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Msindisi Newsletter # 119

August 3, 2014

SALVADOR AND DIANNES MSINDISI MONTHLY

Number: 119          Aug 2014

P.O. Box 1481

Vryheid 3100

KwaZulu Natal

South Africa

 

+27 (0) 72 8311008

+27 (0) 72 3843786

 

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

 

KwaZulu Mission Website: www.kwazulumission.com

 

KwaZulu Mission Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/kwazulumission

 

 

 

We landed back in SA on the 3 rd of July. Both of us were very grateful for a few days with Allen and Sue as we were feeling exhausted. Our day was now night and we had to fight to stay awake for a few days. While in Joberg we took the opportunity to visit Tony and Maria Verlaan for a night. We had arranged before we left to take them to visit the Pretoria brothers Mujuru, Clayton etc. Sal was asked to bring a message.

Wonderful African Thorn trees.

Wonderful African Thorn trees.

On the Mon we headed back home to the homestead. It was very strange not to have Gogo there. As we look back it’s hard to believe so many changes have taken place. Gogo is now gone, Babhekile who was shot. The two children of Babhekile are now with their Gogo in NewCastle and Thabi, Phumlani wife has still not returned. Things are very different. So it is now Phumlani, his brother Walter and ourselves in the homestead. It was wonderful to see our brother again !!!!!! Sitting over a fire in the kitchen to keep warm.

This is Phumlani's homestead

This is Phumlani’s homestead

After catching up with everyone’s news and Di returning everyone’s hair to normal length. One a hair dresser always a hair dresser. We started back into our routine of cell group, discipling, kids club, evangelism etc. Good progress has been made with getting the gospel to the area of Cibilili. Many questions have been asked concerning aspects of the gospel. This is the last area that we had on our hearts for reaching out with the gospel. We need prayer concerning how we will revisit areas with the gospel and how the gospel should next be presented.

Cibilili, where we are now preaching the Gospel

Cibilili, where we are now preaching the Gospel

Monkey game at kid's club

Monkey game at kid’s club

These soccer balls were bought for kid's club by the generosity of a lovely Christian sister in New Zealand

These soccer balls were bought for kid’s club by the generosity of a lovely Christian sister in New Zealand

The same lovely sister bought a filing cabinet for kid's club

The same lovely sister bought a filing cabinet for kid’s club

Before we had left for NZ we had tentatively made arrangements for Tony and Maria  Verlaan to come to Vryheid and do a workshop  covering the New Tribe Mission foundational teaching material. When many showed interest it was given the green light. It really was wonderful to see how many people sacrificed their time to travel long distances for the four evenings. We started at 6 pm and went through to 9 pm.

Tony teaches the New Tribes Mission workshop in Vryheid

Tony teaches the New Tribes Mission workshop in Vryheid

Di makes putu pap.

Di makes putu pap.

The workshop was very good covering cross cultural issues, communication, and the NTM  understanding of how to present the gospel. Many came away encouraged and have taken the material and applied it already. While Tony and Maria were here they stayed with us at the kraal and a night in town. During the stay Tony and Phumlani were able to work on the Zulu material that is getting transposed and critiqued for the Zulu material that will be coming out in the future. We are all very excited about this!!!!!!

Lovely evening Sky

Lovely evening Sky

Di has prepared her garden soil for planting

Di has prepared her garden soil for planting

On returning to the cell group we were also very encouraged to see how the group had bonded and was functioning as a body with each part doing there part. Phumlani and Johnny had both taught and the two visiting teachers had been from the baptist church. Everyone had continued to meet from house to house, sharing a meal, praying, sharing and having teaching from the word. Sal has purposely stepped back and encouraged others to take up certain roles. So Johnny and Phumlani are taking turns with Salvador to lead the meetings and they are also being roped into the teaching, though we will go easy on Johnny as he is a busy farmer. But we thank the Lord and we can see that our time away was instrumental in getting this to take place.

