The Precious Ones
“THE ‘PRECIOUS’ WOMAN!”
The Precious Ones – Part 1 of 2
Pastor Robby Roberson
May 13, 2007
BEGIN SERIES BY: Showing “Love Comes Softly” clip.
This is one of those places where my wife says, “Isn’t he (or she) precious?” For the next few weeks I want to talk about the precious man and woman. Biblically, what do they look like?
It is the language of this woman. She is called excellent (ESV, NASB); virtuous (KJV); a wife of noble character (NIV). “The Hebrew term used for ‘excellent’ literally means ‘strength.’ The New International Version renders this same verse, ‘A wife of noble character, who can find?’ As the question implies, such a woman is rare – and priceless too! ‘For her worth is far above jewels,’ the author concludes (v. 10b)! Let’s hole this precious gem up to the light and note the different facets that make her a woman worthy of praise” (Charles Swindoll, Selected Studies from Proverbs, pg. 84). She is like a precious stone. “Ruth is the only woman in the Old Testament who is called ‘a virtuous woman’” (Phillips, Exploring Proverbs, Vol. Two, pg. 595 – see Ruth 3:11)!
1. HER SPIRITUALITY.
She is someone who has spirituality (v. 2 – vows). She is a “godly, dedicated woman who brings honor to God and joy to her family” (Warren Wiersbe, Libronix).
Further, she is one who gives that spirituality away (v. 1 – taught). She gives instruction to her child. Here “the king’s mother is teaching her son to obey the Word of God. Some students thing that ‘King Lemuel’ is actually King Solomon, but we have no proof of this. The most important ministry mothers and fathers have is the spiritual training of their children (see 2 Tim. 1:5; 3:15). The mother boldly warns Lemuel of some of the dangers he will face in life…happy is that person who had a God-fearing mother who warned about sin, and happier is the person who heeded her warnings” (Wiersbe, Ibid - illus. Susanna Wesley).
She uses her home for instruction because, as one scribe says it, “the home is the bastion of the nation. As the home is, so is the homeland” (John Phillips, Exploring Proverbs, Vol. Two, pg. 586).
· INSTRUCTION ABOUT WOMEN.
This is a warning about sinful companions. Knowing that the King would have women available at every turn – his mother warned him of how the wrong women would render him powerless (3a) and bring him to ruin (3b).
If this was Solomon then Bathsheba knew from personal experience the devastation of the wrong woman (or man) in the life of follower of Jehovah God (result: adultery, murder, death (of the baby), Joab’s knowledge over the years)! “The price had been too high” (Phillips, Ibid, pg. 588)! Also, “there can be little doubt that Bathsheba had David’s harem in mind when she warned Solomon about women…she knew what a harem meant for the women: jealousy, intrigue, spitefulness, and resentment. And she knew what a harem meant for the king: it deteriorated his character and threatened his throne. She coveted better things for Solomon” (Phillips, Ibid, pg. 590).
“We do not need much imagination to know what she vowed when Solomon was born. She vowed that, God helping her, she would live in the spirit of David’s penitential Psalms and do all that a mother could do to bring up her son to know, love, and serve the Lord, the God of all grace” (Phillips, Ibid, pg. 589). An example of a mother who surely gave this kind of instruction was Joseph’s mother!
By the way, if this was Solomon – he did not listen to his mother’s instruction (see Phillips – pg. 595-596)!
· INSTRUCTION ABOUT WINE.
Those who are royalty and who represent the kingdom should avoid alcohol. “It is bad enough for an ordinary person to get drunk and make a fool of himself. It is even worse for a person in authority to get drunk because he is setting a bad example and because he might, while under the influence of alcohol, make a serious mistake that affects the whole country. A drunkard loses all sense of proportion and has no sense of what is right and wrong” (Phillips, Ibid, pg. 590). Two pertinent examples are Noah (Gen. 9:20-27) and Lot (Gen. 19:30-38). Bathsheba “may have had many long talks with Abigail, who had once lived with a drunken husband (1 Sam. 25:36)” (Phillips, Ibid, pg. 591).
Obviously, alcohol produces a delusional state (31:6-7). It is the “image of people trying to drown their problems and sorrows in drink…all they do is add drunkenness to their other troubles” (Phillips, Ibid, pg. 591). This is NOT a recommendation to a free beer program it is simply the point that the king must avoid drunkenness in order to reign properly.
Drinking causes people to do foolish things. It corrodes morals. It destroys lives. Fullness of alcohol is the devil’s substitute to the fullness of the Spirit! Those who are full of the Spirit have no need of the substitute!
An example of a mother who surely gave this kind of instruction was Daniel’s mother!
· INSTRUCTION ABOUT WORDS.
