I was just thinking and praying about some of the issues surrounding the churches lately.
And, in particular.
I have been waiting for one of the men (in our circle) to stand up and be the prophetic voice that says, “This is wrong, and this must stop.”
And in one particular situation that I have been praying about, there are men able to do the right thing. But they are unwilling. They are maybe a bit afraid of confrontation. But the women in the situation see the need. They see the hypocrisy and error (and SIN), and we are ready to stand up and say ENOUGH.
But we still would rather have a man do it.
And there is a reason for that.
In this circle the women are taught to be quiet and passive.
I guess I didn’t see it for years.
But I see it now.
The women have been taught certain verses over and over again in church. The ones to be gentle and submissive (and WEAK). And they have not been taught much about being strong for the cause of Christ. How many Sunday mornings have we spent parked in Galatians 5 or Colossians 3 or 1 Peter 3:4? How many sermons have I sat through where the speaker discusses AT LENGTH the many ways his wife serves him dinner. As if that is the only thing a wife is really good for. But this is only half the story.
We are also to be a strong part of the body of Christ. We have a different calling. But an important one.
My point is, the women in my circle have been “conditioned” to be weak and passive, in the church.
Now I do not disagree with the verses I mentioned above. I think they work well within healthy marriages.
On a side note–I think in abusive marriages these verses can be deadly. How many victims of domestic violence have been told just to submit some more? Just be a “better wife” and “pray more” and he will change? As if the responsibility lies squarely on her weak back to be even weaker to save the marriage. But in abusive marriages it isn’t the wife at fault, but the husband. And she needs to be protected from him. She must leave.
She must be strengthened. We all must.
Where are the pastors that build us up? That strengthen us for our calling?
Our different calling–but important calling.
Some of us have had our arms cut off.
And it isn’t even Biblical!
We are equal.
“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28
So when a situation arises in the church, why are not women able to confront it? To say, “Pastor, you taught me this isn’t right.” And call the situation to account?
Why are the men in leadership in many churches condescending to the women?
I look around and I see so many of them even looking down on their own wives as just “emotional” or “histrionic” women. Laughing off legitimate concerns.
I WANT one of these men to stand up and do what needs to be done.
But none have.
They ignore the very real threat.
They ignore the cries of the women, who see the danger–BECAUSE WE ARE JUST WOMEN.
And they go on about their lives, because it is easier.
This is the time for a Deborah and Jael.
This is why I wish we would have been taught better.
Deborah was a leader–spiritually and politically.
She was a judge and a prophetess.
She was strong, and smart, and respected.
She was a wife. She became a warrior.
the word judge “Shaphat” means heroic leader.
Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, was judging Israel at that time. And she would sit under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the mountains of Ephraim. And the children of Israel came up to her for judgment. Then she sent and called for Barak the son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali, and said to him, “Has not the Lord God of Israel commanded, ‘Go and deploy troops at Mount Tabor; take with you ten thousand men of the sons of Naphtali and of the sons of Zebulun; and against you I will deploy Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his multitude at the River Kishon; and I will deliver him into your hand’?”
And Barak said to her, “If you will go with me, then I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not go!”
So she said, “I will surely go with you; nevertheless there will be no glory for you in the journey you are taking, for the Lord will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.” Then Deborah arose and went with Barak to Kedesh. And Barak called Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh; he went up with ten thousand men under his command, and Deborah went up with him.
Now Heber the Kenite, of the children of Hobab the father-in-law of Moses, had separated himself from the Kenites and pitched his tent near the terebinth tree at Zaanaim, which is beside Kedesh.
And they reported to Sisera that Barak the son of Abinoam had gone up to Mount Tabor. So Sisera gathered together all his chariots, nine hundred chariots of iron, and all the people who were with him, from Harosheth Hagoyim to the River Kishon.
Then Deborah said to Barak, “Up! For this is the day in which the Lord has delivered Sisera into your hand. Has not the Lord gone out before you?” So Barak went down from Mount Tabor with ten thousand men following him. And the Lord routed Sisera and all his chariots and all his army with the edge of the sword before Barak; and Sisera alighted from his chariot and fled away on foot. But Barak pursued the chariots and the army as far as Harosheth Hagoyim, and all the army of Sisera fell by the edge of the sword; not a man was left.
