If I’m being truly honest, one of the things that used to really bother me when I was first getting to know the Lord was the seeming indifference or callous way women were described/treated in the Bible. Yes, there were stories of victories, accomplishments, etc., but the majority of the stories that included women were more of a passing “honorable mention” than anything else.
I don’t know how other people deal with things in the Bible that trouble them, and I can’t even say that it was a clear, overnight answer that put this tickling disappointment to rest for me. It actually came over time, as I began to understand the bigger nature of our God, and to better understand how woman were designed, apart from man.
Even the secular world will agree that women are really hard to understand. Even we don’t really get ourselves sometimes…Driven by hormones that drive emotions, women have a superior natural capacity for some of the really great gifts from God – forgiveness, compassion, gentleness, patience, self-control, etc. I’m not saying that men don’t succeed in these areas either…this isn’t a “women are better than men” post. It is just that because of God’s design, women tend to naturally possess some of these qualities, or struggle a little less in trying to possess them.
I’ve heard the sermons where a self-righteous pastor will blame woman’s hardships on the fact that it was her fault that sin entered the world, and I emphatically disagree with this age-old adage. I always point to the fact that Eve was deceived, partly because she wanted to bless her husband more than she wanted to obey God. Does that sound familiar to anyone else? But Adam, who was created for God, and not for woman specifically, basically just disobeyed God in furtherance of his own selfish wants. So please don’t preach the “ya’ll are getting what you deserve” crap or ” it’s all you guy’s fault” nonsense to me. That is just a lie. Had satan enticed Adam with the apple, I have a feeling he wouldn’t have even thought to share it with Eve at all, and we’d be having a whole different conversation now…. That’s my own opinion about how things could have gone down…
Adam was designed for God, and Eve was designed for man. The first time I read that, I wasn’t ecstatic. I wanted to be designed for God and man can go take care of himself. I’d lived a lot of my life being devastated by man and his pleasures, so this was a kick in the teeth. As with things that I don’t like, I pushed the story away in disgust and ignored it, turning my attentions back towards things in the Word that made me feel better. I forgave God, for a lack of a better way of describing it, but I wasn’t pleased. Of course, God is pretty good at getting me where it hurts…
Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding..” Job 38:4
So, properly put back in my place, I read everything I could about the women of the Bible, hoping to discover a pattern that might not be so evident when you take them one by one. And I did find one, of sorts. In a nutshell, women tend to have deeper, more intimate relationships with Jesus quicker and easier. Most women find it natural to be able to nurture that single most important Relationship. To most of us, it is easier to understand the God of Love as opposed to the God of War, etc., and to give ourselves over to Him without reservations. I think this is why so many of us women get trapped into being the spiritual authorities in our homes when we aren’t supposed to usurp that priesthood.
As with every single wonderful thing the Creator has designed for us, satan has warped it. Woman was one of God’s most beautiful gifts to man, that could bring to him eternal happiness in every form he could desire. A wife can ease the loneliness of life. A wife will carry part of a heavy load. A wife will help financially. A wife can keep you warm when you are cold. A wife goes through extreme pain to give you immortality…often many times over. A wife laughs and rejoices when you are happy and mourns and cries when you are sad. Her heart is given completely and without reserve to the one that she loves.
Why are we so surprised that satan warped that creation almost immediately? A husband and a wife who serve the Lord are twice as dangerous to the kingdom of hell as any single arrow pointed at it. And right from the beginning, satan sought to destroy the woman and all of the gifts she held in her hands to give to her husband.
Woman have been property for longer than they have been free, and some cultures will never see women as anything other than livestock. The Bible is clear evidence of how man has let woman down since the beginning of time. While there are stories like Abraham and Sarah, in that same story is Hagar. Esther is a good story, but for her 15 minutes of fame, she did end up in a harem…That had to be a blast. David was probably kind to his wives and concubines…all hundreds of them. For a woman, relationships are the pinnacle of our existence…we were designed that way, and for that reason, those instincts and desires make us hold on to men even when the logical thing to do would be to leave them behind and get away from the pain of it all.
One thing that has always stuck out to me from the women of the Old Testament was the thought that very few of these women seemed to have what I would consider the most important thing my husband can give me — an intimate relationship. That intimacy I’ve shared all these years is what makes me hold on when he is going through a crisis. I’m not talking about sex…I mean real emotion intimacy. It is that knowledge that he will be back when he is finished slaying whatever dragons are in his head. It is that feeling of being in a sacred circle that only he and I understand…
And there was the insight right there…
How does one truly describe a relationship with words? God’s words are beautiful and they describe His hopes for the relationship that He desires for us with Him, but I can never truly describe to another person what my relationship with my husband, my children, or my God really looks like, or feels like. I’ve tried describing it, and yet the words always fall short.
Women are the Gatekeepers for Relationships because that was our main design. God had no need to write out how each of these women felt about their relationships with each of these men in the Bible…we women have that ability to just know. Without even reading the words, we can weep for Bathsheba when she lost her husband, and then her son. We can weep for Abigail the day David’s attentions turned to yet another woman. We can cry for Hagar as she struggled through the desert, terrified that her son was going to die right in front of her eyes, and bearing that pain of being sent away by the man that had given her that child, only to put him in danger at the direction of another woman. Seriously. Who needs the words to understand these women’s pain? Men would have gotten little or nothing from the description because they simply aren’t designed the same way, and don’t feel the level of pain we do about things such as these.
I love that in Jesus’ genealogy, there are prostitutes. To me, it tells me God understood and didn’t despise His creation Woman. He understood the heavy price we would pay the day that Eve was deceived, and He hasn’t forgotten about us all these many centuries later. Jesus was very kind to women of His day, and it showed where His heart was for her…merciful, understanding, gentle, kind. Most women would move heaven and earth for someone to just be kind to them. It was women to whom He appeared to after His resurrection. He defended the woman who washed His feet with her hair and the woman who was caught and publicly humiliated for adultery. In other words, Jesus got us. He appreciated us…He understood.
I heard a story recently about a man who kept abusing his pregnant wife, and she would never cooperate with the police in order to have him arrested. Over and over again, the frustrated and angry man would take out his life’s disappointments on her face, and yet her heart would not allow her to hurt him back, not even to protect the unborn child she carried.
No, I don’t think this is okay. That relationship has been ruined, warped by evil, and she should get away from him. But I do think it is an extreme form of what God did give women originally — a heart to love the man she is with.
There is no dishonor for us to be women, nor does our God consider us less than his creation Man —
Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God. 1 Cor. 11:11-12