Eve ~ God’s Gift to Man

 

 

 

Lovers, 4x6

A Help Meet for Him

Genesis 2:18-24 And the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a help meet for him.” And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him. And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made He a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

“Man’s best friend is his dog.” How many of you believe that? While it is true that there is often a strong bond between a man and his dog, there is no substitute for having a wife. Men also have significant friendships with other men. Adam had no other men at first, but when God said he needed a companion, He did not create another man; He created a woman.

Before I go any further, let’s look at how God created the woman. This passage clearly states that man and all other living creatures were created from the dust of the ground, but God had a different plan for the woman. She was special. She was unique. To create the woman, God took a rib from out of the man. Perhaps that is why, once you have found your soul mate, you no longer feel complete without him or her. Indeed, the two of you are a part of each other.

Have you heard of the term helpmeet? It comes from this passage, and it means “a counterpart of himself, a perfect resemblance of his person.” This implies that the woman was to be a perfect resemblance of the man, possessing neither inferiority nor superiority, but being in all things like and equal to himself. One of the chief tenets of Christianity that sets it apart from other religions is the high esteem given to women, and this esteem comes directly from God.

Don’t Be Deceived

2 Corinthians 11:3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

Here Paul warns the believers in Corinth against being deceived, as Eve was deceived (beguiled) by the serpent. That serpent was a smooth-talker. He had just enough truth in what he said to make it sound believable. That is how the devil works. He knows he can’t get us to believe an out-and-out lie, so he sugar-coats it with just enough truth to make it palatable. How can we know the truth from a half-truth? The same way a bank teller learns to recognize counterfeit money—by studying the real thing. If you know what the truth looks like, feels like, smells like, and sounds like, then you will not be deceived by error.

Adorned with Good Works

1 Timothy 2:9-15 In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with decency and propriety; not with braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (as becomes women professing godliness) with good works. Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I permit not a woman to teach, nor to have authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. Yet she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and love and holiness with propriety.

Here Paul is teaching the young pastor Timothy how to instruct the women of the church. This passage has been interpreted many different ways, but I would like to suggest that Paul is not advocating a spirit of legalism, nor am I. Let’s examine it for a moment.

That women adorn themselves…. He is not suggesting that braided hair, jewelry, and expensive clothing are wrong, but that our emphasis should be on the inward beauty rather than outward beauty. All too often we women put hours of preparation into making our faces and bodies look attractive, but we neglect the matters of the heart.

Let the woman learn in silence…. In the church, the woman is to be a learner, not a teacher. She may teach other women—indeed, she ought to be teaching the younger women—but she has no business teaching or preaching to the men. Other passages support this as well. For instance, among the qualifications for a pastor/elder/bishop, he is to be the husband of one wife (1Tim. 3:2; Tit. 1:6). A woman is disqualified right there. I know this will step on toes, but there is no way around it. The Bible is very clear on this point.

“But why?” you may ask. Here in the first epistle to Timothy, Paul presents Eve as an example of the reason why women are not to have a place of authority in the church. Adam was made out of the dust of the earth and given dominion over all creation. Eve was then created from Adam’s rib to be his companion, not his lord. She was not designed to exert authority over the man. She was formed from him, for him, for his use, service, help, and comfort. This is why the woman should be in subjection to the man, not because she is inferior, for she is not, but because she was made from him and for him. So woman’s subjection to man is according to the laws of nature and creation, and was established before the fall, before sin came into the world.

Adam was not deceived…. The fall compounded things. The devil, in the form of the serpent, deceived Eve. She honestly believed that they would not die, but would be as gods, knowing good and evil. Adam, on the other hand, partook of the forbidden fruit knowing full well that he was doing wrong. He was not deceived. He knew the consequences, and yet he chose to disobey God out of love for his wife, so that she would not die alone. They both sinned, but his sin was the greater because he sinned wilfully. That is why the curse of sin is passed down through the father. Eve was deceived. She did not know what she was doing. That is why Eve, the woman, should take the place of the learner, and let Adam, the man, be the teacher. Just imagine if Eve had told that serpent, “Let me go ask my husband first.” Perhaps the serpent would have been defeated that day in the garden.

She shall be saved in childbearing…. You may remember that part of the curse upon the woman was that she would have pain in childbirth. However, this verse is not talking about either literal or spiritual salvation through childbearing. Think of it this way: “There is salvation through the birth of a Son.” The fall of man came through the deception of a woman. Even so, the redemption of man came through the faith of a woman, for this verse speaks of the birth of Immanuel, God with us, the Savior who was born of a virgin to be our Redeemer. Hallelujah!

