Abigail (1 Jan 2013)
"To Steve Coerper re "Jezebel Spirit""

 
Hi Steve Q
 
I have been giving some consideration during the holiday period, to the points raised in your posts of 17 and 14 December.  It has taken a while but, my response may just make it into 2012 - the same year as your posts - hopefully! 
 
I do understand from where you were coming, when writing the posts, in that you were frustrated with the way some women whom you consider to be Christians are not behaving as they should, towards their husbands.  Putting that aside, the following are some things worth thinking about.
 
So many pick up on the phrase about the "submission of wives".  Yet always they choose to  omit or ignore the balancing instruction to husbands to "love your wives as Christ loved the Church".  Note that Jesus loved the Church so much that He died for it!  Never did He place His own interests before the Church!   Another scripture also tells us all to submit one to another (1 Cor 3:16).  Such submission is a sign of humility before God.
 
Scripture uses family relationships to illustrate the "mystery of the Church" - its birth pangs, actual birth, walk, travail, the rapture, and final destiny.  Paul refers to this as a "great mystery".  (Eph 5:32)
 
Just as an example, Scripture describes physical childbirth as a time of pain and travail but - once the baby is born - the mother forgets all that and just rejoices in the baby.  In its literal sense, this does work for some mothers - and should do so, in general.  The fact is though that there are other mothers who never forget, others who have to live with the physical consequences/complications for the rest of their lives, sometimes the baby is stillborn, and some other mothers die in the process of trying to give birth (Rachel of the Old Testament, is just one example).
 
Therefore, while the general process of childbirth is used as a biblical illustration, it is referring to something deeper:  the conception, birth pangs, travail, and final deliverance (rapture and final destiny) of the Church.  The message is particularly significant in that all those different experiences and results apply to people - some get discouraged and give up before the end, some "die", by turning away, some become complacent and lukewarm, while yet others come through triumphant: hence the great rejoicing - when the travail is over and the birth of the church/bride/manchild finally becomes a reality.  For the latter only, the time of travail is certainly forgotten - forever!  The final destination is so glorious!
 
Sometimes those whom we think are "awful" are the ones who end up with tender hearts and are often changed in the twinkling of an eye (because of God's quiet groundwork which we do not see)  - and vice versa, in that some who live good, respectable, respectful lives, do so without accepting Christ:  in the end they have nothing.
 
Now for Jezebel!  As you say, she was indeed a nasty piece of works!  However, what about her husband Ahab being equally so?  Again, people pick on Jezebel, but not Ahab!   Yet Scripture tells us that Ahab did more evil and more to provoke the Lord God to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him.  (1 Kings 16:30,33)  There was no excuse for Ahab to be influenced by anyone's evil or manipulative ways.  The same goes for us, of course.  Scripture makes it clear that accountability lies at the door of each person.   It seems strange that whenever a wife offends, the prefix "spirit of" is placed before their names.  Yet that does not appear to happen to their male counterparts.
 
While on the topic of husbands, let's look at Abraham for a moment.  When his wife Sarah requested that Hagar be sent away, taking son Ishmael with her, did Abraham turn on Sarah and oppose her request?  By logical standards, he could have been expected to:  Ishmael was his son as well.  No loving parent would like to see his or her child turned away, with no means of support and nowhere to go.  Abraham was justifiably very upset - but he did what we all should do when things are not going as we think they should be:  he voiced his concerns directly to God.
 
It was then that Abraham found that Sarah's request was all part of God's plan and this was to form one of the most important illustrations in the Bible (the difference between living under the law (by the letter) and living in the freedom of the Holy Spirit. However, what an incredibly difficult thing to have to do!  Had Abraham interfered, he would have been obstructing God.  A lesson there for us, don't you think?  (Gen 21 and Gal 4:22)  Sarah had a good deal with Abraham as her husband, I'm sure you will agree!
 
