Posts Tagged With: masters

Slaves

shackles broken

In my previous two posts, A Parable and Masters, we discovered the close relationship between a parable and dominion. This foundation inspires my conclusions in this post. If you haven’t read those articles, please do so for context.

To the woman He said, “I will greatly multiply Your pain in childbirth, In pain you will bring forth children; Yet your desire will be for your husband, And he will rule over you.” (Gen. 3:16 NASB)

“If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.” (Gen. 4:7)

In the Biblical Role of Women, we explored Genesis 3:16, where YHWH revealed the consequence of Chavah’s (Eve’s) disobedience. While some treat this descriptive account as prescriptive commandment, Adonai was clearly speaking to Chavah, not Adam in Genesis 3:16. In other words, God’s original design didn’t include a hierarchy among the sexes or a mandate that men would rule over women. The text is clear that Chavah was designed to be Adam’s ezer kenegdo (helpmeet); which is an aid, protector, rescuer, boundary setter, and guide. The consequence of her actions would be a husband that would mashal her. This is a result of the fallen nature, sin, not the perfect design of the Creator.

Adonai designed the male and female to work in tandem as one flesh to display His imagine in the earth. Only by submitting one to another, and ruling together, are they effective in accomplishing YHWH’s will for their lives and the world. Sin frustrated this design for both Adam and Chavah. Each of their purposes were distorted due to the fall. Through toil and sweat Adam will  strive to cultivate the ground. Chavah’s role to be Adam’s ezer is also problematic. Just as the ground will not effortlessly yield to Adam’s labor, Adam will not easily relent to Chavah’s role as his ezer, which frustrates a completely different kind of harvest, the fruit of the womb.

The tension between men and women are as thorny as the cursed ground. Eve’s consequence reveals the heart of the issue. There will now be a power struggle as fallen Adam seeks to subjugate Chavah in self-preservation.

© Walter Arce

© Walter Arce

We see virtually the same phrase in Hebrew when YHWH speaks to Cain before he kills Abel. The difference, as I pointed out in the Biblical Role of Women, is that YHWH commands or explicitly states to Cain that it is possible to master sin and that this IS the will of YHWH. In other words, man was NOT created to be ruled or mastered by their nephesh or basic animal drives. Humans are meant to be ruled by the Word of Elohim (God). We live by His words, not our fears or fleshly appetites.

To summarize, let’s look at what we’ve covered so far. (Some of these conclusions are drawn from the Role of Women series.)

  1. Adam ruling over Eve is a curse, not a commandment. Chavah’s desire to be Adam’s ezer kenegdo isn’t evil or sinful. This purpose and function is at the core of every woman redeemed or not. However, all men will resist this function of their wife. This isn’t the design or will of the Creator. This is why a redeemed man is expected to love his wife sacrificially. He must master his desire to resist his wife’s role. Likewise, a woman must not let her desire to be the man’s ezer control or undermine the relationship. She must allow the Spirit of YHWH to bring healing in His timing.
  2. Cain is told that he SHOULD master sin. Unbridled passions, desires, and beastly urges cause one to sin. These urges aren’t evil or sinful in and of themselves; however, if they control or rule one’s life, they lead to sin. These impulses are only concerned with self. This is why the Word of God is needed. It sets the proper boundaries for living as a human created in the image of Elohim.

A parable or a proverb is a comparison of two things; there will be similarities and there will be differences. Our job is to discern the heart or point of the story or saying. The message should cause a change in one’s thinking, which leads to a change in behavior.

In both Genesis 3:16 and 4:7, teshukah (desire) is present. Chavah has teshukah for Adam and sin has teshukah for Cain. YHWH doesn’t call teshukah evil or sinful. In fact, it was YHWH that created teshukah! Teshukah is one’s inborn desires and appetites that motivate one to live and survive.

The first thing that should stand out is that Chavah and all women after her have an additional teshukah that men do not have. All of mankind (men and women) have the desire to eat, sleep, procreate, and expand their territory. But, women have an additional teshukah for their men; that is to be the ezer kenegdo. This is the way women were wired, before sin and the fall. A woman is an ezer kenegdo whether a man allows YHWH to work through her or not.

Mashal (to rule/master and a parable/proverb) is also present in both of these verses. There is a message to be received in these accounts. Who rules who or what is the real question here. If Adam (man) is ruled by his nephesh, he will walk  in the curse and subjugate his wife in tragic animalistic fashion. A nephesh craves power to benefit only ones’ self. We see the epitome of this when Cain takes the life of his brother. There can be no self-sacrificing love or protection given by a nephesh ruled person since his heart is only focused on numero uno.