Fetching water from the communal tap

Fetching water from the communal tap

We started back at Carebear crèche at the end of the month. This was delightful. With the usual happy faces and cheering as we enter ( lol we feel famous ) Di will be going through the New Tribe Mission material with them and also with the Joyland creche children in Vryheid. Salvador will start it with the staff at Joyland.

Di hangs out with kids from kid's club

Di hangs out with kids from kid’s club

Phumulani has had to make many difficult decision after the death of his mother –

Gogo. Not long after we returned the family was doing a superstition ceremony, which involved killing a goat to get rid of bad luck. This turned out to be quite funny as after they had killed the goat the dogs from across the road came over and ate all the meeting, leaving nothing for the people who came to partake of it in the morning. So much for ridding the place of bad luck. This however shows sadly how everything has its ritual and there is no freedom. Salvador was able to talk with the family concerning what the bible teachers on sacrificing and respecting Phumlani. He is saying his family is respecting him now however pressure will be on him from other family members. Please keep him in prayer. Thabi also arrived at the funeral and this ceremony, Phumlani is asking her to return at another time so they can talk some issues through however she has not returned at this point. Please keep her in your prayers also.

Taking Thatch to Phumlani's uncle

Taking Thatch to Phumlani’s uncle

Phumlani's uncle happy to get his thatch.

Phumlani’s uncle happy to get his thatch.

 

Could you please keep these things in prayer:

 

Thabi, willingness to talk things over

 

Strength, wisdom and clear communication for Phumlani

 

Give thanks for the New Tribe Mission material, and the restored health of Tony and Maria

 

Israel and persecuted Christians around the world

 

Give thanks for the continual growth and maturing of the cell group

 

 

For those in South Africa, we are pleased to announce that Bill Randles’s latest book, “A Sword on the Land” which is a timely book concerning end times prophecy and the Muslim world in bible prophecy. For those interested the book is available from our wonderful brother Alan Mackenzie who writes the following,

 

“The topic is relevant to every Christian, particularly with the extraordinary growth and influence of Islam, throughout the world, affecting politics, finance, governments and… Dare we say it… Christendom.

 

The rise of Chrislam, recent statements by the Vicar of Rome, abduction of Christian school girls in Nigeria, worldwide persecution of believers in Jesus The Messiah, all have their roots in the Muslim world.

 

So what does Biblical Prophecy have to say about the Muslim world, it’s origins and influence?

 

Pastor Bill Randles lays it out for us in layman terms and gives great insights into this age old deception and blood thirsty religious system.”

 

The book is priced at R100 (and R30 postage and packing for those who live outside of Port Elizabeth).

 

If anyone is interested they can contact Alan Mackenzie by email address r2r@exconcc.co.za or by phone 0824523278.

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER 9

THE OBLIGATIONS OF THE HUSBAND

 

In this last chapter we continue to follow our framework that has been established from Genesis. The last chapter looked at the calling on the wife and this chapter looks at some of the obligations that are on the husband. The woman was called to be a helper suitable for her husband. The man also has a calling too as a husband. But what is that calling?

 

Genesis 2:23-24.

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.

 

In Genesis the man is called to leave and cleave. This is not merely something the man must do at the beginning of his marriage. This is not something that belongs only at the process of getting married. There has to be a continual leaving and cleaving.

 

The Necessity of Leaving.

In Hebrew, the word for ‘leave’ is ‘Azav’. It mostly means ‘to abandon’ or ‘to leave something behind’. This is seen in Genesis 39:15 where Joseph left behind his cloak. He had it with him but then he did not have it any more. In Genesis 50:8 Joseph’s family left their little ones, their flocks and their herds behind in Goshen in order to bury Jacob. Genesis 2:24 is also quoted in the New Testament.

 

Mark 10:6-8

6But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. 7For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother, 8and the two shall become one flesh; so they are no longer two, but one flesh.

 

Jesus quotes the Old Testament verse to teach that God’s people should not divorce and remarry. But the Greek word for ‘leave’ in this text is ‘kataleipo’. This word also means ‘to leave behind’.

 

Matthew 21:17

17And He left them and went out of the city to Bethany, and spent the night there.

