Marabel or Jezebel Or God’s Total Woman?

I’m thinking about the misguided advice in Marabel Morgan’s 1974 book Total Woman, which came out in 1974. Those were the days of tumult over feminism versus traditional womanhood, both rather muddled and culturally driven concepts. Quite a few of us young military wives on the base read that book, touted as it was as a Christian perspective, and young and naive as we were, I know some of my friends and I adopted some of her suggestions. But the book always smacked a bit to me of manipulation. Responding to a nudge today, I looked her up on Wikipedia, and this is a quote they had from her book, and reading it now makes me shudder at the downright ungodliness, not of her suggestions in and of themselves, but of the motivation behind them:

“It taught that “A Total Woman caters to her man’s special quirks, whether it be in salads, sex or sports,”[2] and is perhaps best remembered for instructing wives to greet their man at the front door wearing sexy outfits; suggestions included “a cowgirl or a showgirl.” “It’s only when a woman surrenders her life to her husband, reveres and worships him and is willing to serve him, that she becomes really beautiful to him,” Morgan wrote.

So … my husband is so brain-dead and flagrantly self-indulgent that the only way I can appear beautiful to him is if I make myself scantily clad slave Princess Leia on a chain to Jabba the Hut? That’s disrespectful to genuine, upright, mature, strong in their character men! I remember something in the book alluding to the way to get your husband to buy you new luggage, or whatever you wanted. Manipulation, idolatry, demeaning, slavery, groveling, demanding, treating men like craven infants, yech!

Where is true love, loving and honoring each other for the person on the inside? Where is challenging eachother to be the best person each can be, the truest, bravest, most honorable and caring? Where was Marabel’s truly biblical advice – rather God’s commandment – to worship and revere God alone, and serve God first and before all? Out of loving God, honoring and grateful for the sacrificial love God showed us in Jesus dying on the cross for our sins, we give love and honor to those around us, not to manipulate them or finnagle their love, but to truly love THEM as unique individuals created in God’s image, valuable because they are, and loved by God. I was willing to serve my husband, but not willing to enable or encourage him to do what God’s Word calls sin. I’m sorry, Marabel, because I was the tastefully creative one in the intimacy department, but if personal integrity made me “unattractive” to him, then was his love truly love, or was it also self-driven manipulation for selfish motives?

The Bible’s ”poster girl” for self-driven unscrupulous manipulation is Queen Jezebel. From her example, her name now means a conniving, seductive, manipulative woman.

King Ahab, indifferent to God’s commands to only marry a Jewish woman who worshiped God Almighty so he would not be led to worship false gods, married a foreign woman who worshipped other gods than the God of Israel, Yahweh, Olam El, the Lord God Almighty. Here is a summary of Jezebel’s life, from https://www.thoughtco.com/who-was-jezebel-2076726

Jezebel‘s story is recounted in 1 Kings and 2 Kings, where she is described as a worshiper of the god Ba’al and the goddess Asherah — not to mention as an enemy of God’s prophets. As King Ahab’s wife, Jezebel mandated that her religion should be the national religion of Israel and organized guilds of prophets of Ba’al (450) and Asherah (400).

As a result, Jezebel is described as an enemy of God who was “killing off the Lord’s prophets” (1 Kings 18:4).  In response, the prophet Elijah accused King Ahab of abandoning the Lord and challenged Jezebel’s prophets to a contest. (Elijah and the One True God won the contest, and fire from Heaven burned up the prophets of Ba’al)

Although Jezebel was one of King Ahab’s many wives, 1 and 2 Kings make it apparent that she wielded a considerable amount of power. The earliest example of her influence occurs in 1 Kings 21, when her husband wanted a vineyard belonging to Naboth the Jezreelite. Naboth refused to give his land to the king because it had been in his family for generations. In response, Ahab became sullen and upset. When Jezebel noticed her husband’s mood, she inquired after the cause and decided to get the vineyard for Ahab. She did so by writing letters in the king’s name commanding the elders of Naboth’s city to accuse Naboth of cursing both God and his King. The elders obliged and Naboth was convicted of treason, then stoned. Upon his death, his property reverted to the king, so in the end, Ahab got the vineyard he wanted.

At God’s command, the prophet Elijah then appeared before King Ahab and Jezebel, proclaiming that because of their actions, “This is what the Lord says: In the place where dogs licked up Naboth’s blood, dogs will lick up your blood — yes, yours!” (1 Kings 21:17).

Elijah’s prophesy at the end of the narrative of Naboth’s vineyard comes true when Ahab dies in Samaria and his son, Ahaziah, dies within two years of ascending the throne. He is killed by Jehu, who emerges as another contender for the throne when the prophet Elisha declares him King. … According to 2 Kings 9:30-34, Jezebel and Jehu meet soon after the death of her son Ahaziah. When she learns of his demise, she puts on makeup, does her hair, and looks out a palace window only to see Jehu enter the city. She calls to him and he responds by asking her servants if they are on his side. “Who is on my side? Who?” he asks, “Thrown her down!” (2 Kings 9:32).

