Thanks so much to the brave women who participated in last week’s discussion question. I love hearing the way you processed what you learned in Lesson 1. Thanks for your honesty and willingness to share. As promised, I drew a name from among those who posted and the lucky winner of an EquipHer insulated tumbler is Becki Z. Remember, I will be drawing a name each week from those who comment and awarding that person a small prize. Each weekly participant will also be added to a pool of names that will be eligible for a grand prize at the end of the class in August. To participate, simply click on the words Leave a reply at the end of each blog and type your comment in the box that appears.
Last week, Kathy showed us “Whose we are” by looking at our great God. As she mentioned, we both struggled with the concept of God as Father having had imperfect earthly fathers. I grew up with an absent father. So for me, God was also absent, and because He was absent, I was lost to myself as well. Learning to know God as Father also involved discovering who I am. The prayer of my 30s was, “Lord, show me who I am and make me who you want me to be.”
Today we continue to explore our Knees to the Earth prayer by understanding “Who we are” in relation to OUR FATHER in heaven.
To accomplish that, we’re going to look waaayyy back in our family tree to the beginning of us . . . we are going to study the story of EVE. When I say you are a daughter of Eve, what does that bring to mind? Is the thought negative or positive for you?
Genesis 1 gives an overview of all the days of creation, but today we’ll focus only on the people part:
“Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’” Genesis 1:26
Why did God create man and woman? We were created to bear His image and, in that purpose, to rule over all the earth. We reflect God, and in that reflection, we have power.
“And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Genesis 1:27
In the Hebrew language, using these 3 repetitive statements was a way of showing emphasis. The most important point is the first one and the next two explain it. God created man in His image and that image is tied to both male & female human beings. [From Bryan Clark’s sermon on Genesis 1.]
“And God blessed them; and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’” Genesis 1:28
Again God says His image-bearers are to have charge over creation, as well as become part of re-creating other people. All creation was told to be fruitful and multiply, but man/woman was to take charge.
So . . . who are you, daughter of EVE?
- Created by God
- Designed to rule with God . . . yes, you as a woman!
Let’s dig a bit deeper. After each new day of creation, God said it was good, but after Eve was created, and God surveyed everything together, what does He say?
Genesis 1:31 “God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.”
The creation of Eve was the culmination of all God’s work of creation. And it was very good.
Genesis 1 gives us the general description of the creation of man and woman. In Genesis 2 we find the specifics. God pulled together some of this new earth and formed it into the shape of a man. Then, as God is holding man—face-to-face—He imparts the breath of life. This isn’t just oxygen for his lungs. It’s a living soul to make him an image-bearer of God. Adam’s first encounter with life is face-to-face with God . . . talk about an intimate relationship!
Fast forward to verse 18 “The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’”
In the midst of all the “good” God had created, a “not good” pops up. Man is alone and needs a helper suitable for him. The word we translate “helper” is a weak explanation for what God intended for Adam. The actual term, EZER, is much stronger than that. It is used throughout scripture in reference to God being a helper. It refers to not just any kind of help, but the kind of help that’s needed in battle or when your life is on the line.
“Blessed are you, O Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the LORD? He is your shield and helper and your glorious sword.” (Deut. 33:26, 29)
“I lift up my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, Maker of heaven and earth.” (Ps. 121:1-2)
“May the LORD answer you when you are in distress; may the name of the God of Jacob protect you. May he send you help.” (Ps. 20:1-2)
“We wait in hope for the LORD, he is our help and our shield.” (Ps. 33:20)
And there was no EZER among all creation for Adam. There was no one suitable, KENEGDO, which means corresponding to Adam until . . .
“The LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man.
The man said,
‘This is now bone of my bones,
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.’” Genesis 2:21
Carolyn Custiss James explains the big picture of this moment in her book Half the Church:
“God’s methods are poetic, mysterious and instructive. God could easily have taken another fistful of earth to create the woman. Instead, he creates the ezer from Adam’s body.”
She goes onto describe what is meant in the original language by the term “rib.”
“Hebrew scholars think Adam’s ‘side’ is more accurate than Adam’s ‘rib.’ Not only does this signify a profoundly intimate connection between male and female (which the man immediately acknowledges), but God’s method for creating Eve also carries beautiful redemptive overtones. The whole human race, beginning with Eve, comes from Adam’s wounded side. A second race – a new redeemed humanity – comes from Jesus’ wounded side. Jesus is the second Adam. Even before there is despair, God foreshadows hope. The creation of the woman is a sacred, holy moment.” (pg. 74)
The creation of woman is also different from that of man. Unlike Adam, Eve was never alone on the earth. She was always in relationship. And we women are relational to the core, aren’t we?
In describing how women relate, Stasi Eldredge says this in her book Captivating,
“Our friendships flow in the deep waters of the heart where God dwells and transformation takes place. It is here, in this holy place, that a woman can partner with God in impacting another and be impacted by another for lasting good. It is here that she can mother, nurture, encourage, and call forth Life. . . . To have a woman friend is to relax into another soul and be welcomed in all that you are and all that you are not.” (pg.180)
When we come to God in prayer, we come as His daughters. We come as Eve came on that day she was created:
Bearing His Image
a masterpiece of creation
ready to come alongside
made for relationships.
Eve had it all in perfect harmony in her life.
So what happened?
In Genesis 3:1-7 we read
- Eve’s Image changed from a reflection of God to a desire for control.
- Her masterpiece was to delight herself.
- She was a partner for destruction, not salvation
- And she forfeited her relationship with God and with Adam by giving into the serpent’s temptation.
