In the Book of Judges we are introduced to a strong woman who is one of the judges over the tribes of Israel. Deborah was her name and she was a prophetess. The nation was being oppressed by the Canaanites so Deborah summoned a man named Barak to fight for their liberation. Barak showed her the utmost honor in his response, “If you will go with me, then I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not go (Judges 4.8).”
Some people belittle Barak for not being “man enough,” but I think Barak was wise. We hear a lot of talk in Christian circles about manliness and so-called “biblical manhood.” Many churches function as if the women are barely present. When these people approach this text they find Barak to be a wimp. I think they are in error.
What I have learned from Barak is simple: when you know a woman worthy of honor who makes the world around her better the right thing to do is to respect her strength. Barak knew Deborah had proven herself as a woman worthy of respect and even submission. Deborah deserved to be understood this way.
When my wife gave me my ring on our wedding day it had an inscription in Hebrew from the Book of Ruth 1.16 which translates as, “Where you will go, I will go.” She did this very thing when the day after our honeymoon we packed our combined belongings, left California, and moved to Oregon so I could do the Th.M. program at Western Seminary. Today I am graduating.
Over the next several months we will be planning our transition. There are several options and many things to consider. One thing I know though is that I could not have done what I have done these last few years without my amazing, Deborah-like wife and like Barak I know it is wise to say, “If you will go with me, then I will go; but if you do not go with me, I will not go.” I am not saying this simply because we are married and we need to stay together. That is obvious. Rather, I am presenting this attitude back to the woman who told me, “Where you will go I will go.”
Over the last few years I have learned so much from my wife. She has given me insight into subjects related to family studies, ethnic studies, gender studies, human sexuality, and so many other areas that need to be understood as we proclaim the Gospel in an ever changing society. She has challenged me when I was ignorant (or even belligerent) making me a better thinker and more importantly a better person. When we moved to Oregon I didn’t consult her as I should have. I had never been a husband, but now that I have been one for almost three years I realize that to ignore her would be to ignore my most valuable resource.
Miranda is my best friend. I know she has my best interest in mind. I love her so very much. I hope to show wisdom and growth at this stage in our lives by echoing the words of Barak by saying, “If you will go with me, then I will go.” As long as I have her support I know I have what I need. I am thankful for a wife who makes me a better person, who strengthens me, and whose beauty and love are unsurpassed. Truly, I am blessed.
Brian, first off, congratulations on graduating today! I know you’re going to do wonderful things for the Kingdom, whether as a writer, husband, or anything else you put your heart and mind in to.
Second of all, you sound like you have a great wife!
I’m getting married in May, and everything you’re saying hits home. I have never been a husband and I’m even now trying to learn to lead with her in mind – something that can be extremely hard. My studies seem to me often as the most important thing. Please Keep me in prayer that I have the strength to be as Barak.
I don’t say it enough, but I want to know that you’re a daily blessing to my life. You’re writings, believe it or not, have really, really influenced me.
Peace be with you in this journey.
YOU are a Blessed man! 🙂
Daniel you don’t speak woman, you will never speak woman, so don’t try it. You won’t be able to read her mind either. Just love her as she is. 🙂
Thank you! And yes, I do have a great wife. My only advice to you (since I haven’t been married very long) is that to be a good leader in the home you must often be a loving follower. Know your wife’s strengths and allow her to use her gifting.
Brian Fulthrop– the idea is not to learn to “speak woman.” It’s sad to be viewed as such a separate species that it’s impossible to communicate with us. I assure you, we are human, we hunger, we love, we bleed as you do. All we want is for you to listen to us, as you would want to be listened to– to hear our needs as you would want yours heard– to take into account our perspective as you would want yours taken into account. You know, that old “do unto others” thing?
I agree with Brian LePort about not always assuming you are to be the leader in every aspect of your lives. The Bible never says, “husbands lead your wives.” It says “husbands love your wives.” When she has the greater expertise or experience level, or when you are tired or sick, you need her. Your masculinity is not decreased by letting her be a co-leader of the family who sometimes takes the lead.
After thirty-two years of an ever-deepening similar discovery, I can attest that you have found wisdom that will permit you to do together what you could never do alone. Proverbs 31:10; Matthew 19:5
worgazer, it was just a joke. sorry if i offended.
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