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Male and Female

Daily Reading: Numbers 29-30

Scripture Focus: If a man vows a vow to the Lord, or swears an oath to bind himself by a pledge, he shall not break his word. He shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth... If a woman vows a vow to the Lord... (Numbers 30.2-3a)

Devotional Thought: When I read Numbers 30, I thought to myself: "I can hear it now: 'What's with these two different standards? This is patriarchy!' Yes, I must confess, it is. But, is all patriarchy bad? Is all matriarchy bad?

In ancient cultures the weakness and vulnerability of women was often unprotected. The instructions in Numbers 30 actually served as protection for women, a rarity in those times. (By the way, as our sexual mores have disintegrated, women have been left vulnerable. That is why we are seeing all the chaos and backlash in the #MeToo movement.)

Gender roles have almost become almost obsolete in our day. We believe, "What a man can do, a woman should be able to do as well. And they should receive equal pay for it!" I don't have an argument with that, but can we recognize that there are differences between the male and female of our species? That difference - and accompanying differences in roles - is seen in almost every species on the planet. It is not a bad thing. As a matter of fact, the only species which seems to have a 'problem' with it is the human species!

God was and is for the liberation of women, but he does not erase gender identities and roles. Instead, he recognizes the value of each. That's why "male and female he created them" (Genesis 1.27).

Prayer: Thank you, Lord God our Creator, for making us male and female. Help us to celebrate our differences and protect those vulnerable to abuse. Amen.

Psalm of the Day: 1 When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream. 2 Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, "The LORD has done great things for them." 3 The LORD has done great things for us; we are glad. 4 Restore our fortunes, O LORD, like streams in the Negeb! 5 Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! 6 He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him. (Psalms 126:1-6)

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