All of her strengths caved into weakness. She lived less.
And if Eve can live less, given her circumstances, how might we live less?
I’m crushed when I think of the ways I’ve lived less:
- As an image-bearer, I live less every time I let fear control my life. I hide His image.
- I live less in when I let my purpose be clouded by busyness and don’t seek God when I make decisions.
- As an ezer, I live less when I’m too tired or too stressed to help my husband or my kids when they need me most.
- And I live less in my relationships when I disengage, rather than living from my heart.
It is after the fall that woman is given the name Eve which means “mother of all the living.” God has told Eve she will give life to a child who would “bruise the head” of the serpent. Mankind’s salvation will come through a promised seed. Chapter 4 shows that Eve expects that to happen with her first child. She believed Cain would be the child of promise and, by bearing him, she would make up for her sin.
4:1 “Now the man had relations with his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain, and she said, ‘I have gotten a man child with the help of the LORD.”
I know it’s a stretch to say that Eve naming her child is a prayer, but it really is her communication with and about God in her life. Her words could be translated, “I have created a child just like the Lord.” [Bryan Clark, Sermon on Genesis 4] The name Cain means promised seed. The name Abel means vanity or breath, as if he doesn’t matter.
But we know what happens with those two, don’t we? Cain was raised to redeem, but he didn’t fear God. Abel did fear God and was killed.
Eve’s first two sons were lost to sin. I understand something about that. I lost my first two sons because we live in an imperfect world. Both were lost to conditions of severe birth defects—the first shortly after birth and the second as a miscarriage.
It was a terribly painful time . . . a searching time . . . a time of learning to trust God in a new way. I went from believing that if I did everything right, life would be happy to understanding that sometimes, we can do everything well and still be profoundly disappointed. I had prayed, “God I don’t just want a healthy child, but one that’s perfectly suited to our family.” So I had to trust that God meant for our crib to sit empty for awhile.
Back to Eve . . . her plan to redeem what was lost through her sin in the garden isn’t working out so well. Time passes and she has a chance to mull it over. She lives with the profound memory of having it all. What was different back then? Her relationship with God.
What must have been going through her head as she sees how sin is multiplying in her family? Her prideful spirit is broken. Then, she finally has a chance for a do-over with another child (probably a long time later, after other attempts).
Genesis 4:25 brings us to the final scene with Eve:
“. . . and Adam had relations with his wife again; and she gave birth to a son, and named him Seth, for she said, ‘God has appointed me another offspring in place of Abel: for Cain killed him.’”
This is her confession. “Elohim has appointed me this child because I didn’t notice the one who loved Him –the one who was killed by my sinful son. God, you are mighty and I am not. You are the life-giver, not me.”
For the first time since the garden, Eve is knees to the earth. Her heart is bowed to Elohim – her creator God had come through for her. He has redeemed her seed. She sees that she can still bear His Image, live with Purpose and Passion, and have influence on People.
We know this because of verse 26. “And to Seth, to him also a son was born; and he called his name Enosh. Then men began to call upon the name of the LORD.” Men began to address God formally in worship. People began to pray to the God who created and provided. Eve was truly the mother of the living.
I also had a 3rd son, who is now my oldest living son. He came to our family through adoption, and we named him Seth. Then, we had 2 more sons naturally. And I’m so grateful to have learned at thing or two from Eve:
- Don’t expect your children to save you.
- It may take longer than we think for God’s promise to unfold.
- In the meantime, live knees to the earth and trust your children to Almighty God.
So, what can we learn about ourselves from the story of Eve? Take a few minutes to reflect on these questions.
- Eve was made as an Image-bearer of God and so are we. What do you think about that for yourself? It’s kind of a big deal to bear someone else’s image, isn’t it?
- Eve had a purpose which is also the purpose written into your DNA—to rule & subdue creation. How do you manage your own patch of earth? Do you do that with your knees to the earth . . . or are you a micro-manager, a helicopter mom—multi-tasking and striving?
- Eve had a passion (which is tied to her purpose) to be EZER KENEGDO . . . a helper when all is on the line, a corresponding partner in God’s plan for man and women together to bear His image in the world. Do you rise to that challenge or does it scare you? Do you know your influence? Do you live from your heart?
- Eve was made to be with people . . . how are your relationships?
GOING DEEPER (for personal study)
To study Eve’s story in greater detail, download and listen to Bryan Clark’s sermon on Genesis 2-3.
In Half the Church Carolyn Custiss James writes,
“God deploys his daughters – all of us – to be ezer-warriors for his kingdom all the days of our lives. As a daughter, I love the idea that we are to follow our Father’s strong ezer footsteps by soldiering alongside our brothers for his kingdom. A name like ezer gives women and girls a lot to live up to no matter who we are or where we live. . . . The real question facing women is how to fortify ourselves for the daunting mission God has given us. Surprising as it may sound, the ezer-warrior’s first line of defense and her primary source of strength is her theology – what she knows about God.” (pg. 82)
Ponder these words for a moment. Then, apply them to the life of a strong ezer-woman from the Bible (e.g. Esther, Ruth, Miriam). What can you learn about yourself through these women?
DISCUSSION (please feel free to share your answer to this with the class by clicking the LEAVE A REPLY tab below. This week’s prize to one lucky participant will be a copy of Stasi Eldredge’s book Captivating.)
Like Eve, you were created to be God’s image-bearer. He has given you a purpose and a passion and an innate need for relationship. Does knowing these things about yourself change the way you view God? Are any of these truths about yourself difficult for you to accept? What effect does any of this have on your prayer life?