When Your Husband’s a Fool
“Let not my lord, I pray thee, regard this man of Belial, even Nabal: for as his name is, so is he; Nabal is his name, and folly is with him: but I thine handmaid saw not the young men of my lord, whom thou didst send.”
I Samuel 25:25
“For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.”
I Peter 3:5-6
- Having studied holiness earlier today, we should see that holy women are being considered here.
- This subject is very simple … should a wife obey God or her husband in matters of sin? This is easy.
- The two difficulties are intimidated women and insecure men, but the Bible can correct both of them.
- All men are fools some times; and some men are fools all the time. What is a married woman to do?
- It can be wonderful married to a Christian man, but it can be a great trial of faith married to a fool.
- The confusion on this topic has been exacerbated by books like Elizabeth Rice’s, “Me? Obey Him?”
- We want the very godliest marriages and families, but we measure by only one standard – the Bible!
- We want great women as our wives – those who fear and love God more than they do their husbands.
Wives Are to Obey Husbands
- We believe, teach, and defend a husband’s authority, for it is a clear matter of revelation from God for the benefit of man and profit of society (Gen 2:18; 3:16; I Cor 11:3; Titus 2:5).
- A man gets a helping companion; a wife gets a protector (Ec 4:9-12; I Tim 2:12-14; Ru 3:1).
- Christian wives submit “as unto the Lord” and “as it is fit in the Lord,” because they do it based on faith in Him and His command, which make it a proper thing (Eph 5:22; Col 3:18).
- We do not care that Diana Spencer might have eliminated “obey him” from her 1981 vows.
- We do not care that so-called Christians make marriage a partnership, neutering the husband.
All Authority is Ruled by God
- Parents rule children, masters rule servants, kings rule citizens, husbands rule wives, and pastors rule churches by God’s revelation. Man did not invent or determine any authority.
- The only absolute and unconditional authority is God Himself, who made all other authority relationships relative … conditional … subjective … and temporal.
- There is no place for rationalization in this or other Bible subjects. We submit to revelation!
- Godly children disobeyed their parents in order to obey God (I Sam 19:11-17; I Kgs 15:13).
- Godly citizens disobey rulers in order to obey God (Exodus 1:15-21; Josh 2:1-7; Dan 1:5-8).
- The apostles provide the clearest example of disobeying authority (Acts 4:18-20; 5:27-29).
- No wife has faced greater fear than three Hebrew men, but consider their “careless” answer to the most powerful king in world history that had power over their lives (Dan 3:16)!
- Husbands are no more always right than rulers, masters, parents, or pastors are always right.
Wives Are Not to be Amazed (I Peter 3:1-6)
- After civil and employment authority, Peter took up the duties of wives (I Peter 2:13-25).
- The nature of a wife submitting to a husband parallels the other two authorities (I Pet 3:1).
- For unbelieving husbands, a wife’s subjection, chastity, and fear might win him (I Pet 3:1-2).
- A Christian wife is to emphasize and exalt her inward spirit above her outward looks (3:3-4).
- Holy women in the Old Testament observed this very same role of marital subjection (3:5).
- Sarah, the wife of the Friend of God and mother of Israel, did so by “lord” (3:6; Gen 18:12).
- A woman can show herself a daughter of Sarah by doing well by the same subjection (3:6).
- However, she is not to be afraid with any amazement – terrifying fear rendering her helpless.
- Amazement. The condition of being mentally paralyzed; loss of presence of mind.
- Amazed. Driven stupid; stunned or stupefied, as by a blow, out of one’s wits. Bewildered, confounded, confused, perplexed. Struck with sudden terror; terror-stricken, terrified, alarmed. Lost in wonder or astonishment.
- Amazed. See Exodus 15:15; Judges 20:41; 32:15; Isaiah 13:8; Ezekiel 32:10; Matthew 19:25; Mark 6:51; 10:32; 16:8; Acts 2:12.
- The apostle used “afraid” here in the same sense as “fear” used earlier (3:6; 3:2; 2:18).
- A wife does well by obeying her husband, but cannot compromise through fear of him.
- Sarah obeyed Abraham well in a variety of circumstances (Gen 12:5,10-15; 18:6; etc.).
