As we seek to address the marital dislocations that confront us in every direction, remember that we want to do so in a way that respects the men, particularly the young men. If they don’t solve the problem, then nobody is going to solve the problem. And if the problem is caused by our culture-wide hostility to masculinity, we will only be pouring gasoline on these cultural fires if we bring along any additional contempt.
“And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do . . .” (1 Chron. 12:32).
Summary of the Text
Remember that the Word of God is given to men, and this means that it is not thrown into the Abyss or Void. In order to understand the Word, it is necessary to understand how it was intended to be applied, and that requires exegesis of the times. If you require that every biblical solution for every 21st century problem be spoon fed to us right out of the text, straight across and with no translation, you want something that is not going to happen. Scripture says nothing about computer dating services. At the same time, we do not want to coming up with our own vanities, willy nilly, independent of the authority of the Word. That is the sure road to self-deception. We want men of Issachar, saturated in the Word, and attuned to the times.
The Glory of Young Men
The glory of young men is their strength, but it has to be the kind of strength exhibited by the men of Issachar. John wrote to young men because they had overcome the wicked one (1 John 2:13). John wrote to the young men because they were strong, and they were strong because of the Word of God abiding in them (1 John 2:14). Again, they overcame the wicked one—but the wicked one is the father of lies. This great work is therefore done, through faith, by exulting in the truth.
One of the Lies of Feminism
Before addressing one of the most corrosive lies of feminism, we need to be reminded that the really potent lies are the ones that have a strand of truth running through them. Ardent feminists have argued for some time now that traditional marriage is simply a respectable form of prostitution. They advance this argument by making the (quite obvious) point that marriage involves an economic exchange, one that includes within its terms money for sex and sex for money.
Now marriage is an economic institution, and that’s the point. Even our word economy comes from the Greek word for household. But prostitution is not an evil because it includes sex and money; it is an evil because of what it excludes—it excludes kids, and fidelity, and curtains, and mowing the lawn. It also excludes love, but we have to be careful with that because of how greatly we have distorted what love means. But sex and money are supposed to be located near the center of your entire life, and not be some adjunct to your life.
Three Chickens and a Cow?
Whenever someone starts investigating market realities and traditional marriage, it takes about five minutes before someone starts yelling about dowries, and bartering for brides. But our modern cyber system has simply relocated and distorted the monetary exchanges that are involved—it has not eliminated them. If you want to do any serious interacting on eHarmony, you will need, ahem, a paid subscription.
As the whole world knows, men and women are different. Since I have gotten you ready for this, let us talk about this in terms of the stark realities of supply and demand. Men and women are differently sexually, and one of the differences can be seen here. Men represent the demand side, and women the supply. In the older order, the order we have demolished in the name of liberating women (ha!), men agreed to give up their roistering ways in exchange for something stable his wife would then supply—respect, loyalty, sex, legitimate offspring, and a stake in the future of civilization. Because he had to surrender the rest of his life for this staggering privilege, what she was therefore supplying was a high-end luxury item. “Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD” (Prov. 18:22).
So instead of this, what has the sexual revolution accomplished? What has our vaunted feminist liberation done—all in the name of eliminating the commodification of women? It has not eliminated the commodification of women. What it has done is send the price crashing through the floor. What has abortion done? It subsidizes irresponsible men. What has ubiquitous porn done? It caters to irresponsible men. What has the expectation of sex by the second date done? It flatters irresponsible men. Hey! Where did all these irresponsible men come from? If our generation were the prodigal son, we are now at the point in the story where we are staring at the pig food, and all the painted ladies are off with some other good time Charlie.
And incidentally, we live in a time when more evangelical “thought leaders” will be offended that I spoke of women in terms of “the price” than have been offended by the actual damage that countless women have suffered through having their value directly challenged and denied. You can refuse to set a price on a woman in two ways, you know. You can deem her priceless—“Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies” (Prov. 31:10). Or, on the other hand, you might deem her priceless because you have run her clean out of the market in the other direction. What we are dealing with is a sexual market crash.
Now sadly, too many Christians participate in some or all of these actual compromises, things like porn or hooking up. But even those who do not participate directly in the overtly immoral aspects of it are still having to function in a market where all the expectations and prices have been dislocated. It is like the private school that has to charge for what the government schools are promising to give away for free.
Someone can make a moral decision in a climate that was created by a host of immoral decisions, but that doesn’t keep it from being negative. I am about to mention that a young woman’s peak attractiveness and fertility happens in her early twenties, thus proving myself to be an incorrigible dinosaur. But let us say a woman wants to get a graduate degree or two, and then a successful career, and then, when in her mid-thirties, she wants the men to cluster around like they used to when she was 23. She is wanting something that rarely happens. Now she might be doing this because her thinking has been distorted by all the messed-up thinking the broader culture, or she might be doing this from necessity, because potential suitors are giving her space to “pursue her dreams.” But a godly young man should be willing to interrupt. He should be willing to mess up all her plans. “I don’t want you to pursue your dreams. I wanted to ask if you would pursue our toddlers with a spanking spoon instead.”
In Yet Another Prophetic Moment
“A society in which conjugal infidelity is tolerated must always be in the long run a society adverse to women. Women, whatever a few male songs and satires may say to the contrary, are more naturally monogamous than men; it is a biological necessity. Where promiscuity prevails, they will therefore always be more often the victims than the culprits. Also, domestic happiness is more necessary to them than to us. And the quality by which they most easily hold a man, their beauty, decreases every year after they have come to maturity, but this does not happen to those qualities of personality—women don’t really care two cents about our looks—by which we hold women. Thus in the ruthless war of promiscuity women are at a double disadvantage. They play for higher stakes and are also more likely to lose. I have no sympathy with moralists who frown at the increasing crudity of female provocativeness. These signs of desperate competition fill me with pity.”C.S. Lewis, “We Have No ‘Right to Happiness’” in God in the Dock
Christ the Truth
Jesus tells us plainly that He is the truth. “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). Young men are the ones who must overcome the wicked one, and they must do this by following Christ everywhere. They must realize that Christ is the truth everywhere, and not in some isolated spiritual realm.
The respective created natures of men and women are part of this truth. Following Christ in all things means resisting the lies of the world at this point, and acting on the basis of what God has given in the order of creation, and in revelation of Scripture.