"Now the young woman pleased him, and she obtained his favor; so he readily gave beauty preparations to her, besides her allowance. Then seven choice maidservants were provided for her from the king’s palace, and he moved her and her maidservants to the best place in the house of the women."---Esther 2:9(NKJV)
Is this song *really* from 1989?!? That means that I was in the 10th grade (or maybe the latter part of the 9th) when it came out. *Where is the time going?!?*
What's a real trip about it is that when I was looking for a quote for this particular message, do you know that I couldn't find one on *providing*? Whenever that happens, the first thing that I tend to think about is how certain things about how life is supposed to go, to the world, is becoming less and less relevant. Kind like chivalry. But that's another message for another day.
Anyway, there are probably a lot of you that remember the lyrics to the song "Soul Provider". For me, one of the "trigger verses" is "You don't understand, naw, the full intent of my plan." It's followed by the chorus, ":Baby, I want to be your soul provider. Baby, I want to stay that way for the longest time. Baby, I want to be your soul provider. Just say you'll let me, darling I will."
Now, Michael Bolton is literally bolting out that he wants to be "her" *soul provider*:
Soul: the principle of life, feeling, thought, and action in humans, regarded as a distinct entity separate from the body, and commonly held to be separable in existence from the body; the spiritual part of humans as distinct from the physical part
Provide: to make available; furnish; to supply or equip; (law) to arrange for or stipulate beforehand, as by a provision or proviso; (archaic) to prepare or procure beforehand
Alright. Let's stop here for a moment. According to Mr. Bolton, he wants to be a man who furnishes and supplies for "her" soul; for the principle part of her life that is the *spiritual* part of her...what is distinct from the physical part. *That* is what the intention of his plan is. Hmph. It makes me think of what C.S. Lewis once said: "You don't have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body." And trust me, to the Lord, the soul is a *really big deal*. So much in fact that in the New King James Version alone, some variation of soul is mentioned a whopping 344 times.
You know, it was King David who was once inspired (2 Timothy 3:16-17) to pen, "O my soul, you have said to the Lord, 'You are my Lord, my goodness is nothing apart from You." (Psalm 16:2-NKJV) When you put it into the context of this message, it reminds us that when it comes to our soul, the spiritual part of us, we also are to declare that the Spirit (John 4:24) is Lord (master, chief, ruler) over it. Therefore we understand that whatever good comes to us is of God (James 1:17) and that would include the mate that *he selects* for the purpose of assisting in *providing for our soul*.
GOD HAS *NO DESIRE* FOR US TO ONE OURSELVES TO SOMEONE WHO DOES NOT MAKE PROVIDING FOR OUR SOUL AN INTENTION OF HIS PLAN FOR MARRYING US IN THE FIRST PLACE.
Which brings me to the lead verse for today.
Something that the Spirit has been using *a lot* of 2012 to do in my own life is to get me to see *just how much* I am a part of his royal priesthood (I Corinthians 2:9) along with how much I am a child of the Most High (Psalm 82:6); therefore, I am to carry myself with a certain level of awareness, a certain kind of protocol.
When Esther was *chosen* to be King Xerses queen, one thing that we need to remember is that he was *pagan*. And yet, look at all of the *provisions* that he made for her. Do you know how many women I know who were so either ignorant about (Hosea 4:6) or desperate for (Philippians 4:6-7) a husband that they didn't even take the time to make sure that their *physical and material* needs would be met? It has been a running motto in my world for quite some time now that I am *quite clear* on what the curses were in Genesis 3 and it was *not* stated to the Woman that she would have to be out toiling in the fields in order to provide for her family. That is what was relayed to *Adam*. A husband that leads (Ephesians 5:22-32) is also a husband who is supposed to provide. Adonai said so.
Now that doesn't mean that I am not aware that I am to *help* (Genesis 2:18), but there's got to be something *there* to help *with*, right? It really is sad how many women are not wives, but are "mothers" that men can legally have sex with. That certainly was not how God intended for marital covenant (Malachi 2:14) covenant to be for any of his children. When God joins a relationship together (Matthew 19:6), he expects there to be some *decent order* (I Corinthians 14:40) about it.
And yes, I'm sure some people would debate that King Xerses was a king and so *of course* he had a lot to offer Esther. I get that. I'll say this, though: If you go and read Proverbs 31, what the Jews say is the obituary that Abraham wrote for Sarah (dig that!), that speaks of a woman who did not marry a "king" by the world's standards and yet, in order to be able to accomplish all that she did (especially in that time and culture), there had to be provision there so that those things to be accomplished. That's probably a big part of the reason why the Word, which is Adonai (John 1:1), tells us this: "But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever." (I Timothy 5:8-NKJV)
A MAN WHO DOES NOT PROVIDE FOR HIS OWN IS WORSE THAN AN UNBELIEVER AND AS BELIEVERS, WE ARE NOT TO YOKE UNEQUALLY OURSELVES TO A NONBELIEVER TO BEGIN WITH (2 CORINTHIANS 6:11-18)
I don't know if we get how *serious* and *literal* I Timothy 5:8 is; that a man who does not *provide* is a man who has denied his own faith. It is the character (Colossians 3:12-17) of a godly man to be able to provide for his family and according to the definitions of provide, this doesn't just mean once he gets a wife/children but *beforehand* as well. And so, if you are in a relationship with someone who cannot even provide for himself *or* is very selfish in how he provides for you OR you are in a relationship with a man who does not make *soul provision* his *utmost responsibility* as it relates to being in relationship with you, you are in a situation that doesn't have God's full order in it.
AS YOUR "MARRIAGE MANAGER" (ECCLESIASTES 4:12), ONE OF THE MAIN THINGS THAT GOD IS LOOKING FOR ON A MAN'S "HUSBAND POTENTIAL RESUME" IS IF HE HAS *PROVISION EXPERIENCE* AND IF HE IS WILLING TO GO THROUGH *EXTENSIVE TRAINING*, BEFORE THE WEDDING DAY ON HOW TO BE A SOUL PROVIDER.
That is not something that a woman can prepare a man to do; that is something that is between him and his Creator. I was talking to a married pastor spiritual brother of mine last week about how biblical mathematics go; that since a part of being single is actually being *whole* then that's why *one whole man* and *one whole woman* can come together and still be *one* flesh (Genesis 2:24-25). It makes sense being that we are to be fruitful and *multiply*, right? (1x1=1) Oh, but when people are internally fragmented or they are not clear on what the purpose of marriage *really is* (here's a part of it: Malachi 1:15-NCV), then it's like two people with their own individual views, independent of God, which hinders true spiritual oneness. 1.5x1 does not equal one. 1/2x 5/8 doesn't either. I'm sure you get my point on that.
If you're really paying attention to this series, it's really calling us to a higher standard of living and expectation when it comes to covenant and preparation for it. That said, how *absolutely awesome* that even as a pagan man, the Scriptures tell us that King Xerses *readily* made preparations for Queen Esther. Indeed...
YOU CAN'T PROVIDE IF YOU AIN'T *READY*.
And perhaps, if you were looking for the bottom line to this message, that would be it.
If "he's" not willing, he's not ready.
If "he's" not able, he's not ready.
If "he's" not providing *beforehand*, especially spiritually, then it's a sign of how there will be a lack, even if it's just in his attitude, of provision on the back end.
All of God's daughters are worthy of helping a man who is a provider; especially a *soul provider*.
Love is a choice. Choose wisely.