The mighty men of Babylon have ceased fighting, They stay in the strongholds; Their strength is exhausted, They are becoming like women; Their dwelling places are set on fire, The bars of her gates are broken.- Jeremiah 51:30
“You fight like a girl.” “Stop acting like a woman” “The effeminate will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
The scripture above is an insult to the Babylonian army. Their strength is weak and they are fighting like a girl. They are becoming like women. This is an insult to the mighty men. But is it an insult to women as well? Should women be offended when a man tells another man to stop acting like a woman.
The temptation is to think that this is sexist or to think that this is demeaning to women. But the scriptures are the word of God, the God who created both male and female and called them very good. So no, this is not an insult to women. And here is the reason why?
God made men and women with a common purpose, to love God and love their neighbor. Yet he gave them different ways to carry out this same purpose. That is he gave them different traits that would enable them to love in ways that are uniquely male or uniquely female. Men are by nature bigger, stronger, more apt to think in terms of cold facts and reason, and even rougher skin. I know someone will point to an exception here or there where a woman is bigger than a man. But we are speaking in generalities which are true. Women by nature have softer skin, bodies designed less for fighting and more for giving-life, and are more emotionally intelligent, that is they often think more in terms of relationships. All of these traits in men are meant to be used to love God and neighbor in particular by leading their homes, churches, and states, protecting those underneath their charge, and fighting the enemies of God both spiritually and at times physically. They are to use their strength, their hardness, their bodies and minds for others. Women also too are to use their design for love of God and love of others. They do this by giving-life, being nurturing, strengthening relationships, and beautifying things around them. What is often our strengths are often our weaknesses. A woman’s softeness is a weakness when it comes to fighting and other things that a man is supposed to be equipped for. Its not morally wrong for a woman to not be as strong as a man. Nor is it really a deficiency because her weakness is what enables her to be soft and nurturing. All of this is good and part of God’s design.
But when a man refuses to live up to his duty and starts taking on feminine traits, he is rejecting God’s design for him. Actually it is a bit of a misnomer to say a man takes on feminine traits. Because a man cannever be a woman he cannever truly take on femininity. But he can attempt to mimic it. He can be soft, focused on the emotional, and ect. But when we mimics these traits, he is distorting the feminine. He is distorting because he is trying to take on something not given to him and he is doing so not in order to love God and love others as he was created to do. A man who is effeminate is distorting femininity for his own self interests and lusts. It’s a mockery of femininity. It’s a parody. It’s a gross distortion. The same would go for a woman who attempts to take on masculine traits. A butch woman takes on these traits as a distortion. She most often does it for her own self-interests and self-preservation.
Now bringing this all back around to when the bible says that these men are becoming like women. It is simply saying that they have become weak in such a way that unlike men who are made for war, these men are acting more like women who are not designed for war. Its an insult for sure to the men. No man wants to be called a woman, because he was not made a woman. He was made a man and to be called a woman is to say that he isn’t capable of being what he has been created for. It’s a shame to him. On the flip side, to call a woman a man is of the same kind of insult. To say she is manly, is to say that she has left behind her created calling and isn’t capable of doing what she was created for. It is an insult that stings because God designed us to want to be what he made us.
But none of this is an insult to women. Its not an insult to a woman to say she can’t fight in a war as a soldier anymore than it would be insult to the owner of a nice porcelain coffee cup to say that they shouldn’t use that as a hammer. No godly woman would want to be a soldier.
From the 11/15/2020 liturgy of Sovereign King Church written by Aaron Sabie.
The Psalm writer wrote: Open my eyes, that I may behold Wonderful things from Your law. As we come before a Holy God and hear his word, may we have eyes open to the wonderful and fearful things from his law. May it move us to repent and seek forgiveness, fear disobedience, and live in light of the grace we have received. This is the word of God. It is eternally true and applicable for all of life.
Proverbs 24:30-34 I passed by the field of the sluggard And by the vineyard of the man lacking sense, And behold, it was completely overgrown with thistles; Its surface was covered with nettles, And its stone wall was broken down. When I saw, I reflected upon it; I looked, and received instruction. “A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to rest,” Then your poverty will come as a robber And your want like an armed man.
If you were to visit my home today and happened to glance to the left of my house and your gaze fell upon the small part of yard between the fence and the neighbors home, what you would find is about 3 or 4k square feet of overgrowth, weeds, thorns, and the remnants of a small plot of corn surrounded by broken down wildlife netting. It's an eyesore, home to several critters, and represents the fruit which springs from applying the sentiments of the phrase
"Why do today, what you can put off till tomorrow?"
It is a literal example of what our passage of scripture is describing to us today. This text should serve as an important reminder for us men that we are commanded by God to take dominion, with our wives by our sides helping us along the way. Neglecting the dominion mandate, being sluggardly, putting off till tomorrow what you can do today, results in a land, home, workplace, and soul full of thistles and nettles. Being lazy in the field, lazy at your job, lazy in loving your wife, lazy in the discipline of your children, lazy in hospitality toward the brethren, lazy in your church attendance, lazy in prayer, and lazy in the study of God's Word, will leave you with a broken down wall, susceptible to even further ravaging by wild beasts.
