Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Being a Helper is Powerful

Leslie Basham: You probably often hear that a wife is to be her husband’s helper. But what does that really mean? Here’s Mary Kassian. 

Mary Kassian: What does the woman help man do? She helps him image God and tell the Gospel story.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, co-author of True Woman 101, for Thursday, June 7, 2018. 

Nancy: You probably remember that song from The Sound of Music, "Let's start at the very beginning, a very good place to start." When you want to understand an issue, sometimes it’s helpful to go back to the beginning. Yesterday, Mary Kassian helped us understand the value of distinct male and female roles by taking us back to the Garden of Eden, where male and female all began.

She presented this message called, "The Genesis of Gender," at the True Woman conference several years ago. We’re about to hear part two, observing God’s pattern for manhood and womanhood.

Before we start this message, let me remind you that Mary Kassian, along with several other speakers will be with us at True Woman '18, September 27–29 in Indianapolis. Again, as I'm recording this, we have just a handful of seats left. So go to TrueWoman18.com to see if the event has been sold out yet. If not, you may be able to snatch a couple seats for you and a friend. If we are sold out, let me urge you to still circle those dates on the calendar and plan to join for the livestream which will be a specially hosted livestream event this September 27–29 for those who want to do the conference together with others in their church or in their home or in some other setting. You can get all the details about the conference and livestream at ReviveOurHearts.com.

Now let’s get to Mary Kassian, picking back up on the contrasts between men and women, based on Genesis chapter 2.

Mary: The Lord set the male up in his own place, the garden, his garden, to be head of a new family unit, but before the Father presented him with a wife and fills his walls up, He takes some time to teach him about the specific roles and responsibilities of a man.

Point number three: The male was commissioned to work. “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it.” Genesis chapter 2, verse 15.

The word translated work here is the common word for tilling the soil or other labor, and it contains the idea of serving somebody other than yourself. That word work contains that idea of self-sacrifice. It's the same word in Hebrew that is often used to describe the duties of priests in worship.

So the man’s life in the garden wasn’t supposed to be one of idleness. He wasn’t supposed to be sitting around playing video games or sitting on the couch watching TV. God’s plan from the very start was that he would have something to do. God created men to be the providers, physically as well as spiritually. Now that doesn’t mean that women don’t contribute, or don't play a role, but it does indicate that the primary responsibility for looking after the family rests on the man’s shoulders. God wired them with a drive to look after families in that way.

Now, you know if these tough economic times, and you  know if your husband is unemployed how deeply it affects a man to be unable to provide for his familiy. Do you agree? God wired them like that. That's not a cultural thing. It's because God created them with this desire to serve and to work and provide for the people within his pod, within his boundaries. 

Point number four: The male was commissioned to protect. “The Lord God put him in the garden to work it and to keep it” (Gen. 2:15). God wanted the man to keep the garden and keep translates a verb meaning “to be in charge of; to look after; to guard; to protect; to provide oversight.” It means being attentive to someone’s needs and protecting the people and the property under one’s sphere of influence, physically and spiritually.

God created men to be the protectors. He created their bodies to be physically stronger than women's bodies and more suited for a fight. This doesn’t exclude women from contributing. We all know that if someone threatens our cubs, mama bear pulls out those claws! But man is the primary protector. If a robber crawls in the window, it's the man who gets up to take the bullet, right? It’s not the woman who says, "Stay here Honey, I'll take care of it. You just stay in bed and be safe.” That's just not the way it works.

And don't we all as women want men who will step up to the plate and to have that heart for us? Don't we long for it? We do.

So God was instructing His firstborn man, here. He wanted to give him instruction on how to be a man. 

Point number five: The male receives spiritual instruction. “And the LORD God commanded the man saying, ‘You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day you eat it, you will surely die” (Gen. 2:16–17).

You see, before the woman arrived on the scene, God explained the rules of the garden to the man, and it was up to him to pass on the spiritual instruction to his wife. That’s not to say that the man interacted with God on her behalf. No. She had a personal relationship with the Lord. She spoke with the Lord and fellowshipped with the Lord. But it does indicate that as leader of his newly minted family unit, he had a special responsibility to learn and understand the ways of the Lord. That was so that he could fulfill his commission to provide spiritual oversight and protection. So we see this in the book of Genesis. It wasn't that God wasn't concerned about instructing the women. He was very concerned.

The Lord was training. It was like Adam was in the school of training how to be a husband and a father. He was learning what he needed to learn in order to be the man he needed to be for his family.

Point number six: The male learned to exercise authority. “Now out of the ground the LORD God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name” (Gen. 2:18–19).

Can you imagine what it must have looked like? That must have been chaotic for all these animals to be coming to Adam. I would like to see a movie made of that one day. It would be quite humorous. 

