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Msindisi Newsletter # 109

October 3, 2013

SALVADOR & DIANNE’S MSINDISI MONTHLY

 

NUMBER:      109       Oct 2013

 

PO BOX 1481

VRYHEID 3100

KWAZULU NATAL

SOUTH AFRICA

 

+27 (0) 728311008

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Email:  msindisi@gmail.com , msindisiung@icloud.com, salv.di@gmail.com

 

KwaZulu Mission Website: http://www.kwazulumission.com

 

After a month of staying with friends and housesitting we have moved back into our former hut !!

At present we have moved our bed and wardrobe and a few kitchen supplies to cook with until the rest of the hut is completed. The space is amazing !!!!  We can move around the bed on all sides and what an absolute pleasure it is to have a wardrobe. No more suitcases and boxes under the bed. Progress is happening very fast with the other two rooms. It is now only a matter of getting the glass fitted in the windows, veranda erected, the floor polished, and the rooms undercoated and painted and also some dry wall put in. Then we can start to move bookcases and kitchen benches etc in.

Much of our spare time has been preparing the hut so we could move back in. This meant sugar soaping walls, undercoating and filling cracks before the final 2 coats could go on. Then the floor was polished and furniture brought from town that people had so kindly given to us. Much water was needed to be fetched for plastering. The builders stayed in our old hut over this time so they could rise early and continue their job.

Ministry has continued with bible studies on Monday night at Kim and Johnny’s. We are going through the teaching of church and what it means biblically. Friday 13th evening we meet up at Gert and Hanlies to celebrate Kim’s birthday and we all watched a teaching on psalm 23 by Randall Smith. The kids at kids club have been looking at the characteristics of God, while Sal continue to go through the New Tribes Missions material with the older kids. Celani continues to take the kids when are unable to and this last week another member of the church, called Thukuzile, volunteered to teach the kids when she is at home. It is wonderful to see new people wanting to be involved and reaching out.

While staying in town, Di was able to help Belinda out for a week in the mornings working at the Carebear crèche. Earlier in the month Sal and Di had been in teaching the kids about King Uzziah.

Discipling on a Tuesday afternoons continued with the Alpha group but there have been a couple of weeks where there has been lack of attendance with a wedding in the area, people away and just this week someone’s relative just passed away. On Thursday and Friday afternoons Salvi and Phumulani finished preaching through the area of Khambi and started preaching in the area of Cibilili. This is the last area to be preached through before the Lord must direct us what to do next. We plan to visit the older areas in due course at homes where people showed some interest in the gospel. Last Friday, Salvi had to give the preaching a miss as he needed to help with the painting of the house. But Thukuzile had stated that she wanted to go out with the gospel so Phumlani picked her up for evangelism. We praise the Lord for her desire to serve the Lord.

Health updates: 

  • Gogo is sadly struggling with her health as she no longer wants hospital help. She is getting weaker and finding life difficult.
  • Thabi has 4th stage kidney disease so needs to be eating well. She has good days and bad.
  • Di’ s shoulder is good it only aches if she over does it.

Prayer requests:

  •  Please keep Zanele Sibiya in prayer. She collapsed this morning and was unable to speak or walk. She is in hospital presently getting tests. Zanele is Celani’s ( Phumlani’s sister ) daughter. She is 18 years old and attends the older kids club and church. She is a beautiful young woman. Please hold the family in prayer also.
  • Continued thanks to the Lord and all those involved with the extension of the hut to become a house.
  • The health of Thabi and Gogo .

The Lord bless you

Shalom

Salvi and Di

MARRIAGE 1

Introduction

I decided to do a series of studies on marriage, because a couple of months back Di and I were talking about the British vote on redefining marriage, which they agreed they could do. They could say that now it is okay for two gay people or two lesbians to marry. And in Paris there were riots of French people protesting that France was planning to change the definition of Marriage too. The people did not want that. They wanted to keep marriage traditional. They protested that it is more important to have jobs than to change marriage for homosexuals. They did not want it, they did not want marriage to be redefined. But the leaders of France want it. Just like the leaders of the UK, the leaders of New Zealand; it is an issue that has just come up. And what you are going to find is that, as homosexual marriage is legalised, you are going to see gay people “married” together and it will look like their so called “marriage” is so good. But then they will look at the Christians, highlighting the Christian marriages that are under attack and struggling, and they are going to turn round and ask, “So what is your issue about gay marriage?” That is one of the things that are going to crop up.

