Thursday, May 29, 2014

Thursday, May 29 ~ Miriam

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is  1 Kings 3-4; Psalm 107; Acts 18
Today's scripture focus is Genesis 3:16

To the woman He said,
“I will greatly multiply
Your pain in childbirth,
In pain you will bring forth children;
Yet your desire will be for your husband,
And he will rule over you.”

One verse, but a lot packed into it.  MacArthur has a two-part sermon just on this verse!  I didn't read the second part, but the beginning portion of the first one is very insightful.  I identified a great deal with it, even though it's quite general, and some of it doesn't specifically apply to me, but it really demonstrates the results of the curse, I think.

I've lived long enough and I've been in enough places in the world to know that the plight of women in the world is very difficult. We have it the best here in America and still the plight of women is very difficult. I have seen the struggles that women go through in all corners of the world. It's very hard being a woman, and throughout human history it has been very hard and in many places in the world today, it's very little different than it has been since ancient times.
In general, women are the slaves of men. Men who, in general, have little interest in their personal needs, very little interest in their feelings, their emotions, their sufferings. In general, men have throughout human history used women for sexual fulfillment, for domestic duties, to tend to the children. All over the world women have been subjugated and humiliated. And until modern times, men actually held the power of life and death over women...and still do in some tribal regions.
This harsh treatment of women which is pretty much the general pattern of human history, was not the original design of God. Sin brought it in and it therefore corrupted the original relationship between man and woman, between woman and her children and made life very difficult. And while there is general suffering in the world that everybody goes through because of death, because of disease, because of disasters, we all have a measure of suffering because of sin. Sin has brought about death and decay and decline and disintegration and we all understand that. We all live with accidents and illnesses and disasters of one kind or another. There are just those general matters in a fallen world that expose us all to harm and ultimately to death.
But in a very specific way, women have a general category of suffering and primarily their suffering is related to two things. It's related to their children and their husbands. Apart from the general sufferings that all of us go through, which I just mentioned, there's a particular area of suffering that belongs only to women, and that is the perennial bearing and caring of children and the perennial dealing with husbands. It is a hard and has been a hard and relentless and awful...often sorrowful duty through most of history and even today.
It isn't that women can't find some measure of joy in their children. They can. It isn't that they don't find some measure of joy in their husbands if they are reasonably kind and thoughtful to them. They can. But the fact of the matter is it is the unique burden for women to bear, to have to deal with children with pregnancy, to have to deal with husbands who do not understand them, nor care for them compassionately and with understanding. In most societies throughout human history they have been treated, women have, as second class, if that, maybe fifth class would be better.
They have in most cultures belonged to men for their own usage. For whatever the men commanded and whatever the men desired, the men have dominated them. And they can do that because by sheer force of human strength, they have power to exercise over women. They have obviously, of course, impregnated women and therefore they have exposed women constantly to death. Throughout most of human history, childbearing took a woman to the brink of death. Even so today in Third World countries, women go into pregnancy realizing they could die, to say nothing of losing the child they've carried in their womb for nine months. Mortality rates are still high in many places and through human history, more babies have perished in birth than have lived.
There are then great difficulties and dangers that are associated with being a woman. To say nothing of carrying around a child for nine months in your womb and then having to release that child into the world with all of its hostilities and all of its threats and all of its dangers, whether they be physical dangers or whether they be moral dangers...the child now finding its independence and because the child by nature is a sinner, wicked, that child is going to find everything destructive to entertain itself and therefore a mother has a heart that never rests. She worries about not only about what may harm the child physically but what may destroy the child's soul. There are not only accidents and plagues and injuries that can worry the mother. There is that rebellion that will break her heart. There is that child that moves away into a kind of life that grieves a mother. And the more children she has, the worse it is. And throughout most of human history, she had as many children as she conceived and were actually born, there were no contraceptions as in modern time. And so women were sentenced to submit to their husbands at their sexual whims and then to bear the children that were born. And then to spend their whole lives carrying, bearing, nursing and nurturing and then carrying the load of love that watched those children fall into danger after danger and even break their own mothers hearts.
Does this ring true for you?  Something to think about.

Happy Thursday!

Tomorrow's scripture focus:  Genesis 3:17-19
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage:  1 Kings 5-6; Psalm 108; Acts 19

1 comment:

TammyIsBlessed said...

Oh the hardships of this curse! Conception becomes more frequent; birth becomes painful; children themselves become sources of suffering, sorrow, and disappointment. I loved how MacArthur pointed out that, for women who are redeemed, the curse can be mitigated by having children and raising them to love and serve God.

I particularly enjoyed Part 2 of this sermon series. MacArthur pointed out a few things regarding the husband/wife relationship that I had never connected before....

"Your desire shall be for your husband" means that wives will seek to have control over their husbands, and in return, husbands will dominate their wives - the wording of this phrase is the same as Genesis 4:7 where it says "Sin is crouching at your door and its desire is for you, but you must master it."

MacArthur: The Lord is speaking to Cain. He says, "Sin desires you." What does that mean? Sin wants to control you. Sin wants to dominate you. Sin wants to take over your life. "But you must master it, you must rule over it." It's the very same expression. The woman desires to control man and he rules over her. Sin desires to have you, you must control it. The woman then has the same desire for the man that sin has for Cain, a desire to control, a desire to have its way. And the husband has the same need to control his wife that Cain had to control sin.

And the extra connection is that the relief from this curse is found in Ephesians 5. Wives, filled with the Spirit, submitting to their husbands (instead of desiring to control them), and husbands, filled with the Spirit, love their wives (instead of dominating them).

Brings a whole new depth to my understanding of those passages!