It seems to me that besides serving the purpose of making the male yearn for a suitable mate (because all of the animals had mates and he didn't), this was a type of training exercise. Because to name something is to exercise authority over it. The Lord was there probably with Adam, coaching Adam, seeing if he was picking up on getting this authority thing right. The Lord was very concerned that Adam exercise authority in a godly manner.

His firstborn had a unique responsibility to govern, and the Lord wanted him to govern well. That’s why the Lord closely supervised and mentored him through this naming process. He wanted him to learn how to exercise his authority with gentleness and wisdom, kindness and much, much care.

Genesis chapter 1 clearly indicates that dominion over the earth was given to both women and men. We have dominion over the earth. I have dominion over the earth, as do you. God created you that way. So the reason God excluded the female from this process of naming doesn’t indicate that she lacks God’s authority to govern, but it does indicate that our authority is different that a man's authority. The Lord does not view our responsibility as women to govern as interchangeable. We can't swap places.

It's not like, "You be the man today; I'll be the man tomorrow." It's not interchangeable. There's a difference in the authority God has given us. We see that clearly in this process in creation.

So here we have the setup. The man was firstborn, but he didn't have a pod, he had no kin. He was the head of a new household, but his were the only feet that were walking within the walls. God had commissioned him to work, but there was no one to provide for. The man knew it was his mission to guard and protect, but there was no one to look after.

He had thought of all these new ideas, God had given him instruction, but he had no one to discuss it with, and he was bursting at the seams with this desire of who he was. He was created to love and to serve and protect, but as the day wore on, and he named animal after animal, it became painfully obvious to him that there was no creature with the capacity to receive what he so deeply wanted to give. There was nowhere for Adam to put all of his manhood, nowhere to place it. There was no outlet for him to be who God created him to be.

The Lord knew it. I think He could read it on Adam’s face. It was the only thing in creation that was not good, but I think it was necessary. God deemed in necessary. It was part of the training, part of the preparation. God wanted His firstborn son to catch a glimpse of the full import of God’s final and most magnificent work. He wanted the man to feel the longing intensely, to love and want a soul mate so badly, with such passion, that he was willing to pay the ultimate price to win his bride. God knew that He would have to wound His firstborn to create woman. It would draw blood. It would be painful, messy. Having a bride would cost the man dearly.

So when the male named that last animal and turned to his Maker with tear-filled eyes, the Lord knew it was time—time to make her, the one who would captivate the man’s heart as completely as the vision of the Lord’s coming heavenly bride had captivated God's heart.

“Sleep,” God told the man, and the man sunk down on that soft carpet of moss as dead, and then the Lord pierced his side. He pierced the side of man and extracted this fleshy, bloody mass of bone and flesh. He wounded His son, right in his side. I wonder when I envision this, I wonder if a lump formed in God's throat as He saw the future to which this image pointed.

You see it don't you, as I'm speaking? Do you see the imagery? Do you see how powerful, how strong it is? How thorough it is? It's pointing to the work of Jesus Christ when He would pierce the side of His firstborn Son's side, so that the Church would find life, so that Christ's Bride would be birthed.

I wonder what thoughts were flying through the Creator's mind as He sculpted the curves of Eve. You see, this final masterpiece tipped the scales and set it all in motion, and when He stood back and looked at her, Genesis records that He said . . .  Everything else when He created it, He said that it was good. But what did He say when He finished creating woman? "This is very good."  "Mmm, mmm, mmm." (laughter) But not so much because of the flesh standing in front of Him, but because of His heart for the Church and the glory of God. Do you see the imagery here? Do you see it? Do you see it? 

Now let's have a look at woman next, six points. God created woman from the side of man, so she's made of the same "stuff." But He didn't create her at the same time, in the same place, or in the same way. We've already looked at the six points of difference in the creation of the male, so now we'll look at six points in the creation of the female. 

The female was created from the male. “So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall on the man, while he slept he took one of his ribs and closed up that place with flesh. And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman” (Gen. 2:21–22).

You see, in our culture we have a common admonition, and that is, "Remember where you came from." Have you heard that? My son, I'm actually going to go see him play, hopefully, for the first time in an NHL jersey in Minnesota with the Minnesota Wilds. Are any of you hockey fans? All two of you are?! Wasn't it Sarah Palin who said, "Hockey mums are like pitbulls with lipstick"?

But when Matt left home to play hockey, it was like I'm saying to my big son, "Don't you ever forget where home is. Don't ever get too big for your britches." So that's a common admonition. "Remember where you came from." It's a warning to avoid pride and an over-inflated sense of self-importance.

