Archive | January 2018

The Tragedy of Sin

And the Lord God called to Adam and said to him: “Where are you?”

Genesis 3:9

And the Lord God said to the woman: “What is this you have done?

Genesis 3:13

 

Discovering Truth:

Take time to reread Genesis 3. We will be making several observations from this chapter which help to explain how we lost the perfection of God’s original creation, how mankind lost their perfect fellowship with God, and why we have so much conflict and difficulty in relationships.

As soon as the woman and the man ate of the fruit which God had commanded them not to eat, immediately their eyes were opened and they knew they were naked.  It was the first time that they had any awareness of their flesh – an awareness of their self.

They desperately tried to cover themselves, and when they heard the voice of the Lord walking in the garden, they hid themselves from the presence of the Lord. Knowing exactly where they were and what they had done, God began to question them.  He addressed the man first. Adam admitted that he was afraid because he was naked.  Then God specifically asked him if he had eaten from the tree that God had commanded him not to eat. His response was one of blaming: The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree and I ate.

God then turned to the woman and questioned her. Her response, too, was one of blaming: The serpent deceived me, and I ate.

Interestingly, the Lord did not question the serpent at all, but pronounced immediate judgment on him!

Note the responses that sin brings to the human heart.

The sinner tries to cover his sin.

The sinner hides from the presence of God.

The sinner blames another to justify his actions.

Aren’t we guilty of the same?

It is very important for us to see and understand that God was not influenced by their reasons, excuses, or blaming of another.  He held each of them responsible for their own actions. Each one received specific consequences for their disobedient actions.

The Woman: We can recall the purpose for which God had created the woman.  She was created to be a help and companion to Adam.  They were joined into marriage – a one flesh relationship. God had commanded them to be fruitful and multiply, and from the one flesh relationship, indeed, children were to be born.  The woman’s body had been specifically designed by God to carry a child safely in the womb until the time of birth, and then to nourish and nurture that child, snuggled closely to her breast, as the child grew and developed.

Oh, the tragedy of her sin.  Now the very purpose for which she was created would bring sorrow and pain into her life as she bore and raised children. And tragically, the perfection of the husband and wife relationship was broken.  She would now desire to rule over her husband and overtake his position rather than being fulfilled by being alongside him as a help and companion. In return, the man would rule over her.  The beginning of conflict in families was born.

The creative purpose of God for the woman had not changed, but now those very purposes would be filled with pain, sorrow, heartache, and conflict.

The Man: Equally as tragic was the consequence for the man’s sin. In the same way as the consequences to the woman, the very purpose for which man was created would now be difficult. He had been created to tend and keep the garden, but now thorns and thistles would spring forth. The work for which he had been created would now be done by the sweat of his brow.  It would be a difficult task.  And finally, death would come, and man would return to the dust from which he was taken.

The creative purpose of God for the man had not changed, but now those very purposes would be filled with difficulty, sweat, and toil. He would now find himself at odds with the woman who had been created as his help and companion, and he would be determined to rule over her.

And finally, the most tragic consequence of all – the man and woman were put out of the garden and lost the perfect fellowship with God for which they had been created.

All the consequences were true tragedies and the devastating results of sin.

It is critical for us to understand that we can, indeed, take our own actions, even if they are disobedient to the Word of God.  But it is equally critical to understand that consequences are sure to come, and we do not get to choose what those consequences will be, nor how many others they will affect in the future!

In closing, we find that sin has entered the hearts and lives of the man and woman. It has separated them from God, and because God had ordained all things to reproduce after its kind, all mankind would now be born into this sinful state. What God had created perfectly was now completely broken. The man and woman truly lost the preciousness of living in the presence of God in perfect harmony with one another.

Did the Lord forsake them forever? Was there no hope? We will answer those questions in our next writing and will find how much God loves us and the means that He has given so that we may once again be restored to a life in fellowship with Him and fellowship with one another!

 

Personal Reflection:

Guilty, guilty, guilty! I am guilty of all the sins above. Unknowingly, I was born into sin, just as every human being since the fall of Adam and Eve.  The problem is that I was blind to it. I really couldn’t see it.  It takes God to open ours eyes so that we see our fallen human nature.  Fallen human nature is selfish. It is very aware of self, and it wants its way! It does not obey God, but goes about to fulfill its own desires, whatever they may be.

I tried to cover my sin. I hid from the presence of God, avoiding truth at every turn. And blame! Oh, I was a master at blaming someone else for my sin. I could always look around and find someone “worse” than me, and thereby make myself look good in my own eyes.

But God has a way of cutting right through our excuses and laying our hearts open before Him so that we see our self. And it is never a pretty picture! Oh, but the beauty of mercy, grace, and forgiveness!  We do not readily comprehend the depth of our sin until he shows it to us.  Neither do we realize the depth of His love for us until He opens our eyes to that great truth! We will talk about His redemption next time!