Also when we look at Genesis we are going to see that marriage is the most basic institution. So basic, it is more basic than government, than Church. It comes first. When we read in the New Testament that “husbands must honour their wives or else their prayers will be hindered”, I ask myself, “how can I pray to God to move in this area, and how do I expect God to hear my prayers if I do not honour Di?” I cannot! There are many other reasons why marriage is so important. And we have seen marriages all over, here and in other places in South Africa and abroad where there are Christian marriages that are struggling. So for that reason I started teaching a series on marriage for the people who attend the cell group, a series well received by those inside and outside the cell. This book is the outcome of that series. And in this chapter we are going to see the very beginning of marriage; the basis of marriage. We are going to examine its origin and purpose. We are going to explore its nature; that it is a covenant. And we are going to see that marriage comes with obligations. This introductory chapter gives the overview of what will be discussed in the following chapters.

The Origin of Marriage

We start our exploration from two passages in the Old Testament, in the book of Genesis.

Genesis 1:26-30

26Then 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.” 27God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.28God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; 30and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food”; and it was so.

Genesis 2:15-25.

15Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. 16The Lord God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; 17but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” 18Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” 19Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. 20The man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him. 21So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. 22The Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. 23The man said, “This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.” 24For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. 25And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.

The first thing to note with marriage is that its origin lies in God. God created marriage. And marriage was there before the fall. Marriage was blessed by God. It was meant to be a happy state. It was meant to be a blessed state. To be married is a good thing. In fact, from a Jewish perspective (not from a New Testament perspective), there is something wrong with singleness. Marriage is so important from a Jewish perspective. In the New Testament we see that we have an eternal eyesight so that there are people who are blessed to have singleness. They will be able to serve the Lord with more devotion and for this they have an eternal reward. But marriage is still a blessing. Marriage is also in the order of creation. It is a part of creation. In fact Genesis 2:18 says “Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone”.” This was before the fall when God made everything and made it well as it also says in Genesis 1:31 “God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good.” God consistently made good things. But this is the first thing in scripture that was not good; it was not good for the man to be alone. So marriage belongs to the order of creation.

 

Male Primacy

Look firstly at the place of the man and the woman in marriage. From creation, before sin came in and distorted everything, Genesis 1:26 reads “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.”” So man and woman are both portrayed as having been made in the image of God. Both man and woman. It says “Let us make man in Our image; and let them rule”. So man and woman are both, in a sense, made in the image of God.

However, look at verse 27. “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” There are two clauses, or sections, to this sentence. The first clause says that God made man in His image, in the image of God He created him. And then the second clause says that male and female God created them. Now we know why this one sentence supplies both clauses. If you look at Genesis 2:7 we read “Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” And then later God created the woman out of the man. Now this is very important because the implication, in the marriage context, is that the man is first just like Adam was first. It goes back to creation. And Paul makes a very similar argument in 1 Corinthians 11. In that chapter Paul is referring to head coverings that women, if they are going to pray or prophesy in the assembly, must have their head covered. Some people understand the head covering to be long hair, women must have long hair if they are going to pray or prophesy. Some people believe it is a hat or a veil. But whatever it is, or whatever you understand it to be, Paul says this covering must be worn, not in order “to go to Church”, but to pray or prophesy in the meeting. And what Paul says in verse 7 is as follows: “For a man ought not to have his head covered, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man.” There is a sense here that a woman is to have her head covered, when she prays or prophesies in a meeting (whatever that covering is), because she is the glory of man. Only God should have the glory in the meeting. If she is the glory of man then she is bringing glory to man. So she has her head covered so that the glory goes to God. That is one of the ways of looking at this verse.

