Eve: The Original Wonder Woman

Here’s a quick recap of last week’s post— Woman was created:

  • Innocent,
  • Perfect,
  • Last,
  • In the image of God,
  • For relationship with God and Adam,
  • In the garden of Eden,
  • And shamelessly, happily, and blessedly naked.

In short, Eve was exactly who God said she was.

Let’s look at the God-designed context of her creation: Genesis 2:7 explains how God made Man, 2:18 states that Adam was alone, and 2:22 describes that God made Woman out of Adam.

Between Adam’s creation and Woman’s creation, God put Adam to work naming all the animals God had created (Gen. 2:18-20). Talk about a long day. Why didn’t God give that assignment after Woman was created? She could’ve taken half of the animals and helped get the job done in half the time.

Instead of detailing all the creativity and wonder of Adam as he named every living thing that could move on its own, Genesis 2:20 focuses on the search for a helper comparable to Adam. Despite all the diversity of creation, Adam came up empty.

During this time, Adam discovered that he was the only one who was alone in his kind and his responsibilities. Then God, in his mercy, remedied the situation by creating Woman out of Adam’s rib (Gen. 2:21-22).

Woman filled the only void that existed in creation and God made sure that Adam knew it. She was the companion in mind, body, and spirit that he needed. But, wait! There’s more.

The Hebrew word ezer is typically translated as “helper” (Strong 42). I don’t know about you, but that feels a bit First Grade to me. Not flattering.

However, this word is only used twenty-one times in the Old Testament. Eighteen of those times, ezer refers to God’s divine intervention on behalf of his children who are on the cusp of disaster.

One of the remaining references is a negative (Is. 30:5). In other words, that verse is saying, “Dude, you are so not helping.” The last two refer to Woman.

Breathe this fact in until it mingles with your toes, my friend: The positive identifications of ezer only refer to God and to Woman.

Based on the uses throughout the Old Testament, here’s my functional definition of ezer: powerful, overwhelming, in-the-nick-of-time military help. Think Gideon with three hundred men carrying jars and torches defeating well-trained, well-armed soldiers. Jericho’s walls collapsing at the sound of a worship service. A stone toppling a giant.

That’s the word God uses to describe Woman.

That’s the mold in which you and I were made: that of a powerful warrior lending aid to an ally.

Woman not only kept Adam from aloneness, but she was empowered to render the essential assistance he needed to carry out his purpose: The steward, filling and subduing the earth, and governing all living things.

How breath-taking. What a mission. What a woman she must have been. Woman was fully confident, fully capable, and fully empowered to assist in the exact moment and the exact manner that was needed.

No wonder Satan went after her.

 

Strong, James. “Ezer.” The New Strong’s Complete Dictionary of Bible Words, Thomas Nelson, 1996, pp. 472.

The Eternal Bubble Bath: Sabbath

Yesterday, I practiced my first Sabbath.

This may seem silly since we all have Sundays, but I’m currently working my way through Priscilla Shirer’s Breathe with my women’s Bible study. Granted, we only started it last Wednesday, but it has been dovetailing perfectly with the promptings and yearnings in my own spirit for the last year.

Did you know that Sabbath actually means to experience “tranquility, serenity, peace and repose” (Ibid qtd. Shirer 15)?

And that when God rested on the seventh day and made it holy, He was expressing satisfaction (Shirer 15)?

Over the last year, God has patiently been walking me baby step by baby step towards Sabbath. It’s taken me a year to sort through many of my identity issues (not fix, mind you, but at least they’re labeled and organized).

Since writing this blog forced me to walk through some warfare and shifts in perspective on my context (the war zone we live in and the romance of Christ), I’ve begun to think differently. I’ve become uncomfortable, even discontent in my life of apathy, guilt, and insecurity.

In order to deal with some of this mess, God and I retreated last Fall. What did we discuss?

My home décor.

