Welcome back to part 3! :) Told you I wasn’t ditching :)
Well, today I want to at least finish up Proverbs 31. So, without further intro, let’s jump in :)
I suppose verse 21 could have been included last time as an example of how hard-working she is; so since there’s no real “new” insight on that, I’ll just refer back to part 2.
22: “She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple.” The part that jumps out to me here is the purple. Purple was a sign of royalty (or at least wealth and importance) in Bible times. It was made from a dye from murex snails, I believe, and sold in ancient Phonecia. Yeah, Phonecia isn’t a huge deal, I just thought it was interesting lol. But anyway, this purple dye was really expensive and difficult to come by; and the fact that this woman wore purple signified dignity, wealth, and real status in the community. That’s not to say that to be a noble woman we have to be really important in our society, but that to be a noble woman we should be recognized as someone worthy of honor and respect. I’ve said before that we teach people how they can treat us–so things like character, compassion, and kindness really stand out in this.
23: “Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.” The city gate was like the town hall of Bible times. The city leaders would sit at the gate and do…official city things. Think to today–when someone is elected to serve in our city’s government, we want a guy with a pretty normal family, nothing totally scandalous. Well, I’m sure people thought the same way back then. So, in order for this woman’s husband to be at the city gate, she must have been a pretty responsible and respected woman as well with a good reputation. It also shows that she didn’t choose to marry a deadbeat, lazy guy with no ambitions. Just sayin’…choose wisely.
Verse 24 also goes back to her industrious ways–notice how much it’s emphasized in this passage? She works hard and smart. Never is laziness or procrastination mentioned in her character description.
25: “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.” One of my absolute favorite verses from this chapter. I love the imagery of being clothed with something: clothes are one of the first things people notice about us; they usually reflects our hearts, ideas, or emotions; and they are something we have to choose to put on everyday (granted, I don’t know ANYONE who chooses not to…).
Being “Clothed with strength and dignity” is not something we can pretend to be, but it also doesn’t come naturally, just like we weren’t born with clothes. Everyday we have to make a conscious choice to be strong and dignified, but we can’t do it alone. When I say we can’t pretend to be clothed with strength and dignity, think of it like your closet. You don’t go out and buy stuff that don’t reflect you, do you? no! you buy things that make you feel comfortable, make you feel like you, and that you like. Sometimes our closets undergo makeovers when we decide our style has changed.
Well, think of your attitude, thoughts, and actions like a closet. Sometimes it has to undergo makeovers. We can try to pretend to be clothed with all these things, but we’re not really going to fool anyone, just like if you wear clothes that make you uncomfortable, people are going to sense that. What do you have in your attitude closet that doesn’t reflect the strength and dignity of a noble woman? The gentle and quiet spirit of a beautiful woman? My closet is constantly going through a makeover as God reaches into it and pulls out things that aren’t quite right. Are you letting God in the closet of your heart?
“She can laugh at the days to come.” This verse is so absolutely convicting to me. That isn’t to say she is flippant and doesn’t prepare for the upcoming hardships and changes, but that she knows that God is control. She doesn’t have to cower in a corner with fear. NASB says “Smiles at the future.” You don’t…generally smile at things that terrify you. I don’t, anyway. Unless I know that Someone is going to protect me from it, which is exactly what God will do with us. In reality, worrying about the future is completely pointless, because it’s not even here yet. A wise friend of mine reminded me the other day that if you’re always worrying about tomorrow, you’ll miss today. What am I missing by worrying about the future? What are you missing? I challenge you, and myself much more so, to be able to “laugh at the days to come.” It’s hard; it takes a lot of prayer and conscious effort to release things into God’s hands. But, I firmly believe it will be worth it. Becoming who God wants you to be was not promised to be easy; but the rewards are tremendous.
26: “She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.” I can think of many women in my life who have known exactly what to say exactly when I or someone else needed it. That kind of thing doesn’t just happen, they’ll tell you. It comes from having a heart and mind rooted in God and firm in who He is, and who they are in Him, so that He can give them the words that we need to hear. So where are your heart and mind rooted? Do you speak with God’s wisdom and truth? Or is it your own ideas that you give other people when they need advice?
27: “She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.” <–She is not lazy!!!
28-29: “Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.'” Isn’t this so cool?! I know that’s how I want to be. I want my husband and children both to be proud of me, to be proud I’m in their life. Just think of the impact this woman had on the world, how her children were raise and how they touched so many lives…it’s incredible. Just goes back to the whole, worthy of respect and honor, thing.
30: “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” This is the sort of attitude any boy who wants your heart should have. That’s not to say he can’t think you’re beautiful (I believe that’s important in a relationship), but he needs to know what really matters before he is worth your time. Anyone who can only praise your beauty is not going to be the kind of life partner you will want. I know, for me at least, I want someone who can see who I am, beyond my face. I want someone who sees the essence of Lindsey, and I want to be able to stand up when he brings the view of Proverbs 31:30 to the table. I want to be a woman who fears the Lord. Now, I don’t think “fear” here means cowering horrid fright, like a slave to his abusive master. I think fear here is healthy respect. One friend put it like this: he has an older brother who is very loving, very kind, and very sweet. But at the same time, this brother could absolutely beat him up in a heartbeat if he really wanted to. So, while he is not terrified of Eric, he very much respects him, and, in some aspects, fears him. A healthy respect for God’s power, an honor for who He is and just how magnificent that is, a “Reverential awe” (dictionary.com)…these things encompass fear, not shivering and trembling.
31: “Give her the rewards she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.” Again, she is honored and respected among her peers because of her character.
So today, basically a recap:
- She is honored
- She is respected
- She doesn’t marry an ungoldy shell of a man
- She works hard
- She is strong and dignified
- She is not afraid of the future but rather trusts God (a common theme…God knows we’re insecure, ladies!)
- She speaks with wisdom (which comes from God)
- She fears God
Until tomorrow, or maybe later today; this one is just really long… :)