It’s time to get back to the vision for this blog — that understanding the character of our God equips us to all that God has called us, especially as women. God wasn’t a woman, and Jesus never had PMS. So does that mean we have less to look for from God in terms of our example to live by as women? Absolutely not! And no where is this clearer than the first mention of the first woman in Scripture. Here are some recycled thoughts from earlier entries on how knowing the character of our God equips us to all He has called us.
In our culture, when we talk about God’s instructions to women, there will be inevitable misunderstandings. Our culture thinks “submission” means “doormat”. They think “gentle” means “weak”. And they think “helper” means “slave” or “enabler”. Instead, I want to take what we know of God and use that to equip us as women for what God has called us to be in our homes and churches. So let’s look at how we as women are made in the image of God and how understanding the image of God prepares us to embrace our role in marriage. Though it should be common sense to those who know Scripture, we will offer the obvious disclaimer that Christian wives are not called to be helpers of or submitters to men who violate God’s commands by abusing their family. Men who abuse the laws of God and laws of our country have abdicated their God-given role and will be held to account by God.
At the first mention of the first woman in Scripture, we begin to understand the necessary relationship between what we know about God and what He has called us to be as wives.
Genesis 2 18 The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
If you don’t know God, His Names, and His character, then hearing that woman was created to be some man’s helper is going to sound incredibly condescending and substandard. “I’m called to be Help?! That sounds like some 18th century plantation snob referring to their servants. I’m not the Help.” But before we adopt that attitude, let’s consider a few things from Scripture. We want Scripture and not preconceived notions from our culture to guide our thinking on this. First, the Hebrew word translated “helper” is ezer, meaning to help, nourish, sustain, or strengthen. It’s used often in the Old Testament of God Himself. Consider it’s use in Deuteronomy 33:29.
Blessed are you, O Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the LORD? He is your shield and helper and your glorious sword. Your enemies will cower before you, and you will trample down their high places.
God Himself here is called our helper, our ezer, the same word used of the first woman in Gen. 2:18. In the New Testament, the Holy Spirit is also called our Helper, Counselor, and Comforter (depending on which translation of the Bible you use—these are all translations of the Holy Spirit’s role of “paraklete”, or one who comes alongside in help.)
God is our Help. The Holy Spirit is our Helper. When we understand God’s role on this issue, it puts this in perspective. God, Almighty Sovereign Lord of the Universe, is our helper and we, as women, are created in His image. If we hold on to the attitude that being created as a helper is condescending and substandard, we mock the Name of God and His character, for the role of Helper is one God willingly embraces. Christ says in Matthew 10:25 that it is enough for the disciple to be as his master and the servant as his Lord. It is enough that we seek to be like Him.
So let’s consider God’s example on this issue of Help. Do you see yourself exhibiting God’s characteristics or the contrasting ones? In Exodus 18:4, God our help defends (in contrast to attacking or ignoring the fight altogether). In Psalm 10:14 God our help sees and cares for the oppressed (rather than being indifferent and unconcerned). In Psalm 20:2 and 33:20, God our Help supports, shields and protects (rather than leaving unprotected and defenseless). In Psalms 70:5, God our Help delivers from distress (rather than causing distress). In Psalm 72:12-14, God our Help rescues the poor, weak, and needy (rather than ignoring the poor and needy). And in Psalm 86:17, God our Help comforts (rather than causing discomfort or avoiding altogether).
Often, instead of following God’s example on this, we become the very persons from whom our spouses feel they need to protect themselves. Rather that expecting compassion and support, our spouses tense as they enter our presence expecting condemnation and criticism. It should not be so among Christian wives.
God’s example reveals a high and worthy calling for wives as “helpers suitable to their husbands”. We are called to show compassion, to support, defend and protect those in our care, to deliver from distress and to comfort. We are called to be conduits of God’s grace in our homes. We are called to be like Christ.