Daughters of Eve: Submissive Listening
**Take the Challenge Mondays are being combined with Fridays are 4 Prayer. The Challenges will be similar combined under the Challenges and Prayer category. The Prayers will be listed at the top of each post. Some weeks will have a more specific prayer for a specific group of women and some weeks will just include a generic prayer.**
This Week’s Prayer
Pray that you will be “quick to listen and slow to speak.” (James 18:19).
Deuteronomy 30:20 says, “Love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life…” Last week’s challenge was on listening to God. Read Whale of a Tale: Don’t Ignore God. When we listen to God, hold fast to His teachings, and love the Lord, we receive insight, understanding, and wisdom beyond this world. We receive life. But we can’t just throw out parts of the Word that make us feel uncomfortable.
When the word “submission” gets tossed around among believers, things tend to get sticky. In our Western culture, the concept of submitting to one’s husband is foreign, unappealing, and sounds sexist. We think of submission as a servant on a BBC show serving their master/mistress. We think of submission as a silly, outdated way of life for a woman who didn’t have any options in life in the olden days. We think of submission as being forced to do things we don’t want to do because we are told we’re inferior or unworthy.
Ephesians 5:22 says, “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.”
Nothing in this passage states that the woman is to be treated as a doormat, housekeeper, or slave. The marriage relationship is not one of master and slave, but of equal partners with different unique roles, each one deserving respect. A wife is to recognize her husband’s leadership, guidance, and wisdom, and a husband is to love his wife with tenderness, compassion, preference, and sacrifice. Christ loved the Church, His Bride by living among her, laying down His life for her, rescuing and redeeming her, and presenting her pure, holy, and blameless before God. God wants us to submit to Him out of love and reverence because Christ rescued and redeemed His Bride so that she could share in His shining glory.This is the beautiful picture of love that husbands are to model for their wives.
Great! But where does that leave us? In our fallen world, we as daughters of Eve have been cursed with a desire for our husbands, and his ruling over us (Genesis 3:16) or as the Message says, “you’ll want to please your husband and he’ll lord it over you.”
The Crazy, Crazy Life of Sarah
Let’s look at an example of a Biblically submissive woman. Richard J. Strauss, a writer for Bible.org, observes,
“…it is interesting that the next major husband and wife relationship in Scripture illustrates a wife’s submission to her husband’s rule. Sarah is commended twice by New Testament writers, once for her faith (Heb. 11:11) and once for her submission to her husband (1 Pet. 3:5, 6). The Apostle Peter went so far as to say she “obeyed Abraham, calling him ‘lord.’ We would not think of asking a wife to call her husband ‘lord’ in our culture, but in that day it was Sarah’s way of expressing her submissiveness. Submission for a wife is basically faith that God is working through her husband to accomplish what is best for her. And that is the story of Sarah’s life with Abraham.”
Sarah’s life with Abraham is pretty crazy. Abraham moves her out of their homeland for a promised land far away because of something God told him.She listened and submitted to her husband even when he tried to pass her off as his sister TWICE because he was worried that someone would take her away because of her beauty. TWICE God protected Sarah and kept her from harm because she had enough faith to go through with Abraham’s sinful scheming. Now wouldn’t this be an example of a woman’s obedience to the Lord taking precedence over her husband’s guidance? I believe so, but Strauss suggests,
“Sarah believed God’s promise that Abraham would become the father of a great nation. Since there were no children as yet, she was expendable, but Abraham had to live and have children even if it should be by another woman.She may also have believed that God would intervene and deliver her before immorality became necessary… (Abraham) failed Sarah sadly, but God was faithful to her. He honored her faith and delivered her.”
And that is just the beginning of their life together. I recently moved across country with my husband, Adam. I must admit I wasn’t thrilled with the idea at first. After many tears, prayers, and late nights wrestling with God, I finally decided to listen to my husband’s wisdom and faith. We packed everything in a matter of a few short weeks, throwing out and giving away what couldn’t fit. We crammed as much as we could into a Ubox and our car. Then we spent the three and a half day trek across country so tightly squished in that my knees touched the dashboard and I had to hold pillows on my lap, stick snacks on the dashboard, and crane my neck to check the right lane any time we needed to get over on the freeway.
Our journey was a piece of cake compared to what Sarah probably went through – possessions rattling on the sides of camels and donkeys, road dust messing with her hair and getting in her eyes with no cell phone, no radio tunes, no nice hotels to stay in at night with a hot meal, cozy bed, and morning breakfast buffet. Yet she had faith in Abraham’s decision, and she listened to him. Her faith in Abraham and God is testimony to the fact that she was not a weak woman. She was not Abraham’s footstool. She didn’t lack guts or courage. She left everything she ever knew to follow Abraham. She stayed with him after he failed her on multiple occasions. She even came up with some of her own ideas (albeit bad ones – like offering her maid, Hagar to Abraham to solve their childless problem). Sarah wasn’t perfect, but she is praised in the New Testament for her faith and submission.
This Week’s Challenge
As Eve’s daughters, we are children in a fallen, broken world, but it is also through Eve that salvation came. Because Christ, the Bridegroom, came back for His people, His Bride, we, can live a redeemed life. Christ makes it possible for us to live as a “new creation,” a redeemed Eve.
Using the Fruits of the Spirit over the next 9 weeks, I’ll will give out listening challenges. This week: LOVE!
For women of faith –
Listen to the Lord with love in your heart. Psalm 119:2, 30 says, “Blessed are those who keep His statutes and seek Him with all their heart…I have set my heart on Your laws…” David talks about how he delights in the law, how he’s been preserved by the law, how he keeps God’s Word in his heart in Psalm 119.There are actually 15 references to the word “heart.” We are blessed when we listen to God, keep His Words, and seek Him wholeheartedly. Submit to the Lord because you love Him, and desire to hear His Word.
For married women –
Listening actively is a way of being submissive and respectful toward your spouse.
Listen with love – Romans 12:10 says, “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor…” Sarah was obviously devoted enough to stick around with Abraham despite his mistakes, weaknesses, and failures. She loved him him by listening to his authority, and giving preference to his wisdom. This week, lend a loving ear to your spouse.