Monday, July 5, 2010

Proverbs 31:18-21

Far Above Rubies

(To read the previous posts in this series first, click here.)

After trying to catch up, and still not being completely caught up, I've decided to cover all the verses I'm behind on otherwise I may never get caught up!

Proverbs 31:18-19 (NKJV): "She perceives that her merchandise is good, and her lamp does not go out by night. She stretches out her hands to the distaff, And her hand holds the spindle."

Once again, these verses remind me about how hard the virtuous woman works. Her hard work produces quality product - one that is worthy and profitable (consider the ESV translation of "her merchandise is profitable"). When I read the second half of verse 18, two different thoughts come to mind. First, that her lamp does not go out by night because she is working hard, even during the nighttime. Secondly, I think of someone who is prepared - their lamp does not go out by night because they have adequate supplies to keep their lamp burning. Verse 19 continues describing the work of the virtuous woman.

Proverbs 31:20 (NKJV): "She extends her hand to the poor, Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy."

In the first post I wrote in this series, I mentioned that the virtuous woman was valuable to many different people, not just to her husband. One of these groups of people are the poor and needy.

The virtuous woman is giving. First, when you consider the time and effort she puts forth within her own home, you have to think of someone who is giving of herself. But the giving extends beyond her own household, to the poor and needy around her. She exhibits the beautiful quality of charity to others, and I'm sure that the poor and needy are blessed by her charity.

Although extending one's hand to the poor is not simply about giving monetarily (or through the giving of goods), I think it is important to consider that the the virtuous woman has prepared for herself and her family in such a way that she can give monetarily to those who are needy. Consider verses 16, 18, and 24 of Proverbs 31:

  • Proverbs 31:16: "She considers a field and buys it; From her profits she plants a field."
  • Proverbs 31:18: "She perceives that her merchandise is good. Her lamp does not go out by night."
  • Proverbs 31:24: "She makes linen garments and sells them, And supplies sashes for the merchants."
She is financially responsible, and because she is financially responsible, able to to provide for those who are in need. However, there is more to giving than simply being financially responsible. The virtuous woman has a giving heart, willing to help those who are in need.

Proverbs 31:21 (NKJV): "She is not afraid of snow for her household, For all her household is clothed with scarlet."

The theme of verse 21 can be described easily in one word: prepared. The virtuous woman is prepared. She knows the snow is coming, yet she doesn't worry about the snow because she is prepared. She knows that her family will be properly clothed and provided for during the hard times because she is prepared. The virtuous wife shows wisdom by being prepared to provide for her family during difficult times.

Consider Proverbs 6:6-8: "Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, which, having no captain, overseer or ruler, provides her supplies in the summer. And gathers her food in the harvest." Similarly, Proverbs 30:24-25: "There are four things which are little on the earthy, but they are exceedingly wise: The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their food in the summer." Or, consider the example of Noah, who, being obedient to God, prepared properly so that his family was safe during the flood.

Properly preparing for my family is something that I want to do well, and something that I strive to do well, but something that I often find myself not doing well. Too many times I end up doing things at the last minute that should have been done a long time before because I don't prepare properly. And then, because I waited to the last minute, I really don't provide for my family the way I need to provide for them. I need to refocus my priorities so that I can get the things done I need to get done, so that I do not have to worry when the snow comes!

So, what are some ways I can be prepared? Here are just a few things I thought about (and I'd love to hear what you've thought about!):