Sunday, May 24, 2015

Week Three: the Virtuous Woman

We began this study focusing on the last verses of Proverbs 31. We learned that it is a woman who fears the Lord who will be praised and her works--her visible demonstrations of her fear of God--that will praise her at the gates. This week, we are going back to the beginning of this passage.

Kissing the Face of God by Morgan Weistling

10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.
14 She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar.
15 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.
16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.
17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.
18 She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.
19 She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.
20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.
22 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.
24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.
25 Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.
26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.
29 Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.
30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.

Before we begin, pray and ask God to allow you to concentrate as well as to teach and encourage you in this study. Then we will read Proverbs 31:10-31 thinking about this woman's activities as manifestations of her fear of the Lord, not as a means to gain his or anyone else's approval.

And now for our study. This week, we are looking at the word virtuousLooking at the link provided you will see three columns for verse 10. The first is the words of the verse (shown here in the KJV). The second lists the Strong's number assigned to each word or phrase in it's original Hebrew (this will very helpful for our study using Strong's Exhaustive Concordance). The third shows two pieces of information: the original Hebrew in Hebrew letters and then in English letters. (You will also see an icon that you can click to hear these pronounced.)

Now we will look at Strong's listing for the word virtuous. Look at the section labeled "Outline for Biblical Usage". This section tells us how the original Hebrew word has been used in the Bible. 

 She Worketh Willingly With Her Hands by Elspeth C. Young

Look at these words ladies! So many translations choose words like good, worthy or  noble character. This Hebrew says so much more! These are powerful words! Full of strength and vigor. We even see a reference to military force. How uplifting for us! We are so much more than many tell us. God thinks so highly of us and calls us to be amazing women of strength. (Also notice the original Hebrew is a masculine noun and consider how many think of a virtuous woman. She is often described is poor light as being overpowered by a man. How enlightening to see that God chose this word to describe his beloved daughters!)

Now look at the "KJV Translation Count". The 243x you see means that this Hebrew word is used 243 times in the Old Testament. If you read this section, you can see all the English words used to translate this single Hebrew word. Again, these are words of strength! This woman is no weakling as so many would have us believe. She is a woman of valor

Lastly, look at the "Concordance Results Using KJV". Here you can read every verse in the Bible that includes this Hebrew word. Skim through these verses and look how it is used! Ladies, we are truly amazing creations of God! This same word is used to describe David's mighty men of valor, think about what this says about us! God views us as his warriors as well! If we fear God, we can go out in strength to fight the battles assigned to us. The same word that describes David's most loyal, trusted, brave and strong warriors is used to describe this woman of Proverbs 31.

Ladies, every time we do a load of laundry, dishes or other chores we are fighting the good fight! (Think: were there chores before sin? There were, after all, no clothing to be washed so I think not.) Every diaper we change, every face we wash, every hole we patch is fulfilling our role to train soldiers for Christ. Every time we choose to speak with love and calm, we are shaking a victorious fist at Satan! Every time we straighten the house, resew a hem the correct way, clean the refrigerator, weed the garden or talk carefully through a disagreement with our husbands, we are telling Satan that the battle is already won. In Christ's strength, we are no longer slaves to Satan, we are following Jesus now!

When we fear God and go out to do as we are called, trusting in him and doing our very best in his strength, we are truly mighty women of valor marching alongside the woman of Proverbs 31.

By William Adolphe Bouguereau

With Our Children This Week:

Let's have some fun with our children acting out scenes of valor!

Read 2 Samuel 23:18-22 aloud with your children

18 And Abishai, the brother of Joab, the son of Zeruiah, was chief among three. And he lifted up his spear against three hundred, and slew them, and had the name among three.
19 Was he not most honourable of three? therefore he was their captain: howbeit he attained not unto the first three.
20 And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man, of Kabzeel, who had done many acts, he slew two lionlike men of Moab: he went down also and slew a lion in the midst of a pit in time of snow:
21 And he slew an Egyptian, a goodly man: and the Egyptian had a spear in his hand; but he went down to him with a staff, and plucked the spear out of the Egyptian's hand, and slew him with his own spear.
22 These things did Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and had the name among three mighty men.

Allow your children to find props and costumes if they would like to act out these different accomplishments of David's top men. 

Then tell them how the Bible says that the Proverbs 31 woman is a mighty woman of valor. Talk about the battles and victories she wins. Talk with your daughters about growing up to be this kind of woman and your sons about seeking out a lady like this to marry someday. 

When you have finished talking. Ask them to act out or talk about scenarios where a valiant wife can can display her God given strength and courage.

Blessing to you all and your families in this week,


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