Sunday, June 21, 2015

Bible Study Week Seven: Willing Hands

Beautiful, loving, mother's hands.

Fine Art America

This week, we will begin studying the virtuous wife in action as she tends to her many duties.

Begin with prayer. Pray for an open, teachable heart before you read Proverbs 31:10-31

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. 

As you read, draw a small hand over each appearance of the words hand or hands. When you have finished, record in your notebook all that is said about hands in this passage. Record the verses along with each phrase.

Her hands were exceptionally busy weren't they? They are mentioned several times, but this week, we will be focusing on verse 13.

13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.


 Flax Processing Wikipedia

Processing wool and flax was no easy task. It was a tedious process that the Jewish women used for making their family's clothing. The flax plant was ripped from the soil, dried, and "rippled" to remove the seed pods. These were then left in the dew or other water to partially decompose, dried again, then "scruntched" to break the flax to remove any remaining chaff and pulled through several different hatchels to clean and align plant fibers. After all this, the fibers are finally ready to be spun into thread. 

Wool was no easier. It first had to sheared from the sheep, skirted to remove the manure covered portions that were unsuitable for spinning (a dirty job), washed thoroughly, teased to spread out the wool and then carded to smooth out the fibers. This was then pulled into strips called roving before being spun into thread or yarn. If you ever get a chance to watch this process or help with it, it is an incredible opportunity. Working with your hands like this feels so deeply rewarding.

Wool Processing Wikipedia

The statement that this virtuous wife works with willing hands is truly significant. Such a great deal of work went into just preparing the fibers for spinning then weaving and finally sewing their family clothing. 

Now let's look at the word worketh. Skim the verses listed and definitions to glean meaning of this word. Note your insights in your notebook. 

Now let's move to willingly. This is where we will need to pause to examine our hearts. Look at the definitions for this word! The valiant woman works with pleasure. She takes delight in her work! 

Why?

She fears the Lord. Everything she does is an act of worship when she does it "heartily as to the Lord, and not unto men" (Col. 3:23)

She Worketh Willingly With Her Hands
Elspeth C. Young

We can take joy in the many repetitive tasks in our lives. God is blessing us over and over! Diapers mean the blessing of children. Dishes the blessing of food. Laundry the blessing of clothing and family. 

We can also take joy in in hunting down God's gifts and investing ourselves in them. The Proverbs 31 woman seeks out raw materials and with her industry, improves them. She takes a plant that God created and caused to grow and she works with it, soaking it, beating it, pulling it, combing it, and preparing it for creating garments for her family. 

What has God placed around us? Diligently using the creativity, skill, and energy which God graciously provides, what can we take a hold of to improve so that it blesses others and glorifies the Giver? A garden space? Our home? A musical gift? A houseful of children? A neighbor's yard? Seize those opportunities and delight in them!

Think about and pray on this verse today. See if it changes the way you see, and do, your work this week. 

13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. 

Harmony
Nancy Noel

 
With Our Children

Read Proverbs 31:13 with your children then enjoy the videos below and discuss what you have learned with them

Flax Processing
Flax Spinning 

Talk about how she did all this with delight. How she feared God and all that she did became and act of worship as she served him.

Talk about what God has given them to do. How should their love for and honor of God shape how they think of their work?

Make "She worketh willingly with her hands" your motto for the day. Boys can work willingly with their hands too! They can choose to do their work "heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men". 

Talk about your day before bed. Does a change in attitude affect how you all do your work?



Blessings,

Audrey 

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