Like Paul, Peter calls wives to be subject to their husbands. But Peter lists some extra incentives.
Peter is calling for an inward submission rather than the forced obedience that their society demanded. This command wasn’t only for a wife who had a believing husband. He offered the incentive of winning the unbelieving husband to the Lord by the submissive conduct of the believing wife.
I know in our society today this is a HARD pill to swallow. “Women’s rights” and “breaking the glass ceiling” are terms we have internalized. Women today want equal say in every aspect of life. But that is not the order God created for us.
I DON’T believe he created us to be doormats or punching bags either though. Instead, He created us to complete our husbands. He created us as a helpmate; to compliment the areas where he has needs. He created us for the two halves to become a whole. But if both pieces wrestle for authority there is never peace.
Eve wasn’t created to be in a place of submission. She was placed at Adam’s side to be his helper; not his master or his doormat. But because of her sin, though it was a sin through deceit, she was placed under Adam’s protection. He was to be the leader in the decision making and take the responsibility for the direction those decision took his family. This was Eve’s protection, as long as she was in submission to Adam.
Peter used Sarah as an example for his readers. Sarah didn’t always let Abraham take the lead and this got them in hot water at times. The issue with Ishmael and Isaac being a PRIME example. Sarah decided to help God along with her own plans for a child. The world is still dealing with the consequences of that decision.
But in the majority of the instances Sarah followed her husband’s directives, wise or not. Twice Abraham told her to pretend she was his sister to try and protect his own life. She submitted to his direction. His decisions in these instances brought problems down on Abraham but Sarah was protected. God stepped in and protected her from her husband’s faulty decision making.
Sarah also didn’t raise a stink when Abraham took Isaac up on the mountain to sacrifice him. I don’t know if she was even aware of what was going on, but she trusted her husband with her son that day. It was not the first time they had gone together to make a sacrifice, as is evident by the way Isaac noted the one missing element from their customary preparations. Whether she knew, or not, beforehand, we see no evidence of her being angry or railing against Abraham for putting their son in this position in the first place. Did she trust God to raise him from the dead as Abraham had? Where was her faith in that moment?
Sorry, got sidetracked. Peter is calling us women to be loving, supportive, and submissive to our husbands. We follow their lead. We share our concerns in a gentle manner. We don’t scream and scratch for control of the family. We pray and trust God to work through our husbands, even if they don’t realize it is His hand at work. Pharaoh didn’t realize God was working through him either. And the work being done through Pharaoh WASN’T comfortable for the people either but the end result was wonderful!
Peter doesn’t leave the husbands out of his commands either. He calls them to live in an “understanding way” with their wives. I believe this includes listening to their wife’s concerns regarding family decisions, even while having final authority in the family’s direction. He is also to show “honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with” them. This means treating the wife with love and respect too. The husbands bear responsibility for the decisions and their own prayers are impacted by how they treat their wives.
When BOTH husband and wife follow God’s model the family is made stronger and their prayers are brought before God. This is the way He intended for us to live. Yes, there are exceptions to this pattern but as far as possible, follow God’s design.
Father God, thank You for my husband. Thank You that he is a believer too. I know our life is one of these exceptions, for the most part, but I want to walk in Your design as much as possible. Forgive me for the times when I could have followed his decisions and didn’t. One that comes to mind right now is with the flowers from our trip. I chose to dump them, even when he said to keep them. It was inconvenient for me to keep carrying them around. I know it was a small thing but I was not honoring him by trashing them when they got to be “too much trouble.”
Please help me work on my attitude of submission. Rid me of the grudging submission and replace it with joy in knowing that I am honoring both You and him in my behavior and my heart. Help make my answers gentle and loving when I have to take the lead on decisions because of his mental status. Keep our special family in the palm of Your hand Lord and lead me in how and when to let him take the lead You designed for him.