The Honored Servant
The role of the woman in bringing forth One who would save mankind was foretold by God immediately after man fell into sin. When Yahweh pronounced the curse upon the serpent, He said:
“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.”
It is interesting to note that God speaks in this verse of the woman’s seed. Yahweh does not say that Adam’s seed will bruise the serpent’s head. A woman, however, does not produce seed. She receives the seed from another. The Savior must come from holy, divine seed, implanted in a virgin womb. The woman became man’s helper by bringing the Savior into the world, breaking Satan’s hold on man. Through the seed of the woman, God and man were reconciled.
The role of bringing forth life is so central to the woman’s purpose that Adam named his wife Eve. The name Eve means “life spring.” As important as the role of childbearing has proven to be, bringing forth the Savior, and continuing the life of Adam, there is much more included in the idea of woman being man’s helper.
After the man and woman transgressed in the Garden of Eden, Yahweh spoke to them indicating what life would be like for them going forward. The man was consigned to a life of toil. He was driven out of the garden where he had been able to eat freely from the trees there, and he was told that he would now have to eat that which grew in the fields. The earth would no longer bring forth an abundance with ease, and there would be thorns and thistles to make his labor increase. By the sweat of his brow man would have to work until he returned to the dust from which he came.
To the woman God spoke the following:
"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."
There are many today who would overturn the meaning of these words. I have had numerous women tell me that God was simply warning the woman that man would try to rule her, but that it was not really Yahweh’s will for the man to do so. Some have argued that these words are part of the curse, and a curse is something that should not be embraced. With such reasoning many women have adopted an attitude of pride and rebellion. Oftentimes I have heard such ones proclaim that they will not become a doormat for the feet of man. These women do not realize what it is they speak, nor how displeasing their attitude is to the Father.
A doormat is a lowly instrument for cleaning the feet. Did not Christ wash His disciples’ feet, setting before them an example of service to one another? If the Son of God was humble enough to fulfill the role of a doormat, to wash others feet, then how can any man or woman who aspires to godliness refuse that service Yahweh calls them to?
Yahweh has given us examples of many godly women in the Scriptures. He has set these women up as examples to be emulated by Christian women today. One such woman is Sarah.
I Peter 3:5-6
For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands; just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear.
Yahweh told Eve that her husband would rule over her. Sarah called Abraham “Lord.” Sarah is set before all women as a pattern of godliness. Sarah did not reason in her heart that she would not make herself a servant to her husband. Sarah obeyed Abraham. She honored her husband by calling Abraham “lord,” while submitting to him.
Because the narrative of Abraham’s life focuses primarily upon himself, I think that few today consider Sarah’s struggles. Yahweh appeared to Abraham and commanded him to leave his father’s home, his family, and all that was familiar behind.
Now Yahweh said to Abram, "Go forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father's house, to the land which I will show you...” So Abram went forth as Yahweh had spoken to him; and Lot went with him. Now Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his nephew, and all their possessions which they had accumulated, and the persons which they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan; thus they came to the land of Canaan.
When Yahweh calls a man to some act of obedience, everyone around the man is affected. The closer the person is in relation to the man, the greater the effect is felt. There was no one closer to Abraham than his wife. Everything Abraham did greatly impacted Sarah. When Abraham heeded the command of Yahweh, and uprooted himself from his father’s house, Sarah was cast into the unknown along with her husband.
Undoubtedly there were fears in Sarah at that time. She would reasonably have asked of her husband “Where are we going?” He could tell her no more than that they were traveling to a land none of them had ever seen. There would be dangers along the way. They were few in number and there were strange lands and foreign people whose territories they would have to pass through. When they arrived at their destination they were not to find some safe fortress to make their home, they would dwell in tents as aliens and strangers in the land.
The fears and objections within the heart of Sarah must have been many, but we do not read of Sarah offering any resistance to the path her husband took. Twice in their sojourning in foreign lands Abraham asked his wife to say she was his sister. Sarah was beautiful, and Abraham feared the men of the land would kill him to take her for themselves. There was no protest in Sarah when Abraham requested this of her. She yielded obediently, acting to protect the life of her husband. To obey Abraham, fears had to be overcome, her own desires and concerns set aside.
There are many fears that assault women. This has ever been the case. Women are rightly concerned that their husbands might make some mistake that will result in harm to themselves or their families. Yet, the godly woman will show honor to the husband, not being ruled by these fears. This is Peter’s message when he states to the women of the church, “You have become [Sarah’s] children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear.” It is right in the sight of God for the woman to be subject to her husband, to honor and obey him.
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. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.
These words reveal that the will of Yahweh for the woman has not changed in the past six thousand years. The same thing God spoke to Eve in the Garden is being spoken by the Holy Spirit today. The woman is to subject herself to the rule of man.
Adopting a servile role before man appears as an evil thing to many women, even those who are Christians. The rebellion and pride of this fallen world system has infected all mankind. Those who are truly disciples of Christ, following the pattern of His life, are a mere remnant in the earth.
What God requires of the woman is not unique to her. Everything in the creation is under authority. There is a realm of service, subjection, and obedience, appointed to every created being. The apostle Paul shows us the pattern in his letter to the Christians in Corinth.
I Corinthians 11:3
But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of woman, and God is the head of Christ.
Not even Christ lived to please Himself. He lived to do the will of the Father. He shows us by His example what perfection looks like. Yahshua has revealed by His actions and words what is pleasing to the Father.
In the meantime His disciples urged Him, saying, "Rabbi, eat." But He said to them, "I have food to eat of which you do not know." Therefore the disciples said to one another, "Has anyone brought Him anything to eat?" Yahshua said to them, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.”
"For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.”
In the life of Christ we see the example of one who was a perfect servant. Christ understood God’s purpose for Him, being content to have the Father rule over Him. Even when the will of God led to great suffering, Christ did not shrink back. He always remembered that it was His place to serve the Father. Christ had taken the Father as His head, and He would not be frightened by any fear, nor turned aside by any selfish motive. Christ refused to put self on the throne, to become His own head, His own authority and source of rule. Yahshua is our pattern man.
Christ’s greatest wrestling came in the Garden of Gethsemane. It was there that His soul was crushed unto death that He might do the Father’s will and not follow His own soul’s desires.
And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and distressed. Then He said to them, "My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me." And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will."
Here is the perfect servant. Yahweh has called the man and woman to manifest this same servant spirit. To His disciples Christ delivered a potent message just before His crucifixion.
So when He had washed their feet, and taken His garments and reclined at the table again, He said to them, "Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.”
One day all will stand before God in judgment. It will be a remnant who hear the words, “Well done good and faithful servant... Enter into the joy of your Lord.” Yahweh will honor none as faithful servants who did not manifest a servant’s heart. Those who sought their own will, who refused to humble themselves and honor those Yahweh placed in authority over them, will not be met with pleasure. Shame and dishonor will be their portion. There will be weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth as great multitudes realize too late that they spurned that opportunity they had been given to walk humbly and contritely before God and man.
There was a woman many years ago who was most remarkable in the attitude she displayed. Although this woman was the wife of a very wealthy man, and had servants of her own, she never lost the sense of her own call to serve. This woman’s name was Abigail, and David made her his wife.
I Samuel 25:39-42
Then David sent a proposal to Abigail, to take her as his wife. When the servants of David came to Abigail at Carmel, they spoke to her, saying, "David has sent us to you to take you as his wife." She arose and bowed with her face to the ground and said, "Behold, your maidservant is a maid to wash the feet of my lord's servants." Then Abigail quickly arose, and rode on a donkey, with her five maidens who attended her; and she followed the messengers of David and became his wife.
Like Sarah with Abraham, Abigail referred to David as “lord.” This was before David had been made king. Abigail’s honor toward David was not due to his position as ruler over Israel; it was an acknowledgment of Yahweh’s design that the husband rule over the wife. Abigail referred to herself as “your maidservant.” Do not the words “maid” and “servant” evoke thoughts of lowliness and servitude? Today, such titles and positions are spurned and met with derision.
Abigail manifested a humility that Yahweh could honor. Her name, her actions, and her words, have been preserved for thousands of years. It was the Spirit of Yahweh that inspired holy men of old to record the words of Scripture. The story of Abigail’s life has been read by millions. The testimony given is that here is one whom God will honor. Here is that rare woman who will freely make herself a servant to others.
Abigail had no objection to performing the role of a doormat. She said, “Behold your maidservant is a maid to wash the feet of my lord’s servants.” When teaching those gathered to Him, Christ declared:
“But the greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.”
What does it mean to exalt oneself? Was this not the error of Satan when he despised the role God had given to him, desiring instead to be like God? We exalt ourselves when we choose a role higher than the one God has given to us. When a man seeks to follow his own counsel, rather than being led by the Spirit of Christ in all things, he is exalting himself. He is taking to himself the headship role that belongs to Christ. Such a man is a usurper.
It is not hard to see that the woman who seeks to rule her own life is also exalting herself. The woman was created for man. Yahweh said to the woman that man would rule over her. To cast off the headship of man is an act of pride and rebellion, and Yahweh has promised to humble such ones.
The pattern of God established throughout the creation is that humility must always precede honor (Proverbs 15:33, 18:12). Yahweh has established a governmental order among the creation that gives everyone an opportunity to humble themselves. Christ humbled Himself before the Father, even to the point of death. Man must humble himself before Christ. The woman must humble herself before man.
When Yahweh finds one who has proven themself faithful in the role of a servant, He will bestow honor and glory on that one. The reward of God is seldom seen in this present life. It is for the coming ages.
“Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.”
God will judge with fairness. He is no respecter of persons. Every man and woman will reap according to what they have sown. If you are a woman, I do not doubt that God will esteem the very things the holy apostles said were characteristic of those widows who were to be considered worthy of honor; “having been the wife of a man, having a reputation for good works; and if she has brought up children, if she has shown hospitality to strangers, if she has washed the saints' feet, if she has assisted those in distress, and if she has devoted herself to every good work.”
Inescapable in these words is the call to servanthood.
Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Yahshua, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant...
In the kingdom of God it is the branches that bend lowest that bear the most fruit.
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