Invariably, the subject of headship and patriarchy elicits an emotional response, particularly from women, that borders on volcanic. The feelings that explode to the surface quickly override the facts of what Scripture teaches.
As a general rule, I have long taught my family that facts always trump emotions. Or, another way I have often said it, feelings will always fail you. The reason is because feelings are subject to change. Facts are not.
Pretty much any subject can be taken and evaluated both emotionally and factually. As an example, murder can be justified by feelings. Maybe the perpetrator was just totally fed up with someone and hated their guts to the point that they commit murder. They may justify it with their feelings, but in a court of law, the facts will show that they broke the law. Facts will trump feelings!
God’s Word is much the same way. It does not matter how we feel about a matter. The only thing the Creator cares about is whether we acted in obedience or disobedience… feelings are irrelevant! Consider,
Eph. 5:22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.
How a wife feels about God’s Word at this point is irrelevant. Her feelings in no way change or alter the command. And, her feelings can change from instant to instant, based on a number of internal and external factors, but the command never changes.
The same can be said to the husband! One related command is,
Eph. 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her,
The command does not have a caveat to love her when she is doing what she is supposed to do, or when you feel like it. The command is to love, period.
What is interesting is that generally speaking, men tend to be more rational, or fact based, than women. Women tend to be more emotionally driven. Because man is the head of the household and women are to be under the covering of a man, it seems clear that while God designed male and female to be interdependent, His authority structure demands that facts trump feelings. This is not to say that feelings should not be taken into account, but they cannot rule over facts.
Here are some thoughts taken from my recent Torah commentary on Beshalach:
The other major theme we can trace through this and future portions as we see the Redeemer lead is that Israel, the bride(s), relies entirely too often on emotion and fear instead of fact and faith. Without delving too deeply into human psychology, men generally rely on logic and women generally rely on emotion. It is how God made us and we do need the balance, but logic/fact must lead while being tempered by emotion.
Over and over, not just in this portion, but throughout the Torah, we will see Israel take the female role and ride the emotional rollercoaster, being driven not by faith and fact, but by fear and emotion. Here is our first example,
Exodus 14:8 The Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and he chased after the sons of Israel as the sons of Israel were going out boldly. 9 Then the Egyptians chased after them with all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, his horsemen and his army, and they overtook them camping by the sea, beside Pi-hahiroth, in front of Baal-zephon.
10 As Pharaoh drew near, the sons of Israel looked, and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them, and they became very frightened; so the sons of Israel cried out to the Lord. 11 Then they said to Moses, “Is it because there were no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you dealt with us in this way, bringing us out of Egypt? 12 Is this not the word that we spoke to you in Egypt, saying, ‘Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.”
Previously, we read that Israel went out in ‘martial array’ and now we see the term ‘boldly.’ The Hebrew means ‘with a high hand.’ This is triumphant attitude and action. Their Redeemer has just kicked Egypt, Pharaoh and all those false gods in the teeth! Then, like a rollercoaster diving down a steep slope they accelerate into gut wrenching FEAR! They take their eyes off of the Head that is responsible for them and begin to accuse Moses, the head that they can see! Memory is so short. Faith is so limited….
Man, when operating in the submissive role to the Messiah, stands in the position of ‘woman’ in the relationship. Here is an illustration to help us understand the picture we see over and over throughout Scripture.
While God the Father and the Messiah are one, we see clearly that Yeshua only does the will of the Father and was obedient even unto death. He is in complete submission to His Father and trusts Him implicitly, the perfect example of how one is to perform in the subordinate or submissive role. But, Messiah is also the perfect example of how to be the head and leader, a perfect Shepherd, provider, protector and advocate.
Messiah then is the example for us, regardless of where we are in the authority structure. Men, as leaders, whether individual heads of house or corporate as Israel exhibits in this portion, we see how we are to act and react in a righteous manner. Women, likewise. How you walk before Messiah, your husband and your children are each pictured in the table and in this portion.
Both men and women in this illustration function in both the position of head and follower. And, we do so individually and corporately. Let’s take a quick ‘big picture’ look at this portion and draw some other illustrations from the whole of the Torah.
The cycle of faith collapsing into fear, fact into emotional reaction, will repeat a couple times in this portion as well as at other times in Torah.
Fact (God’s provision or felt need)
Egypt crushed by plagues
Elation and triumph
March out boldly
Cry out to God and against Moses
Red Sea parts and Egyptian army drowned
Elation and victory
Miriam leads in song and dance
Thirst and limited water
Defeat and loss
Grumbling and complaining
Need and physical weakness
Satisfaction and trust
Quarreling and grumbling
Be reminded of other points of Israelite obedience or disobedience. The return of the spies from the Land is a glaring example of emotion and fear overriding fact (God is Omnipotent) and faith. Another is the fear of the loss of Moses and faith placed in a golden calf. Etc…
The real point that I want to illustrate with this table and illustrations is that over and over, Israel let their emotions and feelings cause them to act in the wrong way instead of trusting and remembering in faith that God, their Redeemer, was in control and could provide. This is incredibly important for us as individuals, both men and women, and especially for us corporately if we desire to be restored.
As we learn and grow and understand new things in God’s Word, it is easy to find our feelings jangled because our paradigm is being tested or adjusted by the unchanging facts of God’s Word. We must be very careful not to let our feelings cause us to reject truths that we will be held accountable for.
Feelings must be managed and brought into alignment with Truth. May we each be given the measure of faith to walk toward the unchanging facts of God’s Word, particularly as it regards headship and patriarchy, and the strength to manage and work through feelings that come in conflict.