The Professional Women’s Bible Study I attend every Friday morning is presently studying the book of Ephesians. Our fearless leader, Marsha Rydberg, has led us through the first five chapters, using her extensive library of Biblical history books to explain the culture of Biblical times. Last week, Marsha was absent due to her work schedule, so we opted to watch a DVD of one of Ray Vanderlaan’s tours of Israel. Ray showed us a different view of Moses’ mountain-top experience with God on Mt. Sinai. He explained that God performed a marriage ceremony with His people on that mountain in Exodus 19. He loved them as a groom should love his bride. And He wanted His people to love and rely upon Him as a bride loves and relies upon her husband.
As God’s timing is perfect, we reached the end of the fifth chapter of Ephesians:
Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. - Ephesians 5:22-24
As Marsha went into great detail of the culture of that time, I piped up and reminded the ladies of the DVD we had watched last week. God, through Paul, is giving us a sneak preview of the marriage we will share with Him in eternity. The first sentence of verse 22 ends with “as to the Lord.” It was a perfect segue to what Marsha had to say next. The statement, “Wives, be subject to your own husbands,” was not a revolutionary statement in those days, but to submit to their husbands out of love was. I once groaned at these “submit” verses, believing the lie our feminist culture has shoved down our throats. But now realize we have been in rebellion against God since the third chapter of Genesis. To the woman He said, “I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth (literally means and your pregnancy, conception), In pain you will bring forth children; Yet your desire will be for your husband, And he will rule over you.” Genesis 3:16 The term “desire” in this verse does not indicate a sexual yearning, but the need to dominate. Eve succumbed to Satan’s defiant nature, and God had to put her in a different place in the human relationship. So as we women groan at the thought of submitting to our husbands, we are perpetuating Eve’s defiance against God. If we can give up this rebellion and trust God, even to the point of submitting to our husbands, then we will find the joy He wants us to have. And in the very next verse, Paul admonishes the men: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her…” Ephesians 5:25 As wives, we get the better end of the deal. All we have to do is show a little respect to our husbands, but our husbands must be willing to die for us. “…always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.” - Ephesians 5:20-21 Let us joyfully submit to one another, and to our husbands, and, most importantly, to the LORD.