Monday, August 8, 2011

The Virtuous Woman :: Part One

Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies.
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.
She seeks wool and flax, And willingly works with her hands.
She is like the merchant ships, She brings her food from afar.
She also rises while it is yet night, and provides food for her household, and a portion for her maidservants.
She considers a field and buys it; from her profits she plants a vineyard.
She girds herself with strength, and strengthens her arms.
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.
She extends her hand to the poor, yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy.

 ~ Proverbs 31:10-20 ~
{Written by Johanna Rose}
Proverbs 31 is one of my very favorite passages in the Holy Scriptures. It is a passage that I constantly look to for guidance. For here, within these verses, lies the key to becoming a truly virtuous woman. Today, let us study these verses to an extent, so as we may gather wisdom to apply to our own daily lives, and goals.
~*~
Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies. 
Proverbs 31:10

This verse is the first in which Proverbs 31 talks of a virtuous woman, and often times, it is the most quoted. I love the deep meaning attached to this verse. It first starts out "Who can find a virtuous wife?" When you look around this world, at times, it is very hard to find a truly virtuous wife, isn't it? So many wives in this day and age are so busy with their own interests and careers, that they no longer have the time to care for their homes, and no longer have the interest in helping their husbands. 

But, when a virtuous woman is to be found, the verse concludes in saying that "... her worth is far above rubies." What a glorious comparison this is. A ruby is an rare, beautiful, and very valuable stone. It is deep and rich in color, and is so unique from any other gemstone. And it is designed in such a way, that it would be ever so difficult to scratch the surface. This is what I pray to be like someday :: A want to be a beautiful example of what a woman of the Lord is to be. I want to be set apart for Him, and different from the norm of this world. I pray that my faith may be as strong as that of a Ruby -- resistant to the worlds temptations.

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.
Proverbs 31:11-12

These verses exemplify the beauty of a Godly marriage. It starts out by saying "The heart of her husband safely trusts her." Trust is a crucial part of every marriage, and sadly, many times this trust is betrayed. According to statistics, around 50% of marriages in America ends in divorce. These numbers are so sad -- but, unfortunately, very true. This was never God's purpose for marriage -- he didn't design men and woman to separate midway. He designed marriage so as one man and one woman would become one and the same {Genesis 2:24}. The Lord designed marriage as an institution of faithfulness -- no matter what --

... I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love you and honor you all the days of my life ... from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.
~ Marriage Vows ~
Someday, when I walk down the isle to my future, I want to take these vows before God with a pure heart -- and keep them until the day in which I join my Heavenly Father. I want my spouse to know that he can trust me with his heart -- and that he will never lack love, support, or devotion from me.

Verse 12 ties in with a few of the words in our marriage vow :: "I will love you and honor you all the days of my life." Love and honor. These two words are so crucial in having a successful, and Godly marriage. And it isn't just a temporary task -- it will be something we show all the days of our life -- for better, or for worse. I want my spouse to know that no matter what happens, he will always have my unconditional love.

She seeks wool and flax, and willingly works with her hands.
She is like the merchant ships, she brings her food from afar.
She also rises while it is yet night, and provides food for her household, 
And a portion for her maidservants.
Proverbs 31:13-15

These three verses are wonderful reminders on how a virtuous woman provides for her household, and cares for her family. In verse 13 it says that she "willingly works with her hands." I love this verse, because it is a constant reminder to me not to let me 'femininity' become an excuse for not working hard. Femininity is a beauty that the Lord gave each and every one of His daughters, but we must be careful to not become someone who is unable to lift a finger, for fear of tarnishing the feminine aspects. I have caught myself, on multiple occasions, trying to get out of a job because "I am a lady." But, we must realize that just because we are woman, by know means excuses us from working hard. In order to have a prosperous family, and an organized home, we must serve. We are required to work with our hands -- it is part of our calling.

In the second two verses, we can see that the Virtuous Woman procures food for her household, and takes care that they never hunger. I can see my own, dear, sweet Mother in this verse! *smile* Never once, in my entire life, have I gone hungry for lack of a meal. My Mother has always supplied us with good, wholesome things to eat. And often times, I know that she has risen early in the morning to prepare for the upcoming day. This is a truly virtuous woman. One who will spend her time in caring for others rather then herself. Daily I am encouraged by her example to me, and I pray that I may be like her when I have a home of my own.

