“He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favour from the LORD”
This is the one Bible verse that Christians consistently quote to “prove” that it is the man who should ultimately hear decisively from God, and ask the woman out (or in the Redeemed church, propose outright). I don’t agree that this is what this Bible verse is saying, as there are other verses that refer explicitly to men that common sense tells us must also apply to women. For instance “a prudent wife is from the LORD” (Proverbs 19.14). This was quoted today and was instantly turned into “a prudent wife or husband…” because clearly both must be from the Lord. However, the reason I have decided to comply with the concept that the guy should after all, absolutely be the one to do the asking, is because the Bible does make it indisputably clear that the man is the head of the home, and the wife should submit to him. As such, to me it makes sense that it should be after all the man doing the asking, and I guess it is for a reason that this is the custom in most parts of the world, in most ages. I just have an aversion to parts of the Bible being twisted to say what they don’t actually mean – even if what we are trying to make that part of the Bible seem to say is actually true.
This is what I am trying to say: if the Bible does not say it, then the Bible does not say it, even if it is true. Even if something is demonstrably true, it would be wrong of us to assign it to the Bible, unless the Bible actually does say it.
10. Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies.
11. The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain.
12. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life
13. She seeks wool and flax, and willingly works with her hands……..
(These intervening verses are all very relevant, and all very beautiful – however this passage is very long!)
……28. Her children rise up and call her blessed;her husband also, and he praises her:
29. “Many daughters have done well, but you excel them all.”
30. Charm is deceitful, and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.
31. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates.
Now this happens to be one of my favourite passages of the Bible, especially concerning women, as it shows a strong, intelligent, industrious woman who is a business woman, and takes initiative, and is successful and highly regarded – and this is commended right here in God’s Word. To me it demonstrates that the argument between a woman going to work and looking after her children and family is a false one -the answer is here decisively “both”, as it surely must have been in most traditional cultures since forever – many women will run successful enterprises while bringing up successful children. I guess the difficulty in modern capitalist cultures comes when “work” for both men and women implies leaving the house or home, where previously or in agrarian societies it meant tending your own home or field where naturally you would be in contact with your own children much of every day.
Additionally, this is apparently a passage that some Christian husbands naughtily use to torture their wives, for standards that they are not living up to. I can’t imagine why – I am possibly as feminist as a Bible-believing Christian can be, and yet I simply love this passage. It shows feminine positivity and strength – the word in the Hebrew safely translated as “virtuous” apparently really means “valour” – hence “who can find a wife of valour…?” or “who can find a valiant wife….?” – clearly some Bible translators decided that wives should not aspire to be valiant, but rather to be virtuous instead (although, technically, “virtuous” itself could also be translated as “valiant”, from the Latin – complex – it literally means “manly“!)
OK, now since I drafted up my Sunday note below between yesterday and today, something quite funny but also somewhat annoying happened. That is, that my Pastor decided, for the first time ever, that he was going to seriously examine the topic of relationships, and how to contract them. So this was the church sermon today – and what a sermon it was! It was in parts seriously, seriously embarrassing, and we were all squirming. It was however also quite hilarious, especially for me as I knew I was not really in line to get that embarrassed!
I actually had the chance to talk about 5 characteristics I am looking for in my husband – thereby indicating to everyone that I am single – thank you Pastor I! I would like to make it clear that I did not volunteer for this. Rather, a mic was thrust into my hand, so what could I do?! Unfortunately, I had absolutely no notice, or chance to think deeply, so I lost forever (or until next week at least, when we are continuing the same sermon – I shall be prepared!) my opportunity to use in church the words “hot” or even er, a very “unchristian” word meaning “super-hot”, in the non temperature sense. I ended up giving a list of predictably Christian and good characteristics, with one that may have been somewhat unexpected for most people. Not that there is anything wrong with those characteristics of course, and they were all characteristics that I am genuinely crying out for – I totally strive to be spiritual, and I totally think this is a super way of living my life – however I would also like everyone (or at least everyone who matters) to know that I am a real person who appreciates real, down-to-earth things like a super-cute smile, or a side-splitting sense of humour.
So yeah, it was a little frustrating as Pastor I kinda completely stole the thunder of this Sunday note, and I would like everyone to know that actually, I had essentially written it up before his message, and I am not copying from him!
Now, following on last week – this has been a week – as indeed last week was, where the importance of the Word of God (also known as “The Bible”) has been emphasised like never before to me. Despite my weekly Sunday notes, I have always been more a prayer than Bible oriented person. However, it has finally been brought home to me how the two work so powerfully together. In short, I cannot believe I actually published a Sunday note last Sunday without any reference to the Bible – none whatsoever! So today, there are two passages to make up for it.
Now my head is still buzzing with this relationship issue – and I think I have managed to hit on quite a crucial issue, especially regarding this whole Redeemed approach to relationships. That is, how to negotiate and integrate the issues of “God’s will” and “attraction” when dealing with guys and girls!
Now, I am not from the Redeemed background – for most of my life I have proudly belonged to the Foursquare church – and I’m still proud of that association. Now, as far as I know there is no Foursquare church in Edinburgh, but there are plenty of Redeemed churches, and we are after all worshipping the same God in very very similar ways – so I’m very happy to attend the Redeemed church here in Edinburgh (on going back to London, happily attend either Foursquare or Redeemed – no conflict whatsoever). I know that there are also many people in Redeemed in the UK who come from different church backgrounds. Now, somehow, I’ve known for a while that this is “the Redeemed Way” (that the guy hears from God etc) – but I don’t know whether everyone else knows that. ( As far as I know Foursquare does not have “a way” or format for relationships to form – it may do, or different countries may have regional variations – I don’t know!)
Photo of hands in sunlight from Pixabay