However, a redeemed man has relinquished himself over to the Creator. He is no longer guided by his ungodly fear and the flesh (nephesh); therefore, he is free to forgive and love his wife, even sacrifice himself for her. Any authority granted to him is used to benefit his wife, not control her. This is how a restored and redeemed relationship functions. This is unity and oneness. Both the man and the woman are free to fulfill their purpose within the clear and protective boundaries of the Word of Elohim.

As a result, the curse is reversed for Adam and his purpose. Any time we are obedient, we bring restoration not only to our relationships, but also to the creation itself. The Jewish sages call this tikkun olam, repairing/healing the world. We know that creation is enslaved by the corruption of sin and death just as we are; and like us, it desires to be set free.[1] This happens as the sons of God are revealed. We are a son/daughter of God as we are conformed to His image.

I submit to you that the parable presented in Genesis 3:16 and 4:7 is a story about slaves and masters. In the beginning, man (man and woman) were given joint authority over the earth and all the living creatures (the beasts).

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” (Gen. 1:26)

What YHWH declares to Cain is simply a reiteration of His original purpose for mankind. You rule the beast (nephesh), not the other way around. Adam and Chavah were meant to be coheirs[2] of the creation and image bearers of Elohim.[3] In other words, they were meant to master the creation together as godly stewards, not as tyrants. Ultimately, YHWH is the only righteous Master, Ruler, and King. We are His emissaries carrying forth His loving instruction and order in creation.

We must choose whom we shall serve. Will it be YHWH? Will it be some false god? Or will we serve ourselves? As I mentioned in my last post on Masters, there is real irony when we choose to serve anything other than YHWH. While we may believe that serving another god or that satisfying our own fleshly desires is “freeing,” it is actually the very thing that enslaves us to sin. In other words, our real choice is to be slaves of death!

The parable teaches that there is one Master, YHWH; but our nephesh (soul/flesh) will try to usurp His authority and rule instead. If we allow this to happen, we are nothing more than a beast. By trying to “rule,” we only enslave ourselves to death and destruction, a curse.

We must also be mindful of whom we try to master. For example, I don’t believe it was YHWH’s design or will that people enslave people. Slavery is a perversion of servant-hood. We have destroyed the spiritual imagery of serving YHWH and the brethren with human abuse, oppression, bondage, and slavery.  In other words, forced captivity and servitude is a perversion of the protective and free will service of the heart we should have for the Master of the Universe.

This is why it is so hard for us to relinquish our whole being over to YHWH. Like an oppressed slave, we fear that YHWH is going to withhold real “goodness” from us. This is why many people drag their feet in coming to repentance. They think true followers no longer have any “fun.” Do you see the irony in that?

Real Slavery

But there is another reason that we need to understand Chavah’s curse. The rule of Adam in the curse isn’t godly. It is oppressive. And if you think I’m wrong about that, perhaps you should take some time to look at world statistics[4] on the plot of women. If you think women are only oppressed in third world countries, you are flat dead wrong. While the hardest hit regions for victims (where slaves are picked up) are South and Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe and Africa, the destination countries (where they are bought!) include Europe, USA, Japan, Australia, India, Israel, and the Gulf States.[5] In other words, western countries are providing the “demand” for this horrendous practice. Many end up as forced prostitutes or on internet pornography sites.

“More girls were killed in the last 50 years, 
precisely because they were girls,
than men killed in all the wars in the 20th century. 
― Nicholas D. Kristof, Half the Sky

Yes, women are a hot black market commodity in today’s “progressive” world. In the US, human trafficking generates $9.5 billion a year.[6] It is estimated that annually 200,000 US women are forced into the sex trade. The majority of these women are American, not imported from other countries. The largest annual human trafficking event in the US is believed to be the Super Bowl.[7]

Where women are oppressed the most, they are educated the least.[8] This is one way men maintain control and power over women. In less developed countries, as many as 87% of women are illiterate. If you don’t believe that this twisted mindset has infected Judeo-Christian doctrine and tradition, you haven’t read history. In every century since the dawn of mankind, women have been subdued by men the world over. Bible believers have justified this behavior with the Scriptures with Chavah’s curse standing out as the “precedent.”