Jezebel’s eunuchs then betray her by throwing her out the window. She dies when she hits the street and is trampled by horses.”

Uh, it’s clear to me that God is serious about being the one and only object of our worship, reverence, and first obedience. Bad things happen when we put anyone or anything else on the “throne” of our lives! And no, God is NOT a narcissist; God is the Creator, Author of the Universe, Holy, Good, Righteous, Merciful, Powerful, Authority, Kind, Just, and Loving, all together and no aspect of His character ruling out the others.

You open Your hand And satisfy the desire of every living thing. The LORD is righteous in all His ways And kind in all His deeds. The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth.…Psalm 145:16-18

Righteous and Kind, Just and Merciful, Holy. Here are clear directives from the Bible on Who is to come first in our lives:

And he (Satan) led Him (Jesus) up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, “I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. “Therefore if You worship before me, it shall all be Yours.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD AND SERVE HIM ONLY.’” Away from me, Satan!” Jesus declared. “For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.'”

… Luke 4: 5-8, 10

“I am the LORD your God. You shall have no other gods before Me.” Exodus 20: 3

“You shall fear only the LORD your God; and you shall worship Him and swear by His name. Deuteronomy 6:13

–for you shall not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God—Exodus 34:14

“You shall fear only the LORD your God; and you shall worship Him and swear by His name. “You shall not follow other gods, any of the gods of the peoples who surround you,” Exodus 6: 13-14

Then Samuel spoke to all the house of Israel, saying, “If you return to the LORD with all your heart, remove the foreign gods and the Ashtoreth from among you and direct your hearts to the LORD and serve Him alone; and He will deliver you from the hand of the Philistines.” 1 Samuel 7: 3

For great is the LORD and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are idols, But the LORD made the heavens. Psalm 96: 4-5

“But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. John 4: 23

For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2: 9-11

Yes, I am to love my husband and respect him. Equally true, my husband is to love and respect me as his wife. Mutually we submit ourselves and our wills to God and what He wants for our marriage and family. That’s the way God intended marriage to reflect His unity, integrity and upright love that calls the beloved to purity and righteousness.

“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped… Philippians 2: 3-8

So Marabel, no; husbands should not seek to be revered and worshiped and served, but as Jesus showed us all to serve one another out of humility and giving love, and wives should do the same.

https://www.biblegateway.com/resources/all-women-bible/Jezebel-No-1

“No matter from what angle we approach the life of Jezebel she stands out as a beacon to both nations and individuals that the wages of sin is death. Further, from this great tragic figure of literature and of history we learn how important it is for the influence of a wife and mother to be on the side of all that is good and noble.”

If I truly love another person, I ought to be about encouraging and enabling the best, truest, noblest, most upright, God-honoring choices and attitudes in them. I go back to 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7 to the definition of genuine love: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

So, Truly Total Woman, honor and worship God first, and your respect and love for you husband will fall into proper place. Total Husbands, same goes for you. Total Singles, same thing: call forth, encourage, support and enable the best and truest, most righteous and kind and good in others. That’s what we all should be about, regardless of relationship to each other.

 

 

 

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Not a post, just my favorite new praise and worship song

Yes, you may see my candle held high in the sequence with Bill Bright and Billy Graham at Explo’72 in the final scenes in “Woodlawn,” and somebody else was there  with me, too,holding a candle high right after we mutually said,”I do … till death.” Well … I tried to keep my promise.The bigger truth is that the ONE who loves us with relentless, fiery, passionate,never-ending love, the One we were holding our candles high for, still loves me and gave a piece of His heart to love with everlasting love, so in a  way,I win even in my loss.

Johnny Cash sang several times at Explo ’72. Boy, I admire his faith ands and June’s lasting love. Yes, self-confessed Jesus freak here, and even though Country music isn’t on my iTunes playlist, a few weeks ago I woke up with this song going through my head. Instantly I  realized it’s a wonderful  song for  worship, everything  true about twelve Johnny sings about being truer still about the two-way love affair we’re meant to have with God through Jesus.

So,  for all of you Country fans out there,and for  those of you who aren’t, here’s a new way to look at Johnny’s immortal ballad:

I Walk The Line

By Johnny Cash
I keep a close watch on this heart of mine
I keep my eyes wide open all the time.
I keep the ends out for the tie that binds
Because you’re mine,
I walk the line
I find it very, very easy to be true
I find myself alone when day is through
Yes, I’ll admit that I’m a fool for you
Because you’re mine,
I walk the line
As sure as night is dark and day is light
I keep you on my mind both day and night
And happiness I’ve known proves that it’s right
Because you’re mine,
I walk the line
You’ve got a way to keep me on your side
You give me cause for love that I can’t hide
For you I know I’d even try to turn the tide
Because you’re mine,
I walk the line

 

Yes, I did, and would have eternally with the first one,  will with a new one, and thanksgiving ever to the ONE who’s always walked with me, Yeshua,  Jesus,  however you speak  his name in your language,  still the faithful Lover of  our souls.7701932_SMK5n

Ask only if you mean it . ..

