Friday, September 01, 2006

Leading From Behind

This morning's devotion took me to Genesis 16:1-3. This is the section in which Sarah persuades Abraham to make her maidservant Hagar pregnant in order to produce an heir. (This was accepted practise back in that culture. Do not try this at home.)The Puritan Matthew Henry observes that this is an instance (along with the example of Adam and Eve) where Satan cleverly uses the persuasions of our nearest and dearest to make us sin.

Boy, was that convicting. Not because I think I have recently done this but because it suddenly opened my eyes to all the opportunities I do have to do this-- to subtly take leadership from Rich in the guise of being 'proactive' for his sake. One of the great blessings of being a wife is that we are supposed to anticipate the needs of our husbands as they direct the family. It's a great thing to be able to know one's husband that well.

But oh what a fine line between that and the subtle "guiding" of your husband to do something that is not in his plans or on the Lord's books....for a "good" reason! In Sarah's case it was the desire to have an heir. She wanted to do this in a way that was perfectly socially acceptable in her day. She decided how to solve the problem. Poor thing, no doubt she felt the shame of childlessness, and knew all about the Lord's promise of an heir to Abraham. What she did not realise is that God was sovereign over even her body, and that He would produce an heir at just the right time, age or not. She took the leadership and destiny of her family into her own hands. A blogger named Carmon calls it "leading from behind". (Sorry, don't have the link but can dig it up somehow if you want it...she's a pretty wise lady.)

Just think of the consequences of that "proactivity" for just a moment. Ishmael was born.

Here's another one: Eve, with her bright suggestions and persuasions to Adam. (Adam, where was your head that day?)

I really think I need to examine myself on this one. What problems is my family facing that I am tempted to solve "proactively"? Am I able to discern when I am 'taking over' for Rich when I do this? What could be the consequences of deterring Rich from what he knows is God's provision for him and for us?

Am I so keen to get a job so that my daughter can go to college that I will grab at anything at any time? Do I check with Rich, giving him the final word as he should have? Do I ever emotionally blackmail him to act against his better judgement? "I'll never be happy unless yadda yadda yadda.....". Pokepokepoke, prodprodprodprod,weepweepweep,sighsighsigh.

God forbid!

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