Mothers, And The Role Of Women At Home
(reprinted with permission from www.eliyah.com)
Building and Tearing down
Mothers, you have seen the vision about how important it is for Fathers to turn their hearts to their children. You have seen the great importance Yahweh places on building generations of righteousness. If you desire it in your home, I must say that you can be the greatest single help to your husband (besides Yahweh) or you can be the greatest stumbling block to making it a reality. How can you best help your husband bring it into a reality? You have a very important role and without it, the home will most likely fail:
In this scripture, we see the difference between a wise woman and a foolish woman. Surely, you want to be the wise woman that builds her house rather than the foolish woman that "plucketh it down with her hands". Scripture is full of admonitions toward women and examples of how a wise woman conducts herself.
Let's examine the characteristics of a foolish woman. First:
What does it mean to be "clamorous"? The BDB Lexicon defines this word as:
The above characteristics are present in a foolish woman. In context, the foolish and simple woman in Proverbs 9 is a harlot. She is loud, boisterous, murmuring and noisy. Her spirit is disquieted and she is obviously unsatisfied.
This is in great contrast to the will of Yahweh:
Scripture is worthy of instruction for our lives. Occasionally, a scripture will repeat something twice. When it does, I like to take notice. When it is repeated three times, I really like to take notice. However, there is one thing that is repeated in Proverbs five times. Yes, five times in the book of Proverbs we find the same concept repeated.
Five times within 8 chapters we see the same exact concept repeated. Why is it repeated so often? Many look at these verses and just chuckle a bit and move on. But I do not believe that the purpose for these proverbs was to create humor, but rather to admonish and instruct. It is obvious that the role of a woman in a home is not to contend or brawl. Doing so feeds the desire of a man to go elsewhere. Perhaps it isn't in the wilderness or on the corner of a rooftop, but it is probably at work or with his friends or anywhere but that house! Is it any wonder so many men are not home with their families? Surely, it is their fault alone but so often their foolish wives feed this destructive cycle with their contentions and brawling.
As a woman of the home, and wife to the man, she has great influence over the decisions her husband makes. Many are the examples of the women who brought down their house with their influence. Starting with Adam:
In the Torah, Yahweh knew the potential of a foolish woman:
So important was Yahweh's command not to take on such wives, that the people of Yahweh had to put them away in the books of Nehemiah and Ezra.
Solomon knew the potential very well:
As did Ahab:
Can we begin to see the influence and importance of a woman's role in the home? She is extremely important to the outcome of the home. She can tear it down with her hands, or she can build it up. Job's wife made an attempt to tear down what was left of their home:
Job warned her of speaking as a foolish woman speaks. It is true that a woman's speech has much influence on the home. Note that the examples of women who tore down their homes did so with their speech. Delilah was one:
From contention to clamor to the wearing down of a man with words, a foolish woman has been the destruction of many a man. Proverbs speaks much warning of avoiding a 'strange woman' and 'foolish woman' that would draw a man's heart away through lust and adultery. All throughout scripture, women were used as powerful tools of the devil or powerful blessings from Yahweh. Women have the choice to be one or the other.
Let's now talk about the blessings! In the same way a woman can tear down a house with her words, so can she build it up:
See! A woman's influence can not just turn a man's heart away from Yahweh, but can turn his heart to Yahweh! But, be certain it is not done through nagging and persuading. It is done through chaste conversation and fear. More on this later :)
The blessing of motherhood
If only the women of this generation could see the great blessings of motherhood! But so often the role of a mother is insulted and considered bland, boring and of low skill. But to Yahweh, it is all-important:
Saved in childbearing? What could this mean? Some understand it to mean that women are saved in childbearing because it was through the birth of Messiah that we are all saved. This may be, but the text doesn't necessarily say that a woman is saved because she has borne children, but that childbearing is the role that a saved woman functions in, rather than being in role of authority and teaching men.
Many are the examples of women in scripture that considered childbearing to be be of great importance. Rachel was one:
"Give me children or else I die"! So important was the role of bearing children, that there was a great enmity in Jacob's home because Leah was bearing children and Rachel was barren.
Yahweh heard Hannah, knowing that she had vowed to give this child to Him. This child became Samuel, a great prophet and priest of Yahweh. Samuel was the one who replaced Eli, the wicked priest who had his generations cut off because he did not restrain the evil deeds of his children (See the "Fathers, Turn Your Hearts!" study).
All throughout scripture, Yahweh's opening of a barren womb was considered to be a great blessing. Yahweh did so with many women in scripture:
There we see a list of great men of scripture. The women who bore these men were no doubt thankful and appreciated the role of motherhood. If you are a mother with children, praise Yahweh of heaven along with Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Manoah's wife, Hannah and Elisabeth for the blessing He has poured out on you! It is high time that we lift up the blessing and importance of motherhood! So important is the role of motherhood, that one is not even considered a widow unless she has brought up children:
Therefore, we again see the importance of childbearing. I have had some women say things to me something like, "What do I have? I can't go out and be used by Yahweh to bring others to Messiah like my husband. I'm stuck at home with these kids". Such is the attitude of many women today, but it ought not be so! Mothers, you not only have great influence on your husband, you also have great influence on the righteousness of your children. As mentioned in the "Fathers, Turn Your Hearts!" study, if you had 2 children and 6 generations thereafter had 2 children, you would have influenced 252 children. If you had 5 children and 6 generations thereafter had 5 children, you would have influenced 97,655 children! You have hundreds, if not thousands of people that you influence every day of your life. With every bit of time you spend with your children, with every conversation, every bit of care and every action, you potentially are also (in a sense) doing so with many many others. And not only with your children's children, but also consider also the ones that they may influence and bring to righteousness. What a shame it would be, if a woman would receive the great blessing of having children, only to see her tear down her house with contentions and brawling and clamor and straying from the faith in Yahweh and the role that Yahweh created her to be in! A wise woman will bring forth wise children:
Why is it that the mother is brought to shame? She obviously is responsible for spending the greatest amount of time with the children. If her child is left to himself, his foolishness will bring his mother to shame. His foolishness isn't driven away by his mother. The great potential that a mother has to influence her children is typified in the example of Timothy, whose mother and grandmother were commended:
His mother and grandmother are commended for their genuine faith. From a child, Timothy was taught the Holy Scriptures:
Although Timothy was a young man (1Tim 4:12), he was used by Yahweh in a mighty way throughout scripture. Paul considered Timothy his "own son in the faith" and is mentioned many times in scripture. For example:
Letters to Timothy make up 2 books in the scriptures that we read. What great fruit was borne out of the dedication of his mother and grandmother! Their example should be an inspiration for all mothers to raise a son such as this.
