“THAT WOMAN JEZEBEL”

Revelation 2.20

 

EXPOSITION:

1.   There was once a little boy whose father had been a very great and powerful man.  The boy grew up enjoying every conceivable privilege, and hearing stories of his father’s many heroic exploits.  Being a bright boy, however, he suspected that there were things about his father he was not told.  And he was right.

2.   I imagine that he was approaching adolescence when his mother began to sit him down to explain things to him; things about her past, things about his father’s past.  She was very delicate.  She employed wisdom to make sure her son would not be traumatized.  But there were things the boy had to be made to know.

3.   He unabashedly cherished his mother and adored his father.  He listened intently and hung on every word as his mother answered questions and provided insights into areas he had always been curious about, but had not dared to explore.  Finally, when she felt he was mature enough, she told him everything.

4.   He then understood the admiration men had for his father, colored with sadness and the barest hint of regret.  He also understood why his father was somewhat reluctant, seeming to hold back from fully expressing himself, seemingly too embarrassed to voice his opinions about certain things.

5.   It was painful knowledge to the boy, but he had to be told.  His heart grew heavy, and he could feel the flush of heat on his face as he blushed at his mother’s words.  Her words made him sad.  Her words took away the last remnants of his childhood, and ushered him into the adult world of harsh realities.  But her words were spoken with a mother’s tender love, as she tried to protect her son by preparing him for life as a king.

6.   You see, the boy’s name was Solomon.  His mother was Bathsheba.  And it fell upon her to inform her son, the future king of Israel, of the great king David’s fall into sin, of his father’s fall into sin.  And what was the occasion of his father’s fall into great sin?  A woman.  Solomon’s own mother, Bathsheba.

7.   The reason for her instruction was to protect her son.  The reason for her instruction was to prepare her son.  As the future king of Israel, he would face the same temptations his father had faced.  Bathsheba hoped and prayed, and sought to prepare her son, so that such a thing as happened to her husband, as happened to his father, would never happen to him.

8.   But Bathsheba was to be disappointed.  Her hopes were not realized, for her son was overcome by the temptation that had reduced the man who became her husband.  But whereas David succumbed to such temptation once, Solomon succumbed hundreds of times.

9.   Almost a lifetime later, as a regretful man of advancing age who was desperately attempting to guard his son against the sins he had committed, much as Solomon’s mother had tried to guard him, he wrote the portion of scripture I would like you to turn to at this time, Proverbs 31.

10. Proverbs 31.1-3:  “1 The words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him. 2 What, my son? and what, the son of my womb? and what, the son of my vows? 3 Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings.”

11. Lemuel.  That was his momma’s pet name for him.  No one called him Lemuel except his mother.  It had been decades since she had called him Lemuel.  He liked that name.  It meant “devoted to God.”[1]  He wished his name had more to it than just meaning.  As he looked back on his life of sin and disappointment, he was saddened and profoundly sorry that he had not lived like one “devoted to God.”

12. Oh, what a lesson she had taught him, he thought to himself.  And who better to teach that lesson than his mother, an accomplice in the downfall of one of God’s great servants.  Would to God he had listened to his mother’s instruction.  Hope to God others will listen to his mother as he had not.  “Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings.”

13. What happens to a man, whether he be king of a country or only king of his home, who is so foolish that he does not listen to Bathsheba, the woman who warns against the destructive influence of women?  What if he does not pursue many women, but only succumbs to the temptation to give his strength to only one woman, his wife?

14. The result of David giving his strength to a woman was the sin of adultery.  Then, to conceal his adultery with another man’s wife, he took that other man’s life.  The heavy hand of God was upon his family for the rest of his natural life.

15. Solomon did not give his strength to a woman.  He gave his strength to women.  The result in his life was not a single catastrophe that stands out against the backdrop of an otherwise godly life, as was the case with David.  Solomon’s was the case of a young man who began with God’s hand of blessing upon him, but lured and enticed by strange women, he turned his back on the God of his father.

