Monday, February 18, 2013

More on God's Planning Skills

The chain of command is the order of authority.  Most people are familiar with this term relative to the military.  Generals are in charge of Colonels, who out rank the Majors, who are in charge of the Captains and so on.  Sergeants are above Privates in the scheme of things.  This is how good order is attained and everyone understands what is going on.  Society expects it to work this way, and we all understand something has gone wrong if it doesn't work.

I mention this because when I first started reading the Bible, I thought the idea of a wife submitting to her husband was something random men made up.  Actually, based on what I'd heard about it, I thought women were supposed to submit to men, be they their husbands or not.  It was all very men-oriented.  And of course, very wrong.  Men and women should be equal!

Problems came when I noticed both Paul and Peter said women should submit to their husbands...
Eph 5:22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. (That's Paul, writing to the Ephesians)

1Pe 3:1 Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; (There's Peter in his letter) 

Though I am not a wife and not planning to be one in the very short term, I thought it was important to clarify what these passages meant.  I wanted to make sure I got a very conservative opinion, so I went to my super conservative friend, who I assumed A) knew all about it and B) would tell me what I already knew crazy conservatives thought in that women were less than men and should submit to them all.

Turns out that isn't the thought.  She explained it firstly as a chain of command, which I am familiar with due to the military.  The General isn't more important than the Colonel.  He isn't smarter by default.  He isn't morally superior.  He's not even always right in his decisions.  He's just in charge.  Someone has to be in charge.  This doesn't prevent the Colonel from having an opinion or being a very, very important part of the army.  But when a decision has to be made, the General gets the final "vote."

Now as I've said, I'm not married, so I need not get all the details as to how this would work in my particular family army when I get a husband.  But the explanation totally made sense.  Two people having entirely equal votes would lead to a lot of opportunities for no-win conflicts.  When we take out all of our worldly demands of equality, the system God gave us makes a lot of sense.

I realize this doesn't sound very popular in today's culture, but God didn't come up with it to be popular.  Jesus got Himself crucified, so popularity doesn't appear to be a motivation. 

My friend also pointed out that it is only to one's husband this applies.  The idea that all women should be subject to all men is false.  It only establishes this chain of command in the context of marriage.  Everywhere else, we are just subject to the chain of command of that particular situation.  So at work, I report to my boss.  She happens to be a woman.  If I was a manger, I could have men reporting to me, and that would be just fine.

This was several years ago, and I found it interesting at the time and now see it as yet another example of God's wisdom in decision making.  And also how we try to sidestep that with all of our "logical thinking."  We come up with what we think will work instead of trusting in what God wants.

One very wonderful advantage in doing what God wants instead of what I want is it is easier.  It may not seem easier (or even make sense initially as in the above example), but it is easier as we know it will work.  We don't have to reinvent the wheel every time we do something.  How wonderful is that!

Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar. She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens. She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms. She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night. She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff. She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy. She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet. She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple. Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land. She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant. Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.
(Pro 31:10-31)

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for your comments.
    A few more thoughts.
    We must remember we are all under the authority of God. - and have to submit. The difficult bit - we have to recognise the authorities that exist are appointed by God.
    Rom 13:1-3
    13 Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil.
    Jesus recognised this -
    John 19:10-11
    10 Then Pilate said to Him, "Are You not speaking to me? Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?"
    11 Jesus answered, "You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above.

    However we must remember those that have authority also have a responsibily - a duty of care. This care is difficult to administer if we do not submit

    1 Tim 2:1-3
    2 Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.