Thursday July 5, 2018
Title: Ruth 4:8-12. Final chapter - The virtuous woman creates a home as a type of Christ, part 11.
PRO 31:24 She makes linen garments and sells them, And supplies belts to the tradesmen.
Excellent flax grew in Galilee where the art of weaving excelled. The excellent woman is also industrious.
The KJV states that she delivers girdles to the merchants.
This is yet another description of her industriousness and care for her household, which has already been mentioned.
PRO 31:16 She considers a field and buys it;
From her earnings she plants a vineyard.
She made garments for her home, for herself, and extra garments to sell in the market place. This is on top of all her other duties. She cannot be idle very often.
Vv. 25-27: her description turns more inward.
PRO 31:25 Strength and dignity are her clothing, And she smiles at the future.
Her true clothing is virtue. Her faith in God and her confidence in following Him allow her to smile at the future no matter what is expected.
What would strength and dignity (Hebrew: honor or glory) look like as clothes? The imagery is wonderful.
Strength is power over changes in temporal circumstances, without which, homes and people crumble.
Some people fall apart or fly into a rage when circumstances change that are not to their liking. Every believer must possess the power to adapt and improvise when necessary, and without being overrun by emotions.
Displaying the skill of adapting to the proper wisdom and virtue when a situation becomes difficult is wearing strength.
Our Lord did this time and time again when confronted with the opposition of the Pharisees, priests, and scribes. He was able to see the real issue in their questions, traps, and attacks, to which He applied wisdom.
“dignity” - hadar = honor, splendor, glory. Above that which is common. She always desires the will of the Lord, which is always above the common.
The Lord has called us all to be extraordinary as He is. The fruit of the Spirit is always above that which is common and so are we to be. The fruit will adorn us and at times will be noticed by others and so you will clothe yourself with honor.
Interestingly, Isa 53 says that the Lord did not have hadar that we should recognize Him, but that is a reference to His deity. He denied the outward expression of His deity during His incarnation.
The woman had the same hadar (splendor) as Jesus, but it is only seen by those who have spiritual eyes.
There are many people who cannot see divine splendor or dignity. Think of all the people who saw Jesus in the flesh who did not believe upon Him. They chose not to see Him as He was.
Jesus’ treatment of the outcasts, the lepers, the tax-gatherers, those that the religious Jews considered sinful and unclean, showed Him to be extraordinary. His treatment of His accusers made Him stand above the natural. God said through Isaiah that His ways were above our ways, as far as the heavens were above the earth.
PRO 31:26 She opens her mouth in wisdom, And the teaching [torah - law] of kindness is on her tongue.
Wisdom gets to the truth of any matter, but if it is instructional or corrective, it is also gentle. Wisdom is not always received with joy, but we care more for truth than feelings.
We know that her instructions in wisdom are gentle because her teachings are described as kind, which is really sacrificial love as it is out familiar word chesed.
Some people always want to be received well and so they always tell people what they want to hear and they bask in the acceptance. Wisdom doesn’t do that. Wisdom speaks to the truth of any matter, but if the truth calls for a rebuke or reproof, wisdom delivers it with gentleness as the situation calls for. That doesn’t mean that the wise do not get tough and piercing when love calls for that, but such should not be the norm but rather the exception.
Some like to use truth as a hammer all the time. It is only arrogance. Our hope is for all to see the truth, to see Christ.
PRO 1:7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
Fools despise wisdom and instruction.
PRO 1:8 Hear, my son, your father's instruction,
And do not forsake your mother's teaching;
PRO 1:9 Indeed, they are a graceful wreath to your head,
And ornaments about your neck.
PRO 31:26 She opens her mouth in wisdom, And the teaching [torah] of kindness is on her tongue.
“The law of chesed (virtue love) is on her tongue.” She teaches with sacrificial compassion out of divine love for others.
Chesed denotes love showing itself in kindness and gracefulness, particularly condescending love, proceeding from a compassionate sympathy with the sufferings and wants of men. Such graceful instruction she communicates now to this and now to that member of her household, for nothing that goes on in her house escapes her observation.