16. David and Solomon lived in different times than we do today, under a different dispensation.  The sins they committed in their day are the kinds of sins that Paul explains in First Corinthians 6.9-10 are committed these days by people who are not Christians.  But we do not want to wander too far from the wise counsel of Bathsheba to her son, Solomon:  “Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings.”

17. It is obvious that a man gives his strength to women when he is not the husband of one wife, when he is promiscuous, when he is a womanizer, when he abandons the wife of his youth and chases after other women.  Not so obvious is the man who does none of these things, yet still gives his strength to women, by giving his strength to his wife.

18. Her name was Jezebel.  “Jezebel was the wife of Ahab; a woman of vast influence over her husband--an influence which was uniformly exerted for evil.  She was a daughter of Ethbaal, king of Tyre and Sidon, and lived about 918 years before Christ.  She was an idolater, and induced her weak husband not only to connive at her introducing the worship of her native idols, but to become an idolater himself, and to use all the means in his power to establish the worship of idols instead of the worship of the true God.  She was highly gifted, persuasive, and artful; was resolute in the accomplishment of her purposes; ambitious of extending and perpetuating her power, and unscrupulous in the means which she employed to execute her designs.”[2]

19. We learn of Jezebel from the Old Testament chapters of First Kings 16, 18, 19 and 21, and Second Kings 9.    Let me summarize several of her personality characteristics from those portions of Scripture:

 

1A.   First, SHE WAS PRESUMPTUOUS

1B.    In First Kings 18.13, Elijah, the prophet of God, was engaged in a conversation with a man named Obadiah.  This is not the prophet Obadiah, but a man who served in the court of evil king Ahab.  Pay attention to what Obadiah said to Elijah:  “Was it not told my lord what I did when Jezebel slew the prophets of the LORD?”  The verse continues, but the key piece of information we are interested in is this:  This foreign woman, who is married to king Ahab, exercised authority she had no business exercising . . . and she used her usurped authority to lead her husband’s men, with the disastrous result of persecuting the prophets of God.

2B.    By what right did this woman exercise that kind of political and military authority in Israel?  Her husband was the king?  So what?  Where in the history of God’s people do we find a woman granted the authority to exercise that kind of power in Israel?  Only this woman’s sister-in-law, Athaliah, who had married the king of the southern kingdom of Judah, demonstrated a similar wickedness, when she murdered her dead son’s relatives to retain her own power over the country.[3]  Jezebel, on the other hand, behaved this way while her husband yet lived.  Incredible!

 

2A.   Second, SHE WAS AMBITIOUS

1B.    Notice how Elijah’s challenge to the prophets of Baal and the prophets of the grove to meet him on Mount Carmel is worded.  First Kings 18.18:  “Now therefore send, and gather to me all Israel unto mount Carmel, and the prophets of Baal four hundred and fifty, and the prophets of the groves four hundred, which eat at Jezebel’s table.”  Jezebel’s table is it?  Since when did it become Jezebel’s table?  Sounds like Hillary’s health care initiative, doesn’t it?

2B.    We read of Joseph hosting guests in Genesis.  We read of Abraham hosting guests in Genesis.  We read of many others hosting guests in the Old Testament.  But this is the only place I can recall wherein a wife usurped her husband’s place, prominence, and position to host numerous people at her table.

3B.    Reminds me of a couple in the church I pastored in Brawley who managed a public storage facility.  Time and time again I remember the two of them standing outside after Church, and her talking loudly about how she hired this guy and then fired that guy, about how she rented this locker and then foreclosed on that locker, about what she was going to do and how she was going to do it.  And there is her dolt of a husband standing right there next to her, putting up with his Jezebel wife without saying a word, having given his strength to her and too dull to know what he had done.

 

3A.   Third, SHE WAS VENGEFUL

1B.    The last half of First Kings 18 records the confrontation on Mount Carmel that resulted in Elijah’s famous challenge to the people, “How long halt ye between two opinions?”  Then, of course, the false prophets who had eaten at Jezebel’s table were all slain after God sent fire from heaven to consume Elijah’s water-logged offering.

