I got a call today while working in the church office from a man looking for a councilor for his wife who he claimed had a Jezabel spirit. I don't know the man or his wife, he was just calling random churches looking for help. He claimed that the Lord had revealed this information to him. We are ready to minister to people who are attending our church but we are not equipped with the man power to take on outside counseling. I referred him on to the Elija House Ministry and he seemed happy to have a direction to pursue.
I guess I am not real quick to jump on the Jezabel witch hunt band wagon. I have seen this whole Jezabel thing used as a way to hobble and control women with leadership callings and gifts. I had not planned on starting on these character studies til next month. I did not even have Jezabel on my list. She came up today so I thought I would tackle some of the things that bother me when people flippantly accuse others of having a Jezabel spirit. Please don't get me wrong, I'm not saying they don't exist, I just think this one is as over used as Ritalin is on high energy kids.
Jezabel in the bible was an evil un-Godly woman. You can find her story in 1st & 2nd Kings. I guess what troubles me is that I have seen too many women abused by weak, threatened men or by other jealous women. In some places any woman who tries to exert her leadership is considered domineering and out of God's will. Some of you may have been called a Jezabel at some point in your life. So I want to take a look at this woman. If you heart is truly that evil, I seriously doubt that you would be here reading these devotionals.
To start with Ahab is one Israel's kings. The people of Israel were not to marry the Canaanite people, it was forbidden by Mosaic law. Of course he decides to marry the king of all Phoenicia's daughter. Her biggest crime it seems is influencing her husband to become a Baal worshiper. I'm sorry he was already heading in the wrong direction when he married outside of Israel. She is a powerful and an influential woman, she's a mighty kings daughter who has been married off in a political alliance. Being an educated woman of power or influence is not what is the problem here. She should never have been on the throne in Israel. Yes she leads a weak king and a weak nation away from Jehovah God but they were already heading that way. Why would we even expect her to operate by Godly principles she has not converted to Israels God, she has her own gods. She comes into the kingdom and sets up things in favor of her gods and priests. Weak willed Ahab couldn't control her and was happy to let her lead in his stead.
There are other strong and influential women in the bible, Deborah for example was a Judge and leads the people into battle because there were no men willing to do what needed done.
We don't go around demeaning strong and influential women by calling them Deborah's and looking for counselors to deliver wives who have Deborah spirits.
We should be influencing others. We should be strong, confident, and even fearless.
Jezabel was zealous for the things she believed in we should be as well. The problem was she should never have been put in a position of such power in Israel. Certainly God and his prophets are going to have to resist her. She is leading a whole nation away from God.
So heres my primary question to you, if you have been called a Jezabel: is your heart against God? Are you leading your husband and your friends away from Jesus or towards him? More than likely you have been branded needlessly by uninformed gender biased people and you will need to forgive them. It is time for women leaders to rise up and walk in God's calling. Jesus needs all of his church not just half of it to accomplish His kingdom purposes in this time.
I have seen many women who over compensate in their leadership because they have had to stand their ground to receive the respect they should have been shown as a leader. As a result they have become a bit heavy handed. Even so that does not make them a Jezabel.
Let me speak a moment to submission. Ladies, submission is a voluntary thing. Submission is something that is willingly given to someone you trust. It should not be demanded or forced upon you. It is not difficult to submit to those who want our best, and who love us like Christ loves his church. Every woman Jesus encounters he treats with dignity, honor and respect.
There is this warning in Revelation 2:19... I know all the things you do — your love, your faith, your service, and your patient endurance. And I can see your constant improvement in all these things. But I have this complaint against you. You are permitting that woman — that Jezebel who calls herself a prophet — to lead my servants astray. She is encouraging them to worship idols, eat food offered to idols, and commit sexual sin. I gave her time to repent, but she would not turn away from her immorality.
This does not mean that women can't have the gift of prophecy. Look at Acts 21:8-9 Leaving the next day, we reached Caesarea and stayed at the house of Philip the evangelist, one of the Seven.9 He had four unmarried daughters who prophesied.
Any prophet that leads God's people astray is a problem. The things that any prophet says must line up with the written word of God. If you are being encouraged to worship idols, or to commit sexual sins - it is still your choice to follow that person or not. We are quick to blame others when we don't have the back bone to stand up for what we know is right.
I think the question one must ask is where is the line drawn between influencing and manipulating people to get your way. Clearly Jezabel was pretty narcissistic she was not concerned for anyones good other than her own.
So I find myself thinking about the phone call today and I wonder is this woman really a Jezabel? She may indeed be a narcissistic, manipulative, self centered, evil minded person who is trying to lead her husband and family away from God. Then again she may simply be a stronger leader than her husband, maybe she has a mind of her own and speaks her mind, sorry theres nothing wrong with that. Jesus does not expect us to check our minds at the door when we become believers.
We are called to be joint heirs in Christ. We all need to learn to submit to one another in love. We all need to die to our own selfishness. Men who are wise will seek their wives council and make decisions together. Women who are wise will listen and hear what others are saying. We have to learn to honor and work together in our families and in our churches.
Ephesians 5:21 [ Instructions for Christian Households ] Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
1 Peter 5:5 In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because,“God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”
In the church strong women leadership is not bad or unGodly. Sometimes we are quick to name call when we are not getting our way. Keep in mind it is God's church and quite often he does not do things how we think he should. For too long women have been prevented from using their God given gifts and callings in the church as a result of gender bias. Sometimes they do snap because there is a lot of pent up frustration as a result of being put under for so long. We had a woman recently get defiant in a meeting. Afterward in talking with her I came to learn that she felt she had to speak up but felt at the same time that women were to be silent in the church. She was so conflicted, that when she did speak up it all came out wrong. Yikes there is so much wrong teaching and healing that needs to happen in the body of Christ.
I like this quote by Lee Grady from Ministry today "
"**First, we know from Scripture that women held the office of prophet under the Old Covenant, and that under the New Covenant the apostle Paul himself placed women in positions of authority in the early church, even at a time when females in secular society were barred from pursuing education or leadership roles.
**Second, the Bible challenges men and women alike to be strong and courageous in their faith and in their response to the Great Commission. There is no reason to assume that Jesus only intended males to evangelize the world. Both men and women are called to "go" and to "teach." Timidity is never portrayed as a virtue in the Scriptures, for either gender.
**Third, the history of Christianity is full of examples of strong, godly women who achieved remarkable breakthroughs for the kingdom of God. To say that women should not display spiritual strength or do exploits in the name of Jesus is to discredit everything that Christian women have done throughout history to further the gospel."
Prayer: Lord examine each of our hearts, see if there are any manipulative tendencies remaining in us. Show us if we are selfishly seeking our own good and neglecting the concerns of others. If we are in any way leading other away from you show us so that we might change. If we have been wrongly accused or "named" help us to forgive. Help us to understand our own particular calling in your kingdom and help us to walk it out by faith as we are led by your Holy Spirit.