Having been around for a little above three decades, I have experienced a fair share of the challenges of womanhood. They will largely range from juggling my roles in the home as a wife, mother and homemaker, and also dealing with pressure from society to advance in my career and look a certain way. I believe I am not alone in this. Worldly wisdom, in the name of feminism, has only made the burden on women’s backs heavier rather than lighter; if you think about it deeply. Where then can we turn to for help? you ask. We must go back to where it all began to understand what our Creator had in mind when he created us.
In God’s Image
Genesis 1:26 gives a summary of the origin and purpose of the first human beings. “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. [emphasis added]” This happened on the sixth and last day of creation.
Though God made Adam first, it appears that he had both the male and female versions of the human race in mind and hence purposed to make both of them in his image. As God’s image bearers, human beings, both male and female are to reflect “…God in our various faculties (mind, will, emotions, reason, personality), and in our authority over creation (Genesis 1:26-27). Men and women are spiritually equal, but are each given different, complementary gender-based roles (1 Corinthians 11:3)” (Reinke, Lit 67-68).
It is not until Genesis 2 that the creation account is further elaborated. Adam is, of course, created first in Genesis 2:7. Then God puts him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it (Genesis 2:15). It is at this point where Adam is given instructions about the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:17). God tells Adam not to eat of the tree for the day that he does, he will surely die. Afterwards, God looks at the man and says that it is not good for him to be alone and makes him a helper fit for him (Genesis 2:18). Before the helper was made for Adam, he seems to have been searching for one but a suitable one he could not find. God brings Eve before Adam and he thinks she is perfect for him—considering how he bursts into poetic praise upon laying his eyes on her (Genesis 2:23).
Drawing from the reason why God introduces the woman into creation, it comes out quite clearly that the woman was meant to be a necessary ally to the man. God looked and saw that Adam needed a helper for him to fulfil his purpose as laid out in Genesis 1:26. Together, they were to form an alliance for the glory of God, their Creator. It would not belong, however, before Adam and Eve listen to a strange honey-tongued serpent who talks them into disobeying God by eating the forbidden fruit. This brings all types of wrongs and curses whose consequences will still experienced to date and will continue to do so. Despite the disobedience, God still desired man’s redemption and he would bring it forth through a woman’s offspring; His own Son (Genesis 3:15).
The Blessed Mundane
Paul, in Titus 2:3-5, helps us get a little more specific about our role; women. He wrote, “Older women likewise are to be reverent in behaviour, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.” The ‘likewise’ is drawn from the previous verses that are talking to older men. Paul was giving instruction for the structure of a healthy community. Here, women, alongside men, were expected to carry themselves a certain way and do specific things that would all, in the end, prevent God’s word from being reviled. In other words, Paul wanted men and women who feared God to act in a manner that would lead to God’s praise.
To keep this article from being too long, I will only focus on two of the roles outlined in Titus 2:3-5; women loving their husbands and children and working at home. God-willing, I will tackle the rest in a different article.
In today’s society, sad to say, working at home is largely scorned. A verse like Titus 2:5 will be met by much disdain and defiance. Many will interpret it as offensive to women because of how it seemingly limits their workspace to the home. It will even be rendered obsolete by some, bringing in the whole aspect of context. But is it really?
The Noble Woman
Proverbs 31:10-31 presents one of the most dignified women in the Bible I presume. Reading through her well-detailed description one can’t help but picture a very industrious woman. She works with willing hands (verse 13) both at home (verse 15) and outside the home (verse 24). She shows genuine love and cares for her husband (verses 10-13) ‘She looks well to the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness” reads verse 27 of Proverbs 31. These are just a few of the many wonderful things that this noblewoman does. Her children and husband can’t help but praise her (verse 28). This Proverbs 31 woman appears as one who has embraced her place in the home with strength and dignity (verse 25). The things she does transcend culture and time hence the whole matter of context cannot hold water here. She well fits the description of Titus 2:3-5 woman since her actions bring to light the God she fears.
The voices that shout into our ears and the images we see can be far too confusing. Like the serpent, they lead us away from the life-giving truths found in God’s word. Worldly noises fool us into seeing that the word of God is senseless and we are enough; that God’s design for us is anything but a blessing. Many times we are tempted to believe the lie and we take a bite. The consequences of defying God’s good purposes are usually dire like they were for Adam and Eve. In spite of this depravity, our kind and gracious God whose steadfast love endures forever is ever merciful toward us. Through the working of his Spirit, he gently draws us back to his fold, reminding us of who we are and to whom we belong (1 Peter 2:9-12). He teaches us his precepts and gives us understanding (Psalm 119:130). Only through his work are we able to live out our God-given purpose; God’s blessed design for us. We may not do it perfectly, but we can rest in the One who obeyed perfectly. He is with us and he promises to never leave us (Matthew 28:20). Look to him, dear sister.
Originally posted at hopecitybiblechurch.org