Male & female.
Seems it's considered in bad taste these days to mention that there's actually a difference. Frankly, I don't like those taste buds! Listen to how the Creator summarized it:
"God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them" (Gen. 1:27).
But it's not the difference so much that interests me here as the uniqueness of man. In "The Silence of Adam," Larry Crabb brings out that the Hebrew word used for "male" in this verse is zakar, which carries the meaning, "the remembering one." Not the typical word for male, at least from our viewpoint. You may ask, "Remember what?" Perhaps it would be better to ask, not "what," but "why?" Why put this term in the foundational verses of God's creating act?
Stories Stir Our Memories of Past Joys
Without looking any deeper into this word, we could surmise that man must have something worth remembering, or, at least that he has the capability of doing so. Crabb surfaced something with which I am familiar, reminiscing with old college buddies and greatly enjoying the repartee. What marks these times is not that we bring up new stories (necessarily), but that we resurface the old but familiar times we enjoyed way back when. Most of us know such fun, even silly times with family and friends, right? But what's the point of telling such stories? Referring to such sharing among former ministry colleagues, Crabb writes, "They remind us of another day, another time, year ago when we worked together in a student ministry." Those stories reminded them of days when God had worked through them. "Significant things happened, sorrowful things happened, miraculous things happened. God did a work in our midst, and we tell our stories to remind us of those days."
Remembering God's Acts in Salvation History
Ever notice how many passages in the Bible have to do with remembering or reminding either Israel or an individual of what God had promised? It usually pointed to a need to trust God again. Actually, the whole of Deuteronomy is a sort of narration of Israel's history with a focus on their theological bearings before they ventured into the Promised Land. It's a glorious recounting of God's works and a great boon to the soul of everyone who believes in Jesus Christ. Habbakkuk, the prophet who grew quite incensed at God for his apparent injustice in using a more evil people to rebuke Israel found hope when he remembers, Lord, I have heard the report of you, and your work, O Lord, do I fear. In the midst of the years revive it; in the midst of the years make it known; in wrath remember mercy (3:2). When Samuel wanted to encourage Israel's faith, he pointed to the works of God and built an altar naming it Ebenezer, which means "hitherto the LORD has helped us."
What were they doing, and what therefore are we as males supposed to be doing in our day? We are supposed to pass along to the next generation not just history, but what God has done in that history. It is in age that man can see across his years and see things a younger person should not be able to see. We call this perspective. I would suggest that this is much of what is involved in the biblical term "wisdom." Memory is involved in both.
Memory of God Prevents Sin
When we are drawn away by our lusts and enticed (James 1:14), we will find that we must push God out of our minds if we to succeed in sinning. Know what I am talking about? If a man wants to focus on pornography, he must push the warnings of the Holy Spirit aside. If someone wants to gossip, they must do the same. Any sin we begin to entertain requires that we eject God from our thoughts. It's no surprise is it that Paul urges us "to take every thought captive to obey Christ" (2 Cor. 10:5 ESV).
It should not be amazing to us to learn that salvation is not built around our escape from judgment or our gaining heaven as wonderful as are these things. No, Jesus says quite plainly that "this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent" (John 17:3). Such knowledge, as many may realize, is more along the lines of intimacy. Hence, we see a deeper reason back of our communion services which are to done "in remembrance of me" says Jesus. Keep intimate love for Jesus front and center and you will gain far more than just escape from sin. You'll cultivate a God-entranced heart.
Turning from God to sin is nothing less than idolatry. "Such is the nature of idolatry--the seeking of something other than God to satisfy one's desires. Sinful choices require that God be forgotten. In this sense, forgetting is about more than just misplacing car keys. It is an active and willful choice--a refusal to remember" (Crabb, p. 84). And why do we turn away from God to our choice sins? It is because, in essence, we do not believe that God is enough. Crabb voices man's cop-outs: "This life I am living is not working. God is not treating me the way I deserve. Life just doesn't feel good. I want something or someone that either makes me feel good or places me in control. Trusting God is not producing the results I want. Therefore I must put him aside. I must choose to forget God for a time and to replace him with something more pleasurable."
What To Do?
So, are we men supposed to sit down and have story time with our children at night to off-set this tendency? Would our memorizing Scripture do it? They may. They certainly are important and have their place. But if we stop there it will never be enough. In fact, it could do positive harm if all we end up with is an exterior, legalistic set of rules that leads to either pride or frustration (or both). No. As Crabb states, "Something more is called for: a change of heart. Unless men honestly face their stubborn delight in forgetting and their commitment to passions stronger their desire for God, lasting change will never occur."
God created them male so that they would remember what is most vital and cleave unto Him. It's at the very heart of the creative act. Designed to ponder God, man is at his best when he lives in wonderment of the divine beauty. Give us more freedom from this world's constrictive, chocking false loves and free us to see and to grasp tightly all that is glorious in God.