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Archive for April, 2012

verses 23-31: “Her husband is known in the gates, When he sits among the elders of the land.
She makes linen garments and sells them, And supplies belts to the tradesmen.
Strength and dignity are her clothing, And she smiles at the future.
She opens her mouth in wisdom, And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
She looks well to the ways of her household, And does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and bless her; Her husband also, and he praises her, saying:
“Many daughters have done nobly, But you excel them all.”
Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.
Give her the product of her hands, And let her works praise her in the gates.”

These are the final verses of Proverbs 31, and wow, what a way to end the description of the Proverbs 31 woman. Let me first quote the Holman Concordance on Proverbs, page 363-364, on an excellent depiction of the model of women by theologian Donald Bloesch:
“The model of women in tribal patriarchalism is the brood mare; in hedonistic naturalism, she is the bunny or plaything; in feminist ideology, she is the self-sufficient career women; in romanticism, she is the fairy princess or maiden in distress waiting to be rescued; in biblical faith, she is the partner in ministry.”

Let’s hit a few high notes in this passage along with my wife and me: In uncertain days, she is not worried. God gives her the strength and dignity to face these days. She is wise, she speaks kindness, and her work ethic is admirable. What wife/mother has not wanted to be appreciated by her husband and children? Well, this woman is appreciated and respected. Beautiful? Her beauty is rooted in her fear of the Lord and comes from within. She lets Him shine through; she doesn’t rely on physical beauty, though she may very well be physically beautiful as well.

Matthew Henry summarizes it well: “The woman was made of a rib out of the side of Adam; not made out of his head to rule over him, nor out of his feet to be trampled upon by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be beloved.” from the book Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: Complete and Unabridged in One Volume ; the quote I found on http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/91281.Matthew_Henry .

So, that brings us to the end of Proverbs. I apologize it took longer than I expected to get through this book, but I hope God has blessed these blog postings to be applicable in your lives. I’ll be taking a month and half break, and then we’ll resume with a study on Paul’s letters that I like to remember by the phrase I learned from a friend in college: Girls Eat Potato Chips. We’ll be studying Galatians, Ephesians, Phillipians, and Colossians.

Have a blessed day in the Lord!

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verses 19-22: “She stretches out her hands to the distaff, And her hands grasp the spindle. She extends her hand to the poor; And she stretches out her hands to the needy. She is not afraid of the snow for her household, For all her household are clothed with scarlet. She makes coverings for herself; Her clothing is fine linen and purple.”

My wife had an observation on this passage. “She is prepared for situations…she’s ready. She plans ahead. Even with all her busyness, she is able to provide a home that is comfortable and attractive. Nowadays, women tend to find time to take care of themselves or their household, but not always both. Here is a woman who does.”

She is a hard worker, takes care of her own, yet also reaches out to help others. My mother currently is caring for her mother (my grandmother) who is up in years and needs help. I heard my father compliment her to a fellow Carpenter for Christ on one of our mission trips: that in addition to doing all this, she still would help anyone in need.

May we all be like the Proverbs 31 woman in this sense.

Something to think about.

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verses 16-18: “She considers a field and buys it; From her earnings she plants a vineyard. She girds herself with strength, And makes her arms strong. She senses that her gain is good; Her lamp does not go out at night.”

The one franchise that is open 24/7, always oncall….is mother. What mother hasn’t heard, at sometime in her children’s lives, in the middle of the night….”Ma-maaaaaa, I don’t feel good.” or “Ma-maaaaa! Something scared me!” Mama is always oncall, mama is always there.

Like the verses state, the Proverbs 31 woman has excellent business sense. She does work hard. and “her lamp does not go out at night”. More than often, she’s up late getting things done. And equally getting up early, getting things done.

There’s nothing really more I can add to that. Children (and husbands!) thank your wives/mothers today for the job they do.

Something to think about!

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verses 13-15: “She looks for wool and flax, And works with her hands in delight. She is like merchant ships; She brings her food from afar. She rises also while it is still night, And give food to her household, And portions to her maidens.”

My wife is a stay-at-home mom…though a lot of times, she doesn’t “stay at home”. She is busy with the grocery shopping, running errands, taking care of business whether it regards the household or the kids or me. She also is busy with our church and our high school band. She is industrious, thorough, and organized. I know that my lunch for the day’s work is already made the day before, for instance.

Yet there are factions in society that would have us believe that the Bible tells us that women should be kept at home, barefoot and in the kitchen. Really?

Take another look at those verses: she “works with her hands in delight” (she enjoys God-given work, as my wife just commented), “she rises also while it is still night”, and “is like merchant ships”. I had to do all the duties she attends to, while she was convalescing from back surgery, not too long ago. Let me tell you, men, our wives’ job is not easy! Also, there are some wives who do that job and hold down an outside-the-home occupation as well (my mother was one of those)!

Take a moment today, thank God for your excellent wife, and then thank your excellent wife for all she does.

Something to think about.

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verses 10-12: “An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, And he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil All the days of her life.”

The end of Proverbs 31, and the end of the book of Proverbs itself, is an acrostic on the capable wife. I once memorized this passage (which starts at verse 10 and runs to verse 31) and recited it to my wife on a Valentine’s date some years ago. I gave that recitation as a gift of love to my wife, and I could tell she really liked it. Because to me, my wife exemplifies the “Proverbs 31 woman”. These last few entries on Proverbs are going to focus on this passage.

Take a look at verses 10-12, and just read it. When I was in the dating world, I often wondered if I would ever find Miss Right (yeah, believe it or not ladies, guys worry about this too!). I remember the day I finally had enough and told God in prayer that I didn’t care if I ever found the right girl…I was so sick of the games. It wasn’t until later that I found out that my future wife was praying, begging God for her soul mate, within the same time frame. As I like to tell the story, it’s as if God said to me, “good, I’ve been waiting for you to let go and let Me handle this…there she is!” It was the next day I met my future bride in Sunday School.

Husband, take a moment today and thank God for the wife you have.

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verses 4-7: “It is not for kings, O Lemuel, It is not for kings to drink wine, Or for rulers to desire strong drink, Lest they drink and forget what is decreed, And pervert the rights of all the afflicted. Give strong drink to him who is perishing, And wine to him whose life is bitter. Let him drink and forget his poverty, And remember his trouble no more.”

One of my best friends and I have shared the ordeal of suffering from kidney stones. The urologist I went to advised me to stay hydrated, cut back on certain dark fluids (tea, coffee, soft drinks), and even try lemonade (which had been found to even reduce kidney stones’ size in some cases). My best friend’s doctor advised him pretty much the same…and to drink a beer. When we compared notes, I mentioned to my best friend that I would have told his doctor that I’ll have to have a plan B, as I don’t drink alcohol.

Just as this doctor advised my friend about this medicinal use of alcohol, so was the advice of the mother of King Lemuel mentioned here in chapter 31. The advice was to beware alcohol (a footnote and my Holman concordance both point to this.) Perhaps it was medically needed anesthetically for those in physical or mental pain, but as a leader, a king should avoid it (Holman Old Testament Commentary on Proverbs, page 360).

I heard on the radio just yesterday about the arrest of a former promising NFL quarterback named Ryan Leaf. His addiction to prescription pain-killers led him to robbery. We need to remember that we all are susceptible to addiction of any or many kinds, and the best way not to give in to that…is to avoid it altogether. There’s a reason that medicines are prescribed only by a doctor’s care. Professional doctors know that…and our Heavenly Father knows that too.

Something to think about today.

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