Sunday, August 16, 2015

Bible Study Week Thirteen: Strength

Oh the Proverbs 31 woman! She is certainly a busy lady. What she does requires much strength: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.


Pray for a clear mind and teachable heart as we begin. Then, 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.

Take a moment to read through again, looking for references to body parts. As you find them, draw a simple picture above to highlight (like we did for hands). This week, we will focus on the valiant woman's arms.

We will be looking at Proverbs 31:17

First, we are going to examine she girdeth. Read through the definitions and note that this is an action, especially being done to oneself. 

Scroll down to look at the Concordance results. Skim through the verses noticing how often this phrase is used in association with weapons of warfare.


Looking at loins next, read the Gesenius' Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon to get a general idea of the meaning of this word. For reference: parturient has to do with labor and giving birth.

Now to look at verses that contain both gird and loins. More actions, purposeful actions without distraction. In the Roman era of the New Testament times, girding the loins referred to a man pulling up his lower garment between his legs so that he may be able to move more freely in battle. He was prepared for action.

The phrase with strength is next. Note the definitions in your notebook. Do any of them remind you of those from when we studied the word virtuous? The virtuous woman, the valiant wife, is choosing to put on strength. She is binding it to herself.

Skim the other verses that this phrase is used in (look particularly as the Psalms listing). Who is this strength generally associated with?





So what exactly is the valiant woman binding to herself? We are back to the root of this woman's valour! She is putting on God's strength! She is not trying to pull some unknown pseudo strength out of herself. With God's strength strapped to her, she is ready to cheerfully go about her day and perform her duties. To do her very best in everything she does.


We have just two words left to look at ladies! Let's start with and strengtheneth. What are the uses for this word? Do you see that it speaks of courage, boldness, persistence, alertness, assurance--all sought after traits for a soldier, wouldn't you think? Add these notes to your Military Images page.

And now, lastly, her arms. What is the definition of this word? What does it symbolize? Do you see any military images?

Again scroll to look at the Concordance results. Note particularly the Psalms verses. Whose arm is spoken of over and over here?

When our physical arms are weak, what do we do? We use them to strengthen them! We exercise, garden, lift our sweet babies. If we purposefully push our muscles, the will (and do) get stronger.

The virtuous wife must have been physically vigorous to do all that she is described doing. I'm sure she did purposefully strive to make her arms strong in order to work and serve others the way she did.

She readies herself for daily battle as she "girds her loins" with God's strength. She trusts Him because she knows and fears Him. She can move forward in faith and work with all the strength He has given her. She knows as she perseveres that this is the way to become stronger.

Every time we act in faith and do what we know we cannot do apart from God's strength, we change. We grow stronger in our faith and stronger in our knowledge that God is always there to strengthen and work through us.

We start by "girding our loins with strength"--binding ourselves in God's strength, firming up our souls with the nourishment of His Word, and then acting in that strength.

Prayerfully meditate on all of this during the week. Prepare for action, purposefully putting on God's strength, and then, be ready to welcome the strength building opportunities that God will give you.


With Our Children

Ask your children to listen carefully for any mention of body parts as you read Proverbs 31:10-31 to them.

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.

Have the raise their hands, flex their arms, point to their mouth and so forth as they hear the reference. As you encounter each word, write it on a board as notes for a later lesson. Then, share what you have learned about girding one's loins and strengthening arms.


Blessings,

Audrey

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