Numbers 30:1-16 – Where Have All The Real Fathers/Husbands Gone? We Need More than Al Bundy!

Posted: November 4, 2016 in Book of Numbers

Numbers 30:1-16

Vows

Back in the day, a father’s role in the family was a significant one here in our culture in the United States. Somewhere along the way, we became Al Bundy. Somewhere along the way, we became something to mock as clueless. I love the  show, Everybody Loves Raymond, but his role on that show was one of a bumbling fool that his wife had to cajole and manage. Compare that with I Love Lucy some fifty years before that. “Lucy, you got some ‘splainin’ to dooooo!” In that show, Ricky was definitely the head of the household and Lucy was like a kid trying to get around the rules of her husband. Raymond and Lucy are so very much alike and it shows how views of manhood have changed in America over the last 50 to 60 years or so. Husbands and fathers, who do we have to blame for this? All we have to do is look in the mirror. We have ourselves to blame.

 

We fancy ourselves are the heads of our household but yet, for the most part, we have abdicated this role to our wives. We no longer take leadership roles in our homes. We want the easy way out. We just want to be water following the path of least resistance. We don’t want to deal with the tough problems of life at home. We just want to go to work and stay there as long as we can. Life is simple at work. Everything is black and white and doesn’t seem as vague as the rest of our lives. We love work because it is black and white and only about 10% of us actually have to lead others. The vast majority of us are workers such that we do not have to make tough decisions at work. We just go to work do our job with its black/white and yes/no and we love the fact that there are no gray areas. Then, we come home and we want to not have to make any decisions there either. We just want to rest and watch TV. We just want to play with our toys and not have to make any tough decisions. “Go ask your mom” is the order of the day. We have made our decisions by saying “go ask your mom!” We allow our wives to make all the major decisions in our families because we want the path of least resistance. We want access to sex, beer, and an easy chair more than we want to make tough decisions in our families. We complain about our wives being hardasses but they have had to take over our roles because we refuse to take them. We want all the glory but none of the guts. There are laws of nature that say when a vacuum is created, something will come in and fill it. It is no more true than it is in the modern American family – if we can still call it that.

 

Look at all the single moms out there. Men have walked away from their families for younger, less attached women and left their children behind. How many times do you hear of single moms talking about their deadbeat ex-husbands. Men that fail to show up to pick their children up on their designated visitation weekends. Men who fail to pay their child support. Men who fail to be there for important events in their children’s lives. Moms carrying the full load of parenting that they were not meant to or designed by God to carry. Fatherless homes are, in my opinion, the single most important failure in American culture. Whether you believe in God or not, and you want to call it something other than God by calling it the universe, God has designed us to be authority figures in our children’s lives and when we are not present to take that role, children suffer. Crime statistics about children from fatherless, of father vacant homes are alarming and notable when compared to children who were raised where there was a father that was active in their parenting. For one, I believe that God designed it to be that way. However, we have rebelled against that intelligent design because it is a hard job. Women have had to fill the vacuum because we refuse to fill it and thus they have rebelled against God’s design because of our general failure as men.

 

This cuts across racial, ethnic, demographic and all lines. We men in America have failed our God given calling because we want the easy way out. We just want to have sex whenever we want. We want easy access to it. We don’t want any of the responsibilities that go along with being a true man as God designed it.

 

We are quick to point to the first half of Ephesians 5 as the design of God where a wife is to submit to her husband. We like that submit part. We love that. It is almost sexual to us to think of having a submissive wife. And boy would it make life easier for us if they did instead of nagging us all the time, right? But, the first half of Ephesians 5 is only half the chapter. The second half is on us. We are called to a higher calling than women in our families. We are called to love our wives the way Christ loved the church. That’s a pretty tall order there. We are to love our wives to the point of death so that they can have life. We are to love our wives and do what’s best for them even when they don’t even realize what’s best for them. We need to love our wives in ways that they don’t even notice. We need to create a world for them where they are protected from evil. We are to love them by leading by example. We are to love them by teaching them in loving ways what to do when we are not around. We are to be willing to do whatever it takes to ensure their safety and security. We are provide environments for our wives that will allow them to flourish and grow. We are to be men who make tough decisions that are for the best and not necessarily popular. We are to speak truth and seek it. We are to love God and seek to please Him. That’s how Jesus loved the church. That’s how we are to love our wives. What woman would not want to submit to that man. But that man so often does not exist anymore. Ask any wife. They want their husbands to lead their families rather than the wife being the one forced de facto to lead the family. They want their husbands to lead. It is the nature designed by God. But we have failed to the point that the most popular image of modern day fathers is Al Bundy.