But here is what I would like to share with you. The two greatest struggles of my life were in being a mom and being a wife.  Because I had the fallen human nature of a woman, I experienced difficulty in raising my son. And because of that same fallen nature, I struggled in my marriage. I loved my child with an incredible love, but as he grew he developed a “mind of his own”, and untold struggles arose.

And as for my relationship with my husband, I was blind to it, but I was always attempting to overtake. I always thought that my ways were best. I thought I knew better. I thought my ways were wiser! I didn’t realize that I was attempting to overtake him, but that was exactly what I was doing.

It took the Lord to open my eyes. It took the Lord to forgive me. And it took the Lord, step by step, to change me! He, and He alone, is able!

 

So Until the Next Time:

I will leave you with questions for thought:

Do you recognize the fallen nature of a woman in yourself?

Do you struggle in raising your children?

Do you find yourself in conflict with your husband because you think your way is better?

(Remember Eve really thought her actions were wise and would produce good results.)

Do you try to overtake your husband and rule over him?

I was guilty of all, and these are the natural reactions of the fallen woman.

It takes God Himself to redeem and restore us to all that He created us to be as a NEW CREATION!

In an honest evaluation, allow the Lord to show you your heart, and then allow Him to change it!

If you are His child, thank Him for all the love, mercy, and grace that He has already extended to you!

 

He Who calls you is faithful, Who also will do it.

1 Thessalonians 5:24

 

 

 

The Subtlety of Deception

And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived fell into transgression.

1 Timothy 2:14

 

Discovering Truth:

We have been discussing the perfection of God’s Creation.  We explored the creation of the man and the woman and the joining of the two into one flesh.  We saw the beauty and the glory of what God was creating as He looked upon His Creation, and with all authority, declared that it was very good.

However, we all know as we look at the world around us, and as we consider our own lives, hearts, and relationships, that something has changed.  We see that everything has fallen short of God’s original design.  So, what we must ask is: Exactly what happened to mar the beauty of God’s perfect design?

Scripture gives us the answer. A careful reading of Genesis 3 provides insight into the dilemma.  We will consider some of those truths.

The cunning serpent entered the garden and approached, not the man, but the woman.  His first mode of action was to question the Word of God: Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’? Then the serpent openly contradicted the Word of God: You will not surely die. And finally, the serpent replaced the truth of God with his lie, a very deceptive lie, which convinced the woman that she was making a very wise choice to follow his cunning advice.

So, when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.

It is important to note that in Genesis 2:9, God had already declared that all the trees of the garden were pleasant to the sight and good for food.  But here we find the phrase desirable to make one wise.  Interestingly, this is the first place in the Scriptures that the word wise is used.

The important truth to understand about deception is that the woman was completely deceived.  She really, really, really thought that her actions were wise.  She thought her actions would produce very good results.  Very subtly the serpent had persuaded her to move away from the command of God to an action she thought was good.  Then she gave the deadly fruit to her husband with her, and he ate.  Sadly, she did not turn to Adam to ask for leadership.  And sadly, Adam did not step up and guard his wife from the deception!  Both were guilty! Both disobeyed God! And both were going to be held accountable to God! But Adam wasn’t tricked, as the woman had been.  He knowingly disobeyed God’s command.  The results were tragic, which will be the topic of our next writing, but for today let’s focus on the danger of deception.

Satan stills tries to deceive, and he often uses the same tactics. He questions the Word of God.  He then openly contradicts the Word of God, and then He substitutes his lie for the truth of the Word of God.  If we fail to hold fast to exactly what God has said in His Word, we can be convinced that actions we take are going to produce very good results. We can be deceived into believing that our action is wise! But how could any action that we take be wiser than God’s way?

What a convicting truth James lays out in James 1:22:

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

Not only does Satan attempt to deceive us, but we can deceive our own selves. How important that we both hear and do the Word of God!

How will this all apply to the wise woman? Our wise woman will be very careful in her thoughts and actions.  She will not allow thoughts to pull her away from what God has said regarding a woman, and specifically regarding her and her marriage.  She will be very aware that she has the potential to be deceived into an action that she perceives as wise, all the while acting apart from truth. She will look to her husband (her God-given head) for leadership, guidance, and protection. She will not trust her ways and her will.  She will only trust the Lord.

Every wise woman trusts only in the Lord and in the truth of His Word!

 

Personal Reflection:

Oh, how prone we are to think our way is best, that our way is wiser! I constantly need to be reminded of this truth, but I remember as the Lord was first teaching me these truths. He made me very aware of two words in my thought process. I unknowingly would move away from what God’s word had said or what my husband may have asked of me.  Two words would be in my thought process.  They were but and just.

Any time that my thoughts began something like this: I know that God says ……. But ………. Or I know that David said ………. But ……. That meant that I was in trouble.  I was moving away from truth, getting ready to rationalize my move to my own way.  It was something the Lord had to open my eyes to because I really thought that what followed the but was quite a good idea! It was my own thoughts, but I certainly thought they were wise.  How easy to go astray!

