Illegitimate authority will always seek to divide wife from husband and child from parents through bypassing the legitimate chain of command. Men, posing as wanna be elders, roaming about on facebook seeking followers rarely try to recruit or bully men, but will go after women even when their husbands are readily available for discussion. Cults often go after teenagers, seeking to separate them from their parents. But isn’t this what the serpent in the garden did?
When men come to me (and this last happened about a year ago) and want to undermine my faith in Messiah, the calendar we observe or the way we keep the commandments as a family, I send them to my husband – but they never want to deal with him. Why not? Because this is about a man taking authority over someone else’s wife – conversion to their way of thinking, and a subversion of my husband’s God-given right to determine how my family keeps the commandments, says the Name (or not), and celebrates the feasts. I choose to honor my husband by following his lead, but there are men out there who desire to be my spiritual husband. They want the spiritual influence without having to provide me with the emotional support and protection that I receive from this wonderful man who has been putting up with me for almost 24 years of marriage now. Anything that I am doing, it is alongside my husband – I don’t keep the commandments in a way contrary to the way he keeps them and so if a man has a beef with the way I do things, then coming to me instead of my husband is to circumvent the way things are done in our family. It is one thing to challenge the way that I teach something, and quite another to try to change the way I do something when that change needs to be approved of by my husband for the sake of the unity of my family. We can’t have four people living under the same roof divided about the Name, and the Calendar and the day to day keeping of the commandments – no matter how much someone wants me to do things their way.
It is not only a shameful insult to my husband (and would constitute treachery on my part if I were to go along with it) but a subversion of the established order. Someone has to have final say, someone has to have that primary responsibility of giving their life for the protection of the other members of the family – and that person is not me, although in his absence it is me and thus I have authority over my children and any guests under my roof. In my house, my husband is a vassal ruler under YHVH and I am his bride. I have rulership over everything in this house, and I have input into every decision that he makes because we have spent decades working together and we know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, but I do not have rulership over him. I submit to his authority, and because he loves me (has covenant loyalty towards me) he never asks me to do anything that violates our mutual covenant with God. Therefore I have absolutely no problem whatsoever with him ruling over this house and when a man tries to insert himself into that relationship, I know that that man is not worthy of me listening to him. He is not functioning in his role – he is trying to function in the “easy” part of my husband’s role.
In the same way, anyone who approaches my children is subverting my (and my husband’s) authority in their lives and I would very much be wanting to get all “Jackie Chan” on their butts. We cannot, ourselves, claim to be submissive to God and yet have no respect for the order that He has set into families – an order that He placed there to reflect the Heavenly order that will exist when Yeshua reigns over us for 1000 years on earth. We have to get this right. Men have to be the kind of rulers that Yeshua will be, and women need to behave like the bride we are all called to be. Ladies, don’t allow anyone to destroy the beautiful Covenant picture that YHVH set up through our marriages by allowing strange men to act as illegitimate spiritual husbands and, yes, even fathers sometimes. Look at these men carefully when they approach you, are they interested in promoting the Father’s and Yeshua’s and your husband’s role in your life or are they inserting themselves into the midst of it as a surrogate? It can be really hard to tell sometimes, but like Eve – if we don’t discern, everything breaks down.
That serpent was shaming God by calling the integrity of His commandments into question. When men come to me when they could go to my husband, they are shaming my husband – after all, what kind of man would seek to influence women when he could influence men instead? And I do not say this to downplay the wisdom and status of women – but I say it very genuinely as a commentary on male character. Men rarely seek to influence women instead of men, unless what they want can only be gotten from women and the tactics they use are rarely the same. It is certainly one thing to discuss doctrine, but when a man tries to wield authority over a woman all my red flags go up. I am the wife of one man. I have some teachers who are men and women who I submit myself to for the purpose of learning scripture and context. But my husband’s domain is my husband’s domain – I honor his place in our family by not allowing anyone else to come into the middle of that relationship. My domain is my domain, and people honor me when they do not try to come between me and my children and the way I run my home.
We need to learn to render honor to each other, to stop nitpicking and questioning every little thing. We have to stop inserting ourselves where we do not belong and indeed, where we have not even been invited. Honor is not ours to demand, but it is ours to administrate and enforce. I administrate my husband’s honor by guarding his position and acting honorably, and my children’s honor in the same way. By doing this, I acquire honor in the eyes of God. We all need to be very concerned with the level of honor we possess in the eyes of God, by properly functioning in and fulfilling the roles he has set for us – and we need to be far more generous in rendering honor to others, indeed we need to hate the casual shaming of others, especially our brothers and sisters in the Body.
This week, Daniel McGirr did a really excellent study of Exodus 21 and the honor and shame of functioning in our given roles. He came at it from a bit of a different angle than I did and covered it in much greater detail, so it really is worth your time to check it out. Daniel is a frequent contributor at Wisdom in Torah as well, where you can find this teaching under the Mishpatim Torah portion.
Spanish version here