There was this popular encounter that Jesus had with the Pharisees on a very controversial topic, divorce. The record is in Mathew 19. The pharisees asked him whether a man can divorce his wife for every cause. Jesus refuted this position and taught that a man is not to divorce his wife except on the ground of sexual immorality. This clearly contradicted what Moses taught. Jesus told them clearly that the teaching of Moses regarding this subject was because of the hardness of their heart and not the original plan of God. He expressed this through that catch phrase, “in the beginning it was not so.”
From the authority of the passage above, a few deductions can be made.
1. There are several teachings regarding marriage handed down by different “Moseses” – respected servants of God- that are incongruent with the original plan of God for marriage.
2. If anyone desires to run marriage in perfect accord with the original plan of God, he has to refer carefully to what obtained in the beginning to draw applicable principles for his own marriage.
3. If what obtained in the beginning is the perfect will of God as endorsed by Jesus the Lord of all, then it is the grundnorm regarding marriage. A grundnorm is a legal term that refers to the basic and highest law regarding any subject. The constitution for instance is the grundnorm of any country meaning that no other law must contradict it. If any other law contradicts it, such law shall to the extent of its inconsistency be null and void. In the same way, it can be submitted that any other principle of marriage that must stand must be reconcilable with the principles established by God in the first marriage before the fall. If it is not reconcilable, that principle must to the extent of its inconsistency be null and void. It was on this basis that Jesus nullified the law of Moses regarding this subject.
The above well said and settled, let’s now return to Genesis to interrogate the question, “is man the Provider?” “Was man the Provider?”
A quick caution. Even in the beginning, there were two versions of marriage between the man and the woman. There was a marriage before the fall which I’ll refer to as the ‘Genesis Chapter 2 marriage” and one after the fall which I’ll refer to as the “Genesis Chapter 3 marriage.” The two marriages are strikingly different in their characteristics. Genesis 2 marriage was the perfect will of God. Genesis 3 marriage was not but unfortunately the most popular brand of marriage all of us are familiar with. It was a marriage that mirrored all the characteristics of the fallen man. Note therefore that Genesis 3 marriage is not the model of our study.
Was man the Provider in the Genesis 2 marriage? Was he the one who provided food for himself and his wife? The answer is no. It was the Lord. Consider Genesis 1:28-29.
“And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.”
Genesis 1:28-29 KJV
Was it the man that provided accommodation for himself and the wife? Hell no. It was also the Lord.
“And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.”
Genesis 2:8 KJV
So what was the job of the man? His job was to maintain the provision of the Lord. His job was to further cultivate it for greater growth.
“So the Lord God took the man [He had made] and settled him in the Garden of Eden to CULTIVATE and KEEP IT.”
Genesis 2:15 AMP
Take important note that the man had no contribution whatsoever to his accommodation, provision of the food, watering system and other amenities in the garden. His contribution started after those things had been provided. His work was to maintain and cultivate the provision. If God made no provision, he had nothing to cultivate.
The other day when the woman wanted to eat one of the fruits, she didn’t need her husband to lead her to the provision. She had access herself to the provision the Lord had made which her husband maintains. How then did the man become the provider? Simply because he is the one who harvests the fruits? The fruits he didn’t plant? The trees were already bearing fruit before he even started maintaining them. (Check Genesis 2:15-17. At the time God brought Adam into the garden, those trees were already full grown and bearing fruit).
But after the fall, God withdrew his contribution to this family and then Adam became the provider for his family. He had to provide for them. He transferred his skills as cultivator into this new role of provider. He had to first get accommodation and then he had to provide their clothing. God clothed them with his glory before now. Next is food on daily basis. It was now his burden. He had to sweat so hard to get it. This was a curse.
“And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
Genesis 3:17-19 KJV
Please take important note of vs. 19 which says, “in the sweat of your face, shall thou eat bread.” If vs 19 is a curse, then it means before the fall, Adam didn’t eat from his own sweat. He ate from the sweat of the Lord. This further proves he wasn’t the provider. If he was the provider, he ought to have “sweated”.
