The God who “counts the number of the stars; He calls them all by name,” (Psalm 147:4); is He “who gives food to the hungry…opens the eyes of the blind; watches over the strangers,” (Psalm 146:7, 8); this same God “is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and great in mercy…good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works” (Psalm 145:8, 9).
We love to read these beautiful words of how our God loves us. How easy it is to follow Him, how delightful we find it to praise and worship in His presence, in sanctuaries, in our private moments of spiritual gratitude.
Then we stumble over some passage in the Word that gives us pause or embarrassment, such as, “The head of a woman is man” – probably the most politically incorrect statement to quote today. Why? Why do we (men and women today) fear what is tradition in the church based on God’s holy word?
The obvious answer is that this pronouncement has been used to abuse, denigrate, and domesticate the female sex throughout the history of man. I suspect, however, that this was happening even before Paul wrote those words to the Corinthians. So perhaps the problem is not what God says (most assuredly); the problem is the automatic negative connotation we use to spin God’s words.
Anything that seems contrary to reason or individual beliefs or the social standards of the day will sink into sarcastic, distrustful rings of thought twirled around and around seeking a way to modernize or compromise simple truth. What is at stake? The beautiful sentiments? God’s reputation as the Eternal One? Our testimonies?
Before chasing after all the Biblical commentators who can (and rightly so) give a more exact translation, in context, multi-sided explanation of this hard saying than I, consider taking this perspective:
Start with God is great. Add that His greatness is unsearchable. Then meditate on the glorious splendor of His majesty and on His wondrous works, speaking from one generation to another (excerpt from Psalm 145). When we begin to study any word or phrase in the Bible, it is good to remember that all is written for our best interest and to cause God’s love and salvation to enter the hearts of every man, woman, and child. From this position, it is certain that we can absorb and permeate God’s lovingkindness outlining his will for each of us. That is the one way I can begin to understand.