 

The same Greek word is used in this passage. What has Jesus just done in the city? He cleansed the temple and then he left it behind, with all the drama going on, and then went to Bethany and, I believe, he went to spend time with His Father. He did not concern Himself with resolving the business at the temple. He now turned His consideration to spending time with His Father.

 

 

Luke 15:4

4″What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?

 

The shepherd leaves behind the ninety-nine in order to look for the one. Does he not care for the ninety-nine? Of course he cares for them but he needs to take his consideration away from them for the sake of the one.

 

There is a sense, when a man leaves his father and mother, that he is taking away his attention from his father and mother and putting that attention onto his wife. Thus he may be devoted to her. This is not to say that there is a total abandonment for scripture tells us that we must honour our parents. Therefore, we are responsible for them in their old age. It is not an absolute abandonment but a relative one. When something is relative it is in comparison to something else. So the question remains, in what sense does the husband leave his parents? He is breaking the tie that he had in comparison with the tie that he is now making with his wife. Thus, the parents are no longer the first priority but his wife is after God. The parents are still a priority but compared to the wife, they are not the priority.

 

 

Luke 14:26

26″If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.

 

When Jesus speaks of hating ones father and mother, he is not speaking of absolute hatred but relative hatred. It means that God has first priority so that the love that we have for our parents is hate compared to the love that we have for God. Therefore if our parents require us to contravene God’s word we will disobey our parents rather than disobey God. In that sense we are hating our parents.

 

Notice that the call to leave ones parents is given to the man. Scripture does not say that the wife shall leave her father and mother. But in the culture of biblical times the woman would literally leave her family’s home and make her new home with her husband’s family for her husband would build his home within his family’s home. First the man pays his bridal price, then he builds a house in his father’s property and afterwards he goes back to fetch his wife and they marry. She left her family but he did not leave his. But the call to the husband still stands nonetheless even in this situation. Yet it must be a reality psychologically and emotionally. I personally believe that this is one of the reasons why God says that it is the man’s responsibility to leave his parents and cleave to his wife. The man must leave because in his mind he needs to tell himself “I might be living near my parents but I am the father of my house. This is a new family. I am not under my parents.” The parents must not interfere with the marriage for the husband has left his father and mother. With the act of ‘leaving’ there is a change of loyalty.

 

The word ‘Azav’ not only means to ‘leave behind’ but it also means ‘to forsake’ or ‘to break loyalty’.

 

 

Jeremiah 1:16

16I will pronounce My judgments on them concerning all their wickedness, whereby they have forsaken Me and have offered sacrifices to other gods, and worshiped the works of their own hands.

 

 

Jeremiah 2:13

13″For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, The fountain of living waters, To hew for themselves cisterns, Broken cisterns That can hold no water.

 

 

Jeremiah 2:17-19

17″Have you not done this to yourself By your forsaking the Lord your God When He led you in the way? 18″But now what are you doing on the road to Egypt, To drink the waters of the Nile? Or what are you doing on the road to Assyria, To drink the waters of the Euphrates? 19″Your own wickedness will correct you, And your apostasies will reprove you; Know therefore and see that it is evil and bitter For you to forsake the Lord your God, And the dread of Me is not in you,” declares the Lord God of hosts.

 

Israel forsook the Lord and in doing so it meant that they broke their loyalty to God. In contrast, the word ‘to cleave’ is used in Deuteronomy 4:4; 10:20; 11:22 to speak of clinging to the Lord. In these contexts the meaning is to be loyal to the Lord. So when the man leaves his father and mother, he is ending one primary loyalty in order to place his primary loyalty on someone else. This means that the husband must not gang up with his family on his wife. This is not to say that he must agree with his wife all the time. The man can agree with his family and disagree with his wife. But the man should not gang up with his family, creating a team, with his wife on the outside. There should not be any picking on his wife. Even if he disagrees with his wife he still stands with her. He needs to communicate to his parents that no one, whether his parents or his children, comes between him and his wife. This passage of scripture is also a warning to mothers who have sons. When their sons marry that there should be no comparison of the wife with themselves. “She is not looking after him properly! I have been cooking for him all these years and he does not like his toast like that!” Leave them alone. You will probably find that his tastes may well change! His tastes may change. His clothing definitely will change. There is a new oneness and the couple will rub off on each other. A godly mother must be careful not to interfere too much and let them become united. Therefore, the man and his wife form an inseparable unit and that is why the leaving is so important. The new husband should not run back to his mother when there is a problem and he wants someone to complain to when something has gone wrong. The man should work it out with his wife.