An upside of this curse was that the woman began to look up to the man for her survival. In other words, she began to put her trust in him and not God. This was never and is never God’s plan for the woman. The bible says cursed is the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord. Jeremiah 17:5. As a result of the woman’s subservience to the man, the man ruled over her. This also was a curse and not the will of God.
Unto the woman he said, 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.
Genesis 3:16 KJV.
So what of the scripture where Paul said, anyone who doesn’t provide for his household is worse than an infidel? That passage is directed at both man and woman and not just the man. Let me show you the context of it.
“Honor widows who are really widows. But if any widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show piety at home and to repay their parents; for this is good and acceptable before God. But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
I Timothy 5:3-4, 8 NKJV
Honor and help those widows who are truly widowed [alone, and without support]. But if a widow has children or grandchildren [who are adults], see to it that these first learn to show great respect to their own family [as their religious duty and natural obligation], and to compensate their parents or grandparents [for their upbringing]; for this is acceptable and pleasing in the sight of God. If anyone fails to provide for his own, and especially for those of his own family, he has denied the faith [by disregarding its precepts] and is worse than an unbeliever [who fulfills his obligation in these matters].
1 Timothy 5:3-4, 8 AMP
Clearly the objects of the passage above are children and grandchildren of widows. Paul was addressing their duty to take care of their parents who are widowed and weak. These children and grandchildren are not just male but male and female. So “anyone” (and not “any man”) in vs 8 refers to both male and female. The pronoun “he” also in verse 8 is a generic pronoun. It is referring to both the male-he and the female-he. You and I in daily conversations use this kind of speech where “he” is used as a generic pronoun. As long as children and grandchildren of widows cannot be only male children, vs 8 cannot be referring to only male-men.
If you still don’t get, please pick your bible and read 1 Timothy 5:3-10 in all versions available to you. Read verse 8 within its context and you’ll get it.
Summary: 1 Timothy 5:8 fully establishes the position that both the man and woman have the duty to provide for their nuclear and extended family. Now God is the provider and not them. It then means God can flow to the family through any of them. This is the Genesis 2 marriage that Jesus Christ has come to restore us back to. Whatever provision God brings through the man is for the family. Whatever provision God brings through the woman is for the family. There is no partitioning the finances of the couple. They are no more two but one.
A man can go into the place of prayer to pray for provisions and God sends it through his wife with the assurance it will reach the man. A woman can pray for provisions and God sends it through her husband with the confidence that she will get it. Before God, they are no more two but one.
If the wrong doctrine that man is the provider is knocked off the head of couples, there will be no nagging or grumbling or attitude from the wife to her husband anytime there is no money. She will learn to call on God with her husband as they both tap God’s resources. This nagging and attitude destroys the life off relationships. While the resources is awaited, they can both be at peace with each other, enjoy their Garri and groundnut with joy and fun without anyone thinking it is somebody’s fault. Couples will have less fighting of each other as a result of lack if they recognise they are both responsible to receive from the Lord for their household.
What then is the role of the man if he is not the provider or if you like, sole provider? He has several other roles that no one shares with him. He is the spiritual and political leader of the family. This is why if there is a need in the house and the wife instead of praying chooses to sleep all night, I won’t expect the man to sleep all night. He is still the leader and ought to show example of faith. Aside this, he is Teacher, Sanctifier, Cherisher, Nourisher, Defender and Cultivator of all that God provides for his family. It is his duty to ensure that God’s provisions through him or his wife are well used and well invested for multiplication. So he needs to be entrepreneurial. Sound with money management and investments.
Next week Sunday, we will interrogate in details, “THE WOMAN’S CURSE OF SUBSERVIENCE.” Until then, meditate on these things.
Peniela Eniayo, Akintujoye.
©Peniela Eniayo, Akintujoye| email@example.com