Have you ever read the Bible and got to a section that didn’t sit well with you? You may have read it a million times before, but now, with a hot coffee in your hand, you’re confronted with these words and you begin to wiggle in your mind.
It happened to me last year. I read Genesis 2.18 again hoping to breeze right through: “Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.’”
It seems like a ‘read and go’ verse doesn’t it? You read it and then go on. But this time, my spirit was confronted with the possibility that this goes far deeper than we know.
So I began to explore and ask questions. I absolutely love questions. Too often we stay at home with our doctrines and beliefs; we like to stay where its comfortable and we never step into the unknown.
We must begin to ask questions that are too big for us to answer on our own. The Jeremiah 33.3 questions: “Call to me and I will answer you, and tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.”
Casual questions bring casual revelation.
“Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.’”
But ‘the man’ wasn’t alone was he? He was in the presence of Papa God, Jesus and Holy Spirit...without any separation anxiety; no barriers; no sin. The man was in a perfect relationship with the Creator, his Son and his Spirit. The man was in the presence, face to face presence, of Almighty God. And that wasn’t enough?
So Papa God created the woman out of a rib. Actually, the Hebrew word ‘creating woman’ means built or manufactured. It’s the idea of an engineer designing the intricate details of a city: the streets, sewer system, electrical wiring, zoning, etc.
It’s the idea of dumping out a box of a million Legos and saying, “OK, let’s build woman.” It’s a complicated strategy that is filled with intense beautiful details. And when it’s done, you look at her and say, “Wow…I have never seen anything like that before!”
I imagine Adam’s jaw dropping and his eyes popping out, “Wow…I’ll take that!
And it wasn’t Adam and Steve. Somewhere deep inside the human psyche is the notion that man and woman are divinely connected. God didn’t line up Eve and Steve and say, “Hey Adam…choose whichever one you’re leaning towards at the moment.”
It is the man and the woman. The man and the woman require each other; they are wired for each other. It is a union established from the heart of God. And God called it very good.
So he built woman as a ‘helper.’ This is where it gets fun.
The Hebrew word is ‘ezer neghed. It’s translated as ‘helper’ or ‘helpmate’. But it is significantly deeper than that. If you need to reduce the richness of the Hebrew into a single word, a closer translation would be ‘helpmeet.’
And even that reduces the true essence of the word ‘ezer neghed. Let me break this down for you.
‘ezer is a military term used for bringing aid, strength, rescue, support, and reinforcements. It actually means power and strength. In fact, eight times in the Old Testament, this word is used to describe God as Savior to his people.
Deuteronomy 33.26, “There is none like God…who rides through the heavens to your help (‘ezer).”
Psalm 33.20, “Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help (‘ezer) and our shield.”
This word certainly does not mean that woman is secondary, lesser or weaker. This word indicates power and strength. She is an asset, someone who has the ability to rescue and support. She is the powerful reinforcement, the much needed strength that arrives to usher in an atmosphere of peace, grace and love.
The word neghed means an equal force standing against or opposite. Notice that I didn’t say ‘an equal force standing opposed’, but rather an equal force standing opposite, or face to face with each other.
It’s that moment when your standing face to face with your spouse, so close you can feel the warmth of their body, your lips touching, arms around each other. You get the picture?
So we could translate ‘ezer neghedas an equal force of power, strength, rescue, and support standing face to face with the man as decisions are made, direction is discerned and problems are destroyed.
Of course Papa God couldn’t be that with his creations. He is not an equal force. His very breath contains all power, dominion and authority. He looked at the man and knew that, although nothing separated their relationship, the man would need an equal force standing face to face helping each other achieve their destiny.
So when Papa God looked at the man, he saw the woman, before she was built. He saw the unity, support, love, grace, reinforcement, strength and power that each would offer to one another. And in his infinite wisdom and grace, he set this relationship in perpetual motion as husband and wife discover their divine unity together.
And that discovery ought to push each of you to become who Jesus already knows you are.
My intense love for Elisha pushes her to become a better person. And because I know that she intensely loves me, I want to become a better person for her. And so I never lead out of selfishness or arrogance. Her opinion is just as valuable as mine. So we lead our family together.
Husbands, you are not in this alone. You have an equal force of power and strength standing with you face to face. Together and only together can you reach your God-ordained destiny. Love her more than you love yourself, which means your passions, your desires, your wants fall second to hers. And what you’ll discover is that your passions, desires and wants will transform based on your intense love for her.
Wives, you are powerful and strong, the shield and strength of your husband. Yet ultimately decisions fall to his authority. But that doesn’t mean you’re any less valuable or vital. You were created to be the equal force that thrusts your marriage and family into a powerful encounter with Jesus.
Your first best destiny is that you see each other as powerful and strong; empowering each other to become exactly what Jesus has always intended you to be.
I want to leave you with 3 things that you can do to begin to work on this ‘ezer neghedidea in your marriage:
1) Worship together. Don’t make the mistake of just singing worship songs. We do that too often in our churches, let’s not do it at home too. Actually worship. Go to YouTube and find a Bethel Church (in Redding, CA) worship set of at least 40 minutes; lay in bed and hold each others hand; close your eyes and worship. Pour out your love and affection like an expensive perfume on the feet of Jesus. I promise this will be powerful.
2) When confronted with decisions, sit down and ask each other what they would do. And then pray together for the answer. Listen for the voice of Papa God. He is always speaking when we tune into his frequency. Husbands, you do not always have to have the answer. Your wife hears Papa’s voice too. Trust her.
3) Walk in the understanding that your spouse is for you, not against you. Elisha and I have the understanding that when we notice each other acting in a way that isn’t the best version of ourselves, we tell each other gently. We know that in order for us to be powerful together, we must become who Jesus knows we are. So when she tells me something I need to change, I know she is not criticizing or attacking me, she just wants me to become the best version of me…not for her, but for me.
Check out www.skipmoen.com for any Hebrew word studies, just not for theology.