Summary: In this lesson, we consider the Biblical roles and duties of each member of the family. Adopting and applying these precepts, our families can successfully minister to the needs of each family member and glorify God in the process.
The family, as instituted by God, has been under attack in our Society for almost two generations. Many have forsaken the Lord’s guidelines in defining the roles of family members and executing our duties within the home. The results have been disastrous.
In this message, we are going to review roles and duties of each member of the family as revealed in the inspired Word of God.
Vs. 18 "Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord."
The status of the woman, being in subjection to her husband, seems to be founded on the basis that (1) she was created after and for man, 1 Corinthians 11:3, 8-9, and (2) it is the penalty for the leack of proper leadership the first woman showed when she was first to transgress in the Garden, Genesis 3:16; 1 Timothy 2:12-14.
This status was faithfully observed by the godly women of the Old Testament period, as is stated in 1 Peter 3:5-6, "For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands. Thus, Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him ’lord’, and you have become her children if you do what is right...."
We read in Ephesians 6:22-24, "Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the Head of the Church... But as the Church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything."
A wife’s submission is not born out of slavish fear neither is it forced upon her by a demanding domestic despot, but is voluntary. It is from the principle of love (Titus 2:4) and respect (Ephesians 5:33). Just as the Church is to submit to Christ with cheerfulness, fidelity and humility - so also should be the service of the wife toward her husband.
Indeed, as King Lemuel writes in Proverbs 31:10-12, "An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all of her life."
This is a far cry from the behavior of some wives; Proverbs 21:9, 19, "It is better to live in a corner of a roof, than in a house shared with a contentious woman.... It is better to live in a desert land, than with a contentious and vexing woman."
"Ill thrives the hapless family that
shows a cock that’s silent, and a hen that crows;
I know not which live most unnatural lives,
obeying husbands or commanding wives."
Vs. 19 "Husbands, love your wives, and do not be embittered against them."
The husband must assume his God-appointed position of authority and responsibility over his wife. However, it should be noted that Ephesians 5:25, 29 infers that the husband brings forth love and submission in his wife by first manifesting love and care towards her: "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the Church and gave Himself up for her." The husband is head of the wife but the husband must love his wife as Christ loved the Church.... with a love which never exercises a tyranny of control but which is ready to make every sacrifice for her good. Jesus brought the Church to His feet by His great care, not by threats nor fear nor any such thing; so likewise the husband should conduct himself towards his wife.
Real love loves not to extract service, nor to ensure that its own physical comfort is attended to, it cherishes the one it loves. There is something far wrong when a man regards his wife, consciously or unconsciously, as simply the one who cooks his meals and washes his clothes and cleans his house and trains his children and satisfies his sexual desires.
1 Peter 3:7, "You husbands likewise, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with a weaker vessel, since she is a woman; " meaning, as I take it, giving due consideration to the needs that are peculiar to a woman.
Back to Ephesians 5:29, Paul says that the godly husband "nourishes and cherishes" his wife. Some Greek scholars believe that the ’nourishing’ refers to meeting psychological, emotional and spiritual needs, while the ’cherishing’ has reference to meeting physical needs.
Sorry to say, some husbands are so insensitive that they find it astonishing to learn that their wives have any needs beyond food, clothing, shelter, and sex.
Many husbands who actually want to satisfy their wives’ various needs have difficulty discerning them.... let alone meeting them. We husbands often lack empathy and intuition. Wives need to understand that their husbands are built differently. Therefore, wives need to explicitly reveal what are their needs to their husbands. It is unreasonable and, at times, a mark of immaturity for wives to hold to the idea that they shouldn’t have to tell their husbands what their needs are. It is irrational to think that their husbands should automatically know all their needs.