 

 

The Necessity of Cleaving.

 

The Hebrew word for ‘to cleave’ is ‘Davaq’ and it means ‘to stick’. The word signifies the act of clinging with commitment. This is why Adam and Eve’s union was a covenant, it was a marriage. They did not simply live together. There was a clinging together with commitment. But it comes from the man first. The husband is responsible to cling to his wife. According to Robert Mounce, there are two concepts bound to the word ‘Davaq’; devotion and affection. Devotion signifies commitment and affection signifies fondness and the warmth of true care and nurture. The idea bound up with these two concepts is that they are to be shown with the person being right next to you. There is a closeness and intimacy bound up in this word. The husband is to hold his wife close to his heart with devotion and affection.

 

During the time of Jesus Jewish marriage was comprised of several aspects. The first aspect was called ‘kiddushin’ (sanctification). Today, Jewish bridegrooms will use a ring and say “With this ring I sanctify you to myself according to the laws of Moses and Israel.” But in Jesus’ day they would simply say “I consecrate you to myself according to the laws of Moses and Israel” and they would use any precious article as a token of the marriage. Why a precious object? Because the wife is precious. The wife is sanctified and set apart and therefore, she is special. A wife is not common but sacred. When something is holy it is set apart for special and exclusive use. When God told Israel to make the tabernacle and all its articles one of the things they had to make was incense. God had a certain recipe. There could be so much of each ingredient. He told the people that they were not to perfume themselves with this incense. It was not for them to use but only for tabernacle use. Nor would God want them to bring another recipe into the tabernacle. God called that strange fire. Only the high priest was sanctified to go into the holy of holies. So when we think of sanctification we should think ‘special privilege’. That is how the wife should be regarded by her husband. She should be sacred and special to him.

 

The second aspect of the wedding was introduced just prior to the time of Jesus and that is called, the ‘ketuvah’ (writing). It was introduced by a gentleman called Simeon Ben Shetach. Ben Shetach introduced this marriage contract for the protection of the wife because she is the most vulnerable partner in the marriage. If the wife is left stranded, how will take care of herself? On the marriage contract it would read, “Be thou my wife according to the law of Moses and of Israel. I will work for you, I will honour you, I will support and maintain you, in accordance with the custom of Jewish husbands who work for their wives and honour, support and maintain them.” The husband also took on a further obligation to fix a certain price or sum in case anything went wrong. These words were also attached, “All my property, even the mantel on my shoulders, will be mortgaged for the security of this contract and the sum.” The wife was therefore protected. This custom was in existence during the time of Jesus. The husband was responsible to protect and provide for his wife.

 

The third aspect of a Jewish marriage was the recital of seven blessings. Two of the blessings that would have been recited were “Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who has made man in Your image, after Your likeness, and has prepared to him out of his own very self a fabric forever.” Another blessing reads as follows: “Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who has created joy, gladness, bridegroom and bride, mirth and exaltation, pleasure and delight, love, brotherhood, peace and fellowship. Soon, may there be heard in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem the voice of joy and gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the jubilant voice of bridegrooms from their canopies and of youths from their feasts of song. Blessed are You O Lord who makes bridegroom to rejoice with the bride.” Notice that marriage is associated with joy and happiness. But this blessing is only going to be realised when the Messiah comes. It is only then that Jerusalem will be filled with that kind of joy. There is a connection to creation in the wedding. There is also a connection to Jesus’ return. But when Jewish couples got married it is like there was an awareness that their marriage, somehow, connected to this bigger picture. It is not just another wedding. It is like a re-enactment of creation. Jacob Prasch has taught that Jews believed that, as the Holy Spirit hovered over the waters at the creation, so the Holy Spirit also hovers over the marriage bed. There is so much more significance in marriage to this act of cleaving to the wife.

