MARCHING TO A WORTHY DRUMMER INSTALLMENT #24

Chapter 8: Scriptural Suggestions of a Feminine Holy Spirit

 

It might be thought by some that considering the Holy Spirit to be feminine goes against the grain of logic in that the woman is the weaker sex. To the doubter of this persuasion, the notion that the task of transforming a creative vision to its actuality in creation might be a feminine function appears to violate common sense. Too difficult, one might scoff, and inappropriate to confer the functional title of Divine Means on a “She”.

One person, a likely candidate for harboring such thoughts, once in the heat of an argument with my wife but still rather condescendingly, pointed out to her what to him was an obvious fact: women, being weaker, shouldn’t presume to handle management responsibilities.

“Weaker?” she retorted. “Weaker? Why do you think God made us physically smaller?” Her adversary backed off, but she matched him step by step and more, getting right into his face.

“I – I don’t know,” he stuttered, intimidated by her aggression.

“I’ll tell you why, mister,” she said. “It’s because He made us to supervise you men. We don’t need to be big and stupid to do that. That’s what you’re good for – under our direction.” She walked away, dismissing him in her mind like a dumb ox.

She had a point. I hate to admit it, but she handles our financial affairs, which is a major household responsibility, for the simple reason that she can perform that task far better than I could. Nor am I the only man in that situation. In fact, it is the wives of most of the married men of my acquaintance who take care of financial matters in their households, as well as the scheduling of events, assuming the primary responsibility for rearing the children at home, maintaining the house, driving the family bus, and a multitude of other tasks, often all the while holding down a responsible job of her own.

I empty the garbage, haul out the trash, mow and trim the lawn, trim the hedges, and perform a myriad of other jobs. As assigned by her. I kind of am a dumb ox, or perhaps a grunt corporal to her captaincy. But she’s happy, and that’s what matters most to me. So don’t try to tell me that women can’t get the job done, even if it is with my help. I know better. NASA knows better, too. Experiments have shown that in many tough situations women are stronger and display more endurance than men.

There’s no doubt whatsoever in my mind that my life would be far less colorful without my wife Carolyn. It is her that sets the agenda for most of our activities. We never would have gotten a sailboat without her enthusiasm for sailing. We never would have enjoyed the RV lifestyle without her urging us to participate in it. Furthermore, I can’t remember all the times she’s helped to get us out of jams. But I do remember one incident that happened after we parked our fifth-wheel RV outside Charleston, South Carolina and drove our truck into the city.

There’s a parking lot in downtown Charleston, next to an adjoining building that has an unusually-designed downspout. The pipe is the standard diameter, maybe two or three inches, from the roof gutter down to the level of my bumper, where, for some initially obscure reason that the following events clarified, an adapter expands it to a diameter of about 12 to 15 inches.   If you take your truck or tow vehicle into town (the sights are certainly worth the effort) and park there, the attendant will attempt to back you into the stall in front of where it’s located. If you’re fresh from the pumpkin patch like me, you’ll automatically follow the directions. Since you can’t see the large-diameter section from your mirrors, you will hit it, an event that will immediately set off a chain reaction: the plastic section (which doubles quite convincingly as a drum) implodes into shards with a horrible high-volume noise that convinces the unfortunate driver that he has just leveled the house; as the driver gets out of the car, a ground-floor window opens up and an arm reaches out with the palm facing upward; along with the hand a disembodied voice (the face can’t be seen) says, “Oh, you’ve done it now. That’s gonna cost you fifty dollars.” It’s just a little scam, so I’m guessing that most people slap fifty onto the palm just to get rid of the problem.

I probably would have done the same had I been alone, but egged on by Carolyn, I refused to knuckle under. I argued about it and threatened to go down to Home Depot myself and buy the part for ten dollars. In the end, I coughed up 25 dollars, but it was good for a laugh after we both cooled down. In the heat of the moment, though, I had to restrain Carolyn from jumping out of the truck and confronting the man. Having seen her in action before, I have no doubt that had she gotten out and caught him with her glare, he would have backed off like a slug under a rain of salt.