She considers a field and buys it; from her profits she plants a vineyard.
Proverbs 31:16

In verse 16, we see that the virtuous woman invests in a field, and plants a vineyard. A vineyard is a garden spacificaly made for grapes. While doing some research, I came across this paragraph :: 

"Grapes were eaten fresh, or dried and eaten as raisins, just as they are today. Most of the crop of the vineyards was made into juice, wine and vinegar, although grapes were also pressed into cakes. A cup of raw grapes for example, contain only 58 calories; a minuscule 0.3 grams of fat; zero cholesterol, and vitamins A, B and C the minerals in addition to boron include calcium, potassium and zinc. Grapes fight tooth decay, stop viruses in their tracks and are rich in other ingredients..."
We can see that planting a vineyard was a wonderful way of providing good, wholesome food for her family, which would be edifying to the body in more ways then one. But it is often said that, "To plant a garden, is to believe in tomorrow." {Audrey Hepburn} We can see the The Virtuous Woman was not only making a wise investment in buying land, and planting a vineyard, but also, she was thinking of the future, rather then just the present.

She girds herself with strength, And strengthens her arms.
Proverbs 31:17

This verse ties in with verse 13, which says "She willingly works with her hands." Again, this is a perfect reminder of how, although we are woman, and are designed to preserve our femininity, we also must be willing to work with our hands, and strengthen ourselves, so that we may preform the tasks that are required of us when running a household. Don't let femininity be an excuse for working hard. While we were designed to be feminine, we are also required to serve, and often times, serving our family's and homes will include tasks that are not so very feminine, but must be done.


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.
Proverbs 31:18-19

These verses are a few of my favorites, as they are often times the verses which I look to when I am contemplating becoming a wife and a homemaker rather then a businesswoman, and working outside of the home. When studying the words above we can see that The Virtuous Woman used her sewing skills -- {"She stretches out her hands to the distaff, And her hand holds the spindle."} -- and sells to bring extra income into the home -- {"She perceives that her merchandise is good..."} Sadly, I see that many woman would interpret these verses as saying that The Virtuous Woman was a businesswoman. But, when I read these verses, I believe that they imply a wonderful wife, help-meet, homemaker, and mother -- who is helping her husband by working inside the home to bring in extra income. She didn't do this instead of caring for her family and home, but rather, she did it in addition to caring for her family and home.

Mrs. Chancey is a wonderful example of a woman who helps her family in just such a way. While she is stay-at-home wife and mother, and has devoted her life to her husband and children, she also has founded the beautiful Sensibility Patterns website, where she has designed, and sells gorgeous patterns for past-era gowns.

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

This is the last verse we will be studying for today, but surely not the least important. Multiple times in the Bible, we are called to help the needy. Here, in verse 20 of Proverbs 31, we see that this is an aspect which a Virtuous woman must attain. As Daughters of the Most High King, we receive so much, all he requires is that we share what we have with others, for in Mathew 5:7 that those who are merciful, will receive mercy from the One Above. It is sad to encounter someone who is so concerned about what the future holds, that they can't {won't} share what they have been so blessed to receive. We need to put our fears aside, and trust in what the Lord has said in Ecclesiastics 11:1. We need to know in our hearts that the Lord will provide for us.

~*~
Please join me in two week's time (the 22nd) for part two of this study on the Virtuous Woman....

Blessings,
~Johanna Rose~

~*~

She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household is clothed with scarlet.
She makes tapestry for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple.
Her husband is known in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land.
She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies sashes for the merchants.
Strength and honor are her clothing; she shall rejoice in time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness.
She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praises her:
"Many daughters have done well, but you excel them all."
Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates.

 ~ Proverbs 31:21-31 ~

3 Words of Grace:

alaw said...

I love those pics!

Miriam said...

What a lovely study! It is amazing to see the Lord mold us into virtuous young women...:-)

Savanna Joy said...

I love Proverbs 31. It is One of My favirot chapters in the scriptures! Now I am ready for part two, Can't wait. *wink*

Your Loving Friend,
Savanna.