God’s Most Precious Gift

God’s most precious gift to man came through a woman—the gift of salvation through the incarnate Messiah. All men and women who believe in Him with a faith which works by love and shows itself in holiness and sobriety can have this wonderful gift. There are some who profess these things, but have only a temporary faith and feigned love, and not true holiness. These will fall away, for they are not saved. God desires that we would love Him sincerely, out of a pure heart. Have you received God’s most precious gift?

❧          ❧          ❧

Photo taken on Skyline Drive, Virginia, 2014

Next week: Esther

Advertisements

Priscilla ~ A Godly Wife

couple-sunset-mountains-nc

 

A godly wife will support her husband in his endeavors, encourage and strengthen him. This is the relationship Priscilla had with her husband Aquila. Everything they did, they did together. My study focuses on women in the Bible, but since Priscilla is never named without mention of her husband, I will refer to both of them together.

Tentmakers Together

Priscilla and Aquila were Jews, but we know them by their Latin names. They had come from Italy, and it’s likely they had lived there a long time.

Acts 18:1-3  After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth; And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them. And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them and worked, for by their occupation they were tentmakers.

Priscilla and Aquila left Italy when Claudius banished all Jews from Rome. Though they did not live in Rome proper, it’s possible that it seemed too dangerous to stay in Italy at the time, and perhaps it was also hard to find work as a Jew. At any rate, they moved to Corinth, and that is where Paul met them. Incidentally, this is just one more illustration of how God turns bad things into good for His glory. Would they have ever met Paul had they not gone to Corinth?

Commentators are divided regarding just when Priscilla and Aquila came to know the Lord Jesus as their Savior. Were they already Christians when Paul met them? Or was he drawn to them by their mutual occupation as tentmakers, and converted to Christianity while he stayed with them? I personally believe the latter was the case, although we won’t know for certain until we reach heaven.

Missionaries Together

Paul spent a year and a half in Corinth, teaching and preaching, and when he left, Priscilla and Aquila went with him (Acts 18:11,18). This husband and wife had become rather fond of Paul, and they perhaps looked to him as a spiritual father as well as a dear friend. But beyond the friendship, Priscilla and Aquila were called of God to leave their home and travel with Paul, helping him in the ministry. We have one example of their influence in Acts chapter 18.

Acts 18:24-26  A certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus. This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spoke and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John. And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.

Apollos already knew the Lord as Savior and had a firm grasp of the Old Testament teachings, but his knowledge was outdated. He knew Messiah was coming, but evidently he was not aware that Messiah had already come and completed the work of redemption. So Priscilla and Aquila instructed him privately, sharing with him “the rest of the story.” He was already an influential preacher, but having learned more about Christ and His resurrection, Apollos became that much more effective. In fact, he went on to become one of the great preachers of the first-century church. Paul states in a letter to certain dissenters, “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase” (1 Corinthians 3:6).

Church Planters Together

1 Corinthians 16:19  The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house. [written AD 57, from Ephesus]

Priscilla and Aquila were with Paul in Ephesus when he wrote the first letter to the church at Corinth; but at some point they returned to Italy, this time to Rome. Most likely they went back after the death of Claudius, or at least after the ban on Jews was lifted. Paul mentions them in his letter to the Romans.

Romans 16:3-5  Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus: Who have for my life laid down their own necks: unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles. Likewise greet the church that is in their house…. [written AD 58, from Corinth]

So we see that Priscilla and Aquila were church planters, having started two churches: one in Ephesus, and another in Rome.

2 Timothy 4:19  Salute Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus. [written AD 67-68, from Rome]

This is not a misspelling of her name, but another form of it. Priscilla is the diminutive of Prisca, as Rosita is to Rosa. Here Paul addressed them in his second letter to Timothy, which suggests that from Rome they eventually returned to Ephesus, where they had first started a church. Timothy was pastoring there. Was he pastoring the church they had founded? Perhaps they returned to help him in the ministry.

Map Priscilla and Aquila

Here is a map to show you the cities where Priscilla and Aquila lived and ministered. The brown tents represent Priscilla and Aquila while the green tents represent the apostle Paul. If you want to see it better, follow the link at the bottom of this post to the original website.