I also learned to hear that little word just!  It went something like this: I know that the Lord says ……. But I am just going to …….. Or I know David said …………… but I am just going to ………  You see, just is a tiny move in our mind.  We know it is a move away from what we should do, but we deceive ourselves into thinking that if it is a tiny move, it will be OK.  Oh, but it is not OK.  When we just disobey a little, it is full disobedience. We easily recognize this as disobedience in our children, but do we recognize it in ourselves?

One further truth that the Lord taught me was that trying to work things out on my own would never produce good results.  The Lord brought me to the story of Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar.  Most of you probably know the story.  Sarah “hatched her own plan”, to which Abraham agreed.  However, they did not get God’s promise. They only got a work of their flesh, named Ishmael.

When we “hatch our own plan,” so to speak, it is a work of our flesh.  It can never produce God’s goodness. We must live according to the Word of God and trust Him to produce His blessed result! Where I ended up, in my heart, was with great conviction about doing things my own way, “hatching my own plans”, no matter how good my intentions might be.  It was as if the Lord spoke to my heart saying: Go ahead if you choose, but the best you will get will be an “Ishmael”.  I understood then that God’s work can never be done in my flesh, according to my own thoughts, ways, and manipulations. God’s work can only be done in full obedience to God Himself and His Word!

Remember, I said I still need reminding? Sometimes it is hard to wait for God to bring about His plan and His work.  But it is so worth waiting for! What do we do until that time comes? We wait. We pray. We serve. We love. His timing is perfect!

Lord, may we never settle for the work of our flesh, rather than Your perfect will. Protect us, Father, from subtle deception!

 

So, Until Next Time:

Spend time in thought and prayer about deception.

Settle in your heart that God’s way is the only good way.

Give thought to the truth that there is no way that could ever be wiser than God’s way.

Never listen to the argumentative thoughts in your mind as to why His way won’t work in your life and situation.

Trust Him to show you how He can make truth work in your life.

Ask the Lord to protect you from deception.

Meditate on being a doer of the Word, and not a hearer only!

Trust God for His goodness in your life.

 

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion

 seeking whom he may devour.  Resist him, steadfast in the faith …

1 Peter 5:8

 

… lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.

2 Corinthians 2:11

 

 

 

One Flesh – A Great Mystery

For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother

and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.

This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

Ephesians 5:31-32

 

Discovering Truth:

We have been looking at God’s creation of the man and the woman, His design and His intent, as He created them and joined them into one flesh.  We will continue to discuss this amazing truth today.  It may seem that we are jumping ahead to the New Testament and leaving the Creation account found in Genesis, but that is not the case at all.

Before we begin, please take the time to prayerfully read Ephesians 5:15-33.

The Apostle Paul writes a beautiful exposition on walking in wisdom and being filled with the Spirit, and then applies these truths to the Christian husband and wife.  As he concludes his spiritual instruction for the husband and wife, he quotes our passage from Genesis about the husband and wife becoming one flesh.  Then he declares that this is a great mystery, but he is speaking concerning Christ and the church.

In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul frequently used the word mystery as he refers to the church.  (You can use a concordance to search out those scriptures if you like.)  A mystery was a secret, hidden truth, which remained hidden until God revealed that truth.  The Old Testament saints did not understand the church as God revealed it in the New Testament. We discover so many truths in a much deeper way as Jesus revealed them, and as the Apostles also expounded them. Truths that were hidden were a mystery, but at God’s appointed time, they were revealed by Him.  This is the type mystery to which the Apostle Paul is referring.

Specifically, He is referring to the one flesh relationship, “bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh” – one flesh.  We know that this quote comes from Adam’s declaration about the woman as the Lord gave her to him, and we know that they were joined as one flesh.

But in the passage that we are considering, the Apostle Paul is explaining the proper relationship between the husband and the wife.  He uses, as his example and explanation, the relationship between Jesus Christ and the church (His bride).  And in this explanation, he refers to one flesh, bone of his bones, flesh of his flesh, members of his body.  Truly, it is a great mystery!  What exactly is the Apostle Paul saying? Is he referring to Adam and Eve? Is he referring to a husband a wife? Or is he referring to Christ and the church? Let’s take a look at all three!

 Adam and Eve:  In a very literal sense, Eve was flesh of Adam’s flesh, and bone of his bones.  God had literally formed her from his flesh and bone.  Therefore, she was named Woman. Remember? There they were joined as one flesh. This passage is true of them – literally.