These facts should at least cause one to pause and consider their current paradigm or belief about God’s role for women. Has our view of women in marriage and the assembly been colored by the beast? Where do you think such ideas as “women shouldn’t even be taught the Torah” originate? The answer can only be found in fallen man. By the way, all these things should also cause one to rethink what Paul is saying about women in his letters. We have a very long secular and spiritual history tainted by the curse. We must separate truth from tradition, and remove these tainted lenses. Silencing half of our assemblies is a serious matter; especially since women are a metaphor for the Holy Spirit.

“One reason why trafficking has been ignored 
     is that the victims are voiceless.” 
- Nicholas D. Kristof, Half the Sky (Emphasis mine)

There is only one answer to our plot. . Rule the beast (nephesh/flesh); do not serve your lusts, desires, and appetites. Serve YHWH by knowing and keeping His word. If YHWH blesses you with an ezer kenegdo, treasure this gift; there is no need to fear her or control her. Choose to walk in blessing instead of the curse. She’s perfectly suited to guide, nourish, and protect you (inwardly) just as you are perfectly suited to do these same things for her (outwardly).

Hear the parable of Genesis 3:16 and 4:7. The only thing we are meant to rule is the creation and its creatures, not each other. Likewise, the only thing we are meant to master is the beast within, the nephesh (flesh). If we fail to do so, we become a living curse, enslaved by futile appetites, devouring and trading other people like a commodity to feed an unquenchable stomach of need and desire, whose end is destruction.

Now go and read all of Romans 7 and 8 with fresh eyes.

 



[1] Rom. 8:18-23  For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.  (19)  For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God.  (20)  For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope  (21)  that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.  (22)  For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.  (23)  And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.

[2] 1 Peter 3:7

[3] There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise. (Gal. 3:28-29)

Categories: Musings, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Masters

shackles     “No gods, no masters.” ― Margaret Sanger

 

In my last post, A Parable, we investigated the Hebrew word mashal found in Genesis 3:16 and 4:7 translated as rule and master. We discovered that mashal is also the Hebrew word for a parable or proverb and how maxims actually do have dominion and power for those that have ears to hear. In today’s post, I hope to take us a little deeper into this correlation.

In Chavah’s encounter with the serpent, she found the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil to be three things:

  1. Good for food.
  2. A delight to her eyes.
  3. Desirable to make one wise.

When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. (Gen. 3:6)

Why did Chavah consider something that YHWH said not to eat, “good for food?” Does she believe that YHWH is withholding something from her? Apparently, YHWH isn’t completely trustworthy in the eyes of Eve after her encounter with the serpent.

So, why did Chavah trust a walking[1], talking snake? Isn’t a serpent a created beast? As a beast, the serpent knows only what an animal is created to do. His dialogue with Chavah reveals the spirit of a beast, not a man. Anything an animal desires to do is a God given instinct. By pursuing these urges, the beast is actually being obedient to the Creator.

What are these desires? Beasts are “ruled” by the impulse to eat, sleep, procreate, and expand their territory.[2] These inborn urges drive the soul of an animal. If they see something they “desire,” they are never in disobedience by working to fulfill this want. These appetites ensure that these creatures are fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth. Therefore, an animal’s teshukah[3] (desire) is its master by the design of the Creator.

Humans and animals both have a nephesh, or a soul. Therefore, we also have appetites corresponding to an animal or beast. This part of our human nature is not evil in and of itself. The Creator made mankind this way and called it very good! Without these appetites and passions, we wouldn’t be able to accomplish our primary mandate as humans: to be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth.

However, unlike the beasts, we are NOT to allow ourselves to be ruled by these appetites and desires. Instead, with YHWH’s help, we are meant to master them. A human created in the image of Elohim masters his flesh or nephesh. This can only be accomplished by living by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of Elohim (God).[4] Why? Because without the Word, we are ruled by the appetites of our nephesh and are no different than a beast of the field.

If our nephesh controls our actions, are we not our own masters? Isn’t that the real temptation the serpent presents to Chavah (Eve)? By allowing the nephesh to rule, one becomes like Elohim knowing good and evil and doing what is right in their own eyes. This is pure idolatry; with self being the idol.

This is the precise problem with the second and third observations Eve had of the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil.

And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.(Gen. 3:6 KJV)

The Hebrew word for pleasant is ta’avah; it means to long for, desire, lust, or delight. Its root word, avah, is defined as to wish for, desire, and covet. This is the same word used in the second set of the Ten Commandments for “You shall not covet…”[5] This is not surprising; since, it is usually one’s eyes that first longs for (covets) something that isn’t his to have. This is the purpose of YHWH commanding one to wear visual reminders of His commandments.[6] One cannot trust their eyes to remain faithful.