Nevertheless, Paul is making this distinction between men and women and what is the distinction? That the man is the image and glory of God but the woman is the glory of man. So there is a sense that the man is the image and glory of God in a way that the woman is not. Otherwise, what Paul is saying here does not make sense. If the woman is equally the image and glory of God, if she is completely equal to the man in this regard, then the man should also wear a head covering. Why is this? It is because, when God made Adam, He made him male. When Adam was made he was not made as a man/woman after which God separated the female side from the male side. No he was a man. And that is why in scripture you will never see God appearing as a woman. He will always appear male. That is why, one of the many reasons why, that book “The Shack” is misleading because it portrays God as a woman. But Paul is saying that the man is the image and glory of God. But the woman was not made from anything other than the man. The man was made from the dust of the ground. That is why the New Testament says that the first man is “earthy” and the second man is “heavenly”. Yeshua came from heaven, the first man came from the earth. But the woman comes from the man. She comes from the one made in the image of God, therefore she also is in the image of God. But it is derived from the man.

So that is why God says “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness and let them rule.” Both the man and the woman are in the image of God. But the woman is the glory of man. She is made in the image of God because she was taken from the man. So here is the thing. This means that man is first. So when you have the body of Messiah, or you have the leadership of Israel in the Old Testament, you have occasions when there is a queen, but that queen who rules is ungodly. Godly kings in scripture were always male. You had many ungodly men as kings but never a godly queen without the male headship over her. And even when you have someone like a prophetess, she always has a male figure with her. And when you have the New Testament Assembly (or Church), Paul stated that he does not allow a woman to teach or to have authority over a man. So therefore there is no such thing as a woman elder. Why? Because man is first. Now in the world it is different. We see a queen from the pagans visit King Solomon. It is different. It is a different rule and a different set up. But in God’s set up, man is first because man was made first.

 

Male and Female Equality

But there is also equal value between both man and woman. They are both rulers. The traditional idea that the woman must be tied to the kitchen sink, barefoot and pregnant is not biblical. There is equal value in both male and female and, even though the woman is in second position when it comes to these roles and when it comes to authority, scripture says that the man must award his wife, in the weaker position, honour. And they are both heirs together. They are both inheriting creation. They are both given to rule creation. So the idea is this: in the marriage it is “Man first, and then woman.” But when it comes to parenting, they both rule together. When it comes to creation, they both rule together. Marriage is about sharing.

The Shared Dominion and Fruitfulness

The third thing is their work. The work of man and woman is to have dominion and fourthly fruitfulness. They are to be fruitful together. You cannot be fruitful by yourself. They are to fill the earth and to subdue it. They are to have dominion also through their fruitfulness, through having children and they having children they are going to subdue the earth. That word subdue is like you are a dictator. It is absolute authority. That is what God gave to Adam and Eve. This is implied in the fact that God made man in the image of God. That word “image” does not mean that man is an exact duplicate of God. It does not mean that God is about five or six foot tall. It is not a physical representation of God. He is made in the image of God in order to rule. In other words it is like saying that man is God’s vice president. God is the president and man is the vice president. It is not that we look like God. We obviously look like Jesus. But here is the thing, in Exodus 13:21, God appears like a pillar of fire. And I have not seen anyone outside the “fantastic four” looking like a pillar of fire. You look at God on the throne in Revelation and it says that He looks like a Sardius stone and He has features that do not resemble us. So in a sense we are physically like Jesus. He had two arms, two legs, but in another sense it has nothing to do with physicality. It is to do with the fact that we can relate to God in a way that other things cannot, in a way that fish cannot. We have certain characteristics, certain faculties that we share with God. So therefore God can communicate with us and therefore we have the ability to rule under God.

In the ancient near eastern world they would call someone “The Image of God” when he was in a place of great importance; like a high ranking official would be given this title. This relates to us. A king would be known as a god or a son of god. It relates to us. We rule under God with God’s authority. That is what God was giving to Adam and Eve. Remember what God said to Moses. He said “I will make you as God to Pharaoh and Aaron will be as your prophet.” It is not saying that Moses is God or a god. It is saying that Moses was going to be like God. He was going to carry God’s authority to tell God’s word to Pharaoh and to bring the plagues God was bringing on Egypt. So Moses raises his staff and things happen. But it is authority derived from God while being under God. It is someone ruling under God as God’s vice president.

