Biblical Homemaking: Guest Post
My friend and fellow blogger, Rebekah Hargraves also is passionate about teaching women the art of Biblical homemaking. Her outlook is refreshing and I am always encouraged by her words of wisdom and I know that you will be as well.
Biblical Homemaking – Why It’s About So Much More Than Just Household Chores
by Rebekah Hargraves
Many of us are already pretty familiar with the passage found in Titus 2 where Paul outlines what the older women should teach the younger women – “to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed” (vs. 4-5). Likewise, we are also aware of the instruction Paul gave to Timothy regarding what young widows ought to do – “marry, bear children, manage the house, give no opportunity to the adversary to speak reproachfully” (1 Timothy 5:14).
At first, glance, particularly if viewed through today’s common definition of homemaking, we may believe a woman’s role in the home to be limited to that of being responsible for decorating the home, making the meals, doing the laundry, caring for the cleanliness and overall condition of the home, etc. While all of these certainly play into the role of homemaking, they by no means comprise the sum total of what it means to be a Biblical homemaker. We come a little closer to a full-orbed understanding of what Biblical homemaking is when we read the Timothy passage which speaks of “managing” the house – that kind of wording certainly expands the borders of homemaking to include anything and everything pertaining to the workings of a home and family. But I propose we need to take a step back in time and journey all the way back to the book of Genesis, the book of beginnings, in order to truly get the big picture of what all we, as women, are responsible for when it comes to this role of “homemaking”.
An “Ezer” Homemaker
God says in Genesis 2:18 that “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” At first glance, this passage would seem to have little to do with homemaking. When we dive into the Hebrew, however, we find that this is not at all the case!
The word translated “helper” in Genesis 2:18 is the Hebrew word, “ezer”. This Hebrew word is used in the Old Testament a total of 21 times, 2 of which referring to women, a handful of times referring to warriors and men of might, and over a dozen times referring to God Himself and the help He is to Israel. Nearly every single time the word is used, it is used in a military-type context, with words such as “strength” and “shield” attached to it, or used during a time of actual battle. The picture of what an “ezer” truly is is a strong and competent helper, a warrior and protecter, a true guardian against attack, against enemy ploys, against anything which would seek to come against those whom the “ezer” is aiding.
This is a profound thought considering what took place in the immediate next chapter of Genesis, Genesis 3. The Garden of Eden was Adam and Eve’s home. Adam was charged with the responsibility to tend and keep it, and Eve was given the role of being an “ezer”, a helper to Adam in this mission, a guardian and protector of their home, a warrior against attacks from the outside. Which makes it all the more tragic that Eve is the one who first succumbs to the great deception of Satan. Rather than being the strong guardian of the Garden against the enemy’s attacks that she was created to be, Eve willingly fell into line with those very attacks.
What This All Means for the 21st Century Homemaker
So, what are the implications of this for the homemaker of today? Well, it means that just as Eve was created to be an “ezer” in her home, so are we. Biblical homemaking, you see, extends far beyond responsibilities of decorating and cleaning to responsibilities of guarding your home and family against the attacks of the enemy. This includes everything from the super-practical (i.e. guarding your family’s finances against the temptations to go into debt, overspend, spend on items you don’t need, etc.) to the far more spiritual (i.e. fiercely guarding your home and family against bad influences from media and the like).
This is why the modern-day picture of a homemaker as being a brainless idiot who sits on the couch and eats junk food all day is so laughable. To be a true homemaker in the Biblical sense of the word is to be an “ezer” and to be an “ezer” is to have a lot of guarding, protecting, and warring-against-the-enemy to do on behalf of your family!
The next time you wonder if the work you do within your home is of any importance or impact, refer back to Genesis and rest assured that it is crucial work. It is work that must not go undone. It is life and death work. And it is God-honoring work. You, sweet and faithful ezer homemaker, are making an incredible difference!
If you would like to see more of Rebekah’s work, listen to her podcasts, or read her newsletters you can find her here:
Stephanie, Training Keepers of the Home