Husband and Wife: In Ephesians 5, we find the Apostle Paul using these truths, now applied to the husband and wife. Now, in this case, centuries after Adam and Eve, the wife was not literally taken out of the husband’s side and formed from his rib.  But as we saw when Jesus addressed the truth of marriage in Matthew 19, using the same Genesis passage, He declares that God has joined the husband and wife into one flesh, and that they are no longer two, but one flesh. It was not literal flesh and bone, as with Adam and Eve, but nevertheless, as God views a husband and wife, He very much views them as one flesh because He joined them as such, bone of the husband’s bones and flesh of his flesh.  I know huge questions arise as we try to understand.  Our problem is that we must by faith accept what the Word of God declares to be true. (Think of examples like: we died in Christ, and are raised in Him, that God placed our sin on Jesus. Think of truths like: we are seated in the heavenlies with Christ.  There are so many examples that we accept by faith.) These are deep spiritual truths.  But how can I know that the Lord really wants a husband and wife to be one flesh, viewing themselves truly as bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh? Listen to the commands that Word of God is giving to the husband in our Ephesians passage:

So, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies

He who loves his wife loves himself

For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes it and cherishes it

Can you see how the husband is to view his wife as his own body, “flesh of his flesh, and bone of his bones,” and love and care for her as such? And the wife, too, must learn to view herself as a part of her husband. For the Word of God says he is the head.  She is a part of him.  They are one flesh!

So, it is now a symbolic truth, first literally seen in the creation of Adam and Eve, but now one which shows a husband and wife how to live to the glory of God, and one which produces very real results in any marriage where the husband and/or wife is willing to believe and trust the Lord so as to walk in truth! And one further note, when we humble ourselves and walk in this truth, we reflect Christ and the church, others will see the reflection (especially our children), and we bring much glory to the Lord.

Christ and the Church:  The relationship between Christ and the church is given as the example to the wife for the rightful headship and a proper response to her husband as head.  The husband looks to the example of Christ to understand the wife as a member of his body and how to properly love and care for her.  Wow!  Amazing, high and holy truth.  So, does one flesh, ”bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh”  also apply to Christ and the church?  Absolutely, yes.  For He is now the Head of the church, and we are members of His body!  And one day, He will return to this Earth to get His bride, and the fulness of this mystery will be complete. Deep spiritual truth that our mind struggles to comprehend, but absolute truth of the Word of God. It is a spiritual truth. A great mystery indeed.

So, in conclusion, let us return to our Genesis passage of God’s creation of the man and the woman, the creation of Adam first, the creation of woman from flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone, and the joining of the two into one flesh.  In His unsearchable wisdom, God was creating humankind and woven into that creation was a great mystery, not only a pattern for all marriages to follow, but a glorious picture of the beauty of Christ and the church, which was yet to come. We should all stand in amazement!

 

Personal Reflection:

What shall I say to you as I reflect on my life regarding the truth of one flesh? I can only say as the Apostle Paul in Philippians 3:12:

Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.

I shared with you that when David and I were married we remained as two individuals.  God had joined us as one, and He viewed us as one, but we had no idea what we had really been called to.  I made every mistake imaginable (and so did David), but the Lord taught me to take my eyes off David and all his faults, failures, and sins, and concentrate of being the wife that God had called me to be.  And that was a tough job!

However, in the final analysis, what I learned is that God blesses His Word.  When I stopped arguing with God, defending myself and my “rights”, going my own way (whether blatantly or manipulatively), and then bowed before the Lord in humility and honesty, God was faithful to forgive all my mistakes, refresh my heart and mind, and give me the grace to press on.  I found that a very close walk with the Lord was the only answer.  In and of myself, I would always go astray and go my own way, thinking that my way would produce a better result.  How foolish of me!

Over and over the Lord would bring me back to the truth of one flesh. Over and over the Lord would bring me back to the truth that He had given David to me as my head. Over and over He would remind me of the picture of Christ and the church. I remember when the question occurred to me: What would it look like if the church declared that she would be “her own woman” and that she didn’t need a Head?

Oh my, what I must have looked like to my Lord! I was independent. I acted apart from my husband. I sometimes opposed him, but I also cleverly tried to manipulate him to get my way.

I cannot emphasize enough that the Spirit and the flesh are contrary to one another.  My flesh will ALWAYS pull me away from truth.  We are only able to walk where God calls us to walk by His grace and by His Spirit.  When we stumble (and we will), we go back to the Lord. He will lift us up!

My journey has not been an easy walk, but it is one that I would not trade. The more I walk in one flesh with my husband, viewing myself as a part of David, and viewing him as my head, the more the Lord blesses our marriage.  Neither of us are the same as we were 40 years ago as we entered this marriage, and neither of us would go back to our old ways.  Why? Because there is a joy now that we did not know when we were independent of one another and insisting on our own ways!

All I can say is that we are a walking, breathing testimony that God blesses His Word. So, I beg you, don’t be afraid to walk in truth.   I know it is not easy. I know all the arguments, fears, and doubts, but I also know the joy that the Lord will bring. None of us are yet perfected, but may we continue to press on, that we may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of us … all for His glory!

