12.10.2014

Equally Yoked: What Being a Help Meet Really Means

I'm pretty excited for Equally Yoked today. But let's be real, I'm excited for it EVERY week. Joining us today is Maggie. I met Maggie via twitter when I was involved with Overcome the Lie. This woman is REAL. She has a heart of gold but isn't scared to share what is on her mind and I absolutely adore her for this. Her writing is completely unique and always challenges me to think about certain topics from a new perspective. I know today will be no exception to that. 
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Hi there, friends. My name is Maggie, and I blog over at Sparks from the Soul where I write about faith, feminism, and family. I’m a transplanted Georgian living in Indianapolis with my rustic, bearded husband of 2 and a half years. We attend a little church plant where Will works as the Worship Director and I serve as the Women’s Ministry Coordinator. When people ask me how I knew that I’d marry Will, I always tell them it’s because we made a good team. He’s the perfect sweet to my sour.

I’ve never been one of those people who accepts something as truth just because another person said it was so. I have the rambunctious and stubborn heart that needs to wrestle with the mud of life all on my own. And when I first heard the term help meet, I knew I needed to do some digging. I felt that this concept of helper needed to be wrestled with – especially if it was going to directly affect how I interacted with my husband.

The way I see it, our interpretation of Scripture impacts our application of it. This means we must take great care in how we read the Bible.

The term help meet has been pulled from Genesis 2:18 where God looks at Adam and says, “It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him,” (NLT). God makes this decision after looking around and realizing that everything had a pair – birds, lions, fish, even the sun and moon had each other. But Adam was without a pair. So God decided to make a helper for the man.

The King James Version is the oldest English translation and the first to interpret the woman’s role as help meet. It’s somewhat appropriate that the KJV splits these in two since the original Hebrew is a combination of the two words ezer and kenegdo. But the more important of the two words is ezer, which is literally translated as “helper.” When trying to understand the full meaning of a word, scholars often look at other passages where the same word is used. This strategy is particularly helpful in understanding ezer because it’s used several other times in Scripture. Every other time ezer is used in the Old Testament, it’s in reference to God being a help or military aid to Israel.


“But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted; you consider their grief and take it in hand. The victims commit themselves to you; you are the [ezer] of the fatherless,” (Psalm 10:14).

“Blessed are you, Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the Lord? He is your shield and [ezer] and your glorious sword,” (Deuteronomy 33:29).

“We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our [ezer] and our shield,” (Psalm 33:20).

Aside from the numerous references to God as helper, the only other time ezer is used is in reference to woman in Genesis 2. This new understanding of my role as helper wrecked my heart in the best of ways.

To be a helper does not mean to be weak.

Quite the opposite, I’d say. If God is ezer, then it must take a whole lot of strength and resolve. Assuming the posture of helper does not mean I am subordinate to my husband, just as God was not subordinate to Israel. It actually means that my job is important – that my husband is lacking without my corresponding work.

I used to shrivel up at the word helper but now I bask in it. We have made the word small in our minds, reducing it to menial tasks and docile demeanors. I’m starting to think that we’ve had it all wrong. God’s call for woman to be a helper is a role that demands great strength and courage. It means we fight the darkness for our men, we take up their cause when their arms get weary, we speak hard truth, and we always always cultivate love where we are with what we have.

This job of ours – it’s the real deal. It’s hard and messy and sometimes it hurts. But our grace is that God himself modeled it for us. Our calling is steep but our Shepherd is mighty. Around dark corners and through rocky terrain, he will lead us.


See more from the series HERE.   

15 comments :

  1. I love how you have made it so clear that as a helper to our husbands, it doesn't mean we are subordinate. Like you said, it's such an empowering and important role! Love this :)

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  2. Maggie knows all the right things to say and she's beyond wise

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  3. Definitely! This was such an empowering truth for me.

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  4. You're too good to me, friend.

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  5. This is really is awesome thank you for sharing :)

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  6. So often we get helper and subordinate mixed up but I love how you cleared that up here! We have an amazing role as wives to our husbands and to know that God created us with a specific role in mind makes my heart happy! Love this, Maggie and Cassie!

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  7. Thanks for reading, Sarah!

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  8. Thanks Sarah. We really are lucky!

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  9. I love how defined helper! Makes so much more sense now :)

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  10. "The mud of life" <--- I like this phrase.


    I love the meaning of ezer. I like to think of it meaning the person who fights for you. God did that for Israel so, so many times. I think of Exodus 14:14, "The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still," when I think of that. So you, as Will's helper, are the person who's specially appointed to fight for him. To quote a highly philosophical source (My Big Fat Greek Wedding), the man is the head but the woman is the neck, and in such a pivotal role, it's critical we as women are equipped and determined to fight well for our husbands.


    I feel weird saying that in the first person plural because I'm not married, as you know, but I like to think it's a fight that's still mine if I have any ambition to be the kind of woman who does her husband good all the days of her life and not just the days she knows him.

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  11. I don't think it's weird at all. You can never be too prepared as a helper. We need helpers in every type of relationship and I think it's pretty special that you are already thinking about it

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  12. I'm not gonna lie, I was a little hesitant to read this post based on the title. But what you've written is very similar to how Sarah Bessey describes the role of wives in Jesus Feminist. She calls us "ezer warriors."


    Studying the original Greek with historical context reveals that I am meant to be a "power" or "strength" who "corresponds to" or is "equal with" my husband. But this wouldn't be the first time that the inadequate English language resulted in a misconstrued & oft-abused translation. ;)

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  13. Glad you still read along and even took the time to comment :)

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