The Submissive Woman: Mary & The Wife of Manoah
Mary was a virgin engaged to a young man named Joseph. Everything was going on well in her life until God showed up with His divine plans.
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her ~ Luke 1:26-38 ESV
God had an agenda and He needed a woman to accomplish it. One thing we need to understand here is that God uses human beings to do business on earth. When He was giving dominion to man (male and female) in the beginning, He excluded Himself and this means that He cannot operate on earth without the cooperation of a human being. Man has legal authority to operate on the earth realm because he has a dirt body. God is a Spirit and therefore cannot operate on earth because any spirit without a dirt body is illegal on earth and cannot operate in this realm. A surrendered vessel therefore is very important to Him for the fulfillment of His divine agenda here on earth. His decision to do and accomplish things on earth through a human being was so complete and final that He had to become a man to regain what Adam gave away. He had to become a part of the human race. The plan of salvation would only be possible if He became a part of humanity, and this is the reason why He showed up at Mary’s door. She was God’s chosen vessel to carry a pregnancy through the overshadowing of the Holy Ghost that would bring forth the Savior of the world into this realm.
Even though Mary was a virgin and engaged to Joseph, when God presented His plans to her, she gave herself away. I find it amazing that she didn’t question the angel’s message, except on how it would be since she was a virgin, otherwise, she surrendered herself and God did the rest. Her decision to submit herself to the will of God without bothering about anything else or what people would say was out of this world. She did not even consult with her husband-to-be or try to negotiate it, instead she gave herself willingly to the will of God.
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father ~ Philippians 2:5-7 ESV
To submit is to yield or give way to another; it’s to yield or surrender oneself to the will or authority of another. A submissive woman is a surrendered woman. She is a woman with the heart of a servant. Mary told the Angel of the Lord; “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word,” and according to the above scripture, Christ took the form of a servant. Servants are never in control because they have a master or in other words, they are under authority. Our service to God and humanity will require us to submit ourselves. Part of our old nature is the desire to control, but we need to understand that we cannot be in control because we are people who are under authority. We are servants and servants are never in control because naturally, a servant must submit themselves to their master and are always conscious of the will of their master. Servants do exactly what their master wants no matter what it takes. Jesus gave up control of the entire universe so that He might please His Father in Heaven and redeem mankind. He never once doubted God. It’s our doubt that God is in control that keep us from releasing control, but when we fully understand our relationship with Him and assume the role of a servant, we will submit. We are expected to submit ourselves to God and then to others.
Someone who is under submission seeks to meet the real needs of others or of the person they are serving. A married woman is supposed to submit herself to her husband. Her husband is an authority she must recognize over her life.
Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord ~ Colossians 3:18 ESV
Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct ~ 1 Peter 3:1-2 ESV
A good example of a woman submitted to her husband is in the book of Judges Chapter 13. She was the wife of a man called Manoah. The Bible records that she was barren and had no children. One day an angel of the Lord appeared to her and told her that she shall conceive and bear a son. She was also given some instructions on what to do and what not to do during her pregnancy and after she gave birth.
And the angel of the LORD appeared to the woman and said to her, “Behold, you are barren and have not borne children, but you shall conceive and bear a son. Therefore be careful and drink no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean, for behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. No razor shall come upon his head, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb, and he shall begin to save Israel from the hand of the Philistines.” ~ Judges 13:3-5 ESV
She went ahead and told her husband about that encounter who prayed to the Lord and said;
“O Lord, please let the man of God whom you sent come again to us and teach us what we are to do with the child who will be born.” Judges 13:8 ESV
God listened to Manoah and He sent His angel once again to the woman as she sat in the field. Her husband was not with her. Here’s what happened;
So the woman ran quickly and told her husband, “Behold, the man who came to me the other day has appeared to me.” And Manoah arose and went after his wife and came to the man and said to him, “Are you the man who spoke to this woman?” And he said, “I am.” And Manoah said, “Now when your words come true, what is to be the child’s manner of life, and what his mission is?” And the angel of the LORD said to Manoah, “Of all that I said to the woman let her be careful. She may not eat of anything that comes from the vine, neither let her drink wine or strong drink, or eat any unclean thing. All that I commanded her let her observe.” Judges 13:10-14 ESV
This woman here was a submissive woman. More than once, she had the opportunity to take the center stage and overshadow her husband, but she never did. Instead, she went and told him about her encounter and allowed him to take over.
Submission is defined by google as “the action or fact of accepting or yielding to a superior force or to the will or authority of another person.” A submitted person is a person under authority and they recognize that authority over their lives. Wives submitting to their husbands does not mean they are doormats, neither does it give men permission to abuse or mistreat them. A husband is expected to love his wife as Christ loves the church (Ephesians 5:25). Christ laid down his life for the Church and a loving husband must be in such a position. He is not a tyrant who will force his wife to submit to his sinful and selfish desires. When a man loves his wife, it will be easier for her to come under his authority and submit.
Christ lived in perfect submission to God. He came from Heaven to save us from our sins by dying on the cross. He placed Himself under the authority of God and He did what God wanted Him to do without questioning.
And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” ~ Matthew 26:39 ESV
The cross must have been the most difficult thing He had to endure, yet in the midst of it all, He yielded to the will of His Father. He refused to avoid the cross but instead pleaded in agony for strength to fulfill God’s will.
During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission ~ Hebrews 5:7-8 NIV