Sunday, January 11, 2004

God's Breasts

OK, now that I have your undivided attention... I'm gonna let Nancy Campbell of Above Rubies, tell it all.

(The following excerpt is from The Power of Motherhood, by Nancy Campbell, and can be found on her website.)

Mothers are God's Idea

Motherhood originated in God's heart. It is His idea, not man's. Let's look at the creation of man and woman.

Genesis 1:27, 28 says, "God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them. And God blessed them..." God created man in the image of God and God's intention for man is to reveal the father heart of God. Above everything else that God is, He is ultimately a father. Because the character of God is to father, He put something of His father heart into man when He created him.

Women also were created in the image of God and He has chosen to put something of His maternal heart within them. Yes, within the Father heart of God, there is a mother heart. We see this described and encompassed in the word, 'Almighty', one of the many names of God.

EL SHADDAI - THE GOD OF THE TOTAL PROVISION

Whenever we see the name, Almighty, it is the Hebrew word, El Shaddai. A breakdown of this word is as follows:

EL - the powerful, mighty, eternal God.
SHADDAI - comes from the root word, 'shad,' which is the Hebrew word for breast. It literally means 'the breasted one.'

This is a picture of God Himself as a nursing mother - One who longs to comfort us, protect us, nurture us and gather us in His arms. He is the God who is all-nourishing and all-sufficient. El Shaddai is the God Who is Enough. He is able to totally satisfy all our needs. He is the God of total provision.

El Shaddai is the One who pours forth and sheds forth all spiritual and temporal blessings. The word 'shed' which we use today in the phrase 'shed forth light', comes from the Hebrew word, 'shad.' As God sheds forth His love, so we are to shed forth love and care to others.

In El Shaddai, we see the self-sacrificing love of God, giving and pouring Himself out for others. As God sacrificed and gave His very best, His only Son, so we show forth His mother heart when we serve and give sacrificially.

As our El Shaddai, we experience Him gathering us safely under His wings as a Hen gathers her chickens. Part of our motherhood anointing is to protect our children and gather other needy people under our wings.

Matthew 23:37 "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem... how often I have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, but you weren't willing!" [me - This Jesus said, weeping from a hill that overlooks modern day Jerusalem.]

We further see this picture in the following scriptures:

Ruth 2:12 "The Lord God of Israel, under whose wings you are come to trust."
Psalm 36:7 "The children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings."
Psalm 91:1-4 "He (or she) who dwells in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty (El Shaddai)... He shall cover you with His feathers and under His wings shall you trust..."

See also Psalm 17:8, 57:1, 61:4 and 63:7

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"But what about single women?" you ask. "Or what about those who are unable to have children? How can they be mothers?" We are certainly catapulted into motherhood when we bear children, but the vision of motherhood is even greater than caring for the children to whom we give birth.

The world is waiting to feel the caring heart of God. Every woman can blossom as a mother, whether she gives birth to her own children, or not. All she needs to do is to allow the nurturing instinct that God has put within her by divine creation to flow from her life.

If you do not have children of your own, wait on God to show you who He wants you to mother. Maybe it is children who have no home. Maybe it is older people, lonely people, teens who have no hope in this life, latch-key children next door, single mothers, or whoever God lays upon your heart. As you reach out in loving nurture, forgetting yourself and your own needs, you will find true fulfillment - and you will fulfill your destiny as a woman. There is also a great need for older women to nurture and encourage the younger mothers.

[me - there's plenty more in this awesome book!]
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(Also, from the site - a frame... not sure how to find it otherwise! Go to the root of the site to get to the navigation bar!)

The most common word for women in the New Testament is 'gune' which means 'woman, wife'. However, one time a different Greek word is used, translated from the word 'woman', and it is very significant. 

It is the word, 'thelus'.

It comes from the Greek root word, 'thele' which means 'the nipple of a woman's breast, to suckle, to nurse'. 

It is the true picture of a woman, created with a womb to nurture life and breasts to nourish that life.  Now where does God use this word?

This word is used in Romans 1:26,27, For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women (thelus) did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another....” In this scripture, God spells out the consequences of women who turn away from the way that He has created us, including the biological function of breastfeeding. Now please don't get me wrong. I know that some women have not been successful with breastfeeding because of lack of knowledge or even physical disabilities (through ignorance I wasn't totally successful in my first attempt either.). But it is when we blatantly refuse to nurse that we go against nature and God's plan for us as women. It goes on to say that when men saw women turn away from their God given function, they turned to unnatural lusts. The rejection in our hearts of our womanly functions of pregnancy, childbirth and nursing is a root of homosexuality.

Even the animal kingdom do not turn away from their natural function to nurse and nourish their young. Lamentations 4:3 NIV says, "Even jackals offer their breasts to nurse their young, but my people, have become heartless like ostriches in the desert."

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In Isaiah 66:10-13 God is talking about Jerusalem and likening her to a nursing mother. So when we read what He says, we get God's understanding of a nursing mother. As you read this passage you will see no mention of food. What do you see?

"That ye may suck, and be satisfied with the breasts of her consolations: that ye may milk out, and be delighted with the abundance of her glory.  For thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the Gentiles like a flowing stream: then shall ye suck, ye shall be borne upon her sides, and be dandled upon her knees. As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem."

Did you notice the words -  "satisfy, console, delight, comfort?" We see here that nursing is not an alternative way to feed a baby, e.g. bottle feeding versus breastfeeding. No, it is total mothering to meet every need of the child. So the breast is used, not just to satisfy hunger, but also to satisfy, delight, console and comfort.

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THAT WHICH IS ENOUGH

We have already talked about the understanding of God, El Shaddai. Let's look a little closer at this word, shaddai.
 
'Sha' means 'that which is or he who is'

'Dai' means 'enough'

Therefore the meaning for breast is 'that which is enough'!

Isn't that wonderful? The breast is total provision for the little babe as he/she nurses. When nursing a baby, we don't have to give supplement bottles, we don't have to give solids, we don't have to give pacifiers - the breast is enough to satisfy the physical and emotional hunger of our baby. God's understanding of the breast is that it is enough!