Only if you want to carry the love . . . 

Oh, the relentless heart of God! Four years ago I asked Jesus to give me his heart for my beloved when I felt my feelings for him slipping. I knew it was wrong to let my heart’s flame burn low, and I knew it was my responsibility to “guard  your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (Proverbs 4:23). My charge alone to guard my heart and thoughts. Yes, that process began in me before the deepest betrayal of my life, and I’m grateful it did. Two things I’ve learned: 1) no one can kill your heart, but you can and do when you poison it with resentment, unforgiveness, selfishness, believing your own misperceptions, bitterness and contempt, and 2) don’t ask Jesus for his heart for someone unless you want implanted in you a relentless love that lays down your own wounds to look deeply into the inmost heart of another life and value that person with a love and with forgiveness that WILL NOT be quenched, period. 

It is that blazing passion for us that bared the back and stretched out the hands of Jesus to take the scourge and the nails and say, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.”  Love like that, in those circumstances, at the hands of betrayers and despisers?   “YOU HAVE TO BE KIDDING ME” is what “rational” people who look out for themselves say. Look out for yourself, do what feels good and move on and cut your losses when it doesn’t. That’s what most rational people claim and advise to be mental and emotional health. But a note to us in the self-preserving, personally validating culture that is rapidly consuming the world: some choices are not good, period. 

Look out for yourself? That’s not what I hear Jesus say, and this is where it gets hard and in your paradigm: “You have heard that it was said,’Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ BUT I tell you:Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons (and daughters) or your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:43-45)


Do what feels good for you. I remember the two older boys who held me under in the deep end of the pool when I was nine years old. I’m guessing it felt good to them to exercise their power and watch me flail. I frankly thought I was going to die. That’s what we do to each other, sometimes on purpose, more often unintentionally (that would be me in some dumb mistakes): we hold on to hurts, lash out and lacerate, exercise our rights and power, want our way and our ends by any means necessary to preserve what we think feels good for us. We see the leak in the boat and decide to take the one life vest and slide overboard instead of helping plug the hole; we look at the one – okay, even two – engine(s) out in a four-engine plane, put on a parachute and bail, rather than putting our body weight to the rudder with the pilot and landing the thing safely. 

But the heart of Jesus is relentless, and he comes up loving even after being held under by our “I’m perfectly capable of and justified in and frankly enjoy doing life my way,thank you very much.” He was betrayed and despised, and we still do it to him, BUT HE DID WHAT WAS FAITHFULLY LOVING ANYWAY and came up gloriously victorious, forgiving and giving and breaking down the walls that kept us from the longing to receive us arms of God. Love doesn’t always feel good. TOTALLY IRRATIONAL!

Yes, God’s love IS IRRATIONAL – why on earth would HE give himself for the messes that are us –  which makes up a huge chunk of what makes God Holy, and wholly Righteous  and Good and Pure, wholly matchless, wholly unfathomable and wholly breathtaking. 

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

IRRATIONAL? Absolutely! He plugged the hole, put his weight to the rudder, all for relationship with us.

Oh, yes, I’m co-dependent: dependent on this Love Incarnate for my next heartbeat and breath, holding his hand for dear life as I go into the future single with no hope of ever being able to earn enough to support myself, and glad to wrap the tassels of my prayer shawl – his “wings,” his promises – around my hands clasped by HIS as the hand of bride and bridegroom join together in the wedding ceremony. God binds himself to you by his promises and his Son; is that a thought to set your head and heart and rationality reeling? The Creator who spoke infernos of stars and dark matter and gravity and neutrinos and optic nerves and DNA and embryos into existence binds himself to you when you come to him through Jesus. God binds himself to YOU! Then he has the audacity to call you Hephzibah (delighted in) and Beulah (chosen) and rejoices over you! (Isaiah 62: 3-5)

So go ahead and ask for that heart, but be prepared to receive a passionate, unquenchable love for those who’ve done you the most wrong. It will hurt. If that prospect offends you, don’t even ask Jesus for his heart for another. But if you dare to, what he gives you  in return is a heart free from bitterness, contempt, pride, anger, unforgiveness, and all the wounds that chained you to the pain of offenses. 

Did it get me my husband back? No – dare I risk the wrath of my friends who want good for me in saying not yet. And I admit maybe not ever, my marriage and hopes laid on the altar, but if Jesus asks me to be Hosea, I will be and will rejoice. Go figure when you dare to ask Jesus for his heart . . . . If Jesus doesn’t, then I rejoice that my heart is bound by the promise of my Kinsman Redeemer Boaz himself and his gift to me of a piece of his precious – a word far too small for his indescribable- love.  

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God,because God is love.  . . This is love: not that we loved God BUT that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God, BUT if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”  (1 John 4: 7-8, 10-12)


Beloved, as John the Beloved would say, that’s a risk worth taking and a love worth bearing.