 

So, Until Next Time:

In truth an honesty before the Lord, examine your life.

If you are married, how do you view you and your husband?

Do you live as one flesh?

You will have to give your husband fully to the Lord in prayer, no longer pointing out his faults and failures as excuses for your actions.

Seek the Lord.  Ask Him to renew your mind according to truth.

Ask Him to show you the things that you need to change.

Be willing to take one step at a time, obedient to what the Lord shows you.

Trust the Lord as you walk by faith in His Word.

Every wise woman – will seek to honor the Lord in her marriage.

 

As I worked on this writing the first verse and chorus of a well-known hymn by Louisa Stead came to my mind.  With much love, I leave you with those words:

‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,

Just to take Him at His word;

Just to rest upon His promise;

Just to know, Thus saith the Lord.

Jesus, Jesus how I trust Him,

How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er,

Jesus, Jesus, Precious Jesus!

O for grace to trust Him more.

 

 

 

The Beauty of One Flesh

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, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife,

and they shall become one flesh.

And they were both naked the man and his wife,

and were not ashamed.

Genesis 2:23-25

 

Discovering Truth:

Today we will return to God’s creation of the man and the woman. You will recall that the man was created by the hand of God from the dust of the ground. You will also recall that God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and then God took a rib and formed the woman from the rib and brought her to the man.  We now see Adam’s delight as he exclaims that the woman is bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh.  He then names her, giving her an identification: She shall be called Woman because she was taken out of Man.

It is again important to note that God never intended the man and the woman to function as two separate individuals.  From their very creation to the naming of the woman, we can see they were intended to be one.  But let us continue in the Scriptures to further understand this truth.  Clear instruction is now given that a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.  Again, we see there was no intent in the creation of the man and the woman for them to function as two distinct individuals.  There were to be joined into one flesh.

There are two simultaneous steps taken as two people get married.  First, they must leave. The word leave means: to loosen, to relinquish, to depart from, to forsake. They must leave their individual families as their primary relationships.  Secondly, they must cleave – be joined one to another.  The word joined actually means: to stick to, to cling to, to adhere to, to stay close to.

And as Adam and his wife were joined into one flesh, we find that they were naked and were not ashamed.  There we find the beautiful culmination of God’s creation of the man and the woman.  Together they were one flesh, not ashamed, and in perfect harmony! What a beautiful picture! And remember, as God looked at His creation, He declared it to be very good.  His perfect design was complete! All designed according to His great wisdom!

But there is so much truth to be found in this passage that I wonder if we could ever reach the depths and heights of it all. In Matthew 19 and Mark 10, we find the Pharisees coming to Jesus to ask a controversial question, hoping to divide the followers of Jesus.  They ask Him about divorce.  Rather than answer their question directly, He brings them back to the truth found in the Creation.  He answers them by saying: Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning made them male and female? And He said: For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.  So then, they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let not man separate.

From Jesus’ words we can see several important truths.  First, the truths found in Genesis 2 regarding the man and the woman apply to every married couple.  Jesus makes that application here as He goes back and quotes God’s intentions from the Creation. He establishes that each of those truths are still true today.  Next, notice what He says: What God has joinedWhat God has joined! When a man and woman are joined in marriage, it is God that joins. That is why He can declare with authority: What God has joined, let not man separate! God intends a marriage to be permanent, for He is the One who has joined a husband and wife, and not we ourselves!

We will look at the one flesh union again in our next writing, but for now, let us continue to think upon the truths set before us – God designed a husband and wife to leave their individual families and be joined by Him into one flesh. No longer two, but one!

 

Personal Reflection:

As of this writing, my husband and I have been married almost 40 years. We had a church wedding, and these verses were read at our wedding, as they may have been at yours.  But I had absolutely no idea of the truth of these verses.  David and I entered our marriage as two individuals, and quite honestly, we continued in our marriage as two individuals.  Certainly, there was the physical, intimate oneness, and even a friendship, but our lives were still very independent of one another.  He had his ways; I had mine. He had his job; I had mine.  He had his schedule; I had mine.  I suppose you can understand why I said we were still two individuals. It actually never entered my mind that God intended us to function as one.  And I wouldn’t have even known where to begin. I’m sure my beginning would have been to get him to come over to my ways. But God had much higher, bigger, and better plans than I could ever have had.

He began to teach me about one flesh, bone of his bones, flesh of his flesh, and spiritual truth I had never known in my life.  The journey continues … 40 years of marriage … still learning to be one flesh with my husband … all to the glory of God!

There are no quick fixes, nor easy answers, but we will talk more about that next time!

 

So, Until Next Time:

Spend time thinking on these truths from the Word of God:

          Bone of my bones

          Flesh of my flesh

          The name Woman

          The importance of leaving father and mother

          The importance of cleaving to your spouse

          The necessity of becoming one flesh

          Naked and not ashamed

          What God has joined together

Lots of truth to meditate on and pray through!