 

The fourth aspect, which was not there at the time of Jesus but was there at the time of the early church, after 70AD, is that they would take a wine glass or the cup and the bridegroom would stamp on it and smash it with one step. That symbolised the destruction of the temple. Just as one step can smash a cup or wine glass so one act of unfaithfulness can destroy the trust and the happiness of that marriage. It is a good warning because unfaithfulness is the opposite of cleaving. There is a huge witness, a huge sanctification, a huge responsibility of protection and provision, a huge responsibility to protect and nurture the joy and blessing, as well as to remain faithful in this concept of cleaving. And this starts with the husband.

 

 

What are Some of the Ways that a Man should Cleave to his Wife?

 

 

Ephesians 5:25-31

25Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. 28So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; 29for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church,30because we are members of His body. 31For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.

 

 

The are four ways that a man can cleave to his wife suggested in these verses.

 

 

  1. Cleaving in Love.

 

The first way of cleaving that we are faced with is that a man should love his wife. But what does it mean to love. There is a lot of talk about love. Sometimes it is so easy to tell someone that you love them when you feel it. But love is not about the merely external but is about a sincere devotion to that person’s good.

 

 

1 Corinthians 13:4

4Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant,

 

When Paul writes that love is patient it means literally that it has a long soul. In Hebrew thought it means that it has a long nose. Anger is communicated with the nose so when a person is long of nose it takes longer for the anger to come out. Some one who is patient is slow to anger and does not show anger quickly. Love is not only patient but it is also kind. The idea of kindness is the opposite of judgment. It is either taking away judgement, forestalling judgement or delaying it. How does kindness do this?

 

 

Romans 2:4-5

4Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? 5But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God,

 

Kindness is concerned about bringing a person to repentance so that they do not have to suffer God’s judgement. So when love is kind it does not mean that love winks at sin but it means gently coming alongside and helping that person to overcome. If I, as a husband, am to love and if love is kind then I am to be concerned about her walk with the Lord. I must carefully seek both mine and her repentance if there is something we both need to work through. I do not need to come down on her like a ton of bricks and tell her to sort herself out in such dismissive overtones.

 

Love is not jealous either. Therefore a husband should not be envious because something good is happening for his wife and not him. The converse of that is that the husband should not brag. They are two sides of the same self-serving coin. It is like the husband is locked into his own ego trip where any praise accorded to his wife is a threat to his own ego but any success on his part is revelled in. The husband’s role as leader and head is not merely to half the ultimate decision making power but to esteem and uphold his wife. The type of bragging here is the type of boasting you engage in that makes the other person feel small. This comes from the arrogance, antithetical to love, which is to be inflated with self importance. “I am so good, I am so wonderful and important that all I seem to talk about is how wonderful I am or what I have achieved.” That should not be the way I am. I am called to cleave to my wife and that means, not just a marital commitment of covenant but also to communicate to her my love for her in honesty and integrity.

 

 

1 Corinthians 13:5

5does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered,

 

Love does not act unbecomingly. In other words, love is well mannered, not rude and it is not disgraceful. So when I am with my wife, and especially when I am with other people, do I talk down at my wife? Am I rude to her? Just as a woman should not shame her husband so a man should not disgrace his wife. As the head, he is responsible to uphold her good and her dignity.

 

Love does not seek its own. He should not be looking for his own gratification. He is not trying to manipulate his wife and speak sweetly to her with the agenda that he will get something out of it, whether emotional, physical, or sexual. When I love my wife it must be in all sincerity without the thought of how she will repay the compliment to me.

 

Love is not provoked, which means it is not stirred up, not irritable, or touchy. The reason that a husband can love his wife without being irritable towards her is because he is deeply aware that it is not “all about me”. When I am so self consumed, I can become so sensitive that I take everything the wrong way. My wife should not be walking on egg shells around me. If my wife is walking on egg shells around me and continually scared that she may be saying the wrong thing, or doing the wrong thing, then there is a problem with me!

