The Proverbs 31 Family

“It was the woman you gave me…” Genesis 3:12

This woman you gave me. Adam may as well have said, “God, you aren’t good. You give bad gifts. God, you tempted me by binding me to this temptress. God, you rigged the deck against me.”

This kind of attitude undergirds the war of the sexes– man and woman look at each other with contempt, suspicion, and a rebellious need to control one another because we fail to believe that the spouses that God has given us are good gifts.

We think little of God’s sovereignty and grace until one of His gifts to us seems to short circuit. We think much of our own influence and goodness until we misstep. When we fail devastatingly, suddenly we’re Calvinists and God is some controlling overlord that should have stopped us, or should have put a hurdle in our way. The rest of the year we are good Arminians gleefully paving the way to our own spiritual mountaintops.

When we hate a member of the opposite sex, when we revile our spouse, we discredit God’s good gift to us in the form of a partner, and we sin against His command to be fruitful and abundant together (Genesis 1:28.)

When we are at odds with the opposite sex, a person who we are supposed to be in productive relationship with, we are not victim to a raw deal, we are continuing on with the willful, deceptive, rebellious attributes of the Curse.

I mean in this to say, enmity from a sister to a brother or a brother to a sister in Christ, is a sinful action against God’s gift to us.

We do this in all areas of life! We take something God gave us in grace, abuse the expanse of freedom given us, and then blame God for our inability to work out our salvation, to build our family, to exercise our gifting, to submit to one another, to be least, to be last, to be a faithful servant.

Look at what our compass chapter through this series, Proverbs 31, says: “It is not for kings, O Lemuel, to guzzle wine. Rulers should not crave alcohol. For if they drink they may forget the law and not give justice to the oppressed. Alcohol is for the dying, and wine for those in bitter distress. Let them drink to forget their poverty and remember their troubles no more,” (vs. 4-7.)

Kings and queens and priests– what God calls us through our sonship because of Christ, do not live in active self-pity.

And the first area of active self-pity to eradicate in the Christian life is a mistrust of God over the mistakes that a dear one made and in so doing led you into that mistake with them.

The Proverbs 31 Queen Mother advises her son to find a wife who is actively trusting in God as evidenced by her strength, dignity, and boldness (Proverbs 31:25.)

“This is how the holy women of old made themselves beautiful. They trusted God and accepted the authority of their husbands,” 1 Peter 3:5.

The challenge of this verse is marginally about submission, and majorly about trusting God. If your litmus for submission is built on trust in each other, your house will fall. We can only be successful together when our constant endeavor is to trust God and to have our productivity as a unit to stem from there.

The command for men to love their wives as Christ loves the Church is equally as much founded on trust in God as woman’s trust in her husband must be founded on trust in God. Love is not contingent upon your trust in your wife. What does Christ’s love for the Church look like?

It looks like a man who found a treasure hidden (the Kingdom of God) in a field and in His joy over it sells all He has (the Cross) to buy the field (the world), in which He has reburied the treasure. (Matthew 13:44)

Jesus did not purchase those who are His out of the world, but rather entrusted His kingdom to us while in the world until His return. That is immense trust!

That is the kind of trust that King Lemuel has in his wife, to whom he entrusts all that he has, his entire household, and the investment of his riches, and the dignity of his reputation while he rules and reigns at the city gate. (Proverbs 31:10-31.)

Our marriages, our partnerships and relationships in business and church and community dealings between men and women, the success of them, the failure of them,  reflect nothing less than our trust in God and the tides of our going in or our coming out of life under the Curse.

There is life under the law of sin and death, and their is life under the law of grace– the law of grace being full satisfaction in the goodness of God. We see the reflection of our freedom in how we behave when standing face to face with each other.

Easter

“This is the King of the Jews” Luke 23:38

Easter is approaching and so the Gospels have been the focal point of the sermons at church. Our pastor just read Luke 23 to us week before last. He didn’t comment all that much on the scriptures, he mostly just read them aloud. I am very familiar with the Passion of the Christ, so I didn’t expect to be hit very hard by the verbal picture that unfolded.

The description of Jesus falsely accused before Pilate, his innocence ignored in favor of a murderer, his flesh torn open until his whole being was red and raw. And then thrown atop his open wounds, a kingly robe to disparage his identity as King of the Universe. They roughly pressed into his brow an ugly crown and tempted him to prove himself.

My, how he could have proved that he is King. My, how he could have spread the wings of his glory and destroyed the whole empire with the force of a single movement, or by the mightiness of his Name alone. But instead he remained silent, swaying in exhaustion, a pitiful sight of perversity— a fraudulent display of kingship, a joke.

This mental picture of a broken, bloody, powerless, exhausted and defeated king, finally hammered in for me what it means that Jesus “became sin for us.” That is my sin! That picture of Jesus on crucifixion day is the picture of my sin! If my sin were to take shape and be personified in actual flesh, it would be Jesus knelt in his own blood, nearly in trance due to pain, wearing a dunce cap and a jester’s clothes. 

My sin is the delusion of my own kingship! I am a perverse little king, wanting to be praised and admired. I am a little dictator, wanting to have my way at even just small expenses to others. I am a little bit of a Lucifer, wanting recognition for my beauty, talents, merits, efforts, and accomplishments. I am the itsy bitsy spider dutifully spinning the web of my temporary successes. Jesus became that sin! He became a grotesque, dying, mockery because I am a grotesque, dying, mockery.

God is jealous of His glory we are told. He does not share it. Lucifer fell from heaven because he desired recognition, affirmation, a pat on the back, a flattering word, a small praise, acknowledgement, thanks…just a little glory of his own. But God does not, will not, share the glory of His crown! Not with his angels, not with nature, not with you or me. His magnitude blasts through the meagerness of any attempt at beauty that is not originated from the wealth of His own treasury. The trap set for Eve was receiving a little knowledge of her own, getting a hand on a little more than God gave. God was holding out on them, she was told, because He is jealous and won’t share the gifting that defines His power. “Get a little glory, Eve.” Original sin; the original sin that Jesus became for us.

Jesus, who really is King, became the false king that I am. He who is Truth, became falsehood for me. He who is Glory, became degenerate for me. He became ridiculous because we are ridiculous. He became despicable because we are despicable. He became an impostor because we are impostors. He became the fading glory of all my efforts revealed as illegitimate and futile. He became my incapacity. He became my failure. He became my frustration. He became my cry— “Abba, Father, why have you forsaken me!!!”