Every wise woman – seeks God’s wisdom for her life!

 

So then, they are no longer two, but one flesh.

Matthew 19:6

 

A special note written with much love:  If you are struggling in your marriage or find yourself as a divorcee, please don’t leave truth.  We are just beginning this journey, and God has wonderful answers in His Word that only He can open up to you.  Don’t give up!  Keep seeking Him! He has a perfect plan for your life, and He is faithful to His children! 

 

 

 

God’s Creation – The Woman

Discovering Truth:

And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him … 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 a 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.

Genesis 2:18-22 (KJV)

Let us return to our consideration of God’s Creation.  We have learned that God created the heavens and the earth in His wisdom and His mighty power, and we observed that as He created day by day, He declared that His masterful creation was good.  Now for the first time in the Word of God, God declares that something is not good.  It is not good that the man should be alone.

Immediately, upon that declaration, God announced His solution to this situation.  There was no animal found that was the proper help for Adam, so God created the perfect help for him, designed especially for him.

We observe that Adam did not go to God asking for the woman. God Himself declared that it was not good for the man to be alone.  Then God Himself caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and God Himself took the rib and formed it into a woman.

What an amazing God!  Woman is not the plan of the man, nor of the woman.  Woman was not designed by the man, nor by the woman.  Woman was designed exclusively by God, and exclusively for His purpose. He was making another human being to be with Adam. But what exactly was God doing in the creation of a woman? And why did He choose to create her from the rib of the man?

God could have formed another human from the dust of the ground, as He had formed Adam.  He could have formed them simultaneously had He chosen to.  But He didn’t!  He chose to create the man first, and He chose to create the woman from his rib. Why are these truths significant?

Do you recall that we made note of the fact that God created the man from the dust of the ground?  He then made the garden, brought the man to the garden, and placed him there to serve Him.  He made him from the very substance where He intended him to serve.  Remember? Now, God makes the woman from the side of the man and brings her to the man. He seems to follow the same pattern.  He makes her from the very substance – the side of man – which designates where she will serve. And just as He brought Adam to the garden and placed him there, God now brings the woman to the man and gives her to him.  This will be her place of service – alongside the man as a God-ordained help for him.  Can you see those parallels?

We can see the pattern, but does the question arise in your mind as to exactly what is the meaning of a help? If we take the time to see how this Hebrew word is used elsewhere in the Scriptures, we find that it is most often used of God Himself being our Help!  It is a very strong help, not a weak, demeaning word at all! And the word meet is most often translated as: before, in front of, in the presence of, in the sight of, corresponding to.

So, let us put all our observations together.  What was God doing as He created the woman?  In the simplest of words, He was creating another person to be with Adam in the garden, a person to serve with him, alongside him, a person to be a help and companion to him in the work that God had already designed the man to do.

But let us not forget that God created the man first.  In God’s perfect creative order, that was significant.  The man was intended to lead. And let us not forget that the woman was made from the man.  They were not intended to be two separate humans.  They were designed to function as one flesh.  And that will be the topic of our next writing. But for now, let us pray that God would give us understanding into His intentions and purpose for the woman. She truly was a special and beautiful creation!

 

Personal Reflection:

I can recall so many things! I recall when the Lord opened my eyes (and heart) to these truths.  I remember being broken and humbled before the Lord when I saw that I had missed these truths and God’s purpose for my life.  Not only was it not good for man to be alone.  Very specifically, it was not good for David to be alone.  And not only did God create a help for Adam, as David’s wife, I now understood that God had created me to be a help to David.  This was a turning point in my life.

Depending on God’s grace and His Spirit, I basically had to reorder my life.  I found that I had to seek Him because He would have to show me how to be a help to David.  Every wife has her own husband.  There are no carbon copies.  We must each learn how to be a wife/help to our own husband! And it will take God to show the individual path. But, be sure, He only leads on the path of truth!

I also recall another big step for me.  Sometimes God puts a question in my mind, in order that He may answer that very question.  The question that came to mind as I studied these truths was: Is there any other noun in the Scriptures that God used to name the wife besides help or wife or woman?  I would have to search the Scriptures to find the answer.  What I found was in Malachi 2:14. Here God called the wife the man’s companion.  Immediately, my mind returned to the Genesis passage.  I recalled that “aloneness” was the thing that was not good for the man.  Therefore, God had given him a companion.  That was a very important word for me to understand.  I now viewed myself as David’s wife, his help and his companion.  Why was that so important to me?  Being a companion focuses on the relationship, not just the work!   What my husband really needed was a helpful companion!  Oh, I could see, I had so much to learn!

But this one thing I knew.  I would begin to view myself as a help and companion to David – as a helpful companion to him!  By the way, in Genesis 1:31, when God finished all His Creation, Scripture tells us: God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good.

 I was truly learning that God’s design for the woman was never a negative, nor inferior thing.  Both the man and the woman were His perfect creation, perfectly designed to fulfill His purposes for them. God’s way is very good. He declared it to be so!

 

So, Until the Next Time:

Take the truths of the Word of God back to Him in prayer.

Ask Him to give you understanding.

Ask Him how these truths apply to your life.

If you are married, ask the Lord to give you a new view of your relationship to your husband.  (We all need our minds renewed daily.)

If you are not married (God definitely calls some to a single life), ask God to show you how these truths apply to you, and also how you can encourage married women around you in the truth of God.

Trust the Lord!

 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,

And lean not on your own understanding.

In all your ways acknowledge Him,

And He shall direct your paths.

Proverbs 3: 5-6

 

God’s Creation – The Man

Discovering Truth:

And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being,  And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He Had formed.

Genesis 2:7-8

Then the Lord God took the man and put Him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it.

Genesis 2:15

We are reminded that God, in His wisdom, created the Earth and all things in it.  God spoke, and it stood forth.  Yet, we find here that God is forming this man very personally and individually.  He reaches down to the dust of the ground, and there He forms the first man.  His creation of the man was personal and individual, and according to His perfect design.  He forms the man first, for His own plan and purpose.  And then, God breathes into him and makes him alive!

God, in His wisdom, also creates a work for the man to do.  He plants the garden and takes the man to the garden for it is there where he is to serve the Lord.  He is given the job to tend and keep the garden. Our word tend is most often translated: to serve, and our word keep carries the meaning: to guard, to preserve, to protect.

Lastly, God commands the man regarding the garden, the trees of the garden, and fruit of those trees.

From these verses, what truths can we glean about God’s perfect design for the man?  It is interesting to note that the man was formed from the very substance where he was to serve God.  It was not up to man to find where he was to serve His Creator.  God Himself took the man and placed him there. Creator God, in His rightful authority, commanded the man.  Allowing great freedom and pure enjoyment of the garden, God gave the man one command of restriction, and with that single restriction, there was a stern warning given. Also, in God’s perfect design, He had created the man first, designating him as the one who would lead (1 Timothy 2:13).

God had made the man, designed to perfection, equipped with the strength, ability, and discernment to both tend and keep the garden.  Man was meant to serve and guard, and through that work, to provide, protect, and lead.  The man began his work by naming the animals over which God had given him dominion.

Perfect God, perfect Creation, perfect man, perfect fellowship with God, and perfect service in the calling where God had placed him, tending and keeping, according to God’s perfect plan.

 

Personal Reflection:

I sometimes lie in the bed at night, snuggled close to my husband.  He will be facing away from me (usually snoring!), and as I snuggle close, he has no idea of my thoughts regarding him and the prayers that I offer up to the Lord for him.  It brings sweetness to my heart and soul!  But sad to say, it has not always been that way.  I did not understand my husband as a man.

Everything about my husband was different from me. He didn’t think like me.  He didn’t act like me.  He didn’t react like me, and he certainly didn’t handle things like me.  How often I wondered what was wrong with this man.  In much frustration, I set about to change him!  But what I didn’t realize was that God had made him a MAN, and he acted like a man!

Then one day, the Lord brought a book across my path that described the differences between the male and the female, and the differences between God-given personalities and temperaments.  A very clear picture of the difference between my husband and myself came in to focus.  But the most important thing that I saw was that we were different by God’s design. God had made my husband a man, and He didn’t intend for my husband to be like me! As I came to this understanding, the Lord spoke to by heart saying, “Let David be David!”  And from the heart, I surrendered to that truth, and oh my, how things began to change in our marriage!

That was only one step in the many that would follow, but it sure was a major one.  I will never be a man, nor think like a man, nor act like a man, but the Lord has given me the understanding that He intends the man to be different from the woman, and very specifically, He intends my husband to be different from me!  So now, I snuggle close and honestly appreciate and am thankful for the qualities that I once strongly resented and complained about.  And as I snuggle close and thank the Lord for my husband, I also pray for him to fully be the man that the Lord designed him to be, fully walking in all that the Lord has for him to do!

 

So, Until Next Time:

Spend time meditating on the uniqueness of God’s creation of the man.

Ask God to help you put away negative thoughts, complaints, or belittling thoughts of men.

If you are married, carry these truths to prayer regarding your husband.

Let your husband be the man that God has created him to be.  (Hint: You cannot be God in his life.)

Through prayer, align your thoughts with truth!

Don’t give up! Continue in prayer until God changes YOU!

Every wise woman – will learn to respect God’s creation of the man!

 

For My thoughts are not your thoughts,

Nor are your ways My ways, says the Lord.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth,

So are My ways higher than your ways,

And My thoughts than your thoughts.

