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Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Suitable Helpmeet

Along the way to that final assessment of creation by God that everything He had made was very good, God noticed a lack. Something was incomplete. Something in creation was not as it should be. What was it? Adam was all alone. And God realized, “It is not good that man should be alone.” God’s solution was to “make him a helper comparable to him.” That helper was the woman, Eve.

But what or who is this helper that God will make? I mean, what is she really? I quoted to you from the New King James Version of Genesis 2:18, but the New American Standard and the New International Version of the Bible translate it as a “suitable helper” that God would make, and the old King James Version translates it as “helpmeet.” What is a “suitable helper?” I heard Chuck Swindall once quote from the Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary: “helper – n.: one that helps: esp.: a relatively unskilled worker who assists a skilled worker, usually by manual labor.”

Ouch! That definition wasn’t very complimentary. Feminists might call them “fighting words.” And any men who actually treated their wives like they were menial servants, believing this definition, are the ones who give this verse a bad reputation. Shame on them – those male, chauvinist pigs. That is not at all what the Bible means.

Swindall cleared up the misunderstanding, and so will I. The Hebrew meaning of the word translated helper is entirely different. It means, “Someone who assists another to reach complete fulfillment, to complement, to fill up.” The word was often used to describe a rescuer. Now doesn’t that sound better? Eve rescued Adam from his incompleteness.

Plus, God adds that this rescuer He would make would be suitable, corresponding to Adam, exactly what Adam needed. Thus, God designed the woman to make the man all he was intended to be before God. She would be the perfect complement. Now Adam would be able to fulfill God’s mandate on his life.

But, what is interesting in the narrative of Genesis chapter two is that God doesn’t form Eve right off. What is God’s first step? He creates a desire in Adam.

This is found in Genesis 2:19-20:

19 Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him.

No, this isn’t happening now, after man’s creation, but this is explanatory. The birds were created on day five and the land animals on day six. But Adam has the task of naming them.

This harkens back to the task, the job description, that God gave Adam in Genesis 1:26, “Then God said,

‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’”

Naming is part of having dominion. You can’t name what you don’t control. You can’t name someone else’s baby, for instance. You can’t even name their dog or their cat. The one who owns or controls them names them.

But to name the animals meant Adam had to study them. Names had significance. They described the character of the thing being named. You didn’t name your son Phineas Cromwell simply because you liked the way it sounded. You attempted to describe your son by his name. To name something was, in a sense, to know it. Therefore, Adam had to be somewhat of a botanist as well as a biologist. And he had to work at it.

But can you imagine Adam watching the animal parade? Perhaps God led them by two by two in the same fashion as He brought them to Noah. And Adam studied them, and Adam saw them cavort together and nuzzle each other. Yet, he is all alone with God’s promise fresh in his mind. Is this the one? Is that? NO! It is not the aardvark , the beaver, or even the chimpanzees. Certainly not the dinosaurs. None of them were right for Adam. None of them were like him.

Perhaps God wanted Adam to realize his need before He filled that need. Perhaps Adam needs to understand why he should appreciate his wife. Yet, as of this time, Genesis 2:20 says, “But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him.” What now? God must act. God must fulfill His promise. And God does in a dramatic and glorious way. And this gift of a wife is God’s perfect provision for the need within Adam.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Start of the Family