In creation, everything is good. Why? Because there is no sin. As soon as sin comes into the picture man’s first place becomes tyranny; ruling his wife with an iron fist and says something like “Get back in the kitchen.” That is sin. Sin will turn the woman’s value around and says that woman should be equal to man in everything. In fact, there was a guy I worked with and was saying that he would be so glad when his baby could be bottle fed because him and his wife could share that role equally in feeding the child. And I was saying to him “But does that not show you that you are not equal, because without that bottle you cannot feed the child?” That is the role of the mother and that is how the mother was made. Man and woman are different. They are equal in value but they are different. But sin turns that around and says “No. A woman should be equal to a man in everything, not only in value but also in role.” Sin turns around this dominion of the earth to abuse of the earth. I find it very interesting that among the Zulus there is a respect of the donkey among many people. A member of the Zulu assembly asked if it was wrong to hit a donkey. I asked her why she asked this question and she said that Yeshua rode on a donkey. I told her that before Yeshua rode on a donkey He walked the face of this earth and I see a lot of people throwing litter on the earth. So before a person wants to respect the donkey, they should start by respecting the earth. We are made stewards of this earth. But sin turns it around. We are made to be fruitful but sins turns it around in different ways. One way is that people think they can be fruitful without marriage. But fruitfulness is placed in the context of marriage. Some people think that fruitfulness does not count. They think that we should not be having children but rather enjoying our life rather using money to have the nice holidays and so children are too expensive to have. Sin has also turned things around so that living in a fallen world and sometimes we cannot be fruitful. Someone’s womb might be closed up or the man may be infertile. We live in a fallen world. But before the fall these things were perfect.

You could have dominion in the land. Genesis 2:15 “Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it.” Before the fall, as long as man continued to follow God’s ways everything would go well. Even in Israel, when God made the covenant with Israel, if Israel followed God’s ways it would go well. But we do not live in godly societies. We do not live among people who follow God’s ways. We cannot necessarily expect things to go well like they did then. But we still should try.

The Purpose of Marriage: Companionship.

Genesis 2:18 “Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.”” Notice that what motivates God to make a woman is this: loneliness. God never suffered from loneliness. Before there were angels, before Satan existed, before He made man God was never lonely. Why would God never be lonely if He was just by Himself? Because God is a triune being and therefore was always in relationship. Father with Son, Son with Holy Spirit, Holy Spirit with Father. But man is not three in one in terms of personality. He is only three in one in terms of body, soul and spirit. Adam did not have another Adam to speak to. So Adam was alone, he was lonely. So God gives Adam a companion. So what is the purpose of marriage? Companionship. Yes, God makes marriage to fulfil the plan of dominion and fruitfulness. Yes. But that was not the thing that motivated God to make the woman. The thing that motivated God to make the woman was that the man was alone. This factor comes before the idea of children, it comes before the work that we do together, it comes before everything. So when I am in a marriage my marriage is complete, without a work and without children. My marriage is fully complete because God made marriage to meet this need of aloneness, or loneliness. God gave companionship. And this idea of companionship is linked to the word for fellowship or sharing. It is the idea of sharing. So the couple will share in each others’ lives, they will share in the work, and they will share in the fruitfulness. These things will be done together. Notice that, as they are sharing in a work and they both have this equal value and ruling we must always remember that the woman was made to help the man. They are sharing in the man’s work. It is the man’s work but because Adam was to share it with Eve, it became both their work. But it lies primarily with the man. In one sense it is like the man is just above the woman and in another sense they are both on the same level. It is the man’s work, she is given to help him. He is not given to help her. She is given to support him. But they do it together. Of course we are not talking about spiritual authority. We are talking about having dominion over the earth, to cultivate the earth, to keep the earth, to help things grow and to have children together. They do it all together.

This companionship is demonstrated in a couple of verse we need to look at.

Proverbs 2:16-17

16To deliver you from the strange woman, From the adulteress who flatters with her words; 17That leaves the companion of her youth And forgets the covenant of her God;

The word companion in verse 17 means intimate friend or husband. Intimate friend. That is why a husband or a wife is. So what you have there is friendship. My wife, Di, is my friend and she is my best friend. She is not just a friend because just look at David and Jonathan. Jonathan was David’s best friend and he loved him with a love greater than the love of women. They had a very close bond. But a wife is a friend and even more than a friend with whom a man has a marriage covenant.