It is sad that so many mothers today are looking for substitutes to fill their role. Too often, mothers today use the television or day care centers to babysit their children while they go off and do other things like chasing careers and chattering with friends or relatives. We see mothers using cow or vegetable-based milk substitutes to feed their children rather than the milk that Yahweh created children to drink. Is it any wonder there is a lack of bonding between mother and child in this day and age? Rather than providing healthy and wholesome meals for her household, many mothers slap together cheap and ready-made meals. And in spite of the modern day servants, in the form of washing machines, dishwashers, microwaves and the like, many modern day mothers complain about the lack of time. Yet, she usually finds the time to watch her TV programs, talk on the phone with friends/relatives or waste her life away with other foolish and unprofitable things. It ought not be so!
This is not to say that motherhood is easy, because it isn't! It is a tough job that takes hard work, diligence and virtuous character.
A virtuous woman is rare. But it is a worthy goal to be attained. Let's examine her characteristics:
First, we see that her husband trusts her. She is in a right relationship with her husband. This is an important foundation. We will discuss more of this in the next study
We see that the virtuous woman is a worker. She is not a lazy woman. She "worketh willingly with her hands" to run the household. We see that her focus is the home. She is not focused on a career, being a busybody or wasting her time.
Notice that she rises while it is yet night to provide for her household, and her candle "goeth not out by night". She obviously puts the needs of others before her own needs, even the need of sleep. Because "The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her", she is trusted to make wise purchasing decisions for her household.
Notice that not only are the needs of her household met, she is able to provide for the needs of other households. She is literally overflowing with an abundance of blessings for her house and with this abundance, helps the poor and needy. What a blessed home!
Not only does her house have clothing, her house is clothed well and she is able to sell clothing to others for profit.
Her clothing is her character, and her adorning is her works. As we read earlier, this kind of adornment is the will of Yahweh:
Continuing in Proverbs:
We see that her conversation is not like the clamorous voice of a fool, but the wise voice of kindness. Kindness is the law on her lips.
We see that she is not a woman of idleness, but a faithful worker that cares for the needs of her household. Idleness is the enemy of a virtuous woman.
HalleluYah, we see what this virtuous woman reaps for her labors, kindnesses and a true fear of Yahweh. Her children call her blessed and her husband praises her. Her own fruits and works praise her. We see by this example the high degree of love and care that this woman has for her household. This is in stark contrast to the career women of today. Mothers, learn to love your role as a keeper of the house and mother to your children!
Let's now examine other characteristics of a righteous woman. The older women were expected to teach the younger women these characteristics:
In this sentence we see the need for a woman to be sober. The Greek word here (#4994, from #4998) carries a meaning of being temperate and self controlled. Therefore, she is in control of herself and her emotions. We also see that she should love her husband and children. One would think that this should be obvious, but apparently it isn't! It was something that the older women needed to teach the younger women how to do. A woman's love for her husband and children will feed her desire to care for them to the level that the virtuous woman did in Proverbs 31.
The Greek word for "discreet" in this verse is related to the one translated "sober" in the previous verse. There is a real emphasis on teaching the younger women to have a sound and self controlled mind. Friberg's Lexicon has:
Being chaste is another thing that needed to be taught. The meaning behind this is purity. The same word is translated "pure" here:
Being a "keeper at home" was also to be taught. Let's examine the various lexicons on this:
UBS Greek Dictionary:
They all agree, it means that a
woman should be taking care of the house. This is in line with Proverbs 31 and
other scriptures that we have examined to this point.
This is yet another scripture uplifting the role of motherhood and the keeping of the home. In both this verses, and in the scripture previously discussed, we see the concern raised that reproach is brought upon a home where a woman is not fulfilling these roles. If these things convict you, take away the reproach! It is time that women appreciate and love what Yahweh has called them to do. If this is what Yahweh has created women to do, then I have no doubt that this is where a woman is happiest. Yahweh created fish to swim in the water, animals to roam on land and birds to fly through the air. All of Yahweh's creation is happiest when it is where it was created to be. The same is true for men and women. Yahweh did not create women to be mighty leaders among men, but to care for the home and for the children. This is where she is happiest.
Therefore, let's cast off the foolish influences of modern society and let's walk in the will of Yahweh for men and women. As we have seen, motherhood is a crucial part of a spirit filled home of righteousness. Without her, all the efforts of her husband can be in vain. There is much more to say in the next study when we discuss the role of wives. It is difficult to separate the role of wife and mother because they are so intricately mixed. A woman being the wife Yahweh desires her to be has much to do with whether she is building up her house or tearing it down with her hands. Consider the scriptures given about being a true mother to your children and keeper of the home. The right road is narrow and difficult, but surely Yahweh can bless the work of your hands and will be your help. Trust in Him as you walk in His ways. He will bring it to pass. May Yahweh bless you as You do so!