One with influence should use his words for the benefit of others. “A king should use his power to be an advocate for those who cannot speak up for themselves” (Phillips, Ibid, pg. 592). Notice the redundancy: speak up; speak up! Oh, my friend, Jesus did this! Moses’ mother would be an example of someone who did this (Exodus 2:11ff.).
2. HER LOYALTY.
Now this precious woman is “set against the background of marriage” (Swindoll, Ibid, pg. 86).
· HER TRUSTWORTHINESS (v. 11a).
“She maintains her husband’s confidence. Because of her godly character, her husband trusts in her. He has confidence in her believes in her, and values her judgment. He can be transparent with her, not having to hide his hopes and disappointments, strengths or weaknesses” (Swindoll, Ibid, pg. 86).
· HER RESPONSIVENESS (v. 11b).
“She meets her husband’s needs…she supports and encourages her husband. She believes in him and builds him up. Rather than using his vulnerabilities against him, she approaches them with sensitivity and gently helps him grow” (Swindoll, Ibid, pg. 86).
· HER BLESSEDNESS (v. 12).
“Some wives do evil to their husband by needling them with critical remarks or manipulating them to get their way. History’s first wife, Eve, gave Adam the fruit forbidden by God; Solomon’s idol-worshiping wives stole his heart away from God; and the woman who symbolizes feminine treachery, Jezebel, assisted Ahab in all kinds of evil” (Swindoll, Ibid, pg. 87). Mrs. Lot would be another example of this.
When it comes to this precious woman she is an exhilarating and exalting thing in his life:
“A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband” (Proverbs 12:4).
3. HER INDUSTRY (vv. 13-22).
“This priceless woman is a worker. Whether it be sewing or cooking, taking care of the children or assisting her husband in family business, she is faithfully doing her share. Note that she works willingly (v. 13); it is not a matter of compulsion but compassion” (Wiersbe, Ibid). She is diligent (vv. 13, 17-18a). “Diligence is more than just using sheer physical energy to finish a task. It is a determination of the will, a commitment to stay at something until it is done and done right. Not only does the praise-worthy woman possess this diligent quality, she adds grace and good humor to it with a delightful attitude” (Swindoll, Ibid, pg. 85). “The ideal wife is no idler” (Phillips, Ibid, pg. 597).
“This ideal woman does not spend the morning in bed; she is up early to do her tasks (v. 15) and, if necessary, she stays up late at night (v. 18). Note Paul’s instructions to young women in 1 Tim. 5:14…Proverbs has nothing good to say about laziness, whether it involves a man or a woman (see 6:6-11; 10:4, 26; 13:4; 15:19; 18:9; 19:15, 24; 20:4, 13; 21:25; 22:13; 24:30-34; 26:13-16)” (Wiersbe, Ibid).
In vv. 14, 16, 24 we see she is a person of industry and efficiency. “So much is reflected about this woman’s character in these few verses that it’s almost blinding. She’s a shrewd buyer and seller. She brings home a rich variety of foods for her family. She’s a wise investor…she’s productive, thrifty, always seeking a good return for her labors” (Swindoll, Ibid, pg. 85).
This is how John Phillips (a few of these are mine) describes her industry:
· She busies her hands (v. 13).
· She buys her food (v. 14).
· She begins her day (v. 15).
· She invests her money (v. 16).
· She invigorates her life (v. 17).
· She increases her means (v. 18-19).
· She responds to her neighbors (v. 20).
· She is ready for her household (v. 21). “Cold weather does not cause this woman to panic for her household…; she is prepared for it. She has clothed them in scarlet, that is, she has provided expensive garments. She spares no cost in protecting her family from the cold” (Swindoll, Ibid, pg. 88). “Snow is not at all uncommon in Israel. Two winters out of three, snow can be expected in Jerusalem. From time to time up to seventeen inches of snow can fall” (Phillips, Ibid, pg. 600). “Scarlte means that they have clothing of the highest quality” (Duane A. Garrett, The New American Commentary: Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, pg. 251).
What a woman!
4. HER MODESTY (vv. 22-26).
“Her husband is known in the gates; she is known for her faithfulness at home” (Wiersbe, Ibid). I would say it more this way: he is respected for his position; she is respected for her person. “She enhances her husband’s influence. A wife’s character and conduct can either strengthen her husband’s reputation or weaken it. She may help him earn the respect of others by her godliness, or she may cause him to lose it though her folly” (Swindoll, Ibid, pg. 87). “He was ‘known’ in the places where decisions were made…whatever native talent the man had, he owed much of his present greatness to his wife. Everyone knew that applause for him was applause for her” (Phillips, Ibid, pg. 602).
· IT IS DISPLAYED IN HER DRESS.