Let's switch to the New Testament to another husband, Ananias.  His wife Sapphira lost her life because she submitted to her husband's wishes.  Ananias was not like evil Ahab.  Ananias was a seemingly nice guy, a fellow Christian.  He wasn't even under pressure - it was just greed that got him!  And then he tried to deceive the Holy Spirit.  The result?  God struck him dead.  Sapphira was questioned separately - this was her opportunity to make a stand against what her husband had been guilty of - but she chose to remain loyal to her husband.  So she too was pronounced guilty of deceiving the Holy Spirit and met the same fate as her husband. Where did submissiveness to her husband get her?
 
This situation happened in the Old Testament too - where women met the same fate as their husbands, when they stood with them in wrongdoing.
 
Back to the Old Testament to Hannah and Elkannah - another godly husband.  When wife Hannah took her problem concerning failure to have a child, she went directly to God.  Without consulting her husband, she promised God that if He gave her a son, she would give him back to God.  God gave her Samuel and Hannah kept her promise.  As soon as Samuel was weaned, Hannah took him to the temple to live permanently with Eli.
 
Did Elkannah object or cause dissention?  No - he was a mature, caring man of God who put his wife and her relationship with God before himself.  He kept his focus where it should be - on God!  (1 Sam 1)
 
You touched on those of unequal yoke.  Scripture does speak of a believing partner "playing it cool", when the other one does not believe, so that the unbelieving partner will turn to Christ.  Obviously this can and does work sometimes - but not always.  Some wives lose their lives trying to do this.  The Bible is not a book of rules - it is a book of Life, where Jesus reveals Himself and we learn to hear his voice and obey - whatever the circumstances.  Sometimes He leads in mysterious ways.
 
Abigail and Nabal were obviously one of the unequally yoked couples.  God chose Abigail, not Nabal.  Unrepentant Nabal was struck dead. Abigail obviously believed in God and put him first.   Abigail was the one respected by the workers - not her husband.  It can't have been any fun for her, living with a drunk.  Later, after Abigail and David had given their inspired discourses to one another, Abigail asked David to "remember me, when   .  .  . "  (This is synonymous with when the Bible tells us to pray that we will be counted worthy, when thinking of the pending rapture).  At the time appointed,  David called for her to be his bride.  The King and the bride.
 
Then there is Samson.  How many sermons have been preached about the "foolishness of Samson" in taking a Philistine bride and being nothing but a "hot-head", ending up in self-destruction?  None of that is true.  Samson married a Philistine because God ordained that it be so.  Judges 14:4 says that "God put a desire in Samson's heart to marry a heathen Philistine".  The Bible also says that even his parents did not understand.
The New Testament lists Samson as one of the past saints of faith.  (Heb 11:32)  His purpose in life was different, but it was God's purpose.
 
Then there was Hosea.  No husband would want to put up with that - he had to marry a prostitute!  Yet God had a divine purpose in that too - another very helpful illustration for the following generations.
 
You move on to  Esther and King Ahasuerus. (Greek spelling Xerxes).  Firstly, even though she didn't know it, Queen Vashti was fulfilling God's plan, when she did not follow the king's order.  The king had acted in haste, after drinking, and regretted it afterwards.  However, God had something much bigger in view.  He needed a young Jewish woman to be in a position of influence - someone He could use to save the Jewish race.  The method He chose was to remove Vashti and replace her with Esther.  This was no easy role for Esther.  While Queen Vashti had not responded to the order of the king, similarly Esther went against royal protocol and approached the King without invitation (hardly submissive!), knowing that to do so could result in her death.
 
You refer to King Ahasuerus as being a "tyrant".  It was Haman who was the tyrant.  The King Ahasuerus actually treated Esther with respect and heeded all the requests she made, although she had no way of knowing if he wou at the time.  God used the king, through Esther (not to forget Mordecai) to save the Jewish people.
 
Direct communication from God - another topic you raised, of God speaking to husbands directly and not the wives and  God "respecting the chain of command".  God has no in-laws, no stepchildren, no hangers-on.  We are all either direct "sons" of God (for in Christ there is neither male nor female), or He doesn't know us at all. Marriage is meant to be a three-way partnership, with Jesus at the helm - it isn't of union of "command"!  
 
God spoke directly to both Adam and Eve in the garden, after eating the forbidden fruit. Each one had to give a separate explanation (as did Ananias and Sapphira).
 