Malachi 2:14

14Yet you say, ‘For what reason?’ Because the Lord has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant.

So we have the word companion again. But the word companion here comes from another word which means, “united” or “joined together”. She or he is your companion to whom you have been united into one. You have been joined together. In the context of marriage this means that you are no longer two but you are one. And notice that the above verse associates the word “companion” with the word “covenant” again.

Marriage is a Covenant.

Marriage is not two people shacking up together. Marriage is not two people having a sexual union. Marriage is a commitment within the context of a covenant or a binding agreement. In the Bible you do not make a covenant. In the Old Testament a person would “cut” a covenant. And it goes back to the idea contained within the narrative of God’s covenant making with Abraham. God told Abraham to cut the animals in half and Abraham put half of the animals on one side and half facing opposite. And the covenant making ceremony was that the people making the covenant would pass between the animal pieces and they would make the covenant. (Genesis 15). In the covenant with Abraham only God went through the animal pieces signifying that only God was taking on the obligation of keeping the covenant. But the idea of passing between the animal pieces was this. “If I break my covenant with you, if I disregard my covenant with you may what happened to these animals happen to me!” So as a person went through these animal pieces, he would look and see the blood, the torn flesh, the guts and everything and would think “If I break this, this is what will happen to me.” And that is a serious thing. Marriage therefore entails commitment. Without the vowing of that commitment you do not have a marriage. And the vowing of such a commitment is made in the context of a covenant. When you make a business contract and you sign it you have committed yourself. You cannot turn round and say, “I did not mean it.” That person will take you to court and that piece of paper with your signatures and those of the witnesses is going to incriminate you. It is the same with a marriage.

We met a lady who is getting married this year and she originally stated that her relationship with her man is as good as a marriage. But when it came down to it she said that she was scared to make the commitment of marriage which proves that her relationship with the man was not a marriage because that level of commitment was not there. That commitment is made in front of witnesses. That commitment is binding. And that is why when you are married it is like you are in slavery. You are bound, you are not free. And that is why we make that oath, “To you only will I keep myself as long as we both shall live.” “Forsaking all other considerations it is just me and you.” In the creation account Adam makes his own vows and his vows are very simple.

Genesis 2:23

23The man said, “This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.” 

In other words, “Whatever is happening to her, is happening to me. We are one now! Because she is my very body.” Is this not what Yeshua said about us in His body? We are the body of Messiah? It is like saying, “Whatever you do to the least of these My brothers you do to Me.” That is why Yeshua said to Saul on the road to Damascus, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” Saul was not killing Yeshua or putting Yeshua in jail. He was putting Christians in jail. “But you touch them, you touch Me, they are my body!” That is exactly what it was like with Adam and Eve. “She is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. She shall be called Woman because she was taken out of Man.” What is very interesting here is; the word “Woman” in Hebrew is “Ishshah” and the word man is “Ish”. Ishshah is the feminine way of saying Ish. If you put the suffix ‘ah’ at the end you make the word feminine. So in other words, she got her name from him. And that is why I think that a man should not take his wife’s maiden name. The wife takes the husband’s name, in our culture at least. There is this sense that the woman’s identity is in her husband. She is taken out of man so she is called woman. So it is a covenant or a binding agreement.

The Obligations of Marriage.

We start with the obligations concerning the woman. These are not all the obligations. These are just the obligations we can take from this passage.

Genesis 2:18

18Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.”

That word helper means that she is engaging in his work with him. Obviously this does not apply to the role of a bible teacher. Di will not teach the bible to the congregation or cell group but in whatever Di does in our marriage she is supporting this work of teaching and whatever other work we do in the ministry. Whatever Di contributes she is upholding and helping in this ministry. This ministry cannot happen in the way it does without her. And whatever we do, whether farming, or working in the bakery, or whatever we do there is a sense that whatever the wife contributes is helping with everything. Happy home, happy work. Happy home, happy ministry. But I know that when we are not right, or when there is something disturbing our marriage, or when something is disturbing Di it is disturbing me. I feel what she feels. When she is frustrated I feel frustrated. It is hard not to let it impact our work. Whatever the wife does, whether contributes in a positive or negative way it is likely to impact the guy, the work, the ministry and the things you do together.