2B.    But pay attention to Jezebel’s reaction to what her husband told her of those events.  First Kings 19.1-3:  “And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and withal how he had slain all the prophets with the sword. 2 Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to morrow about this time. 3 And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life. . . .”

3B.    Again, she usurps her husband’s authority.  Again, she takes action while he does nothing.  But this time, she takes action to seek revenge against God’s man for doing right.  There is nothing more irritating to a Jezebel than when God’s man does right and it affects her plans and desires.  Those false prophets who were slain were, after all, her friends.  Too bad Elijah ran from her rather than standing up to her.

 

4A.   Fourth, SHE WAS RUTHLESS

1B.    First Kings 21 records the great tragedy surrounding Naboth the Jezreelite’s vineyard.  Naboth refused to sell his family’s inheritance to king Ahab.  Ahab then childishly pouted.  First Kings 21.4 tells us that, “. . . he laid him down upon his bed, and turned away his face, and would eat no bread.”  What cry a baby.  Jezebel, upon learning of her husband’s pity party for not getting what he wanted, said, “Dost thou now govern the kingdom of Israel? arise, and eat bread, and let thine heart be merry: I will give thee the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.”[4]

2B.    She then arranged for Naboth to be prosecuted on trumped up charges of blaspheming God and the king, and he was stoned to death.[5]  Of course, with Naboth dead, king Ahab then took possession of his vineyard.

3B.    The two wickedly ironic things Jezebel did on this occasion deserve our attention:

1C.   First, Jezebel asked her anemic and pathetic husband, “Dost thou now govern the kingdom of Israel?”  To paraphrase, she is asking, “Who is in charge here, you or Naboth?”  Of course, the truth is that neither man was in charge, because Jezebel was in charge.  Ahab had given his strength to her.

2C.   The other tragic irony is the charge she arranged to level against Naboth.  He was falsely accused of blaspheming God and the king.  This charge was arranged by Jezebel, a wicked idolater, who took her husband’s strength.  She was the one who was the real blasphemer, yet it was Naboth who died for blasphemy.

 

CONCLUSION:  

1.   You might wonder why I have focused on the fact that Jezebel was presumptuous, ambitious, vengeful and ruthless, without calling specific attention to her idolatry, and to her murder, and to her lying.

2.   That was intentional.  That she was a murderer does not distinguish her.  That she was an idolater does not distinguish her.  That she was a liar does not distinguish her.

3.   What distinguished Jezebel was that her husband, Ahab, a king, gave his strength to her in precisely the fashion Bathsheba had warned against to her son Solomon centuries earlier, allowing her to be presumptuous, ambitious, vengeful and ruthless.

4.   With her husband’s strength given to her, she exhibited the characteristics of presumption, ambition, vengeance, and ruthlessness in a way she should never have had opportunity to display such characteristics.  Yes, here is the real irony:  Without her husband’s cooperation, without Ahab’s passive acquiescence, she could have done nothing.

5.   Please, do not miss this.  This is the real irony.  A Jezebel simply cannot exist without a husband’s complicity.  To be a Jezebel you must be a woman, and you must be a married woman.  To be a Jezebel you must be in a posture to violate your husband’s position and overreach the boundaries of propriety for a wife.

6.   To be a Jezebel a woman’s husband need not be much.  Indeed, it is better for the Jezebel if her husband is not much.  The more pathetic the better, for then she can run roughshod over him, usurp authority from him, and generally run him down and do the kind of damage that could not be done if he was a better man.

7.   Brother Isenberger now comes before this morning’s sermon.

 

INTRODUCTION:

1.   Turn in your Bible to Revelation 2.20.  When you find that portion of God’s Word, please stand for the reading of our text:  “20 Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. 21 And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. 22 Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.”

