For years I read the penalty God pronounced over Eve in the Garden of Eden, and was puzzled by it.
Your desire will be for your husband. Genesis 3:16
And this was going to be problem how? It sounded to me as if it would actually be a blessing for any married couple.
It took awhile, but eventually I learned what the Hebrew word used here and translated “desire” meant. The concept held the meaning of “stretching out to.” In other words, the prophetic declaration for Eve and the wives who would follow her was that they would desire to control their husband. This would conflict and create tension with God’s plan that husbands were to “rule over” their wives.
It took me awhile longer to realize that God was telling Eve you’ve already taken this step against Me, too, and you’ll do it again.
The same thing was true of Adam. Adam might be pleased that he had been given a position of headship in the marriage. But God had told them both what they were free to do, and what was off limits in the garden. And they both stretched out their hands and reached over that limit because it seemed good in their own eyes.
The summary refrain is returned to again and again in the book of Judges.
Everyone did as he saw fit. Judges 21:3
Recognizing this chronic failure of ours, it is interesting to consider the question Jesus asked Peter after Peter’s denial of him, and after the resurrection. Jesus repeated the question three times.
“Simon son of John, do you love me?” John 21
I notice what Jesus did not ask. He never asked if Peter understood him. He didn’t ask if Peter agreed with him. He did state something Peter could do to demonstrate and back up his declaration that he loved the Lord. But there was no discussion about who would have final say or veto power over the directives Jesus made.
I often have strong opinions about them, myself. But Jesus isn’t asking about that. He asks something else. And then, I notice, he waits for an answer.