I have one point of application this morning, and it is one which, if we get this wrong, all of our efforts to take dominion will be futile. Get this element of the dominion mandate all twisted, and you will find your life's work full of thistles and nettles. All you do will seem vain. Though you labor hard, the work of your hands will produce nothing but rot. Being blind in this area displays a misunderstanding of God's commands, and will leave you feeling hopeless and in want. Failing in this point will make you impotent and useless in service to your Lord.
Husbandry is hard work. Tilling the land, tending to the animals. It demands time from you, right now. Putting off the pulling of weeds, feeding the animals, and fence repair until tomorrow leaves your land and animals open to the encroachment of thorns and wild beasts.
Men, the role which you have been commanded to fulfill towards your wife, as her Husband, is no less difficult and demanding.
As Christ loved the Church and gave His life for her, men, you are to love your wives and lay down your life for her. Why wouldn't you? She is bone of your bone, flesh of your flesh, is she not? What man hates his own body?
Just as the man engaged in husbandry must consider his crops and animals before his own rest and comfort, so should the man with a wife consider her needs before his wants.
Husbands, your wife is your helper. As a woman she is the weaker vessel. Just as the Lord Jesus remembers your frame, that you are but dust, you must remember the frame of your wife.
Your wife's nagging, laziness, incompetence, or spiritual immaturity does not give you permission to set aside your duty to love your wife. Christ has not set aside His promises toward His lazy, incompetent Church, has He?
Your wife's stubborn unwillingness to not submit to your leadership in the home does not give you a mandate to neglect your God given duties in the home.
What are some of those duties?
To love her, and lay down your life for her as Christ gave His life for the Church. Love, by not being rude, not keeping a record of wrongs, not seeking your own way. Love, an action which sometimes has an emotional element, that ALWAYS acts for the good of the object of that love. Love your wife, by remembering her frame, considering her needs before your wants.
One way to tangibly love your wife is to wash her with the Word. This is vital. You ever have a child come to you with a wound, perhaps they fell off their bike and scraped their knee. You don't break out a fire hose and wire brush and go to town hosing the child down and scrubbing their skin to the bone with the wire brush. You wash their wounds. Gently. Patiently, knowing that it is painful, the child is likely scared, maybe uncertain and wary that what you are doing is going to hurt.
Men, this is how we must love our wives: by applying God's Word to them. Gently, lovingly, with understanding. The way Christ does so towards His Church. You will not spiritually batter, beat, or manipulate your wife into submission to your headship and a faithful walk with Christ. There are no lessons to teach your wife by neglecting your duty towards her. If this is you: stop it.
Our duties also include physical intimacy with our wives. In a world where brutes leave behind a landscape of battered, abused little girls who grow up to be women who hate male headship and any inkling of patriarchy: you men ought to be at the front of the line to show physical intimacy towards your wife, gently, and patiently. If not you, someone surely will.
Hold her hand. Hug her. Kiss her in public. Shower her with affection. Love her, even when she is unlovable. Don't you dare neglect your conjugal duties toward your wife. This is akin to not repairing a broken down fence. Physical intimacy of this variety is meant as a hedge of protection for both you and her against sexual immorality. To neglect this is not only foolishness of epic proportions, it is hateful. Stop it.
Men, as we can see from the passage today, the work of husbandry in the field and in the home is work which we cannot be slack in, lest our poverty and want come in like armed men. Are you tired and weary? There may be good reason. As we labor in our own strength, our own wisdom, without faith, we will quickly see how hopeless and futile that type of toiling quickly becomes. It will leave you exhausted, and feeling like a failure.
There is a better way. Have faith. Trust in Jesus. Seek to be like Him in the ways He loves His church, with faith in Him. Believe His promise, that just as the gates of hell cannot prevail against His bride, He takes equal concern of your marriage, because it is a reflection of His relationship to the Church.
If you are able, please join me in kneeling as we ask God for forgiveness of our sins.
We come before Your throne of Grace this morning having had our hearts laid open by Your Word which is living, active, and sharper than a two edged sword.
Father, we toil in our own strength: please forgive us.
We toil with worldly wisdom rather than that which comes down from above: please forgive us.
We husbands do not love our wives, and wives do not submit to their husbands: please forgive us.
Please forgive us Father for the damage we do to our children, and the reproach we bring upon Your name, when husbands and wives neglect their duty in marriage.
Father, please help us husbands to love our wives the way Your Son loves His bride. In Jesus's Name we pray, Amen.
Please join me in standing and listen to the comforting assurance of the grace of God, promised in the gospel to his church:
Psalm 128:1-3 How blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, Who walks in His ways. When you shall eat of the fruit of your hands, You will be happy and it will be well with you. Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine Within your house, Your children like olive plants Around your table.
To all those who thus repent and seek Jesus Christ for their salvation, your sins are forgiven in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Lift up your hearts!