2.   It is almost certain that the Jezebel referred to by our Lord Jesus Christ was not actually named Jezebel.  Rather, she was a woman related to the church in Thyatira who exhibited the same spirit of wickedness that the Jezebel in the Old Testament displayed.

3.   She had the same presumptuousness, calling herself a prophetess.  She was also ambitious, teaching and seducing Christians to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.  It is likely that this Thyatiran Jezebel was the pastor’s wife.[6]  And she became a Jezebel because he lamely allowed her to gain prominence to illegitimately wield authority, while he stood by and said and did nothing to stop her.

4.   How do I know that is the case?  Look at verse 20 again.  What the Lord Jesus Christ held against this Thyatiran pastor was that “thou sufferest that woman Jezebel. . . .”  That is, he did not rebuke her, he did not stand up against her, he did not challenge her.  This is like some husbands when their wives do wrong.

5.   I wonder how many of you men think you are spiritual leaders in your homes, yet you cannot think of a single occasion of rebuking or correcting your wife so long as you have been married to her.  How many wives are so perfect that they never need to be rebuked by a spiritual leader?  Indeed, it is likely that if you have never rebuked your wife the reason is you are not her spiritual leader.  Spiritual leaders rebuke.

6.   The Greek word used here, eaw, is a verb that refers to someone who refrains from bothering someone, who will not detain someone, who just lets someone go, or who just leaves them alone.[7]  This pastor just stood by and allowed this Jezebel to do the things she did.

7.   Please understand that not every woman is a potential Jezebel.  I showed you last week, from First Peter 3.1-6, the type of woman who is inclined to godliness, and who refuses to usurp the reigns of leadership in her home, even when her husband is a do nothing lump.

8.   There is also the woman whose price is far above rubies.  She is the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31, who will do her husband good and not evil all the days of her life.  “The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her.”  But is that to say such a godly woman never needs to be rebuked by her husband?  No.

9.   What if you are not married to a woman like that, sir?  What if you are married to a woman you have to be careful about?  You love her, but you have to be careful.  What if you are married to a woman who is all too ready too pick up your slack and take action when you do nothing, or to make decisions for you when you don’t want to be bothered, or who will set the course for your family and make decisions for you about the education and training of your children, that are decisions that should not be delegated to a wife?

10. In short, what if you are married to a wife who does not know what the Scriptural boundaries are, or who has a tendency to ignore those spiritual boundaries that delineates between a husband’s responsibility and a wife’s responsibility?

11. Some of you guys have what I describe as a circle of interest.  Within that circle you are in control and in charge.  So, you think you are a leader and your wife follows your leadership.  But what you do not realize is that your area of responsibilities encompasses an area far beyond your area of interest.  You are responsible to God for a region this big, yet you only exercise leadership over an area this big.  And because your wife does not interfere with this small area you think you are the leader and you think she is spiritual.  But try leading her in this area, the area that God says you are responsible for, and see what happens.

12. You see, the issue is not whether or not your wife is evil or spiritual.  Her spiritual condition is between her and God.  If she is going to be wicked she is going to be wicked, and there is not much you can do about it.  But whether she is a Jezebel or not, whether she is a wicked woman whose influence increases because of your laziness, or because of your weakness, or because of your apathy, or because you have failed to lead her within this larger area of responsibility, is every much your business.

13. I want to spend just a few minutes, before I let you go, giving to you what I hope will be some practical advice that will ensure that your wife’s Jezebel tendencies, if she has any such tendencies, are stifled and subdued by the broader discharge of your responsibilities as a husband.  First Corinthians 11.10, you will remember, says, “For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.”

14. This is important because I think many women can succumb to the temptation of becoming a Jezebel if her husband does not rule her, does not provide leadership for her, and does not project leadership to every part of the family’s life . . . way out to the limits of where God declares your responsibilities as a husband to be.

