I read Isaiah 3 today and was struck by a particular verse.
12. As for My people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O My people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.
I have to say, that hurt! Reading in context, Isaiah was speaking the words of God to the Israelites, who had forsaken Him, and God was pronouncing judgement on them. Part of His judgement was that babes would rule over them and oppress them, and their land would be desolate of goodness and wisdom. But when it got to this part, it was like a slap in the face really…
For God to say women leading over a nation is a BAD thing, and the evidence of a curse or His judgment upon the people is an indictment against women in leadership. It seems like an affirmation of patriarchy and justification for the denigration of women among men in society. I had to take pause on that one and consider other scriptural verses.
I have been offended by Paul’s teaching to the Church concerning women’s place, saying that they shouldn’t even SPEAK in Church. I was sure he was not in the Spirit nor led by God to say such. That he was stuck in some old ideologies and cultures. And I know this verse in Isaiah is from the Old Testament, but it does make me consider what God really feels about women and our ability to take on leadership positions in society.
I began to tell Him that I was taking offense at the word, and do not understand why such would be written about women. Are we really so inferior to men? So unworthy to be entrusted with leadership?
But then He reminded me of His prophetess and judge, Deborah. As the judge of Israel, she was entrusted by God to lead His people and give them counsel. And her time was before Isaiah. But then as I pondered on her role, the Lord gave me understanding. I was reminded of Jesus’ words to His disciples concerning marriage and divorce, that “In the beginning, it was not so…”
I believe God was telling me that “Yes, women can lead, and I can and do ordain women to lead, but if the men I had called upon had been faithful, it wouldn’t be so.” Women lead because men failed to rise to their appointment. It is the order in which God designed the world. Just as divorce isn’t His perfect will, but it has been made necessary due to the wickedness and willfulness of mankind.
So, what I am beginning to understand is that women leading is exceptional and often a judgment on the world, particularly on the men. If we were surrendered to God and obedient to Him, we would exist in His perfect harmony, as it was in the beginning, with men accorded authority to lead, and women as their aids.
Some might say it was the women who rebelled. The Jezebels who drove from the passenger seat and usurped the men in authority. And yes, I think that, in some cases, this is the reality. But I also think that it is generally a case of a missing leadership, a leader who is AWOL, and a woman rises up to take his place to lead. And sometimes, ordained by God, whether as a judgement on the people or a mercy; because they were as sheep without a shepherd.
It is not easy for me to write this, as a woman and someone who believes in the Feminist agenda to empower women, but it is good for us to know who we truly are, and love and appreciate all that we are. The flower cannot and shouldn’t dream of becoming a tree! As a flower, it is beautiful and essential to the world. It has a great purpose that it will not fulfill as a tree.
Men and women were blessed with different gifts and callings by God, and it is not an insult to women that God gave authority to men. He is a God of order, and that was and is His sovereign choice and design. Just as one man’s blessing isn’t another man’s judgement, men’s exaltation is not women’s degradation. And we also see that many men have desired the lot of the woman, because they do not know nor appreciate who they are. However, our greatest desire and joy will be found when we know who we are in God’s will and live within the bounds and liberty of that identity.
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