Vessels of Honor, or what does God say about Women?
Vessels of Honor
The Status of Women as God Sees It
This issue appears to be of some importance so I thought I'd write a hub about it. There is a lot of confusion concerning the status of women in the Bible. There are entire books written to explain away what the Bible says about women without any understanding of what the Bible says about women. That makes it a worthy subject. As with many topics, God has much to say, but people typically listen to other people instead of God, and as with any game of broken telephone, much is lost.
God Created Who in Whose Image?
We may as well start in the beginning since the beginning is so apt a starting point.
“So God created man in his [own] image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” (Genesis 1:27 AV)
By the end of that verse, the typical Christian-sounding doctrine has already run off the rails and never gets back. Regardless of what the verse actually says, it gets repeated as God creating man and woman in his image. There are several problems with that...
- It doesn't say that.
- It rewords and repeats the idea so that there is no confusion that God created HIM in God's image.
- "Him" and "them" are two different words that have different meanings.
- It adds that both male and female were created to show that God can tell the difference between the two.
- It would take some strange kind of gender-confusion camera to be able to take two pictures (which is what an image is) of someone and end up with one male and one female picture.
A person would think that was fairly clear that God created HIM, that is man, in his image and not woman.
Some Background Information about God
He starts out in the Bible as a single guy in whose image single guys were created. The difference is that God is the perfect single guy and the images came out a little grainy.
He moves into his new place, with a chair and a footstool...
“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1 AV)
“Thus saith the LORD, The heaven [is] my throne, and the earth [is] my footstool: where [is] the house that ye build unto me? and where [is] the place of my rest?” (Isaiah 66:1 AV)
He does the same thing as any other single guy when he gets his new place. He turns on the lights.
“And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.” (Genesis 1:3 AV)
He calls it a day same as any other single guy, because as any single guy knows, getting a new place, getting comfortable and turning on the lights is serious work. The next day he checks to make sure there's a roof over the place to keep the rain out...
“And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which [were] under the firmament from the waters which [were] above the firmament: and it was so.” (Genesis 1:7 AV)
The next day he checks to make sure the place is dry and the water's been turned on...
“And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry [land] appear: and it was so.” (Genesis 1:9 AV)
He gets some plants to give the place a lived-in look...
“And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, [and] the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed [is] in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.” (Genesis 1:11 AV)
Then he got a couple of lamps to avoid the minimalist bare bulb in the middle of the ceiling style...
“And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: [he made] the stars also.” (Genesis 1:16 AV)
Some birds and an aquarium finishes off the new place nicely...
“And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that [it was] good.” (Genesis 1:21 AV)
Maybe some pets will do the trick, a dog or cat or something...
“And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that [it was] good.” (Genesis 1:25 AV)
That wraps up decorating the place. But as any person having a bunch of plants, fish, birds and pets knows, they can be a bit of a hassle, not to mention no days off, and they all have to eat and they all need someone to clean up after them. There is a solution, though, as many single guys know, and that is getting another single guy to split the rent, party with and so on. Maybe the new roomie will do all the work for free room and board...
“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 1:29 AV)
“And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.” (Genesis 2:15 AV)
And as anyone knows who has ever shared a place with anyone at all, there's always the "don't touch my stuff" thing going on...
“But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (Genesis 2:17 AV)
Now I haven't said all that to mock God. I've said to demonstrate that man really was made in the image of God. It's a grainy, fuzzy image, which is why single guys behave as they do. But there is also that future dream of getting a wife...
“And the LORD God said, [It is] not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” (Genesis 2:18 AV)
The image of God single guy, man, needs help with this kind of thing, where the perfect single guy, God, knows what's going on. But it isn't necessarily trouble-free and it turns out into a drawn-out affair that takes centuries to play out.
Vessels Made by the Potter
Man was made from the dirt. That is so basic, it doesn't matter whether you believe in creation or evolution or some combination. No earth, no man. It is simple. What people may disagree about is the name of the potter.
