“A Suitable Helper”- what Hebrew tells us about women’s roles

15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” 19 Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. 21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said,

“This at last is bone of my bones

    and flesh of my flesh;

she shall be called Woman,

    because she was taken out of Man.”

(Genesis 2:15-23)

I have been on a personal journey to understand where God has placed women in his plan. Growing up in the church, in the 21st century I have heard everything from women’s purpose is to raising/ birthing children, and waiting on their husbands, to women as superiors who can be/do anything they want. Somewhere between the two, I believe, is the truth.

Help meet, helper, companion and all words used in different translations describing who Eve was to Adam. This last week, I came across a ten minute talk from Suzy Silk on those very words used to describe Eve. Suzy is the founder of Hope Gathering, and has her MA in “Bible and Ancient Semitic Languages” from Jewish Theological Seminary. She speaks on the Hebrew word for “helper” that has most defintely been lost in translation. If you have been stuck on that word, and have been seeing it as a word to describe our roll in marriage, then think again. I would encourage you to listen to hear how God describes women in military terms. If you are single, married, childless, or have a house packed to the brim of children please have a listen. God’s plan for you, Mighty Warrior, is a noble, worthy plan!

Enjoy listening! Here’s the link:

http://www.hopegathering.com/talks-2014/suzy-silk

Love,

S

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Two Dangerous Ways We Have Amended God’s Word

Across our country our federal and provincial governments are making amendments to our laws at rapid fire speed. They have changed laws around religion, marriage, and made differences in sexuality its own race just to name a few. At one point this country was founded on biblical principles. The Canadian Coat of Arms bears the words “A mari usque ad mare” which is Latin for “from sea to sea”. This was taken from Psalm 72:8, “He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth.” Our country was built on the Word of God. Overtime we have made amendments to fit the culture rather than fit the culture to the gospel.

This is not a new thing though, nor is it political, it started with Eve in the garden over a piece of fruit. Genesis 2 tells us the words God used to give a command to Adam, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (vs 16-17) Look at what happens one chapter over when Eve is confronted by the Devil. First of all, he does not directly quote God, though he knows His words well, instead he chose to twist God’s word.

Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’? (Gen 3:1 emphasis added)

Here’s where Eve made her fatal mistake:

And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” (Gen 3:2-3 emphasis added)

Eve made the quick decision that God’s word was not enough and made an amendment to his word. The minute she reveals her insecurity regarding God’s word she entered onto the playing field of the Devil himself. He knows he cannot stand up against the word of God. It’s a sharp double-edge sword that he knows will destroy him (that’s kind of the point- pun intended). God’s Word is our weapon and refuge. What Satan knew was that Eve stopped believing God’s word and truth were enough  and relied on her own knowledge to “fix” the situation. Once she moved out of the perfect word of God she moved out of his refuge and lost her weapon at which point Satan attacked and won.

We see the Devil’s dirty work again in Matthew 4:1-11 when Jesus is tempted three times. All three times Jesus directly quotes God’s word without changing it, for he knew his Father’s words were enough! This leaves the Devil in a position where he can do nothing to Jesus except leave.

Amendments by Addition

One of the ways we make amendments to God’s word is by adding to it such as Eve did. She decided the Word needed some polishing and added her flair to it. Paul warns us about both adding to God’s word and accepting the additions from others.

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. (Gal. 1:6-9)

Beyond the realm of politics, how often have we given our own amendments to God’s word? We do it all the time for own economical, political, social, physical, and emotional comfort. We step out of the sovereign Word and put our own twist on it, then wonder why darkness is creeping in so quickly. Why do we do this? I have no doubt that there is more than one reason why.  To name a few I would include: for our own personal gain and profit, for our comfort, to fit it, to justify our poor decisions, for fear of others, lack of trust that God does not have the situation fully and completely, and perhaps even outside pressure from peers and family to change our views. Or, as Paul puts it more bluntly, “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” (Gal 1:10)

Bottom line, amendments to God’s word makes us servants of man, not Christ. Since we cannot serve two masters, our master by default then becomes the Devil. We enter onto Satan’s playing field, unarmed, like Eve, thinking God’s twisted word will hold up. It won’t. We will lose.

Amendments by Omission 

Another way we can amend the sovereign word of God is by omission. And by that, I mean we stay silent while we knowling are witnesses to an alteration to scriptures. Perhaps this one is most relevant in our political field at present. A recent article from CBN had this alarming quote at the end:

“The lack of spiritual leadership is killing us. Every single time that Liberals, either federally or provincially,…take away our rights, or to demonize us as bigots, we hear nothing but silence from the Church. This has to stop.” (source)

God’s command to us is bold when it comes to speaking, teaching, preaching, and taking a stand on what is his truth (and our truth!).

Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true),  and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. (Eh 5:6-11 emphasis added)

Did you catch that last part? “…but instead expose them.”