However, Sisera had fled away on foot to the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite; for there was peace between Jabin king of Hazor and the house of Heber the Kenite. And Jael went out to meet Sisera, and said to him, “Turn aside, my lord, turn aside to me; do not fear.” And when he had turned aside with her into the tent, she covered him with a blanket.
Then he said to her, “Please give me a little water to drink, for I am thirsty.” So she opened a jug of milk, gave him a drink, and covered him. And he said to her, “Stand at the door of the tent, and if any man comes and inquires of you, and says, ‘Is there any man here?’ you shall say, ‘No.’”
Then Jael, Heber’s wife, took a tent peg and took a hammer in her hand, and went softly to him and drove the peg into his temple, and it went down into the ground; for he was fast asleep and weary. So he died. And then, as Barak pursued Sisera, Jael came out to meet him, and said to him, “Come, I will show you the man whom you seek.” And when he went into her tent, there lay Sisera, dead with the peg in his temple. (Judges 4)
I would like to park here a bit with my pastor on a Sunday morning. and let him encourage me and the women in our church to be strong like this. We are no threat. We will not try to usurp authority. Men are not the enemy. They do not have to be afraid to build us up into strong women.
How would the whole church not be stronger if we looked to become more like Deborah. Barak was still used by God mightily. He was blessed by Deborah! He appreciated her encouragement and faith.
She reminded him of what the Lord had said, and she helped increase his faith.
Wouldn’t all men benefit from having women like this around?
Can’t we do more than just stand up to get men another spoonful of peas at dinner?
And Jael, oh my! She knew how to offer a man a glass of milk! Can I have a pastor talk to me about the courage it took for her to do what she did? Can we include her heroic act when we recount the exploits of David cutting off the head of Goliath, or Samson pulling down the temple on top of the Philistines?
And she was determined too. The peg went all the way in, into the ground.
What caused her to feel the need to do this herself?
Did she just know that he deserved it?
Would the men fail to do it?
Her people and her husband obviously had no problem with this man.
Jael was somehow compelled to softly sneak up on him and end the evil.
Let’s Think About This Practically (before I am accused of being a feminist or a man hater).
Are there situations that Christian women face today, that we have handled too gently?
Have we failed to be strong, when the time came?
Have we failed to stop evil?
Have we failed to rally the men to the righteous battles that come against God’s people?
There are times that a woman must stand up– as a judge, a prophetess, a warrior, and a hero.
–in cases of spousal abuse
–in cases of child abuse
–in cases of emotional abuse
–in cases of spiritual abuse
–in cases of exploitation
–to protect the weak
–to be a voice for the silent
Why would we think the “Christian” thing to do is just sit back and wait for some man to come to the rescue? What if they never come?
Call it out! Take a stand!
We live in a society where 1 in 4 children are sexually abused before the age of 14.
1 in 4.
In the church too.
In homes of those we love.
Kids we know.
living in fear.
Are we willing to stand up for our people?
Are we willing to remind the men that God has commanded them to fight?
Will we go with them?
Will we profess the Word of God?
Will we drive a tent peg into any source of evil that wants to come against our communities?
Drive the tent peg deep into–
Control and manipulation
Sneak up softly, while it sleeps and do what you can to stop it.
God has called us to serve our families, and our husbands and our churches.
But we have been told by those who need us, “shh, don’t be so emotional.”
We have been minimized.
While evil sleeps comfortably among us, inside our very tents.
Let us women, rise up, WITH the men and do spiritual battle.
Let us join them, and if they don’t fight, let us keep fighting.
I honestly do not think our greatest call from God is found on Pinterest, or in decorating our homes. Those things are fine, there is nothing wrong with a cute home.
But remember, Jael isn’t remembered for how pretty her tent was . . . but for the fact that she refused to let evil sleep in it.
Be strong woman.
Fight for righteousness.
God wants to use you.