“And the LORD God formed man [of] the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” (Genesis 2:7 AV)
“But now, O LORD, thou [art] our father; we [are] the clay, and thou our potter; and we all [are] the work of thy hand.” (Isaiah 64:8 AV)
Being clay, we are being molded into something besides a mere lump. No potter takes a lump of clay and just molds into another lump of clay. The end result is almost always a container of some kind, a vessel if you will, hence the title.
“Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?” (Romans 9:21 AV)
Here we find something rather interesting, vessels made from the same lump. That isn't talking about those who reject God, since they are the vessels fitted for destruction in the next verse...
“[What] if God, willing to shew [his] wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:” (Romans 9:22 AV)
But getting back to the same lump concept...
“And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;” (Genesis 2:21 AV)
Whatever lump of clay Adam was made from, Eve was made from that same lump. Returning to that earlier verse, we find that one was made for honor and one for dishonor. The question is, which is which? We find Paul discussing the same idea with Timothy...
“But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour.” (2 Timothy 2:20 AV)
To clarify what is being said, you can think of the vessel of honor as being a decorative vase, beautifully glazed, placed upon a mantel for all to admire, where the vessel of dishonor is like the toilet, utilitarian yet still valuable. The issue of which is which still remains. Paul, in a stroke of good fortune, told us...
“If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, [and] prepared unto every good work.” (2 Timothy 2:21 AV)
Here we have it. A man will have to purge himself of something, namely dishonor, to become a vessel of honor. That means that the woman is already a vessel of honor.
There is a principle expressed in the Bible concerning honor...
“For our comely [parts] have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that [part] which lacked:” (1 Corinthians 12:24 AV)
So that which lacks receives greater honor. In the case of the woman, being the weaker vessel, God has given her greater honor by command to the husband to treat her honorably...
“Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with [them] according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.” (1 Peter 3:7 AV)
Weaker vessels there means weaker the way vases are weaker than toilets. Why women would want to challenge men on this issue is a mystery. Who, being a beautiful vase, would want to be a toilet, is a question that lacks an answer.
Similarly, the man lacking honor from the start, was given the headship over the woman...
“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 AV)
“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.” (Colossians 3:18 AV)
The end result of that is this...
“11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. 12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. 14 She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar. 15 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.
16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. 17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.
18 She perceiveth that her merchandise [is] good: her candle goeth not out by night. 19 She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff. 20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy. 21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household [are] clothed with scarlet.
22 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing [is] silk and purple. 23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.
24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth [it]; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant. 25 Strength and honour [are] her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. 26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue [is] the law of kindness. 27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. 28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband [also], and he praiseth her. 29 Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.” (Proverbs 31:11-29 AV)
That woman has Martha Stewart beat by a mile. She's the real supermom, taking care of the household, with employees (which makes it easier), and running several businesses from the looks of it. Not only that, there is a LOT of shopping going on there. Compare that to the alternative which is what most women are trying to do and I have to wonder why.
Now that we see that woman is designed to be a vessel of honor, let's find out whose image she is created in.
Back to the Single Guy
We left the story at the point where the roomie's new girlfriend got into the fridge and ate whatever she found, some of which was in the no touch zone. Of course, that won't fly, so the roomie and the girlfriend get the boot.
Now the original single guy is single but knows what he wants so...
“19 And I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies. 20 I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness: and thou shalt know the LORD.” (Hosea 2:19-20 AV)
There is also the entire book of the Song of Solomon, also known as Canticles, which I won't quote in its entirety. There is a wedding in the future...
“And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” (Revelation 21:2 AV)
“And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” (Revelation 21:9 AV)
“7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. 8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. 9 And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed [are] they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.” (Revelation 19:7-9 AV)
Women Are the Vessels of Honor
There we have it, we find out whose image woman is made in. The single guy in the beginning of the book gets married at the end. And they lived happily ever after.
God sees the end from the beginning...
“Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times [the things] that are not [yet] done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:” (Isaiah 46:10 AV)
Thus, he saw the Bride from the beginning and created woman in her image.
“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” (2 Corinthians 4:7 AV)
Women were created, not from mud as man was, but from pottery clay, as it were. Women will be as the beautiful vases and jewelry cases, where men will be as the more utilitarian pots and dishes. Women are the vessels of honor. There is no point in wanting to be a vessel of dishonor.