Appreciating the First Lady (I)

Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him” (Gen.2:18).

The most important relationship married men have, is with their wife. Wives are like their husbands; they are not perfect. But they’ve had a calling from God since Genesis, to help their husbands. Christian husbands generally believe this. But, how do we define “helper?”

This is where life can get interesting. The point is, it is God who defines the nature and extent of what a wife’s help should be, not the husband. But that doesn’t stop some husbands from trying!

Every husband has to determine what sort of husband he will be, and how he will discharge his God-given authority. Husbands have to make this decision: will my leadership of the home and family be authoritative, or authoritarian? The difference is of vital importance. It can make or destroy a marriage. Google tells us that

An authoritarian leadership style is being used when a leader dictates policies and procedures, decides what goals are to be achieved, and directs and controls all activities without any meaningful participation by the subordinates.

If God wanted husbands to be authoritarian, we’d see it in how God deals with people. But we don’t. In fact, we see just the opposite, in so many examples.

Numbers 11 tells us of one of the tougher times Moses was having leading the children of Israel. Moses wasn’t happy, and he said to the Lord,

Why have You been so hard on Your servant? And why have I not found favour in your sight, that You have laid the burden of all this people on me? Was it I who conceived all this people? Was it I who brought them forth, that You should say to me, ‘Carry them in your bosom as a nurse carries a nursing infant, to the land which you swore to their fathers’? Where am I to get meat to give to all this people? For they weep before me, saying, ‘Give us meat that we may eat!’ I alone am not able to carry all this people, because it is too burdensome for me. So if You are going to deal thus with me, please kill me at once, if I have found favour in Your sight, and do not let me see my wretchedness (Nu.11:11-15).

What is God’s response? God doesn’t rebuke Moses for his complaint. God understands Moses’ situation perfectly. He cares for Moses, and His people.

Firstly, He commands Moses to gather seventy men from the elders of Israel, and promises to come down and take of the Spirit that is upon Moses, and put it on these men, so Moses will not have to bear the burden of two to three million people alone. Then, He tells Moses that He will come tomorrow, and send a meat supply that will be more than enough for the people.

Is this a mean authoritarian figure in heaven, angry with a struggling delegate? Hardly.

Secondly, we read in Numbers 27 that the five daughters of Zelophehad came to Moses with a complaint, relating to the law God had given concerning the distribution of inheritances. Their father had died and they had no brothers, and it was sons who normally received the inheritance. So they complained to Moses, “Why should the name of our father be withdrawn because he had no son? Give us a possession among our father’s brothers” (Nu.27:4).

Now it could be argued that these women were finding fault with God’s law. They were certainly drawing attention to an injustice that they would suffer, if the Mosaic law as it stood was followed inflexibly.

But observe God’s response to Moses’ query. God did not say,

Well, that’s the way it is girls. The law’s been decided now, don’t you know? Get with the plan. Life can be tough, and you’ll have to live with this. Don’t bring your legal anomaly problems to me, because I can’t be bothered.

No. He said to Moses:

The daughters of Zelophehad are right in their statements. You shall surely give them a hereditary possession among their father’s brothers, and you shall transfer the inheritance of their father to them (v.7).

God dealt with these women with perfect understanding of their situation, and perfect justice. Their legitimate complaint led to God instructing Moses to change His law (v.8-11).

The Bible says,

Great are the works of the Lord; they are studied by all who delight in them (Ps.111:2).

The notion of authoritarian leadership is alien to God. It should be to all husbands and fathers.

(To be continued).