It was noted in the previous chapter that when men fail to step up to the plate, God is content to let a woman do the job. Like Deborah in the Book of Judges or Golda Meir of recent Israeli history, they can handle the job admirably. It already has been noted that the Arm of the Lord, to which Isaiah referred in Isaiah 51, and who performed mighty tasks associated with great strength (perhaps in a supervisory role), was feminine in the original version of that prophet’s writings. More will be said later about that passage.

It appears, from Scriptural passages such as Proverbs 15:29 and 28:9 and Isaiah 1:15, that God neither listens nor responds to some prayers directed to Him. The prayers must align with God’s will and be spoken in truth and righteousness.

“The Lord is far from the wicked, but he heareth the prayer of the righteous. . . He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be an abomination.”

“And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you; yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood.”

On the other hand, God is quick to listen and respond to prayers said according to His own will, and when it is in His will it is Wisdom, His divine Spouse, who directs the responding. One of my favorite passages in the Bible is the account in 1 Kings 3:5-28 wherein Solomon, the newly-crowned king of Israel, prays to God for wisdom, in this sense a spiritual gift given of Herself and in indwelling communion with Herself by the Holy Spirit, who Herself is named for that attribute:

“In Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night, and God said, Ask what I shall give thee. And Solomon said, Thou hast showed unto thy servant David, my father, great mercy, according as he walked before thee in truth, and in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with thee; and thou hast kept for him this great kindness, that thou hast given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day. And now, O Lord my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David, my father; and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in. And thy servant is in the midst of thy people whom thou hast chosen, a great people, who cannot be numbered or counted for multitude. Give, therefore, thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad. For who is able to judge this thy great people?

 

          “And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing. And God said unto him, Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life; neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies, but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment, behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and understanding heart, so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee. And I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches, and honor, so that there shall not be any among the kings like unto thee all thy days. And if thou wilt walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as thy father, David, did walk, then I will lengthen thy days.

 

          “And Solomon awoke, and behold, it was a dream. And he came to Jerusalem, and stood before the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and offered up burnt offerings, and offered peace offerings, and made a feast to all his servants. Then came two women, who were harlots, unto the king, and stood before him. And the one woman said, O my lord, I and this woman dwell in one house, and I was delivered of a child with her in the house. And it came to pass the third day after that I was delivered, that this woman was delivered also, and we were together. There was no stranger with us in the house, save we two were in the house. And this woman’s child died in the night, because she overlaid it. And she arose at midnight and took my son from beside me, while thine handmaiden slept, and laid it in her bosom, and laid her dead child in my bosom. And when I arose in the morning to nurse my child, behold, it was dead; but when I had looked at it in the morning, behold, it was not my son whom I did bear. And the older woman said, Nay; but the living child is my son, and the dead is thy son. And this said, No; but the dead child is thy son, and the living is my son. Thus they spoke before the king.

 

          “Then said the king, The one saith, This is my son who liveth, and thy son is the dead; and the other saith, Nay; but thy son is the dead child, and my son is the living. And the king said, Bring me a sword. And they brought a sword before the king. And the king said, Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one, and half to the other. Then spoke the woman whose the living child was unto the king, for her bowels yearned upon her son, and she said, O my lord, give her the living child, and in no wise slay it. But the other said, Let it be neither mine nor thine, but divide it.

 

          “Then the king answered and said, Give her the living child, and by no means slay it; she is the mother of it. And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had judged, and they feared the king; for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him, to do justice.”

That Solomon was given wisdom by God is amply demonstrated by this spectacular display of justice served. But note the nature and the character of Solomon’s prayer to God for that wisdom. Foremost, it was both selfless and noble: Solomon asked for the ability to serve the Lord in a manner that would be pleasing to Him. It was also humble: in his prayer, Solomon noted his youth and its shortcomings with respect to leadership.

Far too often, when I think about God while reading the Bible, I fail to pray for understanding. But sometimes I do ask for knowledge, and it is those times that I seem to get insights into Scripture that rise above my own abilities. This gift beyond my own abilities dovetails well with Jesus words in Matthew 7:7-11:

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you; for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you whom, if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye, then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father, who is in heaven, give good things to them that ask him?”

In this chapter, I’d like to share with you some understandings that I have been given while praying for a deeper knowledge of God. They relate to the feminine nature of Wisdom, the Holy Spirit.

[to be continued]

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