10. The topical advice that I give to you is part and parcel, I believe, for loving your wife with a sacrificial love, and to giving to your wife the kind of husband she needs; a husband who loves her enough to provide for her some strong and spiritual leadership.  Three items:

 

1A.   First, DECISIONS

1B.    Sir, leadership is all about decisions.  Decision making is what they pay the corporate big shots for.  Anyone can do most anything, but it is the precise function of leadership to make decisions.  You have been anatomically equipped, psychologically equipped, and spiritually equipped by God to make decisions.  So, make decisions.  Even if you make wrong decisions, make decisions, for by making wrong decisions you will learn from your mistakes to make better decisions.

2B.    “Honey, let’s go out to eat tonight.  Where do you want to go?”  The wife says, “You decide.”  The husband says back to her, “I am deciding.  What I want from you are some suggestions to consider when making my decision.”  That is how a husband can acquire input from his wife without surrendering his leadership role as the decision maker.

3B.    My wife handles money better than I do, way better than I do, but I make the decisions about money in our house.  I have made mostly good decisions about money, but I have made several very bad decisions about money.  Even so, I will continue to make the decisions about money in our house.  Why?  Because I am the husband, not her.  Now, perhaps you are like Dr. French, and your wife handles the money and cuts the checks.  Fine.  But sign the checks, like Dr. French does.  Sir, you give your strength to your wife when you give to her the decision-making and discretionary authority over the household money, over the tithes and offerings, and over other non routine purchases.  Who controls the money is in control, and you should be in control . . . including controlling the money in your home.  Do not think you are leading your home if you do not control the money in your home.

4B.    As well, the decisions related to the rearing of your children are your decisions to make.  The other day I think I picked up on a guy not knowing what his son was doing because a decision about the son’s schooling was made by his wife.  Sir, I do not think that is the way to approach rearing your children.  They are not her children to raise with your passive tolerance of her decision making abilities.  Oh, no.  Those are your children to raise, with her helping you.  And her helping you does not entail her making decisions that you only find out about later. 

5B.    As well, if you have a son or a daughter who habitually goes to mommy to ask for this and that, goes to mommy to address this issue or that, you may have already given your strength to your wife in that area of your marriage, with her effectively making decisions that you are not aware of.  You should lay down the law, sir.  The kids come to you to ask for things, to you to make decisions, to you to get money, to you to get something signed.  You should forbid, with dire consequences, your children skirting around your authority when there is a problem that needs to be solved.

6B.    The relationship between husbands and wives is supposed to be a picture of the relationship between Jesus Christ and His church.  Jesus Christ is the head of the church, is He not?  Thus, He is the leader.  He is the decision maker.  The church’s function is to lovingly submit to Him and to execute His wishes.  In like manner, sir, you should make sure you make the decisions in your home.  It’s a prerogative of husbanding.

 

2A.   Second, DISCIPLINE

1B.    Leadership is also about discipline.  You are supposed to be the person in the home who sets the tone for discipline, and who is the ultimate authority figure in the home.  Therefore, you should be the one who administers discipline when you are home.  When your wife is alone at home with the kids she should certainly administer discipline.  But when you are home your wife should defer to you.  And she should defer to you in several ways.

2B.    When you are home the level of discipline should be the level of discipline that you establish, not her.  If your wife wants to run a tight ship when you are at work, that is perfectly fine.  If she wants to run a somewhat looser ship than you do when you are at work, that is perfectly fine.  But when you are home the level of discipline is to be established by you, not by her.  And it should be reinforced by you, and not her.

1C.   Example:  My wife does not like playing catch with a beach ball in the living room.  I do.  It’s quite okay that she does not like doing this.  But it is also quite okay that I do.  So, whenever I choose to play catch with a beach ball with my daughter in the living room, no matter what fragile things are in the room, my wife’s responsibility is to silently go along with what I decide, and be happy about it.  And she has generally been good about this over the course of our marriage, after some redefining of her duties when Sarah was quite young.