Part of being obedient to God’s command is to expose the amendments that have been made to twist Scripture. It is our duty as servants of God to speak out. When we stay silent, we give way to these amendments and twisting of truths through our lack of speaking the absolute truth. The fear that is keeping us quiet is exactly the same fear as Eve, “what if God’s Word isn’t strong enough, or powerful enough to win this situation?”

Oh, but it is my friends! Regardless of how it is received when it leaves your mouth, YOUR obedience will not go unnoticed by the Almighty King of Kings. It is your attitude of willingness to be obedient and steadfast in His commands that will be all that matters when you are face to face with God the Judge at the end of your life.

How You Can Right the Wrongs

The bible warns us to “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” Col 2:8.

As our world strays away and amends biblical foundations to fit the culture, weigh your thoughts, actions, and beliefs against the bible as a whole. God’s word is enough, I am not. He is perfect, I am weak.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Cor. 12:9

There is no amendment we can add that will strengthen God’s plan and word for us individually or for the world. If there is something I am in disagreement with, or uncomfortable with in the bible, I need to seek out why MY heart is against God’s word and repent.

There is no event, person, government, law, philosophy, fad, or attitude that we can win by being silent. Whether our voice is heard and responded to makes no difference, God has heard, and he will respond accordingly. Trust him, trust his promises.

Does what you believe match the Bible in its entirety? Is what you believe based on a mismatched, out of context, fragment of a verse or chapter instead the overall message? Have you twisted the Scriptures and like Eve entered the playing field of the Devil without your sword in hand? Do you really, honestly, with all your soul believe God’s infallible word is enough for EVERY situation?

Ask God to search your heart and bring to light any areas where you may have fallen into amended Scripture. Repent of this sin so you can be washed clean and present yourself blameless before the Lord. Stand firm in the promises and commands of God’s Word. His Word is enough and will stand firmly without ceasing until the very end of this world.

His Word is enough.

love,

Sarah

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

How Walking With The One You Love Changes Your Life

Back in the day of post-secondary part one of my life, I had a teacher who was a physiotherapist. We were learning about gait, which is simply: how people walk. She told us of an elderly man she was treating whose walk included a limp to one side. His wife, of physically good health, eventually came to walk with a limp as well. Her limp was in the same direction as his. The reason being, as our teacher explained, was that when you walk beside someone who leans in the same direction each time they step, you learn to lean as well to avoid colliding with each other. The wife, yearning to walk close enough to the man she so dearly loved, learned to compensate her own walk to match his so they could more effortlessly walk beside each other.

I doubt the elderly woman ever gave thought to walking in such a way as she did, her focus wasn’t on which step to take next, or which way to lean. She just loved her husband so much that her focus was to walk beside him and feel his nearness. The image of this elderly couple is a touching image as we think about our walk with Jesus. The closer we walk to The One we love, the more we desire his nearness, the more our walk matches his. Of course, he doesn’t walk with the limp (though we do!). Instead it becomes an opposite image. As we walk closer to him, our limp (our sin, our trial, our mountain too big to climb) becomes less notable. Walking with Jesus pulls us upright.

When we sin…

That sin issue you can’t seem to control (because who doesn’t have one)? Grab your bible, hit your knees and pray and draw closer to God. You won’t overcome anything by willing yourself to stop. Simply placing your thoughts on “not sinning” will only draw you deeper into temptation. We are broken, and walk perpetually with a limp. On our own accord we will never walk upright. But get close to The One you love, and he will hold you up. He will always give you a way out, but stay close and hold his commands deep in the core of your soul to stay arm in arm with your Saviour when the Tempter comes.

And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. (1 John 2:3-6 ESV)

When we face trials…

Does your mountain feel like a giant, straight-up incline, too steep to scale, and wide to endure? Is that fiery trial stinging you at the core of who you are? There’s rest in Jesus. Just come close enough he can hold you up. Be harnessed with Jesus so closely that when you can’t move one more step he’s there lifting your burden fighting your battle for you.

28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matt 11:28-30 ESV)

What we need to pursue…

Paul assure Timothy that though temptation and trials come we sets our eyes on Jesus. We are only to pursue, think about, lean on, and walk with that which will give life:

11 But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. (1 Tim 6:11 ESV emphasis mine)

There is nothing you can do about the difficulty in front of you but to walk in step as closely and intimately to Jesus as you can be. In him we find righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, and gentleness. He took on your “limp” once already on the cross. Your freedom is found in a Mighty Lord who won EVERY battle. All you need to do is walk close enough that you take on his steps and his gait. Walk close enough the One you love and you too will take on his walk.

draw near

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. (James 4: 7-10 ESV)

love,

S

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

What you do for the least of these, you do for me.

Today I am reminded that I am a person, just one of God’s creations and there is nothing overly important about me or my story because we each have our own, and it is because of this humanity that we are all equals.

This thought came to mind this evening after taking time to sit in a speaking engagement with one of my sociology classes, where we listened to refugees from the community share about their experiences in Canada. During this talk, we were also immensely blessed to hear from a woman named Tima Kurdi. She is the aunt to the little Syrian boy who drowned in the Mediterranean Sea, and was photographed lying dead on a Turkish Beach.