The word helper can also signify that she is a strength. She adds a strength. Though the scripture says that the wife is a weaker vessel woman contribute a strength that the man does not have. One of the strengths she can contribute is the ability to sympathize. One of the strengths is intuition. She is supplying something that she is lacking. I am a much richer and more well-rounded individual with Di in my life than without her. Di brings qualities into my life that I do not have in myself. That is the way marriage is to be. She is a helper but she is suitable to the husband. That word ‘suitable’ means ‘corresponding to him’. She is at his side, partnering in the work and she is compatible. Obviously, in marriage that is the way it is supposed to be. There is meant to be a compatibility. But because of sin or ignorance or a number of different factors we can end up lacking compatibility with our marriage partner or lacking compatibility in a host of different areas. But, it says in scripture, “As iron sharpens iron so a man sharpens his brother’s countenance.” When you come together and you are rubbing each other, even if you were not compatible before you can start to become compatible. Because you are rubbing those edges off each other. You start to learn how to work together. You start to learn how to fit together and how to harmonise together. You have to learn those things. The is this sense, that even if you are not compatible to start with you can become compatible if we do things God’s way. She is suitable for him.

Genesis 2:22

22The Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man.

The literal word that the Hebrew text uses, translated as fashioned in the NASB, actually means ‘built’. Like you build a house, God built the rib into the woman. Why would Moses use the word build? Why did he not simply state that God made the woman as it says He did with the man?

Proverbs 14:1

The wise woman builds her house, But the foolish tears it down with her own hands.

So the wise woman builds her house. Now the man builds the house literally but though a man builds the house it is generally the woman that makes it into a home.

Proverbs 9:1-2

Wisdom has built her house, She has hewn out her seven pillars; She has prepared her food, she has mixed her wine; She has also set her table;

The wise woman builds her house, just as wisdom (personified as a woman) also has built her house. But wisdom has not simply built a house but has made it into an inviting home. And the woman must build with wisdom.

Proverbs 3:19-20

The Lord by wisdom founded the earth, By understanding He established the heavens. By His knowledge the deeps were broken up. And the skies drip with dew.

What is really interesting is that the Hebrew word for ‘he built’ is ‘Yiven’. It has the two letter ‘beit’ and ‘nun’ (b and n). These are the same two letters that are in the word ‘binah’ meaning discernment or understanding. The same two letters. Build and understanding. And because of this, the Jewish Rabbis picked up on this and said because God built the woman it means that God endowed the woman with more intelligence than the man. That is the way they understood it. Because of the word ‘build’ in proverbs is performed by understanding we see that there is validity in the connection that the Rabbis made between the two words. You cannot build without understanding. So the woman is given an intelligence for making a home. Now there will always be guys with a flair for decoration and making the house into a home. Speaking about myself though, before I got married I did not not care so much for what my place looked like. I did not really have an impulse to make it into a home. I had an impulse for a home, I wanted a home and marriage but the place where I stayed was the place where I stayed. But Di has a much greater appreciation for the art of home making than I do. And this goes back to creation. And in fact, when the woman is building with this naturally endowed intelligence and wisdom in building her home what she is doing is she in a sense is copying God when He created the world. God, in making a place for man to live, is the basis of the woman making a home for her family to live. This impulse comes from the act of creation itself. Though there are exceptions, normally you will find that it is the woman who is the home maker. She has that impulse. Why is that normally the case? It is because God built her from Adam’s side. She is building the home.

The man is made from the dust. The woman was built from the side. So we have this obligation from the woman’s side to support her husband in the work God has called him to do. They must do that work together but that does not mean that the woman does not have her own ministry on top of that or beside that. Deborah was a prophetess. There were female prophets in the New Testament. There are ministries for women to do outside of the marriage context but her first port of call before her ministry is her own home. She is called to support her husband because the man is first but they are equal in value. She is also called to build her home.

The man’s obligation

Genesis 2:24

For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.

