We turn now to see what instruction the Word of God gives us as it regards young women. Perhaps more than any other demographic in our current environment, young women are beset with draconian lies. All of which will lead to some degree of unfruitfulness & heartbreak for those who adopt the world’s thinking. In God’s Word, young women are held in high honor, while also called to high holiness.
Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners?Song of Songs 6:10
Summary of the Text
In Solomon’s song of love, we find numerous veiled descriptions of the unveiled glory of the love between a husband & his bride. In this verse we’re allowed a glimpse of sanctified feminine glory.
What did the Beloved see when he beheld his chosen bride? He saw a new day dawn. He saw the creation of a new world; evening & morning, and it was good. He saw Sun, Moon, and Stars. In gazing upon her, he beheld a coming heavenly host of covenant-keeping offspring. Rank upon rank of saints would come from her bearing & nurturing. Indeed, by her host of virtues & charms his affections have been captured. This description gives daughters of the Lord something to emulate. Adorned outwardly and inwardly with a host of glorious virtues.
The Making of Vows
The besetting sin of modern American’s is individualism. Nowhere is this more evident than in how women are taught to view themselves. A daughter has authority, but she’s also under authority (Num. 30:3-5). The point here is that a daughter can lawfully make vows, but her vows are not like the unalterable law of the Medes and Persians. Her vows are lawful, but not absolute. If her father, or later her husband, were to overrule her vow, she’s not broken her vow.
Further, this arrangement keeps her from the folly of a rash vow. A young woman would be guarded from some sweet-talker who coaxed her into a “secret engagement”. This also shows us that her father has authority over his daughter’s romantic commitments.
Eager suitors should bear in mind that they ought not treat young women as if they are autonomous islands. If he desires her to marry him, submit to his headship, receive her respect, the first step in commanding her respect is for him to show respect & deference to her father’s authority over her. Rejecting both recreational dating & hook-up culture should mean that a young couple’s approach to romance be bounded by Biblical wisdom. This means not treating authority as if it’s a dirty word.
Too often, though, instead of replacing the world’s model of two fools messing around, conservative Christians replace it with six fools making a hash of things. Overbearing moms, overly scrupulous parents, tight-fisted dads, poor communication of expectations, standards, guidelines, and throw in a few younger siblings giving their (very experienced) 2¢ and you have curdled the relationship from the get-go.
A young woman should not view her duty to submit to her father, and eventually a husband, as a cumbersome obstacle to her life. Fathers in particular, and parents in general, should set out to ensure that their authority in a daughter’s life is one of blessing. It will only be a blessing if it’s marked by our Heavenly Father’s generosity. He piles on the grace, the love, the protection, and the gifts of His joy over us, and yet also refuses to indulge our follies, vices, or the wolves who would devour us.
In short, there are four options for a single woman in regards to authority. Being under authority is inescapable, but that is the case for us all. There’s lawful but ungodly authority: a miserly father, who bears rule with an iron fist, or has long ago abdicated. There’s unlawful & ungodly authority: the modern feminist mindset which deludes with phantom autonomy (don’t let no man tell you what to do, let the board of a Fortune 500 company tell you what to do, or the market forces, or the Dept. of Education tell you what to think). There’s unlawful & godly authority: she might find a fine young man, but he isn’t her authority. Finally, lawful and godly authority: a loving father who cherishes her, protects her, and guides her (and any suitor who comes along) from the structure of his faithful home into her own godly home.
Passive ≠ Inactive
So, while it’s a young woman’s duty to submit, first to her father’s leadership and protection (as long as it’s Scriptural), and then to consent to the advances of an eligible suitor, this doesn’t mean that she’s to loll about in idleness. She isn’t relieved of duty, activity, purpose, or industry. The description which Scripture gives of holy women is that of vigorous action even while under submission. Sarah, Ruth, Rahab, Tamar, Jael, Proverbs 31, Abigail, the daughters of Zelophehad, and Hannah depict this is a variety of situations (some with godly heads, others with ungodly). While in relation to the lawful authority over them they are in a passive position of receiving, what is given into their hands to do is to be done with vigor and joy.
Modern thinking wants young women to be content only with being lawmakers unto themselves. The insistence upon the “my body, my choice” paradigm, along with the unquestioning affirmation of every choice, has taught America’s daughters to dwell in a state of constant vulnerability. They aren’t protected. They’re the prey of carnal men who will use them to gratify their endless lust & greed. The feminist arrangement works out quite well for both the lecherous creep & the $500 haircut CEO.
An unmarried women shouldn’t adopt the notion that self-fulfillment is found in some journey of self-discovery out in the wilds of corporate America, or in the woods of some Yoga resort where you heal from all the trauma of growing up in the most prosperous, care-free time in all history. A young woman should be preparing herself as if she is about to be hired to be a caretaker of a thousand acre vineyard & winery. Thus, she should be cultivating savvy wordsmithing; she should commit dozens of delicious recipes to memory; she should understand a profit & loss spreadsheet; and she should probably work to become a whiz at making grass stains disappear from jeans.
Young women should understand that they are the producers of the world’s most precious commodity: children made in the image of God. This is why the OT Law put severe sanctions on the craven lusts of men, in order to protect the chastity of daughters. This is why daughters were not sent into Israel’s wars. Preparing for motherhood isn’t preparation for obscurity. It’s preparation for bearing & rearing a host of godly saints, trained up to love & fear the Lord all their days. She raises humans who will make advances in science, art, discovery, and justice, while also fulfilling our Lord’s assignment for the Church to bring this world under the dominion of Christ’s Word. Young mom’s have the opportunity to create a habitat in which the early years of their children are marked by joy, discipline, nurture, love, beauty, and peace. You are preparing to oversee the formation of tens of thousands of worshippers of the Lord Jesus. While you wait for a husband, you need not wait to become industrious.
In Wrought Gold
Returning to our text, a young woman preparing for marriage should bring to mind an army readying for battle. Your single years are the boot-camp & the staging area for a Gospel invasion of the remaining outposts of evil & darkness. Marriage and motherhood is where those exercises are put into action. Moms do in miniature what the Church does at full scale.
Scripture prohibits women from military combat, while simultaneously evoking military imagery for the glory of a woman. This is not accidental. The war is not out there where the guns are, the war is whether mankind will worship the Risen Christ.
And here is where our theology meets our living. The Church receives Christ’s love, and is made lovely. Your love is made perfect in Christ & by Christ (1 Jn. 4:17). The bride is arrayed in wrought gold, fine needlework, and beaming with glory within (Ps. 45:13). In Christ, God has arrayed the saints in golden robes of righteous. This is all of grace.
Don’t let the sneers of the world convince you that Scripture teaches the oppression of women. It is quite the opposite. Scripture proclaims to us the redemption of women (and men too of course). It is in Christ that all the oppression of sin is overthrown, and we walk in the joy of His salvation, and then we get to work at our respective stations.