While listening to her speak about her experience as a foreign immigrant many years ago, to her more recent tragedy of mourning the loss of her sister and two nephews, I was touched. I was moved in my spirit when she spoke, not only because she shared so vulnerably, but because she said three things that struck me. First, she talked about the day she found out that her sister and nephews had drowned and then viewed pictures of her sweet little nephew lying dead on the shores of the sea. She described to the audience how that felt, recounting how she screamed loudly and fell to the floor in grief. Second, she mentioned that she was from Damascus, born and raised. Finally, she spoke to us about her visit to Syrian Refugee camps in Turkey and how she had gone to visit her family members, describing the horrors of the reality of the situation from her perspective. She stated that she came home changed, that she could never return to her life as she knew it because she had seen too much, and heard too many stories, that there was no way for her to ever return to Canada as the same person.

It was in her story that I am reminded that I am here for a purpose. I did not move to BC for leisure, or to be pulled in by the welcoming culture of the Bible Belt. I am renewed in spirit as I recall all the times where the Lord was my strength, and my shield. He helped me so many times and continues to walk beside me even now. As Tima spoke about the shock and devastation she felt upon finding out her family had drowned, I am reminded of my own grief. It wasn’t so long ago that I too felt that surge of adrenaline, the sensation of my blood pooling in my lower body. The mournful wail that escaped my own throat after hearing the news of my brother’s death haunts me to this day. A woman whom I did not know six hours ago, has reminded me through the motions of grief that I am human too. Even though we share different beliefs, she being from a Muslim nation and an immigrant Canadian, we share a sisterhood in the human experience.

When she mentioned that she was from Damascus, this very thought popped into my head:

“3 As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. 4 Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”
ACTS 9:3-4

Saul was on the road to Damascus when the Lord saved him. PAUL the Apostle. Damascus. Our Holy Bible came from the Middle East. In fact, Tima and her kin, are more closely descended from the loins of Abraham than I ever will be! And yet, my fellow countrymen (not all of course, but there are some of you!) who shut her out. Who reject her because she is from “that” part of the world. Who are of the opinion that she and her people are not deserving of the Gospel, and North America better blow out the candle in the window and hide behind the couch so it looks like nobody is home because we don’t want to be “terrorized”. Shame on us. Look at who we have become. I’ve never been more disgusted when I consider how many people turn their backs on their immigrant/refugee brother and sisters. “They’re draining our system”, “They don’t learn our language!”, “They don’t respect our culture!” and so the list goes on.

If you are a Christian, and you are reading this, I fully expect you to NOT be one of those people. Why? Because Paul was on the road to Damascus (Yes, that’s in the Middle East!) when He was converted, because both Christians and Muslims alike have Abraham in common, and more importantly, unless you have some Jewish heritage in your line, then WE are the Gentiles, and Jesus came for all of us. So, it is time for us to remember our humanity, to remember that we have all shared in that experience no matter what part of the world we come from and that we are all deserving of God’s love and if we deny others, that which we have taken for ourselves, then we are hypocrites and the Holy Spirit is not in us.
Do we not realize that we live in a land of milk and honey? That we have toilets, and elevators and school! That we have freedom and grocery stores and clean water that pour out of weird little tubes called “taps”? That we have peace. I’ve never seen another country that wasn’t like my country. I’ve always known the comforts of a car, of a fridge to hold my food, of a warm house, nice clothes and options as far as the eye can see. I’ve hardly seen the world and this makes me horribly ignorant to the reality of what many other people experience daily. We’ve got the best of the best, so where does this greediness and selfishness come from? Where does this unfriendliness and shunning attitude coming from? From the enemy, that’s where. He doesn’t need to do much work when we’re so distracted with our own lives and indulgences that we’ve forgotten the world. That makes us a prime candidate to be the sucker who takes the bait, ignoring the Great Commission.
So, what next? If you agree and this is merely a confirmation of your feelings on the matter then read on, or perhaps you are challenged by the stance that I have taken, therefore I encourage you to open your Bible. In it, you will NOT find anything that upholds the view that you should shun the non-believing neighbour. In it, you will find instead a love letter of hope, grace and forgiveness, and you can expect of course to be commanded “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to all creation”, especially to our newcomers to North America. This requires sitting with the least of these, even if it makes us uncomfortable, thankfully the Gospel is not about us and all about He who made us.
I was blessed tonight and I am reminded, like Tima, that I can never be the same person ever again. I’ve seen too much, I’ve heard too many stories and my life is forever altered. The moment that the Holy Spirit entered my life and into my heart I was changed and I can not look back and be who I was before. This is what I must remember as I step out my door every morning, this is what I must adorn as I engage with my refugee/immigrant neighbours and countrymen, and I encourage you to do the same.

What can you do for your refugee/immigrant neighbour?
1. Love them
2. Be their friend and seek them out
3. Help them with English (so important)
4. Be normal and remember….They’re human too!

Love,
D

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment