Over 50% of marriages end in divorce. Divorce is tragic. Nobody is unscathed when a divorce occurs. Children are wounded, and often left bitter and angry, and stuck in the middle between parents. The wife and husband are typically affected on all levels-spiritually, emotionally, physically, and financially.
How many of these divorces could have been prevented if God’s principles for marriage would have been followed? What if women were to take on the roles that the Lord intended for us to be in; our role as a helpmeets?
In a thought-provoking article, my guest blogger today takes on the job of explaining what a helpmeet actually is.
Today, my guest post was written by Rebekah Hargraves from Hargraves Home and Hearth.
Guest Post: Being Your Husband’s Helpmeet: What it Actually Means
Satan is always in the habit of taking what God has actually said about a topic and twisting it, leading us to believe in a dangerous caricature of the truth. Never is this more common, perhaps, than in the area of men’s and women’s roles, not the least of which being the calling of a woman to be her husband’s helpmeet.
We, time and again, see Satan take this important role of helpmeet that was designed by God and obliterate its true meaning, providing us instead with false pictures of what God had in mind for wives.
We see this typically happen in one of two ways. On the one hand, Satan leads some folks down the path of feminism with the belief that Moses must have gotten it wrong when he penned the book of Genesis and stated just two chapters in that woman was created to be her husband’s helpmeet. After all – this role of “helper” sounds like it must be a secondary, demeaning, man-centric role, right? Therefore, since that must be the case, God can not possibly be expecting that of women today, so we must shake off the concept and be free of it once and for all. When we hold to this belief, it reveals much as to our view of God – clearly, we believe Him to be powerless over what is taught in His own word, in order for it to contain mistakes such as this whole “helpmeet” concept.
On the other hand, Satan leads others down the path of extreme, so-called “conservatism” or legalism in which we add fuel to the feminist fire by taking on the belief that, as her husband’s helper, a woman is to do nothing but serve her husband’s every whim, is to have no dreams or callings of her own apart from those of serving her husband and furthering his dreams and callings, and was created to be little more than a maid or household servant. When we hold to this belief, it likewise reveals much as to our view of God – clearly, we believe Him to be prejudiced against women, to view women as less in worth in comparison to men, and to be harsh and unloving in His creation of and purpose for them.
Both belief systems are grotesquely, dangerously false and reveal a false view of God. These beliefs stem not from the writer of Genesis somehow getting it wrong as to what our role is as a wife, but rather from our making the mistake of relying on our own man-made interpretations of what it must mean to be a helpmeet. If we are ever to arrive at an understanding of the true role of helper and an accurate picture of what it actually means, we must stop leaning on our own understanding, our own interpretation, our own pre-conceived, cultural notions of what it means to be a helper.
Clearly, neither of the definitions or explanations mentioned above regarding the role of helpmeet are accurate representations of what God has in mind for wives. The question then becomes – what does God actually have in mind here? What does it mean to be your husband’s helpmeet? What does that entail? How is that not a demeaning, secondary role? How do we not view that as being a man-focused set up?
It’s simple – we go back to the Word of God and allow it to interpret itself! Let’s dive in now, shall we?
Woman as “Ezer”
The passage we referred to above is Genesis 2:18, which says,
“And the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.’”
Here we see that the purpose of woman’s creation was so that she might be a helper for her husband. That fact cannot be denied. But what does it mean?
The Hebrew word translated “helpmeet” or “helper comparable”, depending on your Bible version, is the word “ezer”, which literally means “to help”, “one who helps”, or “to aid”. So, our English translation is, in fact, accurate – woman was indeed created to be a “helper” to man, despite what some may claim. This still does not provide a full picture for us, however, of what the role entails or what it actually looks like to be your husband’s helper. So, let’s continue our study!
Now, this is where things get interesting! Of the 21 times “ezer” appears in the Hebrew Old Testament, two of those times are in Genesis 2 and refer to woman helping man, one passage refers to people who were not helpful, and all 18 of the other times are all in reference to God and His helping mankind! This sheds a lot of light on this role for us – after all, if God repeatedly refers to Himself in His Word as being an “ezer” to His people, then clearly it is not at all a secondary, demeaning, unimportant role, is it? Neither is it a role which elevates the one being helped above the one doing the helping – just as mankind is not above God in worth, importance, or dignity, neither is man above woman in worth, importance, or dignity.
Are you beginning to gain an understanding now as to the huge importance of the role you are called to fulfill as helpers? I hope so! For, when correctly understood in its context, the role of helpmeet is truly an exciting, worthy, fulfilling, dignified, vastly important one! Just as God’s role is as our “ezer”!
God as “Ezer”
As stated above, God is referred to 18 times in the OT as being our “ezer” or help. The following are 2 of those instances:
“Happy are you, O Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the Lord,
The shield of your help and the sword of your majesty!” ~Deuteronomy 33:29a
“Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and our shield.” ~Psalm 33:20
Far from being some demeaning role, the Biblical role of helper is set forth as being a powerful role, a role all about aiding and protecting the object of your help. Which, if you think about it, ties very well into the picture of woman as further described in Proverbs 31:
“Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies. The heart of her husband safely trusts her; So he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.” ~Proverbs 31:10-12
What Being a Helper Actually Looks Like
As we delve further into our study of “ezer”, we find that the root word of “ezer” is the Hebrew word “azer” , which is also translated in our English Bibles as “help” or “helper” and is also used many times to both refer to and describe God, as well as mighty men of valor, proving again that “helper” is the furthest thing from a demeaning position. Through these passages we also discover the following characteristics of a helper, Biblically-speaking:
Being a helper is a position of great strength and valor.