2C.   Another example:  I like to be loud.  There are times I love to shout and joke loudly with my daughter.  My wife is a much quieter person.  It is fine for her to insist on a quiet home when I am gone.  After all, kids need to learn to adjust to different people, and there is nothing wrong with adjusting to the preferences of your mom and then adjusting to the preferences of your dad.  Kids have to adjust to the preferences of their teachers at school, don’t they?  And later on, to the preferences of their bosses?  Sure.  So, when I elevate the noise level, that’s fine.  If she doesn’t like it, she can go shopping or she can go into the bedroom.  I do not insist that she listen to my loudness, and I will not conform my preferences to her desires.  I am the leader, and I am not interested in raising a daughter who will think she should be able to push her husband around.

3C.   If there is a violation of your discipline standards, dad, you should deal with it yourself.  Do not delegate it to your wife.  That is cowardly.  Neither should you allow your wife to “protect” her children from their mean father.  That is wickedness on her part.  Sir?  You should exercise authority when you are home, almost exclusively.  That way your wife’s authority will mean more when you are gone, and your authority will mean more when you are home.  Do not think of yourself as a leader in your home if you do not administer discipline when you are home.

3B.    Though your children will more frequently need to be disciplined, there are times when your wife will need to be rebuked.  Notice, I did not say your wife needs to be disciplined.  Your wife is not a child and should never be treated like a child.  It’s weird to treat as a child the woman you sleep with.  But there are times when a wife may need to be rebuked.

1C.   Example:  Two of our ladies told me of a woman, a real Jezebel, who made fun of the way her husband prayed.  When that Jezebel did that, her husband should have immediately rebuked her and taken her to task for being disrespectful, for having a big mouth, and for not knowing her place.  “Publicly rebuke her, pastor?”  She mocked him in public, therefore she should be rebuked in public.

2C.   Example:  I know a woman who slighted her pastor in front of her husband.  What should her husband have done when she did that?  He should have immediately and strongly rebuked her.  Why?  By slighting me that foolish woman was effectively denying her son a pastor, trying to deny her husband a pastor, and denying herself a pastor.  How could anyone in her family seek my counsel or trust my judgment so long as that Jezebel engaged in such criticism without anyone strongly rebuking her for it?  That she was able to make such comments without fearing what her husband would do showed that she is a Jezebel and that her husband is a weasel.

4B.    This line of instruction may surprise many of you, but who should administer discipline in the home if not the husband?  To be sure, the way you deal with the sins of your wife and the sins of your children are markedly different.  Your wife is no child and should never be treated or disciplined the way a child needs to be disciplined.  But has your wife never sinned, to be without need of a rebuke?  Have you never corrected her?  Have you never admonished her?  To be sure, many husbands fear the ferocious retaliation of their wives.  But such a wife is a Jezebel, and such a husband is a pansy.  It is a man’s duty to assume responsibility for leading his family.  If obedience to God is lacking he needs to do something about it.  I am convinced that a man who does do something about it will never have a Jezebel for a wife.

 

3A.   Finally, DIRECTION

1B.    I do not think a husband should be harsh and unfeeling toward either his wife or his children.  To be sure, Ephesians 5.21 declares to us, “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.”  But that verse does not suggest to a husband that he should abandon his leadership role in his wife’s life, or in the lives of the children.  A man can be generally submissive as a rule of life, all the while consistently leading his wife and children.  But as a man leads and discharges his responsibilities to God, he can be tender and loving toward his wife and children.  He can be considerate and wise.  But dwelling with your wife according to knowledge, First Peter 3.7, demands that you lead her, that you lead her, that you always lead her.  And there are occasions when leadership requires a rebuke.

2B.    So, while you should not be harsh and unfeeling toward your wife, but love and cherish her, you should recognize that it is God’s will for you to provide the direction for the family.  After all, you are the leader.  In the military, it is a violation of the established chain of command for a major to issue a command to a sergeant for a company to obey, bypassing the captain, who is the company commander.  The same thing applies to the family unit.  God’s desire is for the husband to lead.

