The Feminine Duty of Discouragement

In Ezekiel 13, the Lord sends Ezekiel to condemn the many false prophets in Israel, and he specifically identifies the many false “daughters” who prophesy out of their own hearts (Ez. 13:17). Turns out, women emotionally bloviating is nothing unique to Facebook.

In those days, “magic bands” and “veils” were all the rage, along with greedy grasping for handfuls of barley and pieces of bread, with which they hunted souls like birds (Ez. 13:18-20). Again, hardly much has changed. Whether it’s dietary and medicinal fads, or misplaced sympathy and compassion, or virtue-signalling outrage — the soul-suffocating energy spent rushing to and fro on the interwebs is often no different. God says He will tear off their magic bands and tear off the veils and deliver His people from these women, and they shall no longer be their prey.

But the real condemnation is that these foolish women have been “putting to death souls who should not die” and they have been “keeping alive souls who should not live” by their lies (Ez. 13:19). They have “disheartened the righteous falsely, although I have not grieved him, and [they] have encouraged the wicked, that he should not turn from his evil way to save his life” (Ez. 13:22). The condemnation of these false daughters of Israel is that their idolatrous enthusiasms, their deceitful sympathies, their ignorant pontificating have encouraged the wrong people and discouraged the wrong people. They should have encouraged the righteous and given health and life to the souls of the faithful, but instead they have put those souls to death and left them discouraged. And instead of discouraging the wicked that they might either turn from their evil ways or die in their wickedness and do no more harm, the foolish women have propped the wicked up, have kept them on life support, and have subsidized their wickedness.

Surely this is not a temptation that is unique to women, but here the word of the Lord explicitly exhorts the women of God to beware of this. The implication is also that in the unique feminine powers granted by God to women to promote and cultivate life, they are called upon to exercise great wisdom in carrying out this justice. Who are you encouraging? Who are you discouraging? You have the duty to encourage the righteous and give them life and you have the duty to discourage the foolish and the wicked, so that they may turn from their evil ways and live.

  1. Thomas Pryde February 7

    Hmmmmmm…I think I agree, but there is a danger here. I think the women of our churches have too frequently ignored mistreatment, as long as it wasn’t “too bad.” This has served to embolden mistreatment to the point that it gets to a place of danger and confrontation, which has contributed to a growing problem, and we are in danger of perpetuating the problem precisely because we have warned women against effectively confronting mistreatment and have encouraged the oppressive while discouraging the oppressed.

    I think it is high time for the women of Christ’s churches to stand up and refuse to succor the mistreatments of oppressors that use words of spirituality while maintaining their privilege to mistreat as long as they speak the words of hypocrisy. Further, I would suggest that the men who would truly follow God need to rise up to assert that the oppressed will be defended and encouraged while the oppressor will be discouraged.

    Thank you for encouraging women to stand against the oppressors’ bloviating ramblings and to support the men who have the integrity to stand against oppression, especially when it comes under the guise of false spirituality.

  2. Elizabeth February 8

    Thanks for another great encouraging post.

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