A Godly Wife

When God created Eve, He said she was a help (aid, assistant) meet (suitable, proper, qualified) for Adam. The wife, when she fulfills God’s purpose for her, is perfectly qualified to meet her husband’s needs and to help him be the man God meant for him to be. Many a wife has fallen short of this high calling, but Priscilla did not. Priscilla was a fine example of a help meet. She worked and served God alongside her husband, in harmony with him. Did they have conflicts? Of course! Who doesn’t? But the fact that they were able to spend so much time together for so many years tells us that they learned how to properly deal with conflict when it arose. When she had a problem, she attacked the problem, not her husband. As a result, they evidently had a sweet and fulfilling relationship with one another, and that love was manifested to all those around them. It’s no wonder they were missed whenever God called them to leave one place and go to another.

The “Secret” to Being a Godly Wife

Ladies, we who are married would do well to learn the secret to having a successful marriage. This “secret” is not to love your husband, but to respect him (Ephesians 5:33). Love comes naturally to women; respect does not. I have learned that I ought to respect my husband, though I will not say that I have mastered it. But God is good, and He is helping me. He will help you too, if you ask Him from a heart that earnestly desires to be more like Him.

One of the most helpful suggestions I’ve come across is to create a Memory Box (Emily Ley, in Grace, Not Perfection). Purchase an attractive photo box from your local hobby store (or decorate one yourself), and fill it with mementos of all the good times you have with your spouse: photos, ticket stubs, cards & letters, and other things that are special to the two of you. Then when you hit a rough patch in your marriage, pull that box out and reminisce over the good times you’ve had together. This will help you to remember that life with your spouse was not always as bad as it seems to be right now, which in turn gives hope for a better tomorrow. It will also help to keep your mind focused on the good, not the bad, as God commands us in His Word.

Philippians 4:8  Finally, [sisters], whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

It’s best to begin filling your Memory Box when life is great and you don’t think you’ll ever need it. But if you’ve already reached the point where you need encouragement, then now is as good a time as any to begin to gather those good memories.

Also, remember that your husband is only human—he will fail. And here’s another secret: You too are only human, and you also will fail. Don’t try to change your husband; don’t even pray for God to change him. Instead, ask God to change you. If you do, then pretty soon you will start to notice that the relationship is right and good, when you are the wife God has called you to be. Life in these bodies of flesh will never be absolutely perfect, but it can be rich and rewarding—if we let God have His way with us.

Psalm 37:4-5  Delight thyself also in the LORD; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass.

❧          ❧          ❧

Photo taken in Brevard, NC, 2017

Map courtesy of Bible Fun for Kids

Next week: Vashti

For This Cause

Marriage 05

“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it; that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourishes and cherishes it, even as the Lord the church: for we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.”

Ephesians 5:25-33

For this cause…. Continue reading

Flee As a Bird ~ Psalm 11

Flee as a bird

In the LORD put I my trust.
How say ye to my soul,
“Flee as a bird to your mountain”?  

Psalm 11:1

This verse is particularly applicable to my marriage and the counsel I’ve received lately on that subject. One counselor in particular has schooled me in all the reasons I have to leave my husband (i.e. flee to my mountain). Are the reasons legitimate? Yes, but I refuse to listen, for I have put my trust in the Lord, not in my husband.

My husband has failed me, and he will fail me again. I too have failed him and will do so yet again. We don’t fail because we want to; we fail because we are flawed human beings. But God is not like us. He is perfect, sinless, holy, righteous, faithful, and true. He cares about our marriage because He created it. I can trust Him with every part of my life, including my marriage, for He is working all things together for my good and His glory. If you were to read the pages of my journal, you would see me coming back to this same truth over and over again. Perhaps I sound like a broken record, but I need to hear it repeatedly because I tend to forget.

Dear reader, if you are married, chances are you have also felt like quitting on your marriage, or you do now, or you will eventually. Maintaining a strong and fulfilling marriage takes hard work. I can’t speak for everyone, but as for me, I had no earthly idea what I was getting into when I got married. But the harder the battle, the sweeter the victory. Conflict creates interest, as long as it doesn’t become the focus.

If you are unhappy in your marriage, perhaps it’s because you expect your spouse to make you happy. That is an unfair and selfish demand. Only Christ can fully, deeply, richly satisfy. I pray it does not take you as long to learn that as it did me.

I was going to keep this one to myself, but the Holy Spirit urged me to share, for He knows what needs are out there. I am not a marriage counselor, just someone who wants to encourage others to keep pressing on in the things that matter.

Written July 1, 2017
Photo taken on Skyline Drive, Virginia, 2014