February 9, 2015
I’m an Ezer and Proud of It
“The LORD God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him’” (Genesis 2:18 NIV).
Friend to Friend
For thirteen years, our family was blessed with a golden retriever named Ginger. We gave her to our son, Steven, for Christmas when he was five-years-old, and she still holds the blue ribbon as the best present ever. I can still remember the look of surprise on Steven’s cherub face when the “stuffed” animal began to move.
“It’s a puppy!” he exclaimed. “It’s not a toy!”
And while Ginger was officially Steven’s dog, and I was unofficially her primary caretaker, it was my husband who held a special place in her heart. From the very beginning, Ginger loved my husband the best.
Ginger lollygagged her days away by sleeping in the driveway or lounging by the back stoop steps. However, when my husband’s car entered the neighborhood and turned the corner onto our shady Stratfordshire Drive, Ginger’s ears perked up and her eyes began to beam. Suddenly infused with a burst of anticipatory energy, she would jump to her feet and run in circles.
“He’s home! He’s home!” she seemed to say.
When Steve pulled into the garage and opened his car door, Ginger whined, ran to greet him and rested her head on his left leg while he cooed and rubbed her ears. Steve’s homecoming was the highlight of her day.
No wonder dog is called “man’s best friend.” Ginger was loyal, didn’t nag, and loved Steve no matter how much or how little attention he paid to her on any given day. She was very forgiving and almost immediately forgot any injustice such as not giving her table scraps or being left behind when we traveled on vacation.
Often at the mere sight of Steve, Ginger rolled over on her back and beckoned him to rub her tummy. She always responded to his touch like it was heaven on earth. What man wouldn’t love such a response from “his girl”?
And yet, when God created Adam and placed him in the Garden, only to determine that “It is not good for man to be alone,” He did not create a dog to be his loyal companion. God created a woman to fill the void in Adam’s life. She was called a “helper.” And while you may have one definition in mind when you read the word “helper,” “ezer” is packed with so much more.
The Hebrew word that is translated “helper” is “ezer.” This term is derived from a Hebrew word used of God and Holy Spirit: azar. Both mean “helper”—one who comes alongside to aid, assist, or rescue. The ESV Study Bible notes that the “helper” is one who supplies strength in the area that is lacking in the helped.
Ezer appears 21 times in the Old Testament. Twice in Genesis it describes the woman (Genesis 2:18, 20). But the majority of references (16 to be exact) refer to God, or Yahweh, as the helper of His people. The remaining three references appear in the books of the prophets, who use it to refer to military aid. So friend, married or not, being an ezer is quite an honor. It is a word denoting great strength.
We would be very remiss if we looked at the word ezer or helper only in domestic terms. Adam didn’t need someone to cook for him, clean up after him, or care for him. That was not the problem. The void in Adam’s life was that he did not have a companion to work with him, rule the earth with him, love with him, procreate with him, and after the fall—struggle with him. A dog might have been an easier adjustment for Adam, but God decided Adam needed someone with words.
As an ezer or a strong helper, and one of the best ways we “help” is with our words. So how will we use them? Not just with husbands but with people in general. Will we use them to fortify or flatten, defend or defeat, complete or compete? The choice begins in our minds, runs through our hearts, and responds with our lips.
Today, think of the ways you can be the ezer God created you to be.
For the married woman:
Dear Lord, I so want to be a good ezer–a good companion that is my husband’s completer. I want to be a helper and not a hindrance. Help me to use my words in such a way that help him to be all that You have created him to be as we work together in life. In Jesus’ name,
For the single woman:
Dear Lord, thank You for creating me to be a helper—a strong women who comes along to assist where needed. Give me the right words to say to help others to be all You have created them to be. Help me not to tear down others with my words, but build them up. Help me to speak life into those around me today.
In Jesus’ name,
Now It’s Your Turn
What do you think of when you think of the word “helper”?
Why do you think Adam needed a helper?
How have you been an ezer to your husband over the past week? (Not geezer, mind you, but ezer.)
You might want to ask him some ways that you could help him in the coming days?
If you are single, what are some ways that you can be anezer to those around you today?
Aren’t you glad that God created you to be a “mighty warrior”—one who comes along to rescue? If so, click over to my Facebook page and say, “I’m an ezer and proud of it!”
More from the Girlfriends
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Originally published Monday, 09 February 2015.