 

Love does not take into account a wrong suffered. As the Lord has loved and forgiven me, with everything that I have done against Him, which is far, far worse than anything I have done against anybody else… as the Lord has forgiven me I dare not hold someone else in with an attitude of unforgiveness. I am not to put up a white board in my heart and jot down every little thing my wife has said or done against me so I can refer to it at a later date as ammunition against her. When someone does something wrong, deal with it and let it be forgotten. Keeping a list of wrongs is merely a tactic that you and I develop of justify ourselves. “You are one to talk! You think I was wrong to say that? What about ….” And so we ward off any sort of criticism or negative statement about ourselves because the list we make of the other person’s faults, mistakes and past sins far outweighs anything we have done today.

 

 

1 Corinthians 13:6

6does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;

 

Love does not rejoice in unrighteousness. When you keep a list of all the wrongs you get happy when someone does something else wrong. There is a secret joy and relish concerning this. Why? Because there is something else juicy and significant to put on your list. More ammunition! When you have something against someone else, or you do not like them, when you hear that they have made a mistake or done something wrong, we betray an attitude of rejoicing in unrighteousness when we say “Typical, just typical. I knew they would do something like that!” We should not be rejoicing in unrighteousness but rejoicing in the truth. We should rather mourn those sins and mistakes.

 

 

1 Corinthians 13:7

7bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

 

When scripture says that love believes all things it does not mean that when the papers say that you can catch flu just by thinking negatively that we are to believe that. The verse is rather saying, “Love always bears.” In other words, love never stops supporting. The word ‘bears’ is today with a roof. It is a covering of protection. It supports the person. You should never stop supporting. “Love always believes” and thus you should never stop believing in the Lord and be faithful to Him. It does not matter what negative things come your way, never stop trusting in God. Love never loses biblical faith. “Love always hopes and love always endures”. Love never gives up. Thus, in marriage, as a husband, if my marriage is very rocky, I am not to say “It is over, it will never work, I have tried but there is no light at the end of the tunnel.” But so often a husband can continually point out the flaws in his wife without realising that he is not loving her and that it is major failing of his calling and responsibility to cleave to her. But because love never fails, then if I love my wife I would rather say, “It is not over” no matter how tense things are. As a husband, I have to tell my wife that it is not over. It does not matter how big a disagreement we have, I say I never regret getting married to my wife. It does not matter how bad our arguments can be I would never want to go back to the single life. I am going to stick this out. I cleave to my wife. Today, so many people do not know what it means to love. In this self seeking, self interested western culture we have lost the ability to stick things out for self is at the centre and God has taken second place. Divorce is rife in the churches and in many cases it is because Christians are lying through their teeth. They sing that they love God and ‘will have no foreign god or any other treasure’ but they lie. Self is their god and when their wife spoils their happiness, and they do not want to live with that, they split. There is no sticking power because there is a form of godliness but a denial of its power. Love is totally centred on God and then on my wife. But the problem is that we cannot naturally love with this love.

 

 

1 John 4:19

We love, because He first loved us.

 

In other words you can love after you have received God’s love. You have to receive it first before you can give it out. We should be like a sponge. When it soaks up orange juice, when you squeeze it it releases orange juice. When you receive God’s love you can then give out God’s love. Thus, it is so important that we realise the extent of what He has deposited in us so that we can live up to the call of showing that to others.

 

 

  1. Cleaving in Sanctification.

 

The second way that I should cleave to my wife is in sanctifying her. Jesus sanctifies His bride, the ‘ekklesia’ (commonly translated ‘church’ but really means ‘an assembly’), with the washing of water with the word.

 

 

1 Timothy 2:12

But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet.

 

 

1 Corinthians 11:3

But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ.

