“There is no one like the God of Jeshurun, who rides across the heavens to help you and on the clouds in his majesty. The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. He will drive out your enemies before you, saying, ‘Destroy them!’ So Israel will live in safety; Jacob will dwell secure in a land of grain and new wine, where the heavens drop dew. Blessed are you, Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the Lord? He is your shield and helper and your glorious sword. Your enemies will cower before you, and you will tread on their heights.” – Deuteronomy 33:26-29
A Thought for the Day
One of the central ways that God reveals himself is as our “helper”. In Hebrew the word is “ezer” and it is used to describe God over a dozen times throughout the Old Testament. However, in our culture when we think of someone being a “helper” we often imagine lower working-class individuals working in hospitality – cleaning hotel rooms, or being a nanny to a family of children, or waiting on tables.
This couldn’t be further from the imagery used alongside the word “ezer” in the Bible. Instead, when God is being our “help” we see him defeating our enemies, rescuing us from certain death, being a source of power and strength in the midst of our helplessness. Here in Deuteronomy God’s role in the life of Israel as “helper” is also described as being their “shield and glorious sword”. It all sounds a lot more like a superhero than it does some subservient occupation.
Today, as you pray for your five, pray for God to be their help, their rescuer, the superhero they most need in this moment.
Contrary to current traditional beliefs in culture and most religions, this superhero role of God’s reflects his femininity, not masculinity. We know from Genesis 1:27 that God made both male and female in their image, so both the fullness of masculinity and femininity, and everything in between or beyond, are present in God. We also know that this role of being a rescuer and source of strength is one that God embedded into the female half of his creation as the same word, “ezer”, is used in Genesis 2:18 to describe God’s plan for making Eve. So much so, that it would be entirely appropriate to use the pronoun “she” for God when we are referring to her ability to rescue and save us.
Eve was not created to be subservient to Adam, Genesis 3:16 clearly tells us that was one of the consequences of sin, which means it was not how God intended his creation to operate. The word patriarchy is used to describe this ideology of females being made somehow less than and subservient to males. But as patriarchy is the result of sin, to live in a way that sustains or enables patriarchy is to willingly choose the consequences of sin over God’s promise of restored creation.
Praying for your Five:
“Heavenly Mother, you are our rescuer and saviour! You are our help in times of need, our refuge in times of distress, our protector in times of danger. I call on you, El Shaddai, to come and rescue [say the names of your five] today. Continue to rescue them from sin and death, despair and hopelessness, disease and pain, sorrow and uncertainty, oppression and abuse. You are the only one who can rescue them, restore them, and return them to the true image of yourself that they were designed to be. Do not delay God, let this rescue be carried out today. Amen.”
Praying Something Old
This ancient prayer was used as part of a series of prayer sung while on pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Pray it over yourself and over your five as we all continue down the road of life:
I lift my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip – he who watches over you will not slumber;
Indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you – the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm – he will watch over your life;
The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.
Praying Something New
Try using feminine imagery, pronouns, and language as you pray to God today. Referring to God as our mother, talking about loving us in her womb, and other imagery (like God as our help and rescuer) is really common throughout the Bible.