“For all her strength and business acumen, she is still elegant” (Garrett, Ibid). “Christians have long fought a tug-of-war with the world over this issue of beauty and where the emphasis should be. Christians pull almost exclusively for inner beauty while the world pulls for dressing up the outer. The woman of praise in Proverbs 31 accomplishes both. She dresses tastefully, yes, even attractively, on the outside as well as the inside. She possesses beauty of attire and attitude, outer poise and inner personality” (Swindoll, Ibid, pg. 86). “Verse 25 suggests that the godly woman does not depend on fancy clothing to be successful; she wears ‘strength and honor’ on the inner person. Peter writes about the outward adorning of extravagance and the inward adorning of a ‘meek and quiet spirit’ (1 Peter 3:3-4). Paul commands women to wear ‘modest apparel’ (1 Tim. 2:9) and to depend on spiritual beauty, not the artificial beauty of the world” (Wiersbe, Ibid). From the vantage point of Proverbs 31: Modest is hottest!
· IT IS DISPLAYED IN HER DIALOGUE.
“Verse 26 tells us that the godly woman is careful in her speech as well as in her dress. How wonderful it is when the ‘law of kindness’ rules the tongue” (Wiersbe, Ibid). “She is always right in what she says…the word rendered ‘wisdom’ here is chokmah, the same word Solomon used the first time he mentioned wisdom in the book of Proverbs (1:2). The last mention is in 31:26. The whole book had been one long search for wisdom, and there it was staring him in the face all the time, personalized in a virtuous woman” (Phillips, Ibid, pg. 603). The law of kindness = “she does not indulge in gossip, slander, or falsehoods. Even if a thought is true, if it isn’t kind, she holds her tongue. She tries to say a compassionate or kind word for everyone” (Phillips, Ibid).
5. HER PIETY (vv. 27-31).
The dictionary says that piety is “dutiful conduct, devotion to religious duties and practices” (Webster’s Dictionary, pg. 1078). “‘A woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.’ This is the secret of her life: she fears God and seeks to obey His Word. No doubt she would arise early in the morning to meditate on the Word and to pray…her true beauty is within; though the years might change her body, her beauty in the Lord only grows greater” (Wiersbe, Ibid).
SHE IS PRAISED BY:
· HER CHILDREN.
· HER MATE. “What a need there is today for husbands and children to show constantly their appreciation for what the wife and mother does in the home. One of the greatest weaknesses in many homes today is that family members take each other for granted. Husbands need to set the right example before their children by openly praising the Lord and the wife for the blessings of the home. How often a dedicated wife sacrifices for the happiness of the home and never receives so much as a simple ‘thanks’…gratitude is a wonderful Christian virtue. It needs to be cultivated in every home” (Wiersbe, Ibid).
“As the NIV indicates with quotation marks, vv. 30-31 are separate from vv. 28-29 and do not constitute part of the husband’s praise. Otherwise, he would be implying that she lacks charm and beauty” (Garrett, Ibid).
· HER PEERS.
· HER GOD. “Her praise comes from God…how does God praise this woman? By blessing her labors and her life. The fruit of her life will praise her” (Wiersbe, Ibid).
· HER COMMUNITY.
Dear lady, rather than feeling overwhelmed by “Wonder Woman” – I’d like for you to just take some time identifying positive examples from your life of each trait we have worked through. Why? Because often all we see are the negatives, the mistakes, the shortcomings, without giving really focusing on the positive things that God has done or is doing in our lives. Don’t underestimate what God is up to!
I can hear this lady say, “It is not about me. You say that I have spirituality. It is because of my relationship with Him:
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come. All this is from God” (2 Cor. 5:17-18a-NIV).
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20-NIV).
You say I have loyalty. It is because I found:
“…a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24-NIV).
You say I am industrious. It is because:
“To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me” (Col. 1:29-NIV).
You say I am modest. It is because:
“…He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him nothing in his appearance that we should desire him” (Isaiah 53:2-NIV).
You say I have piety. It is because:
“…I follow the example of Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1-NIV).
“People were overwhelmed with amazement. ‘He has done everything well’…” (Mark 7:37-NIV).
THE “PRECIOUS” WOMAN
Identify at least one specific way your lady models the qualities of a woman worthy of praise.
Then do it – praise her!
· DILIGENCE AND GOOD ATTITUDE ________________________
· INDUSTRY AND EFFICIENCY _____________________________
· COMPASSION ___________________________________________
· BEAUTY WITHIN AND WITHOUT _________________________
· MAINTAINS YOUR CONFIDENCE _________________________
· MEETS YOUR NEEDS _____________________________________
· SEEKS YOUR GOOD ______________________________________
· ENHANCES YOUR INFLUENCE ____________________________
· DISCIPLINED ____________________________________________
· ORGANIZED _____________________________________________
· DEDICATED _____________________________________________