Since this is a blog that concerns problems dealing with the family, it is only appropriate that we examine the origins of the family. How did this thing we call marriage begin? What constitutes a family? Whose idea was it anyway? Did it just develop over time and in lots of forms and varieties as the evolutionist claims? Or did it have an intelligent design and practical purpose? According to God’s infallible Word, the family didn’t originate by accident. Along with most everything else, it was God’s doing. And, of course, God explained it all to us in the very first book of the Bible – the book of origins called Genesis. Genesis 2:18 states: “And the LORD God said, ‘It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.’” Here’s how it went, quoting one eyewitness source which I believe was the Reader’s Digest: “I’m lonely,” Adam told God in the Garden of Eden. “I need to have someone around for company.” “Okay,” replied God. “I’m going to give you the perfect woman. Beautiful, intelligent, and gracious – she’ll cook and clean for you and never say a cross word.” “Sounds good,” Adam said. “But what’s she going to cost?” “An arm and a leg,” answered God. “That’s pretty steep,” countered Adam. “What can I get for just a rib?” And the rest, as they say, is history. Actually, I heard a different account, this one from a lady. She said, “God created man, stepped back to look, and said, ‘I can do better than that!’ and created the woman. After all, you always make a rough draft before the final masterpiece.” Maybe we better stick with what God said. And God did spell out the creation of the woman, and the story begins here in Genesis 2:18. Interestingly, in Genesis 2:18, this is the first time God said, “It is not good.” No, not the creation of woman – don’t be silly. Everything up to this point was good. All through Genesis chapter one, as God finished creating for the day He stopped and admired, saying, “It was good.” Six times we read that same statement – once for each day of creation. Then, when God finished, He took time to evaluate the whole of creation and came to this conclusion, “It was very good.” Genesis 1:31 says, “Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.” Sometime, however, on the sixth day after creating Adam, God made the admission that something was not good. Something was less than perfect. Something was still incomplete. What was not good? God’s answer: It was not good that man was alone. Ah, but God had a plan. That plan was to make Adam “a helper comparable to him.” God won’t leave Adam alone. God will provide Adam with a helper; but not just any helper, one comparable to him. And thus, we see the creation of Eve – God’s answer to Adam’s need. God made Adam a wife, and the family began.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

God Protected Homes

We looked, last time at the first half of Psalm 127:1. Now we’ll look at the second half. Here is the whole verse: Psalm 127:1 -
“Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the LORD guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.”
There are twin truths here, aren’t there? And they are related. Why does a man work? He works to build his home and to feed and provide for his family. And why would a man guard his city? It is to protect his family from danger. But, just as only God can adequately build our homes, only God can protect our homes. God is our only real security.

Think about it: Satan isn’t the least bit afraid of us. The world system isn’t one bit afraid of us. Even the strongest of us are no match for either of them. They will sap our strength and resistance. We’re helpless before them, really, unless the Lord guards the city, the home, the heart of our children. You can stay up all night watching for the enemy, but it’s all in vain.

“Oh, but God will protect us! We’re Christians!” I’ve heard people say. “We’ve got His promise on that.” And they blindly trust things will be OK because they are Christian.

Oh, but will God always protect our homes? Christian homes fall apart as often as non-Christian homes. There must be some kind of catch if there really is a promise. And there is. How can you expect God’s protection if you knowingly violate His rules for the home? How can you expect His protection if you haven’t followed His plan, or haven’t built on His foundation, or haven’t used the proper tools He’s provided? No, friend. We can’t count on being protected then.

Jesus Himself said, in the Sermon on the Mount, that a wise man builds his house on the rock. Look at His words in Matthew 7:24-27:
“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”

The rock is the Word of God. And when the storms of adversity and opposition come in like a flood, the house built on God’s Word will stand.

The foolish man builds his house on the shifting sand of popular opinion. He does whatever society is doing, or whatever society’s experts tell Him to do within his home. Thus, when the storms of adversity hit his house, man, you’ve never heard such a loud crash. But can the man blame God for that? Jesus told him to build on the rock, the solid rock of the Word of God. If you are dumb enough to build on sand, the results are predictable.

If we take short cuts, if we cheapen the home construction, we get just that – a cheap imitation of what God designed our home to be. Even Christians complain, “I can’t understand why my marriage fell apart. I can’t understand why my children rebelled.” Yet, they didn’t follow God’s plan. The man didn’t fulfill the Biblical roles as a husband by being the pastor, provider, and protector of his home as the type of Christ in the marriage. And the woman failed to fulfill her roles as reproducer and nurturer as the type of the church, the bride of Christ.

You understand the typology from Ephesians 5:22-32, don’t you? All through that long passage, Paul addresses the roles of the husband and the wife. The husband is to love his wife sacrificially as Christ loved the church. The wife is to submit to her husband as unto the Lord as the church submits to Christ as His bride. In a Christian marriage, we are to show the world a picture of the relationship between Christ and His bide, the church. And when the wife usurps the husband’s role, or has it handed to her by some lazy, old lay-about man who refuses to fulfill his role, it tears the typology apart. God doesn’t owe our families any protection then.

