This week we're going through Lessons 4 - 6.
First of all, here is Proverbs 31 in the New International Reader's Version (today's study verses are bolded)...
The Sayings of King Lemuel1 These are the sayings of King Lemuel. His mother taught them to him. She spoke them as if they came from God.
2 She said, "My son! My very own son! The son I prayed for!
3 Don't waste your strength on women. Don't waste it on those who destroy kings.
4 "Lemuel, it isn't good for kings to drink wine. It isn't good for rulers to long for beer.
5 If they do, they might drink and forget what the law commands. They might take away the rights of all those who are beaten down.
6 Give beer to those who are dying. Give wine to those who are sad and troubled.
7 Let them drink and forget how poor they are. Let them forget their suffering.
8 "Speak up for those who can't speak for themselves. Speak up for the rights of all those who are poor.
9 Speak up and judge fairly. Speak up for the rights of those who are poor and needy."
The Noble Wife10 Who can find a noble wife? She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband trusts her completely. She gives him all the important things he needs.
12 She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.
13 She chooses wool and flax. She loves to work with her hands.
14 She is like the ships of traders. She brings her food from far away.
15 She gets up while it is still dark. She provides food for her family. She also gives some to her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it. She uses some of the money she earns to plant a vineyard.
17 She gets ready to work hard. Her arms are strong.
18 She sees that her trading earns a lot of money. Her lamp doesn't go out at night.
19 With one hand she holds the wool. With the other she spins the thread.
20 She opens her arms to those who are poor. She reaches out her hands to those who are needy.
21 When it snows, she's not afraid for her family. All of them are dressed in the finest clothes.
22 She makes her own bed coverings. She is dressed in fine linen and purple clothes.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate. There he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen clothes and sells them. She supplies belts to the traders.
25 She puts on strength and honor as if they were her clothes. She can laugh at the days that are coming.
26 She speaks wisely. She teaches faithfully.
27 She watches over family matters. She is busy all the time.
28 Her children stand up and call her blessed. Her husband also rises up, and he praises her.
29 He says, "Many women do noble things.But you are better than all the others."
30 Charm can fool you. Beauty fades. But a woman who has respect for the Lord should be praised.
31 Give her the reward she has earned. Let everything she has done bring praise to her at the city gate.
Lesson 4 focuses on Proverbs 31:11 & 12
NIRV - Her husband trusts her completely. She gives him all the important things he needs. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.
NIV - Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.
NLT - Her husband can trust her and she will greatly enrich his life. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.
NKJV - The heart of her husband safely trusts her; So he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.
AMP - The heart of her husband trusts in her confidently and relies on and believes in her securely, so that he has no lack of [honest] gain or need of [dishonest] spoil. She comforts, encourages, and does him only good as long as there is life within her.
Oh how I want those words to describe me! For Nathan to know that he can trust me completely, have full confidence in, rely on me, to know that I will comfort, encourage and do him only good as long I have breath within me. That is truly my desire - to be faithful in all things (both big and small) and to be trustworthy.
Obviously faithfulness in the big things are important. Keeping yourselves for each other alone - physically and emotionally, speaking highly of our husbands, instead of putting them down, especially in front of others (this one, I'm happy to say, I'm actually pretty good at - course he makes it easy since he's such a fabulous and involved dad and husband. See, there I go again! Ahem). Confiding in him (not complaining to him!) and keeping his confidences. Praying for him. Protecting his reputation. Presenting a unified front to the children.
When she gives direction to the children, she represents the heart of her husband, and he can trust her. When he’s gone from home, she’s going to be implementing his heart in the home.But faithfulness in the small things is important too. Some things I know I need to work on, and that I know Nathan would appreciate, are.....
1) remembering to lock the patio door.
2) keeping the house more picked up
3) keeping up with the bookwork and not letting it get behind
4) not being late (ok, maybe that one's not so small!)
And why does a godly woman do her husband good and not evil? Obviously because she loves him. But there's more. There's a deeper and more compelling reason...
She does him good and not evil all the days of her life. Why? Because she’s a covenant-keeping woman; she’s a woman who’s made a vow, and her vow was first to God.By being faithful in our commitments to our husbands, we are being faithful in our commitment to God. If you are a follower of Christ you have made a commitment to live for Him and His glory. The marriage union is a wonderful covenant relationship instituted & created by God himself - it is very good! And if you are married, then you stood up before God and your family and friends, and committed yourself to this man and this man only for the rest of your lives together. He needs to be a priority, second only to God.
This can be a hard thing for moms and especially for moms with young children. Obviously there are seasons in life where your children's needs will have to come first (infants immediately spring to mind:). But overall, we cannot let our lives revolve around our children - or in twenty years once they're out of the house we won't even recognize the man lying next to us, for our purpose will be gone. And nothing is better for our children than to see the security and stability of a husband and wife committed to each other - and living like it!
Here's another quote that can be a bit of a sensitive issue...
This is a pretty personal topic obviously, but I just have to say that I couldn't agree more with this quote. We had a speaker at our church's women's retreat that said something to the effect of "Ladies, your husband didn't marry you to have a best friend. He married you (partly) to have sex with you. He wants and needs to have sex. Who do you want him to have sex with?" I think some of the older ladies just about fell off their chairs during that particular session :)
This man can trust his wife to meet his physical needs. He has no need of spoil. He has no need to seek marital intimacy elsewhere because his wife is faithful. Whether she feels like it or not, she is committed to be a giver in the physical aspect of their marriage, to meet his needs sexually.