 

No wonder women wanted to be liberated in the 1960’s! I would too. If I was a woman and had to make all the tough decisions but was not afforded the rights that go along with it, I would have wanted to be liberated too. No wonder the first impression that anyone has about this passage for today, Numbers 30:1-16, is that it is sexist by today’s standards. It is sexist because we have failed as a society of fathers and men. Women read this and compare this to men of today and cringe. However, if we are true followers of Christ and take our role in our homes seriously, maybe, just maybe, this passage would not seem sexist at all. Let’s read it together now:

 

30 Moses said to the heads of the tribes of Israel: “This is what the Lord commands: 2 When a man makes a vow to the Lord or takes an oath to obligate himself by a pledge, he must not break his word but must do everything he said.

 

3 “When a young woman still living in her father’s household makes a vow to the Lord or obligates herself by a pledge 4 and her father hears about her vow or pledge but says nothing to her, then all her vows and every pledge by which she obligated herself will stand. 5 But if her father forbids her when he hears about it, none of her vows or the pledges by which she obligated herself will stand; the Lord will release her because her father has forbidden her.

 

6 “If she marries after she makes a vow or after her lips utter a rash promise by which she obligates herself 7 and her husband hears about it but says nothing to her, then her vows or the pledges by which she obligated herself will stand. 8 But if her husband forbids her when he hears about it, he nullifies the vow that obligates her or the rash promise by which she obligates herself, and the Lord will release her.

 

9 “Any vow or obligation taken by a widow or divorced woman will be binding on her.

 

10 “If a woman living with her husband makes a vow or obligates herself by a pledge under oath 11 and her husband hears about it but says nothing to her and does not forbid her, then all her vows or the pledges by which she obligated herself will stand. 12 But if her husband nullifies them when he hears about them, then none of the vows or pledges that came from her lips will stand. Her husband has nullified them, and the Lord will release her. 13 Her husband may confirm or nullify any vow she makes or any sworn pledge to deny herself.[b] 14 But if her husband says nothing to her about it from day to day, then he confirms all her vows or the pledges binding on her. He confirms them by saying nothing to her when he hears about them. 15 If, however, he nullifies them some time after he hears about them, then he must bear the consequences of her wrongdoing.”

 

16 These are the regulations the Lord gave Moses concerning relationships between a man and his wife, and between a father and his young daughter still living at home.

 

What kind of man are you? Does your wife and daughter look to you for leadership? Does your wife and daughter (and even your sons) look to you to keep them from harm’s way? Do they look to you for wisdom? Do they look to you for boundaries? Do they look to you for discipline? Do they look to you for truth and consistency of application of the truths of God? Can they count on you to provide for them? Can they count on you to make a safe, orderly and secure home for them? Are you leading your family or are you abdicating that role to your wife because it’s too hard to be the leader of your family.

 

We are called to a higher callig as fathers according to Scripture? We must step up. We must become what God intends us to be? We can no longer abdicate our roles as leaders in our homes? This is a bigger, more rampant and more important problem to solve than Hillary vs. Donald. This is the real issue in our society. Fathers not being fathers. We want to football, beer, and easy sex. We are failing. This is what we have to change. If we want our wives and children to respect us, we first must take on the role that God in heaven designed us to be. Yes, being a true father and husband is tough job. But God designed us for that.

 

He designed us to make sure that our wives and our children are kept from danger. It is what we are designed for. When we live a life as a husband and a father that loves his family the way Jesus loved his church then just maybe we can gain the respect that we think we deserve. Then, and only then, does this passage not sound sexist in modern day America.

 

If you are wife and you are reading this, pray for your husband to become the leader of your home that God designed him to be. If you are husband reading this, pray for God to give you the strength to see your shortcomings as a husband and as a father and give you the humility to change things.

 

Amen and Amen.

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