So much for next week, I'm just going to keep posting on this topic till I stop scribbling notes in my journal at home.
What does it mean to be a builder as a wife?
First I must remember that it's not just wives who are called to be builders in the kingdom of God. All of us who are in the Body of Christ are being built up by Christ and are used by Him to do His building work. I think that passage in Isaiah 58:12 says it so well, "Those from among you shall build the old waste places; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; and you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach, The Restorer of Streets to Dwell In." Those from among the Lord are builders.
So why the distinction at all for the wife? Why doesn't scripture just lay out the character of faith in a believer's life without distinction to roles? Why is there a Proverbs 14:1 or a Titus 2:4-5, or any other passage directed particularly to a wife? I believe the answer lies in the examples of the positions of service, and tools used in service, in the Old Testament temple of God and also in the description of the body of Christ being made up of many parts with varying gifts and roles in the New Testament. We're all one in this (that is, those who trust in Christ), but we're not all the same. We each have different parts to play in the building up of the kingdom of God.
And I really believe it's that and that alone which is the cause for any distinction being made as to the wife's role or any other role. For as the Spirit wrote by Paul, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." (Galatians 3:28) That oneness is in Christ not in everyone doing the same thing, otherwise, with the examples of the temple and the body, Christ would be, say... an incense burner only, or a foot only, and not a complete temple with many functions, or a complete body with many parts. Our oneness is the life of Christ being lived out in our varying roles.
For the wife, God's word is clear, there is a distinct arena for her "building." Just as in Nehemiah there were many different people who worked on the wall of Jerusalem to build it and each had a different spot on the wall (see Nehemiah 3), wives have a spot assigned to them- their homes. Does that mean their use in service will never leave the home, not necessarily, but it is to be the focus. God's given us an assignment, a place on the wall, a service in His temple, a function in the body and to leave it to go chase other "good" things would be to disregard God's word to us as trivial.
That's why the Spirit wrote through Paul that the word of God is not reviled when a wife gives herself to loving her husband and children, to being self-controlled, pure, a homemaker, kind and submissive to her own husband (Titus 2:4-5). And again in 1 Timothy 5:14, "So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander." (ESV)
So, being a builder as a wife begins with turning our eyes toward home and embracing it not as our own, but rather as a piece of the wall on which we've been given the honorable assignment of building God's kingdom for God's glory.
I do believe the enemy is about the same business now as a "Sanballat" and "Tobiah" in our minds and lives as he was when Nehemiah set out to build as God had put it in His heart to do (see Nehemiah 2:10, 19-20). He still seeks to fire his words of accusation and doubt, threat and mockery to bring fear into our hearts and to cause us to become discouraged with this holy work. But like Nehemiah we must fix our eyes on doing the will of God. May our "it is written" response to the enemy's lies be, "The God of heaven will make us prosper, and we his servants will arise and build, but you have no portion or right or claim in Jerusalem." (Just as a side note, the Bride of Christ is the New Jerusalem, see Revelation 21:1-27. As a part of the body of Christ, Satan has no portion or right or claim in our lives, for we are a piece of the eternal Jerusalem).
Are your eyes turned towards your home? Are you setting about today to do the work of building in the lives of those who make up your home? What lies and thoughts distract you from being about this work?
Next: Looking at the examples of Nehemiah, David and Solomon, and Ruth (along with Leah and Rachel).