The man has a responsibility to bring the marriage about. It says that the man shall leave his father and mother. He will be joined to his wife and the two will become one flesh. Here the man takes the initiative. He leaves his father and mother. This leaving is a forsaking and what it means is this: If you are going to have a marriage your obligation to your parents then takes second place. Your obligation to your wife takes first place. She is number one in your life after God more than anybody else. He leaves his father and mother. Some people would state it this way. ‘A male is a son until he gets himself a wife. A female is a daughter all of her life.’ A soon as the man pays his bridal price he is then a man. In Jewish culture you become a man when you are thirteenth and bar-mitzvahed, a son of the commandment, and able to read and discuss the law. But you become recognised as your own man in your own right when you have a wife because you become the head of your own home. So it is unbiblical when you get married that you are still under your father. You can have huge problems in a marriage when your in laws get overly involved in the marriage or when the in laws get in between the man and his wife. It should not be like that. The ‘in-laws’ are on the outside. The man and his wife are together therefore when the man and his wife need to sort out their problems they should not be running to mummy and daddy to sort those problems out. They should first of all try and work out these problems together.

He leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife. That word joined or cleave is like bone to skin, scales to fish, a man when he fights with a sword clasped to his hand and he does not let go all the way through the fight. It is that close. It is a deliberate choice, you cleave, you join, you become one and out of that the two become one flesh. So here is the thing. He leaves his father and mother, he pays the bridal price and becomes his own man. He is joined to his wife in a ceremony. The couple make vows. And by joining to his wife he is putting her above every other human relationship. And that is why this joining together, bringing together of two into one is going to do several things. Firstly it will bring problems. This is because in the one space, in the one squashed space, you have two different wills, two different opinions, two different ways of doing things. Suddenly you have to squash all that together. It brings problems. Secondly it brings problems because, whatever problems you have at work you can leave your work behind. But you cannot leave your home behind really. You always have to come back to your home. You can change your job but you cannot change your wife and be obedient to the Lord. You have to keep coming back because you are joined together. Thirdly we have a commitment here to please our wives.

1 Corinthians 7:32-34

32But I want you to be free from concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord; 33but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife,34and his interests are divided. The woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband.

When I am married I have a responsibility to please my wife. And my wife has a responsibility to please her husband. Why? Because we are joined together. We are one and therefore we are in the right context to become one flesh, that is the sexual union. The sexual union belongs to context of a covenant. In Jewish culture you paid the bridal price first. Then the man went away and prepared a place for his wife. Then he came and took his wife to himself and they would have the ceremony and after the ceremony where they say “I wed you according to the laws of Moses and Israel”, you would then consummate the marriage and after the consummation there would be seven days feasting. So there is legal action in the paying of the bridal price, the ceremonial (in western culture the legal and ceremonial are generally done at the same time) and the sexual consummation. Without the legal, ceremonial and the consummation you do not have a marriage. The marriage starts with the legal but is completed with consummation. As soon as a Jewish man paid the bridal price he was legally married but his marriage still needed to be completed.

Conclusion

So here is the thing about the nature of marriage:

  • It starts with God and creation. It is not a human invention.
  • The man comes first.
  • But even though the man comes first there is equal value between the man and the woman.
  • They are both given the commission of dominion and fruitfulness.
  • Marriage is there to combat loneliness, to give people companionship and intimate friendship.
  • But this is given in the context of a covenant or binding agreement. There needs to be commitment. If you are going to have this deep, intimate, meaningful companionship it can only happen in the sphere of commitment in a covenant.
  • Because it is a covenant marriage comes with obligations. There is an obligation for the woman to support her husband and to make a home. And the obligation for the man to uphold the interests of his wife, to put his wife before every other human commitment so that together they may do the work that God has called the man to do. 

Di with Noluncedo. Noluncedo is Asimbonge's Sister

Di with Noluncedo. Noluncedo is Asimbonge’s Sister

Undercoated our bedroom

Undercoated our bedroom

People listening to Phumlani preach in Cibilili

People listening to Phumlani preach in Cibilili

Phumlani preaches in Cibilili

Phumlani preaches in Cibilili

Guys plastering the house

Guys plastering the house

We had to pull down the mud hut

We had to pull down the mud hut

Our temporary kitchen till the rest of the house is finished.

Our temporary kitchen till the rest of the house is finished.

We have a wardrobe now after 4 years of living out of a suitcase. Praise the Lord.

We have a wardrobe now after 4 years of living out of a suitcase. Praise the Lord.

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