It sounds absurd, but God knew that what I had allowed into my house and the furniture and knick-knacks I arranged did not suit the home my husband and I wanted to share. It wasn’t the home God wanted us to invite people into. It was directly contrary to the purpose He has for us: deliberate, Christ-centered conversation.

Having in an unexpected rush moved into a new home several weeks ago, Fritz and I automatically saw it as an opportunity to rid ourselves of clutter and confusion. Our home now matches the purpose and style God showed me five months ago.

What does this have to do with Sabbath, you ask?

Well.

How many of you come across a new spiritual revelation and immediately start lists, schedules, and plans to implement that revelation and fail almost immediately? In case you didn’t notice, both my hands are up.

Sabbath is about rest.

Repose.

Tranquility.

That can’t be muscled into your life. And, if you’re anything like me, it can’t be thought into your life either because your brain is caught in a hamster wheel.

The beauty of this last year is that God, knowing that Sabbath would be a big part of my spring, began last summer to rewrite my thinking and identity so that instead of charging in and taking control of Sabbath (which defeats the purpose of tranquility), I’d ease into Sabbath like a warm bath.

Will there be relapses? That, friend, is what grace is for.

However, yesterday, I allowed God to set up my Sabbath and I’m celebrating by sharing what it was:

Sabbath is looking back through your life and seeing all the hundred thousand ways God has blessed you. All the dreams He fulfilled without you noticing. All the struggles you’ve overcome by His power. All the goals you’ve accomplished and never celebrated.

On my Sabbath, I looked and saw a God who loves me and blesses me without measure.

Shirer, Priscilla. Breathe: Making Room for Sabbath. 2nd ed. LifeWay Press. 2014.

A Soldier’s Choice

Being beloved by God can sustain you and me through more than I think we really understand. But it is not enough to know that he loves us.

We have to realize, accept, and live out the fact that we are in a battle and, make no mistake, there is no Switzerland.soldiers-1002_1280

Either you are the Enemy’s or you are Christ’s. If you don’t know where you fall, check out “Love me! Why?” and “Christian: A Murky Mirror” in my sidebar.

Being a warrior in the field for Christ comes down to one powerful thing: Obedience.

Sounds boring and chauvenistic, doesn’t it? It’s not. Obedience to Christ is crucial to survival.

We will not survive this war, much less win if we don’t listen to and follow our Commanding Officer’s orders.

God is omnipotent (all-powerful), omniscient (all-knowing), omnipresent (everywhere), and eternal (timeless– without beginning or end).

Looking at that list, I’d say he is more than qualified to call the shots on a war that has raged longer than anyone besides him can out-live or remember.

Obviously, a key part of obedience is knowing his commands. So dive into the word of God (the Bible) and see what he says. Then act on it.

German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer puts it this way:

“Who stands fast?” he asked. “Only the man whose final standard is not his reason, his principles, his conscience, his freedom, or his virtue, but who is ready to sacrifice all this when he is called to obedient and responsible action in faith and in exclusive allegiance to God— the responsible man, who tries to make his whole life an answer to the question and call of God” (qtd. Metaxas).

Obedience is rarely a simple agreement that what God says sounds good, makes sense, or suited “that” situation. Obedience to God is a single-minded devotion that, as Bonhoeffer states, “requires a body.”

The Bible states quite clearly that “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15), “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10, ESV, emphasis mine), and “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (James 1:22, ESV, emphasis mine).

God is telling us to act in obedience for our own safety and well-being.

Does that seem a bit controlling and narrow-minded to you? Consider it this way: if all the soldiers in an army did whatever they wanted, how many wars would they win?

How many lives would be wasted because the soldiers refused to listen to the commanding officer who knows the enemy and knows that the way that seems clear is actually an ambush waiting to happen?

We are soldiers in a war.

It is your choice as to whether you live in obedience to the Commander who values your safety and well-being as much as he values the outcome of the war or die on the battlefield because you want to do things your way.