By Tope Banso
A growing body of evidence suggests that discrimination against women hinders development. As said by the World Bank Group, no country, community, or economy can achieve its potential or meet the challenges of the 21st century without the full and equal participation of women and men, girls and boys.
It is unfortunate, however, that in some societies, women and girls still suffer discrimination in different sectors, including education, health, economy and politics. Discrimination against women is a human creation, not God’s creation. It was not so in the beginning.
Genesis 1:27 says, “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (New King James Version). God created man, male and female. Jesus referred to this in Matthew 19:4 and Mark 10:6. There are differences in roles, but not discrimination against women. Both men and women need each other. The woman’s role should complement the man’s roles and vice versa. There should be no oppression or domination.
Everybody benefits when the society recognises the roles of women, and respects their rights. The society will be better when women are allowed to realize their full potential. The society suffers when women are not given the opportunity to take their place in the scheme of things. There should be no exclusion or marginalization of women.
In God’s design, women are not inferior to men, in the marriage relationship, the church, or the society. 1 Peter 3:7 says, “In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat her with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. If you don’t treat her as you should, your prayers will not be heard” (New Living Translation). Please take note of the phrase “equal partner.”
While the Bible says the husband is the head of the wife (Ephesians 5:23), it doesn’t mean the husband is more brilliant or more intelligent than the wife. It is just a matter of role definition. A wise husband would appreciate the gifts of God in his wife or her divine endowment and allow her to deploy these for the good of the family and for the fulfillment of her destiny. Headship doesn’t mean the husband has all it takes and doesn’t need the wife. Nobody has everything.
The Bible says wives should submit to their own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord (Colossians 3:18). It doesn’t say wives should submit to all men – only to their husbands. Even within the family, as the wives submit to their husbands, the Bible says the husbands should love their wives and not be bitter toward them.
That instruction to the husband doesn’t make him superior or make the woman inferior. The instructions to both are for harmonious relationships and for their good. No husband should become a dictator because of the instruction to the wife to submit to him. Women are not inferior.
God does not discriminate against women. The subjugation of women in a patriarchal society shouldn’t be seen as God’s design, notwithstanding the lies to that effect. God created male and female and He didn’t create the woman as inferior.
Jesus died for both men and women. The salvation of men is not superior to that of women. The blood of Jesus that was shed to save women is not inferior to that shed to save the men. Women are not less children of God than men. Galatians 3:28 says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (New King James Version). Did you see that? There’s no male or female; we’re all one in Christ Jesus. We are saints!
Women are as important to the programme of God on the earth as the men. In Joel 2:28-29, The LORD said, “And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days” (New King James Version). Did you see that both men and women are mentioned in that scripture? There is no discrimination against women.
Acts 21:9 says that Philip the evangelist had four virgin daughters who prophesied. That should shame anyone today who thinks that women are only to go about with beautiful faces and dresses and walk like a model! These daughters were as spiritual as their father.
The gift of prophecy is not for men alone. In Exodus 15:20, Moses’ sister, Miriam, is described as a prophetess. These women, Huldah (2 Kings 22:14), the wife of Isaiah (Isaiah 8:3) and Ana (Luke 2:36-38), were also described as prophetess.
Nothing hinders God to use men or women! At a very difficult time in the history of Israel, God used a woman to judge Israel. Her name was Deborah, the fourth judge of Israel and the only female judge. She was also a prophetess (Judges 4-5). Deborah, the wife of Lapidoth, sat under the palm tree of Deborah and judged Israel.
She was a courageous woman. She motivated Barak to mobilize a ten thousand army at Mount Tabor – ten thousand men of the sons of Naphtali and of the sons of Zebulun. Barak insisted that Deborah must go with him to the battle, otherwise he would not go. Deborah went with him.
God lured Sisera, the Commander of Jabin’s army, and his chariots and warriors to the Kishon River to fight the Israelites.The Israelites defeated Jabin’s army, and the commander of his army, Sisera, fled. He was eventually killed by a woman, Jael, in her house.
Deborah, in Hebrew, means a bee. Bees are known mainly for two things: their sting and the honey they produce. Their sting produces pain and the honey produces sweetness. Deborah’s leadership caused pain for the Canaanites and joy for the Israelites. Women are not inferior to men. Any such feeling of inferiority is not from God.
I love the five daughter of Zelophehad, a man of the tribe of Manasseh. He died while the Israelites were wandering in the wilderness. He had no son, but only five daughters, Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah (Numbers 26:36; 27:1). Because Zelophehad had no male child to inherit his portion of land, the five daughters went to Moses, their leader, Eliezer the priest, the tribal leaders, and the entire community, with a request to be allowed to inherit the land that would have been given to their father.
Numbers 27:2-4 says, “And they stood before Moses, before Eleazar the priest, and before the leaders and all the congregation, by the doorway of the tabernacle of meeting, saying: ‘Our father died in the wilderness; but he was not in the company of those who gathered together against the LORD, in company with Korah, but he died in his own sin; and he had no sons. Why should the name of our father be removed from among his family because he had no son? Give us a possession among our father’s brothers’” (New King James Version).
I love their boldness. They didn’t send anyone to Moses. They courageously went themselves to state their case. They didn’t want their father’s name to disappear from his clan just because he had no male child. There had never been a case like that before this time. The existing law didn’t address such a situation. It only provided that inheritance should be passed from the father to the sons to ensure that inheritance remained in each tribe.
Daughters were denied inheritance, not because of despise or hatred, but to ensure the land allotted each tribe is not transferred to another through marriage. However, Moses had to take this special case case before the LORD.
Hear the LORD’s reply: “The daughters of Zelophehad speak what is right; you shall surely give them a possession of inheritance among their father’s brothers, and cause the inheritance of their father to pass to them” (Numbers 27:7 New King James Version).
Because of these daughters of Zelophehad, God gave the Israelites a new law to address this type of situation. The law ensured that women were not denied the right of inheritance where their fathers had no male inheritor (Numbers 27:8; 36:2-11).
Women are not inferior. No woman should have inferiority or superiority complex. There should be mutual respect between men and women. David said, “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made, marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well” (Psalm 139:13 New King James Version).
The society should recognize the gifts, talents and the potential of women, and encourage them to deploy these to the glory of God, for their personal fufilment and for the betterment of the society.
Men who objectify women and, unfortunately, women, who objectify themselves or other women, should stop it. There is more to a woman than a beautiful face or a sexy body! Women have destinies they must fulfil.
The body of a woman is prepared for her to worship God and fulfil her destiny, not to seduce men or commit sin. Women are not inferior.
If you’re not born again, repent of your sins today and accept Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. Whoever comes to Him, He will by no means cast out.
PRAYER POINTS: I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Thank you, Father, for this. I shall walk in the consciousness of this truth. I am not inferior to anyone. I shall fulfill my destiny. I overcome all man-made barriers or obstacles to hinder me. I shall excel and become all God has ordained me to be.
This is wisdom for living, and it’s worth sharing. Please share.
(For over 300 in-depth and powerful messages by T.O. Banso, visit: www.cedarministry.org).
▪︎ Banso, an Abuja-based minister, heads Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria
Tel No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523; WhatsApp No: +2349081295947