The AMI QT blogs for January (weekdays), provided by Pastor Ryun Chang, are extended to cover important sociopolitical matters that have serious ramifications for the Christian faith. Pastor Ryun (PhD), who serves as the Teaching Pastor of AMI, is the author of Manual de Misionología, Theologizing in the Racial Middle, and a contributor to The Reshaping of Mission in Latin America.
Disclaimer: AMI, as a consortium of several churches, allows the expression of multiple standpoints on non-essential biblical matters. My views expressed here do not necessarily represent the respective views of AMI pastors. I am also mindful that not every reader will agree with my stances on sensitive and contentious issues addressed in this month’s blogs. Where that may be the case, I invite you to utilize the comment section below, so that we may have an open dialogue; I highly encourage all readers to share their thoughts and experiences. Thank you.
Extended Devotional Thought for Today
“What Conscientious Men Should Do When Men Act Badly Toward Women?”
Exodus 2:16-17 (ESV)
“Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters, and they came and drew water and filled the troughs to water their father’s flock. 17 The shepherds came and drove them away, but Moses stood up and saved them, and watered their flock.”
In an earlier blog, I mentioned that while on any given day, a female soldier can outperform a male soldier, on the average, male soldiers outdo female soldiers with respect to tasks requiring strength and durability (but not intelligence), since most men are bigger and stronger than women. And because of this differential, too many men have leveraged their physical advantage to harass and bully women, sexual or otherwise.
Scripture certainly is not reticent when it comes to exposing how badly men have behaved toward women from antiquity, just because they—being physically stronger than most women—could overpower them. Consider what happened in Midian (in northwestern Arabian Peninsula) about 3,500 years ago. One day, seven sisters whose job was to take care of their father’s flocks came to a well to draw water for their animals. Shortly thereafter, several shepherds (all men), upon coming to the same well, drove the women away so that their animals could drink. This has two ramifications: men physically harassing women; men economically exploiting women.
Then there is the case of Amnon, a son of King David, who lured his stepsister Tamar to his house to make him some food on pretense that he was sick. When unsuspecting Tamar came into his room with food, Scripture says that Amnon “grabbed her . . . and since he was stronger than she, he raped her. Then Amnon . . . said to her, ‘Get up and get out!’” (2 Sam. 13:15). In both incidences, men could do what they did to their female victims simply because they were bigger and stronger. If anything, the #MeToo movement has shown that this predatorial behavior has not been expunged even among those men in the media and Hollywood, who, despite talking a great deal about women’s rights in public, have no regard for them in private.
So then, what should conscientious men do when women are treated this way? I would advise that we do what Moses did, but not imitate what David failed to do. As for Moses, upon seeing women being harassed, he “got up and came to their rescue and watered their flock” (NIV). Not only did Moses protect the harassed women from chauvinistic men, he likely helped the women water their animals. Therefore, in some sense, what Moses did was equivalent to ensuring that women get equal opportunities at work.
On the contrary, “when King David heard all [that Amnon did], he was furious” (2 Sam. 13:21) but he did absolutely nothing about it thereafter. David was known for being “a man after [God’s] own heart, who will do all [His] will” (Acts 13:22), but not on this occasion, because he failed to “open [his] mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute” (Prov. 31:8).
Tragically, this lack of intervention prompted another violence: Absalom, the indignant brother of Tamar who probably was miffed at David’s non-action, later kills Amnon as an act of revenge (1 Sam. 13:32).
So, let’s not be like these shepherds and Amnon who push their weight around physically weaker women to get what they want—that’s call exploitation and God will exact justice against those who do that (Prov. 22:22-23 NIV). Neither should we be like David who, in effect, acted as if he didn’t care that a woman (his own daughter no less) was raped. Rather, let’s remember to protect the weak and do our part to ensure that they are not victimized. The apostle Paul reminds us: “Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves” (Rom. 15:1). So, when you see or hear something that denigrates women, say something—firmly. And then, let’s make sure we don’t do the same thing to women when no one is looking.
Prayer: Dear Lord, we thank You for protecting us and shielding us from those who seek to harm us. Help us not to forget, therefore, that we ought to do the same for those who are weaker than us, physical or otherwise. Help us not be exploiters of the weak but rather their protector. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Genesis 11
Tomorrow’s Blog: Some Thoughts from the Kavanaugh Hearing (1): “If You Are Ever Accused, Would You Want Due Process?”
Lunch Break Study
Read Matt. 20:25-28:
“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 26 It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, 28 even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
1 Peter 3:7:
“Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.”
“In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
Questions to Consider
- What is the typical way in which the pecking order is established in the world? How are the people at the bottom often treated?
- How should the followers of Christ conduct themselves differently amid the pecking order of the world?
- What is one reason that ought to motivate us to work hard? Has that been the case for you?
- The pecking order is established based on power and authority: those who have accumulated more money, attained higher education, and have better connections lord over those who don’t. The worth of those who occupy the bottom are often appraised based on their ability to make the rich richer and the powerful more powerful.
- The followers of Christ, including the bosses, ought to have a servant mentality. And in homes, although much has changed with respect to gender roles, husband ought to remember that the Lord expects them to honor and take care of their wives (Eph. 5:28).
- One reason we ought to work hard is to be able to help the weak (Eph. 4:28).
Did you meet some new people today? What is the first thing you do internally? Is it sizing up how you fare in light of how others appear to you? Most of us do that. Okay, you sized them up and you came on top—now what? The next time when that happens, why not leverage your strength to make the other person feel accepted and respected. But, if you use your strength to make others feel “small” and out of place, what does that say about you? Really insecure, perhaps? Take a moment to see what’s really in your heart. Repent if needed.