Ladies, let me just say here, if you don’t meet your husband’s physical and sexual needs, there’s another woman somewhere who would be happy to. And you may end up putting him in a position where—not justifying, not excusing, his sin—but you may make him more vulnerable to temptation and to immorality if you are not faithful to him in even your physical and sexual relationship, as a giver.
I'd like to end this discussion about this lesson with this quote...
A godly wife inspires a man to be worthy of her devotion. He rises to that because he knows he has a woman who is an asset, not a liability—a woman who supports, encourages, and helps him in every way possible.Again, this is all only possible by the grace of God.
Lesson 5 is about a godly woman's work and focuses on Verse 13 (NIV) "She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands."
This verse talks about a godly woman working hard. And she works hard in her home.
Titus chapter 2 teaches us that women are to be home-workers—workers at home. That’s what the Word says. That’s what the Scripture says.As godly women, we need to recognize the honour and privilege that is ours. And if we are mothers, we are truly working for eternity. The work we do will have eternal significance! That's a daunting and frightening thought in some ways -what a huge responsibility! And yet it is also a rewarding thought.
Now, that doesn’t mean—and we’ll see in this passage—that there is no other place that a woman works. But the first place that she works is in her home. Until she has cared for the needs of her home, she has not got the right to go out and tend to the needs elsewhere. The core, the central place of her ministry, of her work is out of her home......
Now, she and her husband will work together, and I realize there are some situations where, for reasons due to break up of homes or whatever, there may not be a man to be a breadwinner or where a woman may not be physically able to minister in these practical ways to her family. But we’re talking about the ideal, about God’s plan, which is that it is an honor and a privilege and a blessing and a high and holy calling for a woman to tend to the practical, physical affairs of her home.
Often mothers think that because they are not bringing in the paycheque that what they do in the home is not contributing and not worthwhile. I hear so many women who say they just can't wait to go back to work once their kids are in school, because they feel like they have not been useful at home, and that now they can finally contribute to the family.
That just makes me so sad. As women we have a huge responsibility to our families in the home. This contribution is absolutely not worthless, it is truthfully priceless! If you are feeling worthless or down because you don't "add anything" to the family coffers - know this - it is not of God. It is NOT of God.
We need to accept our responsibilities and then perform them to the best of our abilities - with the right motive and the right attitude. Of serving the Lord, of serving our husbands and our children. Of training them up in the way they should go. Of providing a haven for them to come home to.
We absolute need to have our quiet times with God and we need to commit to serving Him with all our hearts. And then that commitment needs to come out in practicality.
And here I have to admit I have a ways to go. I know that I struggle with laziness and simple procrastination. I need to listen to my own teachings to my girls - we do what we need to do before we do what we want to do. I need to stop thinking of all the stuff that needs to be done and just do it. I need to waste far less time on the computer. That's definitely a "want" category. I really need to make a rule for myself that "playtime" on the computer does not happen unless certain tasks are taken care of. So - this will be a major focus for me as I strive, with God's help, to grow as a woman of God.
Lesson 6 is about working joyfully and continues in verse 13 pretty much dealing with one specific word - eager! Verse 13 - She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands.
So, we've committed to doing the work. Now, how are we going to do it? With a martyr attitude? Or with joy? Because we have to or because we want to? With resentment or with a servant's heart of love?
No doubt, most of the work in the home is mundane drudgery. That's encouraging eh? If we think of it like that, it will feel like that. We need to refocus, we need to "rephrase" that, we need to look at it through the lens of Colossians 3:17
Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
I am blessed (blog title!) to be a wife, and in particular to be married to Nathan. I am blessed with 4 delightful and healthy children. I am blessed with a beautiful house, a hard-working husband who provides for us, material possessions, a Christian extended (and extended!) family, people who love me. I want to bless my family. I want to bless my husband and my children. And one very important way I can bless them is to work for them. And, in the case of my children, teach them to work as well. To work eagerly, as to the Lord! My work in the home is a gift to my family. A gift given out of the joyfullness of a heart filled with the love of Him who created my hands for such tasks as these.
This following quote just about brought me to tears...
And all the women said "Amen!"
Let me ask you right now to stop and look at your hands. Just look at them. If you’re a Proverbs 31 woman, or becoming one, as we are committed to becoming together, your hands may not be model’s hands. You may not have perfectly manicured nails. But let me ask you this: Are they serving hands? Are they hands that you’re using to bless and to minister in practical ways to the needs of others?
If they are, then though they may not be beautiful hands, they’re hands like the Master’s. See, Christ’s hands were nailed to a cross. He endured that, out of love, out of the heart of a servant, for the sake of the Gospel, for the sake of the plan of redemption.
Can I say that when you serve your family with your hands, when you work with your hands, when you clean and cook, whatever you do with your hands around your home, you’re doing it for the sake of the Gospel. You’re doing it so that your children may know what Jesus looks like, so they may be drawn to Him, so they may want to know Him.
2 Chronicles 15:10 “But you, be strong, and do not let your hands be weak, for your work,” if it’s done as unto the Lord, “will be rewarded!”
It will be.