Devotionals Genesis

One Captain

As an apprentice, together with our artisans and friends, we used to arrange friendly soccer games. We would make two teams and play against each other. Because we worked for a company who had a professional soccer team, a soccer field and club house were at our disposal. When we started out with this venture, almost every player in one team wanted to be the captain. It was chaos! Any team needs only one captain, otherwise there will be confusion. Until this matter of too many chiefs was sorted out, the team never really did well. Yet as soon as one captain was agreed upon and supported, the team was organized, structured and a force to be reckoned with. Sadly this is true within the marriage and family. There can be only one head or leader and God knew this and gave strict instructions towards this end. Although we are dealing with Genesis and have a basic text—

Ge 2:24 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. 25 The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.

—we have diverted slightly to grasp “male headship in the marriage and family”. To this end we shall consider a New Testament passage. Although we are jumping from Genesis to Ephesians, we need to remember that the Bible is One Book … One Word from God to us His people. The passage we will make use of is:

Eph 5:22 Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23 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. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— 30for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

1) The wife is to be submissive to her husband. It is not just from the rise of the feminist movement that women have rebelled against being submissive towards their husbands. This is one of the fundamental reasons for the fall. Our first mother (Eve) usurped the leadership role in Genesis chapter three. We shall return to this briefly later and then in more depth as we deal with chapter three.

It is true, men (husbands) have not been what God designed them to be as the head of the marriage and family. Some have been cruel dictators whilst others have been desperately weak weeds, some have been tyrants whilst others have been lazy no goods. As men we cannot get away from this reality.

But what does submission mean? The woman was to be a “suitable helper”, not a doormat, servant or stock item. She is not there to be seen and not heard … only called upon when something is wanted … like food, cleaning and intimacy. I have used the lock and key illustration for many years. Without the key the lock cannot work. Inserting the right key into the right lock, the lock’s mechanism submits to the key and unlocks. In this way both the lock and key are useful. They both fulfil their roles.

Biblical submission for the wife is just like that. When she is, both husband and wife are able to function and fulfil their roles in harmony and with enjoyment. But … submission follows this pattern:

Eph 5:22 Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.

As a child of God, she lives in submission to Jesus as Lord and is thereby able to submit to her husband as her earthly lord. Remember that after the fall, the woman’s punishment included:

Ge 3:16 Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.

Because she had defaulted and usurped authority, God reminded her that her husband would be her earthly lord … “he will rule over you.”

2) The husband is to love his wife. This is how the husband submits to his wife … he loves her!

Eph 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy

Most husbands do not understand what real love is! It is sacrifice, not lust! Jesus gave Himself up for the Church. He died for the Church. Get it … He gave His life for the Church (people). The husband is to give himself up … die to the old self … die to the pre-marriage days and lifestyle. After God, His wife comes first. He must live for her, work for her, remain healthy for her. Love is being the biggest servant in the home. He needs to care, protect, provide, stimulate, treat as queen and serve her. That is true lordship and that is true love … living exclusively for his wife.

Nothing comes before the wife apart from God … not even the children or work … not even the Church! The reason is that he is to present his wife holy and blameless to Jesus one day! This means that within his love and lordship, he needs to be the pastor in the marriage, preparing her biblically for life, service and for eternity … for God! That is his main duty as a husband. This is why he is her head.

The symbolic gesture often overlooked or unknown is that when the father stands with his daughter before the pastor on the marriage day and hears the words … “Who gives this woman to be married to this man?” He responds … “I do” and sits down after giving his daughter a hug and a kiss. In this he relinquishes all authority as caregiver, provider and protector over his daughter.

Later on in the service, the vows are taken and rings exchanged, followed by the pastor pronouncing the couple husband and wife. The newly made wife then puts her arm through her husband’s arm and accepts his headship whilst the husband accepts the responsibility to care, protect and provide his wife fully and totally now that her father has relinquished authority over her.

3) Not understanding these roles … a submissive wife and a loving husband, prevents the couple from understanding Biblical headship in the fullest sense. There are different styles of association in marriage. Here are two prominent ones …

(a) Egalitarianism. They hold that men and women are created equally in their being, value and personhood but say that there are no unique roles for man in the home (and Church). They say the Bible teaches man and women are equal in creation in God’s image, equally responsible for sin, equally redeemed by Christ and equally gifted by God’s Spirit for service and are held equally responsible for their God-given gifts. In marriage they say men and women are equally committed to their jobs and their families, sharing both wages and family responsibilities. Ultimately they need to restructure many aspects of the family life and employment to hold to this persuasion.

(b) Complementarianism. These hold that God created men and women equal in His image and likeness and in their essential dignity and human personhood, but different and complementary in function with male headship in the home and Church … this following the principles of Genesis chapter two and Ephesians chapter five we have unpacked. The safest place for both the wife and children is within a home where complementarianism (Biblical Headship) is practiced with true submission and true love under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

O God, however hard it is to live Biblically, help us to prayerfully commit to follow Your desire and will for marriage and family as we pray, asking in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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