Isaiah 55:8-9

In the Beginning God Created

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Genesis 1:1

 

Discovering Truth:

 Every wise woman … Why do we return to Genesis in our study of the wise woman?  There are some very important reasons.  Genesis gives us the foundational truth that God is the Creator.  Some people do not think that it matters whether we believe that God is the Creator or not. The truth, however, is that it is of the utmost importance.  Before revealing anything else about Himself, God revealed that He is the Creator.

That one fact determines that He designed the Creation as He determined, in all His wisdom.  He made things to work together according to His plan.  It also gives Him the right of authority over His Creation.  He alone was worthy to rule and reign over His Creation.  But He chose to make mankind in His own image and give him dominion over His Creation.

Take time to read Genesis Chapter 1.  As we read Genesis 1, we see the Almighty God at work. He speaks, and His work is done.  Day after day, He speaks, and His work is done. What a Mighty God!

We also discover His evaluation of His Creation. Day by day, He declares that His Creation is good.

Why must we know these truths? As we begin our study of the wise woman, we must discover God’s wisdom – not the world’s wisdom and not our own wisdom.  God alone was the Creator, and He created it all according to His wisdom.  We will soon find how, in that wisdom, He formed the man and the woman, and it is there where we will first get a glimpse into His wise intentions for the man and the woman. May the eyes of our understanding be opened!

 

Personal Reflection:

It was about twenty-five years ago as I sat at my small kitchen table, with red pencil in hand and papers spread out across the table.  I had some questions that continually reeled through my mind.  I knew that through prayer and study of God’s Word, the answers could be found.

I could recall the time that I had questioned who Jesus really was, and it was in the Bible that I had found the answers.  I could recall the time that I was plagued with questions and doubts, when I uttered the simple prayer, “Lord, increase my faith!” and The Lord brought a new Bible study into the church that I attended.  I could remember how, through that study, I was forever changed by the Word of God.

So here I sat with scattered piles of papers.  This occasion was before the days when everyone had a home computer, so I had asked a friend, who did have a computer, to do me a favor – to print out the major passages of Scripture that were written directly to women or specifically about women and send them to me.  And here they were.  I knew that if I could lay the Scriptures side by side and compare scripture with scripture, The Lord could answer my questions.

I had learned, in my Christian life, that you could find multitudes of books about multitudes of topics, and you could listen to many different opinions and voices, but you would not find a consistency and continuity among them. So, for me, the solution had become to put aside those things and just see what the Bible says.

And now, with verses before me and a prayer for The Lord to show me truth, I started my search.  With my red pencil, I would mark similar words, similar thoughts, and similar passages.  The search continued for quite some time.  What I discovered was amazing! There was really no confusion at all!  The Scripture was amazingly consistent!  Growing up in the days of “women’s lib”, the world had successfully clouded and confused the issues regarding women.  But sitting here at my kitchen table, there was no confusion.  No confusion at all, just a calm sense of rejoicing over truth!

The first important truth that I discovered was to begin at the beginning.  As Jesus taught about marriage in Matthew 19 and in Mark 10, He referred His listeners back to the beginning – all the way back to the Creation account in Genesis.

Then as the Apostle Paul taught in the book of 1 Corinthians 11 about the man and the woman, he referred those saints back to the beginning – all the way back to the Creation account in Genesis.

Next, in the wonderful exposition on marriage in Ephesians 5, the Apostle Paul again takes us back to the beginning – all the way back to the Creation account in Genesis.

And again, as the Apostle Paul writes to young Timothy in 1 Timothy 2 regarding order in the church, here the same truth is found. He takes Timothy back to the beginning – all the way back to the Creation account in Genesis.

I could see the problem clearly.  As women, we often begin with our selves, our situations or circumstances, and our feelings and emotions.  But the place that I would have to begin was at the beginning.  That is where the word of God began, and that is where the writers of the New Testament returned to explain and expound truths about marriage and about women. That is where I, too, would begin – at the beginning.

Another exciting discovery that I made was that these truths regarding marriage were true at Creation – and that before the Fall.  That meant this was God’s perfect design!  I felt a freedom, as a woman, that I had never felt before – a freedom to be what God intended me to be!

I bowed my head and thanked The Lord. I picked up my papers and put them in my manila envelope.  Time to put them away – for today, anyway. Time to cook supper.  But this one thing I was sure of, I would be returning to this little stack of papers. And I would begin at the beginning – with a study of the Creation account in Genesis!  I knew marvelous and freeing truth would be found there!  And I couldn’t wait!

That truly was my starting point in understanding God’s design for a woman, and very specifically for me. I pray that you, too, will be blessed as we embark upon this journey together!

 

So, Until the Next Time:

Give thought and time in prayer regarding God as the Creator.

Give thought and time in prayer praising Him for His marvelous works and great wisdom.

Ask Him to reveal ways that these truths should affect your life.

 

You are worthy, O Lord,

To receive glory and honor and power;

For You created all things,

And by Your will they exist and were created.

Revelation 4:11