The next verse of the Psalm continues the theme. Psalm 127:2 –
“It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows; for so He gives His beloved sleep.”
Once again God says it is vain. Long hours of painful labor, rising early and staying up late, are all for nothing unless the Lord is guarding the home. No amount of effort can make up for not following God’s plan; nor can it change the consequences.

But in reverse, this tells us that there is no need to worry. Worry only compounds the problem. Worry is a tyrannical master. Once it gets in, it nags us so we can’t think of anything else. It wears us down, frays our nerves, ruins our health, and steals our sleep. It is our families that cause us the most worry. How much better to turn back to Christ and trust Him?

Jesus invites us to do just that. Matthew 11:28 gives us His tender invitation:
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Do you want to be able to relax in your own home knowing it is protected? Turn to Christ and rest in Him. When we rest safe in Him securely within the boundaries He has set in His Word, He will be like a Father to us who picks us up like we might a fussy baby and holds us tight in His arms humming us a lullaby until we settle down and fall asleep. There is security when God protects our homes.

When we return to Christ, what is there to worry about? We can rest secure knowing that God is on the job building our home and watching over them. I pray that you desire a God protected home.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

God Built Homes

One thing is clear as we looking at our culture. Our society is in a moral free fall, and our homes are a disaster. You don’t need statistics to understand this. Anyone who reads a daily newspaper is fed up with all the examples. Our country is in a mess, morally bankrupt – and in debt up to our ears. But while no one would dispute these facts, very few people have any idea what went wrong or how we can correct the problem. But there is an answer.

Billy Graham gives us the reason for this situation in his book, World Aflame:
“The immutable law of sowing and reaping has held sway. We are now the hapless possessors of moral depravity, and we seek in vain for a cure. The tares of indulgence have overgrown the wheat of moral restraint. Our homes have suffered. Divorce has grown in epidemic proportions. When the morals of a society are upset, the family is the first to suffer. The home is the basic unit of our society, and a nation is only as strong as her homes. The breaking up of a home does not often make headlines, but it eats like termites at the structure of a nation. As a result of the mounting divorces, separations, and desertions, about twelve million of the forty five million children in the United States (over one fourth) do not live with both parents. A vicious cycle is in motion. The Bible says, ‘The Fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge’ (Jer. 31:29).”

How true it is. But what is the answer?

The answer is that God must build our homes. God’s Word must show us how. Most people would admit that they really wish they could have a good, solid family. That’s what they really want most of all. But what few people are willing to admit is that a strong family is possible if we would only follow the rule book God gave us that rule book. The rule book, of course, is the Bible, the Word of God. God thought up this idea of family, and God brought Adam and Eve together. He knows what makes family work.

Unfortunately, few people are unwilling to follow the rules God set down. The mess we are in proves it. Yet, we desperately need to mend the fractures in our domestic bones. We need help for our families. And if we don’t find it, the skeleton of our society is surely going to collapse.

Psalm 127: 1 says: “Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it.” The Lord, Himself, must be the center of our homes, the foundation upon which we build. God must be the one directing the construction. If we try to build our homes any old way, it simply won’t work. We must let God build it.

“Yeah, right,” you say. “God doesn’t use a hammer or nails. How does He build our homes?”

Here is the answer. God is the general contractor. We, as husband and wife, are the sub-contractors. God builds our homes using our labor. And we must build according to His specifications. He gives us the blue print, and He supplies the tools. He expects us to use them. We cannot, we must not, deviate from His specifications; not without paying a terrific price in disastrous consequences of a home that cracks and settles and crumbles under pressure.

To build our homes any other way than by using God’s plan is vain, empty, and useless. You can work, strive, fret, worry, plan, and do whatever you want; but if the Lord is not the very center of your home, it’s all in vain. If you build without following the blue print found in the Word of God, it’s all in vain.

Follow the world’s prescription and you’ll get fractured families. You’ll get children born to unwed mothers. You’ll get over a million children each year slaughtered in the womb. Those children born alive will grow up into angry, rebellious young adults. The world presents a recipe for disaster. God presents a recipe for success. But you can have a God built home. Make Him the center of your home. Follow His blue print. Only then can you expect success.