 

If the man is to have authority over his wife and if he is to be the head then it means that the man has to be concerned about the spiritual health of himself and his wife. There are situations where women are married to unsaved husbands but here we are talking about a husband who is saved. But so often we can have a situation in churches where men are following their wives. Their wives are the motivation for the men to be at prayer meetings, at bible studies etc. It should not be that way because he is the head of the home. He should be leading by example. Jesus sanctifies the ‘ekklesia’ with the washing of water with the word. She does not sanctify Him!

 

 

Ephesians 5:18-20.

18And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, 19speaking to one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; 20always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father;

 

In these verses that precede this discourse about how a husband should love his wife, we find that we are exhorted to speak to one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Do I do that with my wife? Am I always giving thanks to God? I need to lead by example. I heard an American pastor once say, “You teach what you know, you reproduce what you are.” If I am to sanctify my wife, then I need to be sanctified. But I cannot sanctify my wife until I have started with loving her. If I try to sanctify her without having that genuine love for her why should she listen to me. I am not sanctifying her, I am just trying to correct her and modify her behaviour in a controlling manner. This is not the sanctification that Christ has for his bride. I am merely a hypocritical armchair critic. I need to lead by example. Jesus washed his disciples’ feet and then he told them to wash one another’s feet. In Jesus’ society you would walk about in the dusty and dirty streets of that village. Therefore, when you visited someone, it was common courtesy that the host would call someone, possibly a slave, to wash your feet. It was not an important job but was a lowly job. Jesus, our master, took a lowly place. God’s view of leaders are that they should be servant leaders. Therefore, as a husband, I must ask; “How am I serving my wife?” Even though scripture says of the godly wife, that she calls her husband ‘lord’ (1 Peter 3:6) the husband must see his role as one of loving service and not lording it over his wife. That is why biblical submission, with a godly husband, is not abusive.

 

 

  1. Cleaving as Nourishing.

 

Just as the husband nourishes his own body so he must realise that his wife is his body. She is bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh. Therefore part of my responsibility as a husband is to nourish my wife. The Greek word for nourish is ‘ektrepho’ and it means ‘to promote health and strength’. When you look at Genesis 3:17-19 God tells Adam that by the sweat of his brow he will eat his bread. Adam is the provider. There is a sense that Adam is to provide for his wife and his family. Though, in the last chapter we saw that the wife also provides for the family, the man is the fundamental provider for his home. A man naturally feels that obligation to be the bread winner because that is the way that God made us.

 

 

Ephesians 6:4

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

 

The term for bringing up children in this verse is the same word in Greek. It means to nourish. Here, nourishing does not speak of physically feeding your children, though without that they will never grow, but it means to educate. When we speak of nourishing it is not merely physical but incorporates body, soul, and spirit. This is not only his concern for his children but he should be concerned about the physical, social, emotional, and spiritual well being of his wife. But to do this you have to know your wife. You have to pick up the signs of when she is down, or feeling weak, or when she is struggling with something. He needs to attend to her and nourish her in promoting her good. This is Christ’s selfless love for us. He even lay down His life for us and so the husband has such a high and holy calling to emulate that in his relationship with his wife. How much we, as men, need the grace and leading of the Lord in our lives.

 

 

  1. Love as Cherishing.

The Greek word for ‘Cherishing’ is ‘thelpo’ and it means ‘to impart warmth’. How do you keep your wife warm when she is cold? You hug her nicely. Thus you are to cherish, to nurse, and to comfort your wife. If nourishing concerns what you say and do for your wife’s well being, cherishing concerns the way you say it and do it. You cannot simply nourish your wife but you must also have tenderness towards her. Nourishment without cherishing is ugly. God wants us to cleave with both nourishing and cherishing.

 

 

1 Thessalonians 2:7

But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children.

 

The Greek word for ‘tenderly cares’ in this verse is the same word meaning, ‘cherishes’. Think of the following situation. In a family, a child has a terrible day and is so upset because everybody laughed at him. The mother just holds him and says “I know, I know”. Sometimes, with cherishing, it is not about what you say but it is just the fact that you are there and you understand. Sometimes that is all that matters. That does not feel very masculine. There is a joke that men make that says “Come to me with a problem only if you want help fixing it. Sympathy is what your girlfriends are for.” That is off the mark. Sometimes you need to be there to hold your wife and comfort her. Yes it is an emotional need and showing emotion is to make oneself vulnerable, but we are to cherish our wives.

