back to the issue of…
Is God Involved in Marriages
This may seem odd, but there are Scriptures that do point to God’s involvement with the marriages of His people. Proverbs 19:14, says,
“House and wealth are an inheritance from fathers, but a prudent wife is from the Lord.“
Then we have this in Ecclesiastes 9:9;
“Enjoy life with the woman whom you love all the days of your fleeting life which He has given to you under the sun; for this is your reward in life and in your toil in which you have labored under the sun.”
Even the apostle Paul reflects on God’s gracious gift of the woman, when he says,
“For a man ought not to have his head covered, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man.” (1 Co 11:7)
What a strange statement – ‘the woman is the glory of the man.’
The Greek term for ‘glory’ speaks of an outshining, that is, the woman will bring her goodness into the life of her husband.
The apostle is using the language of the Hebrews. Proverbs 12:4 says,
“An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who shames him is like rottenness in his bones.”
Togetherness in the Lord
In my younger years when I worked for the Army at Fort Polk, Louisiana, on my desk I had a plaque which read, “Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain; but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.” (Proverbs 31:30)
I began to realize very early in our marriage just how special that Betty was in my life. She has been like a crowning jewel. While we have enjoyed forty-nine plus years of marriage, we both have wished that the Lord would bring us home together. Neither of us can imagine being without the other. (Who knows.)
This reflects on God’s original intention. Adam and Eve were created as co-regents, not as servant and master, yet with the human family heading up in Adam. It is important to understand this in its true sense. Paul and Peter touch on this in the new covenant.
Paul says that in Christ there is neither male nor female. His point had to do with God’s work of salvation in that no one is greater or lesser when it comes to God’s gift of grace. This doesn’t mean there are no roles of accountability.
Peter also brings this out. Listen carefully;
“You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.” (1 Pe 3:7)
Here is what needs to be noted from Peter:
(1) The woman is a weaker vessel. (Physical strength. God made her that say. )
(2) The woman is to be honored as a fellow heir the grace of life. (Not as an inferior person. She is his equal.)
(3) The man’s prayers will not be answered if he fails to take these instructions to heart.
The Godly Marriage
None of this takes away from the differing roles of the man and woman. The apostles were careful in this area to let us see how God’s original purpose for the man and the woman has never changed.
The Bible says both Adam and Eve were created in the image of God. But Adam was created first and as such, had covenant responsibility (headship) for the family of man.
However, in his relationship to Eve, Adam was not to be without Eve, and Eve was not to be without Adam. Each had a role to fulfill. Each had certain natural gifts that were theirs in particular. It would take both Adam and Eve to fully express what the term ‘made in the image’ really means.
Since we already know that Adam was given covenant headship, let’s take a closer look at what Eve’s role was in relationship to covenant. Here again we need to see the bigger picture.
Eve’s Role as Ezer
There are mysteries in the Adam-Eve story that reflect on the total of God’s eternal story. I’ll skim just a bit.
Genesis 2:20, says,
“…there was not found a helper suitable for him.”
Two words are important. First is the Hebrew word for ‘helper. The Hebrew word ‘ezer‘ is similar in some respects to the Greek word, ‘parakletos‘.
As you know ‘parakletos‘ is applied to the Holy Spirit. It speaks of someone called alongside to help. Jesus said,
“I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper [‘parakletos‘], that He may be with you forever.”(John 14:16)
Ezer is an interesting word in that it also carries the idea of freshness, or someone who provides help in difficult situations. To means to run under, come to the aid of, to help, support, to relieve in difficulty or distress. It is a very strong word.
The root for this word is found it most Semitic languages. For example in Ugaritic, it means to rescue and save. (It is often used in a military sense.)
When the Lord said there was no one who could serve as a helper to Adam, you have to keep in mind what this role really meant. And if men truly understood the gifting given to the woman (wife), never again would they look on her as being inferior in any sense.
