Does God ever have you camp out in a particular area of the Bible for a long time? That’s me with Ephesians. There are so many good things to learn, and every time I go through it God unpacks a little more.
In chapter 5, verses 15-21, Paul admonishes the Ephesians to live under the influence of the Holy Spirit in order to be preserved (kept holy), effective worshippers, who seek God’s will and give thanks in all things. That is the nut shell. When we live this way, we experience the joy of knowing we are the Body of Christ, under the headship of Christ.
Even more, in verses 22 and following, we begin to see how the the family is a model of the church, and vise versa. Just as the church is the Bride of Christ, supports His will, and is under his protection, wives are to come up under and support, or buttress, their own husbands who are their protection.
On the flip side, husbands are told to love, nurture and cherish their wives in the same way that Jesus loves the church. We’re talking about sacrificial love which gives of himself in order to lift his wife up because he adores her so much that he’s loving himself by doing what’s good for her. It’s what we women dream of. Prince Charming.
What does Prince Charming dream of? A woman who looks up to him and respects him. Paul takes us full circle.
After 24 years of marriage to a wonderful, Godly man, I can tell you that the thing that makes my husband feel unloved and undesired is when he doesn’t feel respected. If we have a disagreement, or he doesn’t feel that he has my support, he says it just exhausts him. It’s a challenge to function at work when we are not fully united at home. “Help,” he’ll say. “Can we find our way back into agreement?” When I support him with my heart, and not just with token words or rote responses, my husband feels loved and able to conquer anything.
One of my husband’s famous sayings is, “A man’s wife will make or break his ministry.” He needs her support. If he doesn’t have it, then they’re like the “house divided” that Jesus said can’t stand. (Matthew 12:22-28) So I’m going to wade into touchy waters here and use different language to say the same thing. The literal words used in Ephesians for a wife’s support is submission, or in other words, to be subject to our husbands. Submission is a dirty word in this century. It is interpreted as weakness or servitude. It is associated with giving up ourselves. And while we understand dying daily as Christians, and submitting ourselves to Christ, the language is hard for many women to apply to marriage.
We women are made in the image of God. In Genesis, when God created Eve, he said he was making man a helper who was suitable for him. The word God used for helper was “ezer” (pronounced azer). According to the book, “The Apostolic Woman,” by Linda Heidler and Chuck Pierce, ezer is a warfare word.
The word “ezer” is a military term used 21 times in the Old Testament, twice to describe Eve, and three times to describe Israel in her alliance with other nations. The remaining sixteen times that the word appears in the Old Testament, God uses the word “ezer” to describe Himself. God names Eve “ezer” and then consistently applies the same name to Himself. God is the aid, the strong help in desperate situations, and we women were created to follow suit.”
Marriage is a partnership. It is give and take. It is supporting, helping and loving, even when it involves sacrifice. Especially when it involves sacrifice! God did this for us. He is our Ezer. He calls us to do the same.
Peter gives another description of a woman who is able to submit to her husband. Supporting our husbands in this way, Peter says, is making us beautiful, having a gentle and quiet spirit. (1 Peter 3:1-7) Gentleness is strength under control.
Thank you for giving us your Word so that we can understand your will for us. Give us the attitude of Christ, who being found in the form of a man, humbled himself to carry out the will of his Father–You (Philippians 2:5-11). Give us grace to support your plan for our marriages. Teach us how to support our husbands, and help our husbands to know how to love us. Give us this help to become able to show the world how much you love your Church. Give us thriving families and confident children. Give us grace to teach others by example and experience. Keep our desires pure and protect us from a world view that leads us away from your purposes. Build us ezers, as you are our Ezer!
In Christ, Amen
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