I was reading Prov 31:10-31 this week and a few thoughts in response to what does this woman mean to us in 2010,what do I struggle with and what am I encouraged as a result of reading it.
In weeks gone by, I have been reading a lot about being an ambassador for Christ and about portraying His character, His characteristics and His truth. More than that was the question of how as women, we could also do the same thing. A friend of mine also sent me a sermon on the same section of scripture that totally tied it all together for me. Basically, the call is the same, to men as to women, to aspire to a godliness that is seated in the wisdom and fear of knowing God. Exact.
Proverbs begins with the verse, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Prov. 9:10) and what struck me is that even when it speaks to the woman, it ends with the same thing. Vs. 30 speaks of praising a woman who fears the Lord.This portion calls me to a womanly and godly excellence that is steeped in the relationship that I enjoy with God, and the consequent beauty that manifests from such a relationship. Such a beauty is neither deceptive (as charm is) nor fleeting [other versions speak of vain or evaporating]. Such beauty comes from having a gentle and quiet spirit. This beauty is variously described as unfading, imperishable, precious, rich and of great price. It is from this that we can be woman spoken of in Proverbs 31. While it is a tall order, none of us is perfect and therefore in our own strength, we cannot meet these requirements but variously by depending on God, we can get there and be described as that woman whose value is greater than rubies (v. 10) and whose husband has full confidence in her and her value is displayed in all the activities listed in the following verses.
While I might not exactly work with wool, linen, flax or fine purple, I still desire to have that timeless and ageless beauty that far from being based on the value of my rings, the look of m hair and what I am dressed in at the time. In fact, and most profoundly is the realization that this section does not go into describing her physical appearance at all. The traits that stood out for me were:
- The level of provision that she undertakes for her family and this is variously shown in the different verses listed: she buys a property, she makes the clothes, she trades… More than that, was v. 15 and 27. She woke up early and ran her home and divided out duties amongst her servant girls. Basically, she watched over the affairs of her family and delegated authority as was necessary.
- Also v. 20 about opening up her hands to the needy and the poor
- V 23 the honour that comes to her husband stems from the fact that he gains recognition at the city gates that traditionally demonstrate power, prestige and influence. Later she was honoured and her works brought her praise at the city gates too. [Her children also rose up and called her ‘blessed’, and her husband praised her over other women].
Unfortunately, the thing I struggled with is also the thing that is right at the core, despite the fact that I, like Paul, wish to know Christ and to make Him known to others.