In application to our Lord, I think of His loving and patient instruction of the disciples. How many times did He see in them little faith, “you of little faith,” and yet He continued to show them the way, the truth, and the life. He knew that they would receive power when the Holy Spirit came upon them and He gently and faithfully took them there with constant instruction that He knew the Spirit would bring to their remembrance.
Our instruction of others, be it our children or others that we have the privilege of influencing, must always be done in agape love, which is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew chesed.
PRO 31:27 She looks well to the ways of her household, And does not eat the bread of idleness.
This means that her eyes are everywhere. Looking to this aspect and to that need. This is somewhat like multitasking, but with the intent of the prosperity of her household.
In that time and in an agricultural society, there was always something to do and to prepare for. In our day we have technology that does so much for us, but I think every homemaker would agree that there are still not enough hours in the day to do it all. The opposite of this is idleness.
Because of technology, it is easier in our day to be idle and still survive reasonable well. No Christian should choose it.
Our Lord met the Samaritan woman when He was exhausted, yet He ministered to her and to her entire village over the following two days. When He say that it was time to harvest, though overwhelmed with fatigue, He did so, trusting that rest would come in the Father’s time.
How could the excellent woman be all of these things, do all of these things, and eat the bread of idleness?
Each of us have several moments which will define our day as idle or productive, selfish or fruitful.
These moments are when no one is noticing. We are alone at a crossroad consisting of an idle, selfish direction and a productive fruitful one. Which one we take will dictate the next several moments, or hours, or days.
The temptations are always there, and if I fall into the temptation, the result will be opportunities for more idle, selfish time. If I say no to the temptation the result will be opportunities for more fruit and more impact for good upon others.
Temptation to selfishness and idleness disguises itself as light. Choosing it will remove otherwise fruitful opportunities.
We all need to learn to see those moments for what they are. Temptation always tries to shroud itself in light. When you look at that temptation and know what he costs in terms of lost opportunity, time, and production, you will find greater power within you to say no.
Don’t be fooled by the coverings that temptation wears. Be wise. Pray to your Father that He reveal to you the true identity of these times, past all their camouflage.
Your eyes will look unto all opportunities and needs around you. You will miss none and the fruit of your life will be abundant and glorify the Father.
PRO 31:28 Her children rise up [stand up] and bless her; Her husband also, and he praises her, saying:
PRO 31:29 "Many daughters have done nobly [chayil: 31:10, excellent, strong, virtuous], But you excel them all."
For what she provides and the love and wisdom that she gives, her children and husband would have to be of the most arrogant and ungrateful type not to love and respect her.
Her husband is not quiet and simply taking. He is full of gratitude and he reveals it.
PRO 31:30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.
Charm is a Hebrew word that means favor, being thought of as pleasant or agreeable.
Charm (receiving favor) and beauty are temporary. They have no lasting value. Fearing the Lord has eternal consequences.
The writer is only pointing out that beauty fades and that charm, while useful in certain social settings, is only overt, and therefore there is no lasting substance to either of them. However, the nobility of this woman is within and eternal.
When facial and bodily beauty fades, excellence remains. When there are no longer any people to favor one’s agreeable attributes, divine virtue continues to express itself, and in fact, in old age after years of striving with the Lord, virtue is at its height or glory.
At the end of her description, the author reveals the reason for her excellence: she fears the Lord.
PRO 31:31 Give her the product of her hands, And let her works praise her in the gates.
Her reward is the product of her own work. The reward for being righteous is being righteous and enjoying the fruit that is brings.
The product of her hands is the love of what she does. Her praise is the work itself, but it is impossible that it won’t be noticed by others and the same praise her.
Praise from others for divine goodness is always a temptation to our pride. If we remember why we do what we do, then that temptation will be small or even non-existent.
The final line really means that everyone should praise these works from a woman. In some circles where women claim to be liberated the opposite is done.