Links Daily Devotional

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Care of Our Households

You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife. (Deuteronomy 5:21, NIV)

When I was growing up, the place for women was really a time. Tuesday and Thursday mornings, the course was all theirs. On weekend afternoons, they could join their husbands and fathers.

I suppose some clubs still think this is a good idea. Give the two sexes their space and all that. Pastel golf balls and smoldering cigar butts simply do not belong together! OK, OK, we get it.

But when we turn to the pages of Scripture, what we get more thoroughly is the insight that men and women were to progress in faith together—and that the first responsibility for this progression rested with the men. It was men who were the representative heads of their households, and it was men who were called to honor and defend the women, the children, the servants, and the guests. And before you go there, you may need to ask yourself if honor and protection ever go out of fashion…

When we review the two presentations of the Ten Commandments—first in Exodus 20, then in Deuteronomy 5—we recognize something quite interesting. After 40 years of watching his people bungle their way through the wilderness, Moses the preacher (for that’s what he was doing in Deuteronomy 5) tweaked the last commandment. It had first read, “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife” (Exodus 20:17). In his recounting the tenth commandment, Moses rendered it this way: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife; you shall not desire your neighbor’s house” (Deuteronomy 5:21). In both cases, the commandment goes on, to servants and animals and possessions.

What had Moses seen that concerned him enough to flip the order of the commandment? Apparently this: Men had reduced women to possessions. They were another thing to “want.” In the big picture, men were drifting from their greatest earthly responsibility. In not caring about their neighbor’s household, they were not caring for their own. And this meant one group especially: the people in those houses.

We are still, men and women, meant to grow in our faith together. And we are still, men, meant to honor and protect our households—and those of our neighbors—that they may do this growing in Christ under our God-honoring care.

Jeff Hopper
August 15, 2014
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