A Woman Suitable
Then we have the word, ‘suitable.’ This is also an interesting word. Listen carefully men –The Hebrew word, neged, literally means, ‘in sight of,‘ or, ‘opposite to.’ It means she is to be, ‘in your sight.’ (And not some other woman in your sight.)
So Adam needed someone whose gifting was a companion gifting to make up for His own lack in areas. The Lord designed Adam where he could not be a lone ranger.
Next we find the Lord putting Adam into a deep sleep. The Hebrew term for ‘deep sleep‘ is not often used. It is close to a death word, in which consciousness of life is not present.
The point is that Adam had to die to his own life as it was, that is, to his aloneness, so that God could give him, ‘his other self,’ Eve. This speaks to us in that the husband has to die to his own selfish ways to know the value of someone precious in his life.
A Reflection of the Church born out of Death
The church was born out of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This was the joy that was set before Christ that caused Him to endure the cross.
Here is where we see not only some of the wonderful mystery of Christ and the church, but also the wonder between a godly man and his wife. (Learn this men, and you will learn how to enjoy life with the woman who you love.)
Let’s follow this triple lesson.
God presents Eve to Adam.
God presents the Church to Christ.
God presents the wife to the man.
All this is contained in the Adam-Eve story.
But keep in mind one thing in particular. God required Adam to die before He would give him Eve.
So men, is it possible that the Lord wants us to die to our own self-centeredness before we can truly know the wonder and beauty of our wives?
Merging not Submerging
It is so important to understand how the gifting of maleness and femaleness work. It is never a matter of submerging one’s life under another. It is a matter of merging of lives, where both lives count. One is not to be without the other.
It is as though when God created Eve, He took half of Adam’s life-gifting and placed them in Eve. Do we men not unconsciously reflect on this when we speak of our wives as our ‘better half’? Of course she isn’t better, just different in a good way.
Now we go a step further — Listen to the passage;
“The Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man.”
Do you see the beauty here?
God fashioned the woman Himself. He didn’t fashion her from the earth. He actually took a part of Adam, and fashioned Eve from that part. Not the head or toe, but from the heart area. She was always to be near his heart.
The very first words that Eve hears, are the words of Adam sanctifying her to himself. Here is how Adam sanctified Eve. He looks at her, and says,
“This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of man.”
Apply this to Christ and the church and get excited. We are the body of Christ. We are bone of His bone. Flesh of His flesh. And He doesn’t fill us full of fear. He sanctified us by driving our fears away. Adam had a perfect love for Eve. Jesus has a perfect love for the Church. What does perfect love do? It casts out all fear.
Sanctifying Your Wife
There is more to the story of sanctifying Eve. Because the Lord made her to be more fragile than Adam, and yet with powerful gifts that were hers alone, Adam was put in a place where he had to recognize Eve as God’s special gift to him. This meant he had to draw her back to himself, and she needed to hear him do so.
Husbands, it is so important that you learn to affirm your wife to yourself. (Holds with the wife also.)
Even in nature, God designed the male to be the one who courts. To sanctify Eve, Adam had to drive away her fears. Again this is exactly how Christ sanctified the church to himself.
Actually there is a sense in which the woman can perhaps serve as a type of the Holy Spirit. This is especially true when you consider her nature and gifts.
There is also a sense in which the man serves as a type of God’s Word. Both Word and Spirit are needed for life. (The woman provides the womb and egg. The man provides the seed.)
“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.” (John 6:63)
Finally, when it comes to covenant issues, there is no stronger covenant working power on this planet than that of a man and his wife who are in spiritual union together. All the promises that relate to ‘two’ people doing something, find their greatest effect in the godly marriage.
For example, Jesus said,
“Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven.”(Matt 18:19)
Think about it. Who is in a better place to experience the awesomeness of this promise aside from two people in a godly marriage?
So, husbands be sure to keep your Eve in your sight. Learn to hear from her. And wives, remember that you are a special gift from heaven. Learn to work with your gift and always with an attitude of humility and submission.
In the meantime time here is a song by Michael Bolton. Listen to it and see where it fits in your life.
Much love coming your way,