WIFE: the missing link

"She’s got gaps and I got gaps, between the two of us,our gaps meet and we sort of fill each other in." -Rocky Balboa, Rocky

Have you ever wondered why God didn’t use the same raw material and method to create Eve that He used for Adam?  I have.  He could have used the same dirt or a petal from a flower or a leaf from a tree.  Why from the man at all?  And what is so significant about the rib?

So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam; And while he slept, He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place.

I wonder what that experience was like for Adam.

What is missing?

Imagine standing in your kitchen, in the middle of making thanksgiving dinner.  In a brief lull as you wait for the turkey drippings to reach boiling for gravy, you doze off in a daydream for a few seconds but when you snap out of it, all the spoons are missing, even the one in your hand!

That’s what happened to Adam.  God took something away from him.  The part that God took was not a spare part or an extra part, but an essential part; it made him autonomous.  The piece that enabled self-sufficiency in Adam, was now missing.  Let that marinade for a second:

Adam was created complete and self-sufficient; he needed nothing

but when he wakes from his nap

he now has a … gap.

Something has changed inside of him,

he is not self-sufficient anymore.

he has a lack.

Adam’s rib, more than just bone and marrow, is an essence.  The Amplified describes it as, a part of his side.  Not literally less a rib, because men and women have the same number of ribs, but something represented by a rib.

WHo & what wives are?

Dig a little deeper into this essence and what you find is power and strength.  God took power and strength out of Adam’s side (his rib) and used it to create another human.  This strength and power is both beautiful and dangerous.  Beautiful because it can propel a man to be his best.  Dangerous because it can cause a man to limp along in life or even stop him in his tracks; to literally cause him to halt.  That is some serious power.

Now the LORD God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.”

Of all the English words to describe God’s intent for wives, helper meet is the weakest.  I struggle with the English translation because it casts the vision of a companion to remedy isolation or to fill a void of loneliness.  God said “alone” not “lonely.”

The word for wife [helper] is ezer.  It means power and strength; just like God is power and strength.  Interestingly, the word ezer is used many times in the Old Testament and it is almost exclusively in reference to God.  When you are at a loss or at the end of your rope, and you’ve got no one who is powerful enough to do the job … God Himself will be your EZER.  He is ESSENTIAL.

Dig even deeper under the strength and power and you find purpose:  To rescue, to save.  Not to save eternally, as God does, but in a human relational sense: to save the emotions.

In keeping with the fullest meaning of ezer, a more accurate interpretation of Genesis 2:18 might be:

I will make for him a power and strength that will rescue and save

How Wives Do It

In simplest terms wives receive, respond and reveal through reflection.

It makes perfect sense that God chose the power and strength from the man to create woman. He knew there was going to be some tension in marriage as two people become one flesh.  The woman needs to be a match for man’s strength and power, otherwise, she wouldn’t be an accurate reflection and she wouldn’t be strong enough.

The original word is, kenegdo.  It means parallel or opposite to  each other.  Think of a mirror.

In her book Captivating, Stasi Eldredge quotes Hebrew scholar Robert Alter, who has spent years translating the book of Genesis, as saying, “…that this phrase [ezer kenegdo] is “notoriously difficult to translate.”  She goes on to say, “The various attempts we have in English are “helper” or “companion” or the notorious “help meet.”  Why are these translations so incredibly wimpy, boring, flat … disappointing?” “

I’m with this Stasi on this.  When I hear “helper, companion, or help meet”, I think of a two-dimensional, compliant safe Stepford Wife, one that is a supplement to a husband; instead of a real woman like Sarah.  Ready to risk as she steps into the fray for Abraham.  Sarah, the essential.  The power and strength that would have been required for her to submit to Abraham’s requests to exchange her own safety for his just aren’t captured in the word “companion.”

Training Partners?

The Torah Study for Reform Jews defines an ezer kenegdo as a “helper against him.”  The tension between male and female is there by God’s design.  We are adversaries with a common goal:  we are against each other for the sharpening of each other, As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens [and influences] another [through discussion].(Proverbs 27:17)  But these well-sharpened blades are not to be used on each other, but FOR each other in the greatest battle against our common enemySatan.

Training from within to conquer together is played out every day in sporting teams.  I love sports metaphors and analogies because they transfer from the natural to the spiritual perfectly.  There isn’t a team sport out there that doesn’t practice against one another, as adversaries, to get stronger and to learn.

This is why God wants us bound in marriage.  The sharpening of each other, that is, the becoming of one flesh can be quite a ferocious battle.  We are both such powerful forces on our own … but together, wow!  When we stay together and fight together; back-to-back against Satan through God’s power … we are unconquerable.

Are you using that strength and power that God used to create you for your husband or against the marriage?

 

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