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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Wednesday's Woman of the Word - The Proverbs 31 Woman

Many women are intimidated by the Proverbs 31 (verses 10-31) woman.  It seems that she's so "perfect" that she's out of the common Christian woman's league.  Our preacher likes to call this woman "Mrs. Far Above Rubies".  That's a good name for her, isn't it? 

When you read about the Proverbs 31 woman, how does it make you feel?  Do you admire her, but feel like you don’t measure up?

Today let's look at this virtuous woman and put a modern-day spin on her qualities. Years ago when teaching about this woman, I found a list of modern-day comparisons to her life.  I'm not sure now where the list came from, but I hope you enjoy it.  I've added a few "notes" myself and even my own translation of one of the verses.  By the end, you will most likely see that you can measure up to the qualities of the Proverbs 31 woman.

(FYI:  The NIV of verse four says "wife of noble character"; KJV uses the word virtuous; NASB says excellent.)

Verse 10-12: A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.

Questions:  Does your husband have full confidence in you?  Do you bring him good and not harm?

Answer true or false to the "Modern Day Comparisons" below:

Verse 13: She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands.

Modern Day Comparison:
I shop carefully for clothing for me and my family. I work willingly.

Verse 14-15: She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls.

Modern Day Comparison:
I get up early to start my chores and I make sure I have the daily menu planned for my family. I don’t just go to the corner convenience store to buy my supplies. I shop for quality within my budget. I often buy food that is not produced locally. Sometimes I let my light shine and give little treats to my coworkers or neighbors.

Verse 16: She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.

Modern Day Comparison:
I’ve been involved in the process of choosing and buying a home or major items for my home. I know what homes rent or sale for in my area. I have even taken some of my/our money and planted a garden, trees, shrubs or flowers.

Verse 17: She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.

Modern Day Comparison:
I keep myself relatively physically fit (Note from Lori:  Working on this (again).) and I’m not afraid to “roll up my sleeves” and get to work! Looking after a home and family can, at times, be hard work.

Verse 18: She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. (Note from Lori:  I've got the last part of this one down pat!)

Modern Day Comparison:
I am a productive woman, whether I’m working away from the house or taking care of the home and family. I know my way around the bank and the supermarket. I’m not afraid to learn new things. I’m not shy about working long hours.

Verse 19: In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers.

Modern Day Comparison:
I can use a thread and needle. I can mend holes and split seams when it’s necessary. (Note from Lori:  I do know how to thread a needle and I can sew on a button, but I must say...when it comes to any other mending, I must defer to my mother-in-law!)

Verse 20: She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.

Modern Day Comparison:
My family isn’t my only concern. I have a heart for the needy people in my community.; I give to the food to the needy on occasion, and I help out when a neighbor, Christian brother or sister, or friend is ill. Charity is all in a day’s work for me. I know it is part of God’s plan for Christians.

Verses 21-22: When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple.

Modern Day Comparison:
The cold of winter doesn’t frighten me. (Lori's translation:  THE OKLAHOMA ICE STORM OF JANUARY 2010, DOESN'T FRIGHTEN ME.) Quality garments and household furnishings are important to me because I know they offer the best protection and are long lasting.

Verse 23: Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.

Modern Day Comparison:
I pray for my husband. I stand with him in all things. Many of his friends and coworkers see that I support and love him.

Verse 24: She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes.

Modern Day Comparison:
I could manage my own home-based business. (Note from Lori:  I'm glad the modern comparison left off the "she makes" part.  I might could make them, but they'd fall apart. No one would wear 'em or buy 'em!)

Verse 25: She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.

Modern Day Comparison:
I am confident God is in control. He gives me my strength and dignity. My relationship with Jesus Christ gives me the confidence to not always be worrying about the future.

Verse 26: She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.

Modern Day Comparison:
With the Holy Spirit as my guide, I will speak words that are wise (Note from Lori:  Working on the wisdom part - always.) and true. My friends trust me to speak the truth.

Verse 27: She watches over the affairs of her household (Note from Lori:  My children would say I watch over a little too much, but I tell them it's my job and this verse is proof of that!) and does not eat the bread of idleness.

Modern Day Comparison:
I supervise my own household well and I am not an idle, lazy person.

Verse 28-29: Her children arise and call her blessed (Note from Lori:  Blessed?  I'm not so sure that's what they say, but I think they would say mostly nice things.); her husband also, and he praises her:
Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.

Modern Day Comparison:
The praise that is directed towards me from my husband and children is well earned because my family knows I am trying my best to serve them through Jesus Christ.

Verse 30: Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

Modern Day Comparison:
I’m not the most beautiful woman in the world (Note from Lori:  We;re all beautiful in God's eyes.), and I know that my charm is empty without the Holy Spirit guiding it. I do know that God loves me and that Jesus is my Savior.

Verse 31: Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

Modern Day Comparison:
My Christian works bring nice comments from friends and family, neighbors and co-workers. I serve out of love for God. My reward is eternity. (Note from Lori:  AMEN!)

So, how do you feel now? Better? Of course, we probably all find areas we can improve in, but isn’t it better when we put it into modern-day perspective?

We can’t be Superwoman.

We can’t be everything to everyone.

We are women that can only get by with God’s grace.

What we do...what we accomplish...what we achieve...are all of those are good “works.” But God is looking at more than what we "do". He is looking at our hearts.

The virtuous woman we‘ve looked at today put God first in her life and realized that her strength only came from God.  Do you realize that same truth?  If you do, Christian sister, you too will be a woman whose price is worth far more than rubies.

1 comment:

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