Not by coincidence, the Hebrew word for “desired” above is chamad. While it does mean delight, desirable, and even beloved; it also means to covet. It is the Hebrew word used in the first set of the Ten Commandments where it says, “You shall not covet…”[7] What exactly was it that Chavah coveted?

“For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Gen. 3:5)

Chavah could be her own master. She would decide what was good and evil in her own eyes and, in effect, be a better ezer kenegdo to Adam. Margaret Sanger[8] captured this human dilemma in parabolic form with her infamous words, “No gods, no masters.” She was certain that the only “master” of a woman’s body was the woman herself. In other words, Margaret’s desire was to do what seemed right in her own eyes. She was her own master or god knowing good and evil. Sadly, this is the battle of all men and women. Who shall rule us?

By listening to the walking, talking serpent or nephesh, Chavah began to have more trust not necessarily in the serpent, but in herself. This is the ultimate deception of the serpent. He is a beast perfectly designed to be ruled by instinct or nephesh. Chavah is meant to be ruled by the Word of God. So, what happened with Adam in this story?

Unlike Chavah, Adam was NOT deceived.

…and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. (Gen. 3:16b)

The Hebrew word for with is eem. It can mean with, by, or beside. The Hebrew allows one interpretation: Adam watched this whole debacle unfold and never protested the obvious (to him) deception of his wife. Why was Adam silent? Did he trust his ezer kenegdo to a fault? Or did he realize, as Dr. Moen suggests,[9] that he had an impossible choice to make:

  1. Eve, the only perfect one; made just for me. Bone of my bones, flesh of my flesh.
  2. Elohim. YHWH. Creator of Heaven and Earth.

Regardless of why Adam remained silent, his sin was exactly the same as Chavah’s. He chose his own desires and passions instead of YHWH. In other words, Adam was mastered by his nephesh just as Eve was. The difference, I believe, is that Chavah didn’t realize (at first) what was happening, but Adam did. He was not deceived. He chose Chavah, the very delight to his eyes.

Essentially, both Chavah and Adam became their own masters. Their sin was idolatry. I don’t think we realize that this is what we are doing when choose to do what we want to do or not do. We usurp the highest authority in the Universe when we decide what is good and evil. Only YHWH has the right and authority to make these distinctions. We don’t have to understand his sovereign commandments. We simply are to obey them.

The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die!” (Gen. 3:4)

When we become our own god, we bring curses and death upon ourselves. Sure, the consequence may not be immediate. Adam and Chavah didn’t die… right away. This delay can only be the mercy and grace of YHWH. Sadly, when we are disobedient and nothing “bad” seems to happen, we believe the lie of the serpent and smugly think to ourselves that our DESIRE doesn’t lead to death or destruction either.

Ironically, the very thing a person ruled by their nephesh desires, to be their own master, is the very thing that enslaves them to sin and death. Meditate on that for a while…

So, what’s the parable or moral found in this story? How does this connect the two accounts in Genesis 3:16 and 4:7? What is the Creator teaching with the teshukah and mashal in Chavah and Cain’s predicaments? I hope to answer that in my next post, Slaves.


[1] I’m assuming he could walk since his curse after deceiving Chavah (Eve) would be that he would have to crawl on the ground from that point forward. Naturally, the inference is that before this encounter, he did not crawl on his belly.

[2] Dr. Hollisa Alewine, in her workbook The Scarlet Harlot, speaks to this dichotomy between the nephesh and the man made in the image of Adonai.

[3] Please see a more in-depth treatment of the Hebrew word teshukah in my series on the Biblical Role of Women.

[4] Dt. 8:3

[5] Dt. 5:21

[6] And it shall be unto you for a fringe, that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the LORD, and do them; and that ye seek not after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye use to go a whoring: That ye may remember, and do all my commandments, and be holy unto your God. (Num. 15:39-40)

[7] “You shall not covet (chamad) your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” (Ex. 20:17) 

[8] Margaret Sanger is the “mother” of Planned Parenthood. I believe she is a prime example of a woman ruled by her nephesh rather than by the Spirit of YHWH.

[9] Audio file: The Scriptural Role of the ‘Ezer by Dr. Skip Moen. You can purchase it here: http://skipmoen.com/products/ezer/

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