OceanSide church of Christ
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THE WIFE: THE KEEPER OF THE HOME
Victor M. Eskew
The wife is a vital component of the home. She was created by God at the beginning of Creation and was brought unto the man. “And Adam 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. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Gen. 2:23-24). The woman provides companionship to the man. She completes him. Together, they function as one. Each, however, has his/her separate roles. The husband serves as the head of the home. The woman is the keeper of the home. In her position, the wife has responsibilities for which she is accountable unto God.
First, she is to submit unto her husband’s rule. Two times in Ephesians 5 this obligation is set forth. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord….Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let wives be to their own husbands in every thing” (Eph. 5:22, 24). The subjection of the wife unto her husband is compared to the church’s subjection unto Christ. Thus, it is a willing compliance to the will of the husband. In days gone by, it was expressed with the words “obey him” in the marriage vows. As the head of the house, the husband has to make difficult decisions. The wife may not always agree with his choices, but she submits. Some decisions he makes may seem trivial and others will be very important, but she always submits. It must be remembered that this submission is within the context of the husband’s love for his wife. Too, the husband’s will is supposed to comply with the will of Christ.
Some believe that the woman’s subjection is not applicable to the twenty-first century. It has been said that Paul was a chauvinist. Others have said that the culture of the first-century suppressed women and that Paul was only conforming to societal norms. The submission of the woman unto the man goes back to the Garden of Eden, however. In Genesis 3:16, God said to the woman: “…I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.” Any woman who seeks a position of authority within the home that is on par with or over the man is in transgression of God’s will and order for the home.
Second, the woman is to be the keeper of the home. In Titus 2:4-5, the older women are instructed to teach the younger women. Paul enumerates eight things they are to be taught: “…to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands…” “Keepers at home” is one of the eight things God expects of the married woman. Living in the United States and having a job outside the home does not negate this responsibility. Women can cry out such words as “unfair,” “senseless,” demeaning,”, and “old-fashioned,” but this will not make God’s will go away. The woman is to be the keeper of the home. The virtuous woman of Proverbs 31 gives some insight on how this is to be done. “She is like the merchant’s ships; she bringeth her food from afar. She riseth also while it is night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens…She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet…She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness” (Prov. 31:14, 15, 21, 26, 27). Her home is her priority. She makes certain the needs of her family are met. She is willing to get up early and go to bed late for them. The words “I can’t”, “I won’t,” and “I don’t want to” are not in her vocabulary where her family is concerned. She labors. She sacrifices. She keeps her home. Her labors do not go unnoticed. “Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her” (Prov. 31:28).
Third, she is a godly influence within the home. Like her husband, she serves God with faith and fidelity. She is knowledgeable of God’s Word. She worships and serves the Christ with great joy. She shuns sin, despises the world, and has her hope laid up in heaven. This faithfulness radiates within her home. Husbands and children behold her “chaste conversation coupled with fear” (I Pet. 3:2). Her adorning involves “the hidden man of the heart, even the ornament of a meek and quite spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price” (I Pet. 3:4). These women win the souls of their children to Christ. They make the home a foretaste of that heavenly home to come.
Our godless society laughs at a godly woman who submits to her husband and keeps the home. God, however, smiles upon His faithful servant. “Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised” (Prov. 31:29-30).