We intuitively know that it’s inappropriate to regard that where we came from as lesser than us. That's inappropriate. We know that we’re obliged to honor and respect our origins, and the same sort of idea is present in the creation of the female. Because woman was drawn from man’s side, it was appropriate for her to have an attitude of respect toward the man—to respect where she came from. 

First Corinthians 11:8–10 kind of taps into that concept. "For man was not made from woman, but woman from man." And that's why a wife ought to have a symbol of authority on her head. So it is appropriate for a woman to be respectful to a man because of the order of creation.

Point number eight: The female was made for the male. "The LORD God said it is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper fit for him" (Gen. 2:18). Now, this doesn't go over so well, the idea thinking that woman was created for man. In First Corinthians 11:9 it says this is the basis of a woman respecting the authority of her husband. 

Now for most of us, the idea of woman being created for man sounds somewhat negative because it seems imply to give a man license to use and abuse women. But nothing could be further from the truth. That's not the meaning of the text at all. In the Hebrew that preposition "for" actually means direction. She was created for—“toward” or “with reference to” or "on account of" him. She exists because he exists. His existence led to hers. It didn’t happen the other way around.

Remember, keeping the imagery of Christ and the Church in mind, you can see how this all makes sense. Our adverse reaction to the idea that we were created for man serves to underline just how very far we’ve fallen from the original created order.

I think of my daughter-in-law, Jacqueline. When she walked through that door, down the aisle to be married to my son, the look on her face . . . She was just beaming. I'm sure she was thinking at that moment, I was created for this guy, for this moment, for this glory. That's the idea here in Genesis. It's a very positive, beautiful thing.

Ninth difference: The female was created to help the male, a helper fit for him. 

Now we talked a little bit about what that word means. But I want to address another part of that question. The fact that women were created to be a help to men doesn't mean that they were created to serve the selfish ends of men. It begs the question: “What is it mean for a woman to help the male?”

I think the whole question becomes much clearer when we think about what the woman was created to help the man do. It wasn't about the man. What is it that the woman was created to help the man do? There’s a clue in the qualifier “fit for him.” She’s a helper fit for him, and this literally means, “like opposite to him.” She's like the counterpart, like the image in a mirror.

The term is unique to Genesis. It expresses the notion of complementarity. She’s not exactly like him. She’s like opposite him. She’s the helper alongside. So she helps alongside. Well . . . helps what? Helps him do what? That alongside is very important. Because the purpose of woman helping man isn't about exalting the man or serving him. It's not about him at all.

Her help contributes to both of them, alongside, together achieving a greater, nobler, eternal purpose that is far bigger and more significant than their own existence. What does the woman help man do? She helps him image God and tell the gospel story.

Nancy: That’s Mary Kassian, speaking at True Woman '10 in Chattanooga. When a wife embraces her role as a helper, it has a huge effect on her marriage. And I'm surely learning that in this season of my life as wife to Robert Wolgemuth. But it’s far bigger than that. When we as women live out our God-created design and calling, we're putting the gospel on display.

Perhaps after hearing that portion of Mary’s message, you’re thinking of some ways that you could better support your husband. Could I encourage you to respond to what you just heard by simply saying, “Yes, Lord. I embrace the role You’ve called me to in this season, for Your glory.”

Mary Kassian has written a book that shows us many practical ways to live out the message of biblical womanhood—whether you are married or single or single again—at each season of life. It’s called Girls Gone Wise in a World Gone Wild. I can't recommend this book highly enough. Each chapter deals with different aspects of our womanhood. It's all based on Proverbs chapter 7. It's a really important chapter about a woman who did not understand or live out biblical womanhood.

Each chapter in Mary's book gives you practical insights about a specific area of our womanhood. There are chapters that deal with our attitudes, appearance, roles, sexual conduct (so important today), possessions, entitlement, our speech, and so on.

I want to urge you to get a copy of this book, first to read it for yourself. I found it so helpful to me in my own walk as a woman, and then consider how you might share this important message with some other women in your life. Maybe you would give a copy to your daughter or your granddaughter. The Lord may even prompt you to start a small group where you can study this book together. I had the joy of doing that myself sometime ago.

We’d like to send you a copy of Girls Gone Wise. It’s our way of saying "thank you" when you support Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any size. Just call us at 1–800–569–5959, or make your donation at ReviveOurHearts.com

Thank you so much for your encouragement, your prayers, your support, as we challenge women to live out the beauty of the gospel in our day.

Leslie: Thanks, Nancy.

Tomorrow, we’ll hear the concluding segment of Mary’s message. Find out how women can have true, powerful influence. It comes from following God’s design. Mary will explain more, on Revive Our Hearts. 

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth wants to help you grow in wisdom. It's an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

 

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