Monday, June 28, 2010

A Proverbs 31 Woman - week 10

This weeks verses are ones that are really close to my heart lately. Verses 25-26

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

She speaks with wisdom,
       and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
First let's look at "she is clothed with strength and dignity"  The first thing I notice is that she is "clothed" with these things.  They are something she puts on, not something that is necessarily part of her.  I love this because it implies that perhaps these are things she struggles with, things that don't come naturally to her.  Phil. 4:13 tells us where this strength comes from, Christ. (I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me)  Without Him we are all weak, including our Proverbs 31 Woman.  We don't always have the answers, or know the right thing to do.  This is a good thing though.  Isaiah 40:19 tells us, "He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak".  It is when we are weak that God can really work in us.  Reminds me of a song in which the lyrics say "Our strength comes from the Lord, maker of heaven and earth"  No wonder why this is something that she puts on daily, she must have a relationship with God to receive her strength.

As for dignity, websters defines dignity as the quality of being worthy.  Romans 3:10 tells us that none of us are worthy (or righteous), no, not one.  For me this is another reminder that the Proverbs 31 woman must have a relationship with Christ, who was worthy and righteous because of his sacrifice has made me so in the eyes of his father.  Yet another reason why she is "clothed" in this quality.

I believe that the reason she can laugh at the days to come are because she knows she has nothing to fear from the future.  Christ stands with her, and Hebrews 13:6 tells us, "The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What can Man do to me?"  When there is no fear the is room for laughter, joy, happiness.  We know that God will provide for us.  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?  (Matthew 6:26)  Why shouldn't she laugh?

The next verse, Proverbs 31:26, for me is a reminder of my job as a parent, and as I get older my obligation to younger women.  Proverbs is full of verses about wisdom, where it comes from (Prov 1:7), how to get it (19:20) and lots more.  First I want to look at what it means for a mother.
The rod and reproof give wisdom, But a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother.  (Proverbs 29:15)  I realize that corporal punishment is not currently in fashion in the world today, but we are instructed to not be a part of the world (Romans 12:2).  Admittedly, I am not a huge fan of it and for the most part a spanking is reserved for severe infractions or for repeated acts of disobedience.  However, I do agree that when combined with reproof (criticism of a fault in this case as a correction) it definately leads to wisdom for the child.  This verse tells us that if we do not correct, or speak with wisdom, to our children, they will develop ways that will shame us.  That is why it is important when raising our children for us to have "faithful instruction on our tongue".  In other words raise your child up in the ways of the Lord so that they will not depart from them as adults.  (Prov 22:6)

But our Proverbs 31 Woman doesn't just speak wisdom to have faithful instruction for children.  Titus 2:3-5 tells us that we should be training younger women, we should be speaking wisdom and faithfully instructing them "to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God."  In order to teach these things, the Proverbs 31 woman must first know how to do these things and put them into practice in her own life.  We learn this wisdom by studying God's word (James 1:5), listening to teachers (Paul instructed Titus to teach the older women) and comparing what we learn to God's word (to verify that what we have been told is truth), and through our own life experiences.  Proverbs 3:7 tells us to not be wise in our own eyes, but to fear the Lord. 

There was a lot of responsibility packed into those two little verses.  Fortunately we can rely on God to be there with us as we try to live up to the task!



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