“Your wives, your little ones, and your livestock shall remain in the land which Moses gave you on this side of the Jordan. But you shall pass before your brethren armed, all your mighty men of valor, and help [azer] them,” ~Joshua 1:14
“And the men of Gibeon sent to Joshua at the camp at Gilgal, saying, ‘Do not forsake your servants; come up to us quickly, save us and help [azer] us, for all the kings of the Amorites who dwell in the mountains have gathered together against us.’” ~Joshua 10:6
“And they were helped [azer] against them, and the Hagrites were delivered into their hand, and all who were with them, for they cried out to God in the battle. He heeded their prayer, because they put their trust in Him.” ~1 Chronicles 5:20
“ Now these were the men who came to David at Ziklag while he was still a fugitive from Saul the son of Kish; and they were among the mighty men, helpers [azer] in the war,…And they helped David against the bands of raiders for they were all mighty men of valor, and they were captains in the army.” ~1 Chronicles 12:1, 21
In many cases throughout the Old Testament, “azer” is used to refer to the aid and assistance given in military situations. Far from making a wife out to be a mousy, weak, namby-pamby, pansy of a woman then, the position of helpmeet to a husband is a position of great strength and competency and can, in truth, make a life and death difference in the family.
Being a helper is a position of ministry and edification.
“ For the Lord saw that the affliction of Israel was very bitter; and whether bond or free, there was no helper [azer] for Israel.” ~2 Kings 14:26
“Then the Spirit came upon Amasai, chief of the captains, and he said: “We are yours, O David; We are on your side, O son of Jesse! Peace, peace to you, and peace to your helpers [azer]! For your God helps [azer] you.” ~1 Chronicles 12:18
“Because I delivered the poor who cried out, the fatherless and the one who had no helper [azer].” ~Job 29:12
“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I am helped [azer]; therefore my heart greatly rejoices, and with my song I will praise Him.” ~Psalm 28:7
“And the Lord shall help [azer] them and deliver them; He shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in Him.” ~Psalm 37:40
“Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of Your name; and deliver us, and provide atonement for our sins, for Your name’s sake!” ~Psalm 79:9
“Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help [azer] you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’” ~Isaiah 41:10
The position of Helper is what sustains and grows the Church.
We have been studying the OT, but in the NT, as well, we see God (in this case, the Holy Spirit) again repeatedly referred to as our Helper (see John 14:16,26; 15:26; 16:7; 1 John 2:1). The Greek word used in these passages is paraklētos and is translated in these passages as “Helper”, “Comforter”, and “Advocate”, the literal definition being “a helper, intercessor, consoler, advocate, comforter”.
We know that it is the Holy Spirit which grows, sustains, encourages, strengthens, assists, inspires, and edifies the Church. I wouldn’t, therefore, think of the role of “helper” as a demeaning one; would you? In reality, it is a crucially important role – without the helper, the object of the help just would not succeed.
Embrace Your Amazing Job Description!
Wives, it is high time we vehemently reject feminism’s definition of helpmeet as being a menial, demeaning position and no longer allow the philosophy of feminism to steal away the high and important calling and role which is rightfully ours. It is likewise high time we reject the sexist view, which sadly exists in some conservative circles, and asserts that women are largely to be seen and not heard, that they exist merely to cook the food and clean the house (thus providing the feminists with fodder for their own view of helpmeets). Both caricatures of the role of helpmeet are equally as repulsive, unBiblical, harmful, and downright insulting.
When we throw out the teachings of man and look instead to the inspired Word alone, allowing it to interpret itself, we find a very robust, purposeful, exciting picture of what it means to be a helpmeet to our husbands. Without us women, men would have been rendered completely incapable of fulfilling the important mission given to them by God.
Consider, for a moment, the context of the Genesis 2 verse shared above:
“So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” ~Genesis 1:27-28
“And the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him’….And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. And Adam said: ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.’ Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” ~Genesis 2:18, 21-24
If you want a true representation of what the office of helpmeet (for indeed we should view it with as much purpose, intention, and creativity as we would any other work) looks like and what role it serves, think for a moment about a corporation. The corporation -and thus the office of CEO- would not exist were it not for the assistants and other employees also within the company, who are all working towards the same goal. Is the office of assistant demeaning? Not at all! In fact, it could truthfully be said that the strength of the corporation itself rests upon the very shoulders of the assistants.
Wives, rejoice in the privilege you have been given of fulfilling the role of helper to your husband. Rather than toiling under a demeaning responsibility, as feminism would have you believe, you actually find yourself in great company as you seek to help your man – the company of fellow helpers throughout history, such as those mighty men of valor we read about in the OT and our very God Himself. Far from being guilty of sexism as the feminists would like to claim, our Lord expects the same mental prowess, important work, and competency of women as he does of men. So, understand your calling to be one requiring great strength and fortitude, knowledge and skill, creativity and wisdom.
And never let anyone tell you differently!