Part 1 – What It Means to Be a “Helper”
The topic of submitting to your husband is one that comes up on a regular basis when I talk to women.
“I’ve heard the Bible says I should submit to my husband,” (It does.) “but is that still true in today’s culture?”
“My husband doesn’t know how to lead well or doesn’t want to lead.” (That may be true, but he can learn to lead.)
“I’m just as smart as my husband—smarter in some areas! (I bet you are!) Why does he get to call the shots?”
“Shouldn’t this be more of a 50/50 partnership?” (Absolutely! But that doesn’t mean God hasn’t asked husbands to lead and wives to support them in that role.)
There is so much misunderstanding on this topic within the Church. What does it mean to submit and what does submission look like? When Bob and I took ballroom dance, we learned the concepts of “staying in the arm” and “tone and resistance.” Ballroom dance provided a good picture and a great deal of understanding about what it looks like for a woman to submit or “follow.”
Before I get there, let’s talk about the word God uses when he describes his purpose in creating a wife for Adam. The Hebrew word is ezer kenegdo. Here’s the word in context:
“Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.’” (Genesis 2:18) Ezer kenegdor. Helper. A lot of women don’t like that term. It sounds demeaning when you say it in English. A picture of a uniformed maid or a low-level assistant comes to my mind. But when you look at other biblical passages, that’s not the connotation at all.
Take a look at these verses:
Behold, God is my helper; The Lord is the sustainer of my soul (Psalm 54:4).
But I am afflicted and needy; Hasten to me, O God! You are my help and my deliverer; O Lord, do not delay (Psalm 70:5).
My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth (Psalm 121:2).
Do you see the strength and power of the word “help” or “helper”? This is a picture of God standing beside us and sustaining and delivering us. When God used the same word for wives, He didn’t intend them to be weak assistants who merely say, “Yes, dear,” and then run off and fulfill their husband’s assignments!
Over the next few weeks, I’ll explain what “staying in the arm” and “tone and resistance” mean and what they taught me about following my husband. Stay tuned.