 

 

Colossians 3:19

Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them.

 

We, as husbands, are not to harden our hearts but to exercise heartfelt compassion and we are to demonstrate gracious forgiveness. In Colossians 3:14 we are told to put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. This is what undergirds everything when husbands are not to be embittered against their wives. The love and the unity that springs from that love is what God commands me as a husband to demonstrate to my wife.

 

 

1 Peter 3:7-12

You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered. 8To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; 9not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing. 10For, “THE ONE WHO DESIRES LIFE, TO LOVE AND SEE GOOD DAYS, MUST KEEP HIS TONGUE FROM EVIL AND HIS LIPS FROM SPEAKING DECEIT. 11HE MUST TURN AWAY FROM EVIL AND DO GOOD; HE MUST SEEK PEACE AND PURSUE IT. 12FOR THE EYES OF THE LORD ARE TOWARD THE RIGHTEOUS, AND HIS EARS ARE ATTENTIVE TO THEIR PRAYER, BUT THE FACE OF THE LORD IS AGAINST THOSE WHO DO EVIL.

 

A husband is called to live with their wives according to knowledge. You need to get to know your wife. Some people say, “That is impossible. I thought she liked this but she doesn’t like it any more. She keeps changing her mind.” It is a never ending research project that you never seem to be able to get to the bottom of. It is hard to understand your wife when she does not even know why she feels the way she does. It is an ongoing learning process. There will never be a day when we have everything figured out.

 

Calling women weaker sounds very derogatory and chauvinistic. But that is not the case at all. The same Paul said in 1 Corinthians 12:22 that the weakest parts of a human body are necessary or indispensable. You cannot live without them. The bones in your body are strong but your eye is a weaker part of the body. You could poke your eye and blind yourself quite easily. But you need your eyes. Weakness does not mean worthless! But, in society, weakness can mean worthless. Babies with disorders are terminated. There is a call from certain people in society to euthanise the old and frail. They are not seen to contribute anything of worth to society so society can dispose of them. But in Paul’s mind a weak member is something to be prized, cherished and protected, like with a baby. You would give your life for your baby because that baby is precious. That is the way a man should be with his wife. In Roman-Greek society women were looked down on. “You cannot trust a woman to run anything because they are weak.” Paul says, it is because she is weak that you need to understand her and esteem her. In Paul’s society women were not only regarded weak, physically, but she was also socially weak, she was socially un-empowered. Therefore the man should stand up for her.

A man should also show his wife honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life. The reason that I am to honor Di is, not that she is weaker, but that we are equal before God. She is equal in Messiah as an heir. When I live with her in an understanding way then I condescend. If I am stronger than I have a greater responsibility to the weaker one, that is because God is true and his word true. But I honor her because she is my equal. She is my equal because in the resurrection there will be no marriage covenant between us. There will be the unity and the fellowship but not the marriage roles. I will not be her head and therefore it is very possible that in the resurrection that my wife may be entrusted with more responsibility than I. If I disgrace my wife, therefore, then God will not answer my prayers. Why will God not answer my prayers? God hears the prayers of the righteous and is attentive to them but His face is against those who do evil. When I disrespect my wife I am doing evil. How can I speak to my wife harshly and berate her, belittle her, make her feel worthless and like a nothing, and expect God to listen to me. I expect God to listen to me but I will not listen to her? I expect God to honor me but I will not honor her? That is such a delusion! God is on the wife’s side in that case. God will stand for the widow, the orphan and the helpless. If I do not treat Di rightly then my relationship is de facto not right with God. It does not matter how much I preach, how much I teach or how much God works despite me it does not count for anything in terms of my relationship with Him. I must be gentle and respectful to my wife. There are times when I may say something strongly and exert authority. But I must remind myself that she is my equal and I must honor, esteem, and respect my wife.

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