How long will you waver, O faithless daughter? For the LORD has created a new thing on the earth: a woman protects a man. Jeremiah 31:22
Protects – This world is upside-down. It’s not the way God intended it to be. When Eve opened the door to sin (with Adam’s concurrence), the world changed. All the order, organization, harmony and hilarity God build into the creation started to crumble. Sin spun webs of destruction. And it all began with the destruction of God’s intended relationship between a man and a woman.
We are given a clue to this relationship reversal when God says, “a woman surrounds a man.” The Hebrew is savav, a word that describes going around, encompassing in a curving motion, encircling. We see it in Genesis 2:11 and Exodus 28:11. The context implies that surrounding a man means protecting him. Why is this a new thing on the earth? Because our world is upside-down. We expect men to protect women. God does something counter-cultural. But should we be surprised? God is always reversing our natural understanding. The poor are blessed, the rich cursed. The weak are strong, the humble are raised up. Not by power but by Spirit. That’s God’s way.
So I ask you: why do we believe that God would not reverse the assumed relational structure between men and women? Why do we think of marriage within the church in the same hierarchical order as marriage outside the church? Is the only difference between civil and Christian marriage the religious language, or is there more, something much deeper, something that reverses the world’s point of view?
The Lord has created something new. A woman encompasses a man. The relationship is turned upside-down as a symbolic image of what God will do. What the world considers weak, unequal and less important, God gives a new position – one of power, responsibility and value. But perhaps this isn’t quite so new. God’s intended structure is restored, not recreated, when He redeems the world from the corruption of sin. Our world is the one that is upside-down. God’s reality is the true perspective.
What would happen if the church had an other-world view of marriage? How would our witness change, our families change, our world change if the church began to look at marriage as a redemption of the relationship so near and dear to God’s heart? What would your marriage look like if your wife understood the amazing responsibility and value God gives when He establishes a marriage?
So I ask you: Are you living a redeemed marriage? Or does your marriage look just like any other marriage, with religious sprinkles added to the top?