God won't be put into a box.  He will use whatever method He wants and speak to anyone He wants - He is no respecter of persons.  The only time we can use the word never in relation to God - is to say that "He never fails."  And the interpretation of the word "fail"is not necessarily ours - it means He never fails to sustain us; He never forsakes us; He never fails to control all of our circumstances (but that doesn't mean we are going to like those circumstances!).
 
Then there was the wife of Manoah - the Bible doesn't even give her a name.  However, it was to her that the angel of the Lord went to directly, to speak.  Manoah didn't protest - he went to God to enquire.  What did the angel of God do?  He went back to the wife directly!   As we know, Samson was the outcome of all of that.  (Judges 13)   Manoah was another respectful, God fearing husband.
 
Then there are Deborah and Jael.  Deborah (whose husband was Lappidoth) was a judge of Israel (and a very good one).  She was also a prophet.  God spoke directly to her all the time.  Her husband does not get a mention, other than to give his name. No complaints from him recorded!
 
Jael, was the wife of Heber.  Heber was born of the Kenite tribe, a long time ally of Israel.  For some reason, Heber decided to side with King Jabin of Hazor.  My point?  Here were two people - married - who both respected God and His leading of each other.  No hang-ups about roles and rules!
No prejudice or jealousy! 
 
Both Deborah and Jael were the ones chosen to be used and to win the battle of that day - Deborah by word of mouth and Jael physically, when she personally killed the enemy.  Obviously some more good husbands who put their wives and their relationships with God first.
 
In the New Testament - Paul gives credit to women workers, as well as the males.  Among others, such as Pricilla (wife mentioned first) and Aquilla, he mentions a woman apostle - Junia  (Rom 16:7).  "Greet Andronicas and Junia, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners, who are outstanding among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me."  Paul describes Junia as "outstanding among the apostles".  There is no mention of whether Junia was married or not - but her marital status was not an issue.
 
Then finally, you mention Women and Money, as though earning money is something evil.  Yet even in Old Testament times, women were successful in business.
 
Prov 31 portrays a wife as a "business person".   .   .  "She considers a field and buys it:  from her earnings she plants a vineyard (v 16)  Obviously she made sufficient money to reinvest and expand her business - in addition to her husband's own work.  V 17 tells us that "she girds herself with strength, and makes her arms strong."  So her work obviously was physical, as it kept her physically fit.  V 18 tells us that, "She senses her gain is good; her lamp does not go out at night."
 
Then in v 24, "She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies belts to the tradesmen."
 
V 27 goes on, "She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat of the bread of idleness."
 
The husbands of the Old Testament were obviously proud of the success of their wives, as other verses in the chapter confirm; the virtues of the wives are sung.  The amount of money made by either spouse does not even get a mention.  The wives obviously enjoy their work, their freedom, and their achievements - and their husbands were proud.
 
Similarly there are husbands today who do not find it a threat that their wives may earn more than they do.  In fact, many are thankful for it.  Some even take a turn at looking after the children, while things "stabilise" in the current economic conditions.  Marriage is meant to be an equal partnership - both businesswise and personal - not a competition between two people.  However, my main point is to focus on Jesus and "get that oil in our lamps" before He returns - put aside the rule book and life daily in harmony with the Holy Spirit.
 
Probably Creflo Dollar puts the marriage relationship the best. His take is as follows (and I quote from my own notes):
Submission = sub = under mission = support the mission of the other person. Both need to do it for one another. First, both must individually submit to whatever God tells them to do. He will instruct husband and wife separately. Obey these instructions God gives you and keep your noses out of each other's business. In other words, take care of your own relationship with God and leave Him to take care of the spouse. Amplified version: Adapt yourself as a service to the Lord. In order to submit, you need to become adaptable . .
Obviously what he is saying, it will take us all our time to keep ourselves in order, so that we are listening for - and obedient to - the voice of the Holy Spirit, on a daily basis.  The struggles we have form the vehicle for drawing our focus to where it should be - and keeping it there.
 
In Christ
Abigail, NZ