3B.    Yet I know a pastor who will not step up on the platform of his church unless he first looks to his wife and she gives him the nod, letting him know it’s okay.  I know Christian couples who think that the way to arrive at a figure for their giving is for both of them to pray about it and then to arrive at a mutually agreed upon sum to give to missions, or to give to the building fund.  I know of men who constantly defer to their wives in matters of schooling and education for the kids.  Fellows, each of these examples are examples of failure.  Just because your wife operates in a manner pleasing to you within your area of interest, do not assume that she is operating in a manner pleasing to God in your broader area of responsibility.  If you are not careful, and if your wife does not fear God, you could be laying the groundwork for that woman becoming a latter day Jezebel.

 

CONCLUSION:

1.   I conclude with a few remarks:  Do not think that a Jezebel is a woman who necessarily commits adultery.  There is no evidence that Ahab’s wife ever cheated on him.  And it is not likely that the Thyaritan pastor’s wife was guilty of sexual sins.

2.   A Jezebel is not a wife who sleeps around.  A Jezebel is a wife who seeks to be free from the restraints imposed by God, wherein a woman is supposed to submit to her husband’s position, as well as submitting to her husband.

3.   Thus, a wife can be a Jezebel while all the while pleasing her husband.  Ahab’s wife pleased him while she usurped his authority, while she overreached herself, while she demonstrated a ruthlessness and a desire to seek revenge that did not benefit him in any way.  And the same can be true of your wife if she is not an exceptional Christian woman.

4.   But you cannot make your wife an exceptional Christian woman.  Your impact and influence on your wife is actually quite limited.  But there is an almost guaranteed way to make sure your wife is not a Jezebel, which would be good for you, good for your kids, and good for this church.

5.   What way is that?  Be a leader in your home.  And extend the reach of your leadership, seeking to lead to the limits of the circle of your responsibility, not just the limit of your circle of interest.  If you are married to a good woman, she will encourage you to grow and expand in such a way as I have described.  But if your wife is a Jezebel, or a Jezebel in the making, she will be opposed to you growing as a leader, she will be opposed to you extending the reach of your leadership.

6.   Involve yourself more in the discipline of your kids, and in their education.  Insist on making the decisions.  A Jezebel will be uncooperative with a husband who wants to do that.  A good wife will be thrilled by what you propose, and will help you get up to speed to handle such responsibilities.

7.   And then there is the money.  A Jezebel will not want you to make money decisions.  She will act offended and hurt, and wonder why you don’t trust her.  Just tell her that it’s not a matter of trust, it’s a function of leadership.  Of course, partner, you have to bring home the money you want to control.  Amen?  Don’t sit home and let her bring home the bacon, and then demand that you control how it is spent.  You earn money and control it, don’t just insist on controlling it.

8.   There are other things a husband can do to better discharge his responsibilities before God.  A good wife will want her husband to talk to the pastor about such things, while a Jezebel will try to talk her husband out of seeing me, or will be cool to the idea.

9.   Just remember.  You do not learn how to be a husband from a wife.  Just as a young wife learns how to be a good wife from a seasoned and experienced aged woman, Titus 2.4, so a husband learns how to be a better husband from his pastor.

10. Give me a call sometime.  Perhaps we can grab a cup of coffee after work some afternoon.  It’s about time your leadership extended beyond your area of interest to your area of responsibility.



[1] Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary, (New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1996), page 1100.

[2] Note on Revelation 2.20, Albert Barnes, Albert Barnes’ NT Commentary, (Bronson, MI: Online Publishing, Inc., 2002), [email protected]

[3] First Kings 16.28; Second Kings 8.26; 11.1

[4] First Kings 21.7

[5] First Kings 21.9-14

[6] Albert Barnes, Albert Barnes’ NT Commentary, (Bronson, MI: Online Publishing, Inc., 2002), [email protected]

[7] Bauer, Danker, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature, (Chicago, Illinois: The University of Chicago Press, 2000), page 269.

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