"Sing, O Daughter of Zion, shout aloud…Be glad and rejoice with all your heart"…"God has reversed His judgments against you and sent your enemies off chasing their tails. From now on God is …in charge at the center. There's nothing to fear from evil ever again!" Zephaniah 3: 14, 15
(New International Version)
"The family was ordained by God before He established any other institution, even before He established the church."
Rev. Billy Graham
As a woman, have I committed my life to God to be "His light" in my family?
"A godly parentage is a costly boon. Its blessing not only rests upon the children of the first family, but has often been traced in many successive generations."
As a teenager, our family spent a great deal of time on the water – boating. We had a small boat that we would take to the lake on weekends, and we would enjoy water skiing, which I might add, wasn't a very expensive sport at the time.
One particular holiday weekend, along with several other families, we headed off to the Colorado River for fun and sun. Unfortunately, on this Memorial Day weekend, there were too many people drinking and driving, in their boats, no less. And sure enough, as might be predicted, there were accidents. One boat ran into another punching a big hole in its side. Within minutes, the damaged boat was taking on so much water that, as quickly as possible, other boaters assisted in rescuing the stranded individuals who were quick to realize they were on a sinking vessel.
Unfortunately, when boats are hit in the side, the basic structure of the vessel is compromised. The same can be said for the family. Eden's tragic story gives us an up-close and very personal glimpse into the damage that sin did to the first family and to families ever since.
I want to go back to Eden for a moment. God, Himself, presented Adam with the "gift" of a companion or as the Hebrew tells us – a partner. Adam was so overcome with joy and wonder upon seeing Eve for the first time he broke into poetry:
"This is now bone of my bones,
And flesh of my flesh.
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man." (Genesis 2: 23 KJV)
Just image the perfect Adam taking the hand of his beautiful Eve and saying, "You are part of me. I am part of you. We are one. And finally, Eve, I feel whole – complete. You are exactly what I needed."
Then with a spirit of gratitude, Adam turned to God and said: "Thank you for this gift – I will treasure her forever for she is part of me and I am part of her." Later in Genesis we find Adam calling his gift from God – Eve. Or as the Hebrew word is translated – "Life-Giver."
Girls – this is what we are, literally. We, as women, have given life to every baby born on planet earth. Just think of that!
God's daughters are life-givers. But it isn't only physical life that we give. I contend that we girls, God's daughters, in a most unique way, have the capacity to bring not only physical, but emotional and spiritual life into our surroundings. The other day my husband said, "You know, the house seems 'sunny' when you're around." I have to tell you that melted me!
As women, we need to be reminded of the "Life-Giving" power that was instilled in us by our Creator, God. The American essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote these famous words, "Men are what their mothers made them." I will add that "families" are what the mother makes them. I'm not by any means lessening the role of fathers, not for one second, but I have seen Godly mothers sustain a family in ways that are indescribable. Sadly, when the influence and strength of a Godly mother is missing, families often struggle.
This brings me to the second point in our lesson today. In Genesis 2: 22, (K.J.V.) the Bible says, "And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man." I think author Peter Lombard perfectly describes one of the reasons God used a "rib," when he wrote: "Eve was not taken from the feet of Adam to be his slave, not from his head to be his lord, but from his side to be his partner!" Isn't that just beautiful! God's ideal for the relationship between men and women. Partners – dancing together. Allied in purpose and interest. Interdependent for the good of each other.
However, there's even more I found in my study. In the Hebrew, the word rib means "structure," as in the side or frame of a ship. Remember the boat that got hit in the side –sank! Daughter of God, we were created to provide stable structure in the life of our family. Not only are we the Life-Givers we are also stability and structure. We were created for this purpose – the very highest purpose on earth. A purpose we should never forget. This doesn't mean, as we will find out in the next few days, that we should be looked down upon – it means God has elevated His daughters to a place of importance for NO ONE ELSE can fill the spot that God has carved out for you and me.
When sin entered Eden, God's ideal family, like a battered ship, took a hit to the side. And there were consequences. Cain and Abel, the first two children, ended up with Cain banished after murdering his brother Abel in a fit of jealous rage. Disobedience had consequences. But, as we study the lives of God's daughters down through history, we find one after another grasping the meaning of what it is to be God's Life-Giving structure for not only their own family but for everyone whose life they touched. God didn't forget His sinful daughters. Instead, He reached down His strong arm, lifted us up and, as promised, replanted us in Eden. (Psalm 1)
"Holy as heaven a mother's tender love, the love of many prayers and many tears which changes not with dim, declining years."
"Most of the stones for the buildings of the City of God, and all the best of them, are made by mothers."
"We are a broken, divided family
of lonely individuals,
truly, we're not a family.
Communication with each other
and love vanishes into the void.
Yet both are what we desperately need.
we all need and want
but we're too proud to admit it,
or to confess
that we're each to blame
for our separation,
loneliness, and pain.
We add brick upon brick
to the wall that divides
and isolates us.
You alone are our hope,
O God of our salvation.
Your love breaks down
walls that isolate and divide us.
Your love heals, forgives,
and makes us whole again.
Restore us, O God of our salvation.
that we may be a family
Virginia Cobb Anderson
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus