"And God blessed them, and God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and conquer it, and hold sway over the fish of the sea and the fowl of the heavens and every beast that crawls upon the earth.' (Gen. 1:26-28 Alter)"~Captivating by John & Stasi Eldredge
this is the only redeeming section in this book. the rest, in my opinion, is mostly crap. i'm having a hard time even finishing the book. however, i do like their definition of woman and what she was created for....
"Call it the Human Mission-to be all and do all God sent us here to do. And notice-the mission to be fruitful and conquer and hold sway is given both to Adam and to Eve. 'And God said to them...' Eve is standing right there when God gives the world over to us. She has a vital role to play; she is a partner in this great adventure. All that human beings were intended to do here on earth-all the creativity and exploration, all the battle and rescue and nurture-we were intended to do together. In fact, not only is Eve needed, but she is desperately needed.
When God creates Eve, he calls her an ezer kenegdo. 'It is not good for the man to be alone, I shall make him [an ezer kenegdo]' (Gen. 2:18 Alter). Hebrew scholar Robert Alter, who has spent years translating the book of Genesis, says that this phrase is 'notoriously difficult to translate.' The various attempts we have in English are "helper" or "companion" or the notorious "help meet." Why are these translations so incredibly wimpy, boring, flat...disappointing? What is a help meet, anyway? What little girl dances through the house singing "One day I shall be a help meet?" Companion? A dog can be a companion. Helper? Sounds like Hamburger Helper. Alter is getting close when he translates it "sustainer beside him"
The word ezer is used only twenty other places in the entire Old Testament. And in every other instance the person being described is God himself, when you need him to come through for you desperately.
'Blessed are you, O Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the LORD? He is your shield and helper and your glorious sward.' (Deut. 33:26,29, emphasis added)
'I lift up my eyes to the hills-where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.' (Ps. 121:1-2, ephasis added)
'May the LORD answer you when you are in distress; may the name of the God of Jacob protect you. May he send you help.' (Ps. 20:1-2, emphasis added)
'We wait in hope for the LORD, he is our help and our shield.' (Ps. 33:20, emphasis added)
'O house of Israel, trust in the LORD-he is their help and shield.
O house of Aaron, trust in the LORD-he is ther help and shield.
You who fear him, trust in the LORD-he is their help and shield.'
(Ps. 115:9-11, emphasis added)
Most of the contexts are life and death, by the way, and God is your only hope. Your ezer. If he is not there beside you . . . you are dead. A better translation therefore of ezer would be "lifesaver." Kenegdo means alongside, or opposite to, a counterpart.
You see, the life God calls us to is not a safe life. Ask Joseph, Abraham, Moses, Deborah, Esther-any of the friends of God from the Old Testament. God calls us to a life involving frequent risks and many dangers. Why else would we need him to be our ezer? You don't need a lifesaver if your mission is to be a couch potato. You need an ezer when your life is in constant danger.
Picture the character Arwen in the mythic motion-picture trilogy, The Lord of the Rings. Arwen is a princess, a beautiful and brave elf maiden. She comes into the story in the nick of time to rescue the little hobbit Frodo just as the poisoned wound moving toward his heart is about to claim him.
ARWEN: He's fading. He's not going to last. We must get him to my father. I've been looking for you for two days. There are five wraiths behind you. Where the other four are, I do not know.
ARAGORN: Stay with the hobbits. I'll send horses for you.
ARWEN: I'm the faster rider. I'll take him.
ARAGORN: The road is too dangerous.
ARWEN: I do not fear them.
ARAGORN: (relinquishing to her, he takes her hand.) Arwen, ride hard. Don't look back.
It is she, not the warrior Aragorn, who rides with glory and speed. She is Frodo's only hope. She is the one entrusted with his life and with him, the future of all Middle Earth. She is his ezer kenegdo.
That longing in the heart of a woman to share life together as a great adventure-that comes straight from the heart of God, who also longs for this. He does not want to be an option in our lives. He does not want to be an appendage, a tagalong. Neither does any woman. God is essential. He wants us to need him-desperately. Eve is essential. She has an irreplaceable role to play. And so you'll see that women are endowed with fierce devotion, an ability to suffer great hardships, a vision to make the world a better place.
What we said was, first, that Eve is the crown of creation. There is something uniquely magnificent and powerful about a woman. We tried to reveal the immeasurable dignity, the holiness of your feminine heart by showing that it is God who longs for Romance; it is God who longs to be our ezer; it is God who reveals beauty as essential to life. You are the image bearer of this God. That is why you long for those things too.
There is a radiance hidden in your heart that the world desperately needs.
deep breath in....deep breath out.
how refreshing to hear that woman was not simply an after thought. how refreshing to hear of woman as the "image bearer" of God. how refreshing and validating to hear my heart's desires are also God's desires. how refreshing to hear that woman bears the "other side" if you will of God's heart. so wonderful to hear the words "woman" and "powerful" together in the same sentence without negativity associated with it.
this definition of woman as ezer is so very empowering. the imagery that it creates in my mind is absolutely amazing. think of it this way. man was created to bear the image of "one side" of God's heart and woman was created to bear the image of the "other side" of God's heart. how beautiful is that? i can't quite fully wrap my mind or imagination around it. just wow!
doesn't this definition just feel right? and doesn't it just make sense?