- However, she went against him in the matter of Ishmael and Hagar (Genesis 21:9-12).
- Peter was terrified and denied Jesus to a maid, who accused him of being a disciple.
- Remember the unbelieving husband in context, which could certainly complicate things.
Abigail Disobeyed Nabal (I Sam 25:10-19)
- Abigail was a beautiful and wise woman, but married to a fool (25:2-3). Beware fathers!
- Nabal’s wishes regarding David were well known, but Abigail disregarded them (25:19).
- God blessed her disrespect and rebellion by giving her in marriage to David (25:25,37,39).
- This is the classic illustration of a wife disregarding her husband in order to obey God.
- What would wise Abigail have done, if she had dumbed herself down to “Me? Obey Him?”
Are There Any other Examples?
- Zipporah rebuked her husband and circumcised her son to save Moses’ life (Ex 4:24-26).
- The great woman of Shunem asked her husband for a room for the prophet (II Kings 4:8-10).
- Manoah’s wife, the mother of Samson, corrected him for foolish thinking (Judges 13:22-23).
- Eunice taught Timothy about God in spite of her pagan husband (II Tim 1:5; Acts 16:1-2).
- Rebekah tricked Isaac into giving the right son the blessing of the Lord (Gen 27:1-17,46).
When Should a Wife Disobey?
- If a husband orders his wife to sign a tax return that has a lie in it, she should refuse to do so.
- If a husband orders his wife to steal something for him, she should refuse to do so.
- If a husband orders his wife to watch a porn flick with him, she should refuse to do so.
- A wife must obey God over her husband in those things He has plainly revealed in the Bible.
- God commands spiritual things e.g. baptism and church attendance, which a husband cannot overthrow, for God’s commands are far above his (Acts 10:48; Heb 10:23-25; 12:28-29).
- A wife does not have the right to matters of liberty any more than a child, for Moses taught that husbands could disallow vows of wives, and fathers those of daughters (Num 30:1-16).
- The religious matters in this chapter are not commands, but freewill vows or offerings.
- First, consider that this passage teaches the independence of a female before the Lord.
- Second, a husband had to have disallowed the vow when he heard it, not any later.
- Matters of liberty are to be followed by those under authority in each of the five spheres.
- But God’s commandments are not matters of liberty, nor are they answered by Num 30.
How Should a Wife Disobey?
- If possible, she should approach the matter very carefully, cautiously, and soberly in prayer.
- She should then approach her husband in the most discreet and respectful way possible to express her concern that a matter of sin is at stake against the word of God.
- If possible, she should hear his answers and examine them by the word of God and prayer.
- Consider the practical wisdom of writing a letter rather than having a verbal confrontation.
- Every other wifely duty should be increased and perfected to show all good fidelity and faith.
- Before defiance, if possible, a wife should proceed with questions, exhortation, and warning.
- A wife should never explode, threaten, separate, or any other such thing over these matters.
- A wife should make perfectly clear that all other aspects of the marriage will be upheld.
What If It Breaks Up a Marriage?
- As in all matters of faith, it is only God’s revelation that counts, not human sentimentality.
- God has called the believing spouse in a mixed marriage to peace, which is their duty.
- The Christian woman here does everything to save her marriage, even to an unbeliever.
- If her husband is still so obnoxious in spite of her perfect life, he deserves Nabal’s fate.
- If the unbeliever rejects the perfect conduct of a wife for her religion, then so be it, but the entire onus of breaking the marriage is on the head of the perverse husband (I Cor 7:12-16).
- The martyrs gave up marriage and a whole lot more – their own lives! – for Jesus Christ.
- Jesus Christ prophesied that families would be broken (Matthew 10:34-37; Luke 14:25-33).
What Is a Real Man?
- A real man fears God and accepts admonition even from his wife rather than sin against God.
- A real man gives his wife the liberty to meekly and reverently question, admonish, or warn.
- Let every father protect his daughters from ever marrying a fool and being trapped like dear Abigail.
- Let every wife maintain her faith, fear, and love of God as the most important relationship in life.
- Let every husband cultivate this relationship with God in his wife and allow her liberty for godliness.