The High Place of Women in Redemptive History
Judges 4:21ff - Then Jael, Heber's wife, took a tent peg and took a hammer in her hand, and went softly to him and drove the peg into his temple, and it went down into the ground; for he was fast asleep and weary. So he died...So on that day God subdued Jabin king of Canaan in the presence of the children of Israel.
Women in our Culture - As we recognize, Mother's Day, we must avoid two false views. On the one hand we must avoid the feminism that savagely reduces women to men, a “GI Jane-ism” which denies creational differences between men and women. This “egalitarianism” is really about being independent from men. According to Kate Millett (a major feminist spokesperson), “Women's autonomy is what women's liberation is all about” (1970). On the other side, we also must avoid the conservative Christian reaction to feminism which often traditionalizes rather than sanctifies women. More alarming is the authoritarian control and suppression of women under the banner of biblical views. In such setting, in some homes and churches, women are not treated with respect but are dominated and devalued.
Women in Scripture - An honest review of the Bible will show the startling role in which God has placed women in the unfolding covenantal plan of redemption. For example, the book of Judges is one of those rough-cut books with no less than Flannery O'Connor-like characters. When Israel's enemy, Sisera, fled the field of battle, Jael took him in - in deception. Sisera fell asleep and Jael, displayed her true loyalty with God and His people, by crushing his head with a tabernacle-tent peg. One would dismiss this brutality as a kind of neanderthal text to be marginalized, except that this becomes the praise song of another women judgess, Deborah: “Then Deborah and Barak the son of Abinoam sang on that day...She stretched her hand to the tent peg, Her right hand to the workmen's hammer; She pounded Sisera, she pierced his head, She split and struck through his temple...Thus let all Your enemies perish, O LORD! But let those who love Him be like the sun When it comes out in full strength” (Jdg. 5:26ff). In Judges, among others places, we find a woman as a judge and as warriors against the enemies of God. This is so from the first word promised about the coming Deliverer, it is just more graphic in Judges. “And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel” (Gen. 3:15). God gave women the role of deceiving the Serpent and through that pictured the crushing of the head of the Deceiver.
• We must then have a fully biblical view: Man and woman are equal image-bearers and man bears the primary responsibility to lead the partnership in a God-glorifying direction (Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood).
• Husbands, give your wife the gift of being a good leader (“head”).
• Fathers, care for your wife and your children.
Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more
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