Monday, February 15, 2010

The Virtuous Woman

"Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies." Proverbs 31:10

Virtuous in this passage is the Hebrew word chayil which means "army, valour, forces, strength, effciency, might, ability and power". The word comes from the Hebrew root word chuwl or chlyl which means "to twist, whirl, writhe, dance, fear, formed, tremble, travail, be in anguish, be pained."

We know that the virtuous woman is a woman to be admired and a woman that is given as a pattern wife. The passage of scripture in Proverbs 31:10-31 is a very familiar passage to most of us. We have heard it preached from the pulpits of our churches every Mother's day for years and years. It has been used as an example of Christian womanhood many, many times. We also know that the virtuous woman is a type of the Bride of Christ, the church body. That is important to keep in mind as we look at verse 11. "The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain."

This virtuous woman is a woman of strength, power, might and ability. She is not portrayed as a quiet, subserviant, weak, unrespected female. She is portrayed as a warrior, a woman who knows her strength and power and she knows where it comes from. This is a woman who trusts in her God (verse 30) and we will find out that she does his will in all things. She is highly respected and is recognized as such.
But let's notice that her strength, power, might and ability comes from her experiences of formation. Her experiences with writhing, trembling, painful agony. It comes from her being wounded and hurt. It comes from the bad experiences of childhood and the rejections suffered throughout her life. Her strength comes from having no one to turn to, but her Lord. Verse 30 tells us, "Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised." That word Lord is Jehovah, the one true God, the existing one. And praised is to shine, flash forth light, glory, be worthy of praise. You can't attain power, might, strength and ability from going on your looks. You cannot attain power, might, strength and ability from being charming and likable. Your strength comes from the Lord. Psalm 27:1 says, "The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?" Psalm 29:11 says "The Lord will give strength to His people; the Lord will bless His people with peace." These scriptures are just a couple of the hundreds that tell us we get our strength, our hope, our joy, our power, our might and our ability from Him.

So no matter what happens to us, no matter what trials, tests, tribulations and travails that come our way, when we turn to our merciful Father God and trust Him we find "that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28.
No wonder He tells us to glory in tribulations. Romans 5:3-5, "And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perserverance; and perserverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us."

Do we realize that by turning to the Father of Love itself, we receive His love, not only for ourselves to help us make it through, but love overflowing that saturates those around us. Knowing that whatever comes our way, we will get through it by the grace of God. "My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:9 and 10. Please note that that word infirmity means feebleness of mind or body, anything that moves you away from being at ease. (dis-ease, if you will)

So we find that this pattern woman of strength and virtue is one who has been through much heartache. But it was this very heartache that worked in her for good because she loves and trusts and relies on the Lord. Through it all, she has become a woman of strength, power, might and ability. No one can learn to take care of themselves or function when they have never had to do anything for themselves. Life itself is a learning process, a forming of our character. A child who never is allowed to do anything for himself, but is spoiled and sheltered their whole life, is unable to function in the outside world. Sometimes lessons seem hard, but what is learned is priceless. When we go through refining fire, ("For our God is a consuming fire")what comes out is gold, which is God's divine nature!

However, let us not forget what the Lord said in Isaiah 43:
"But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel; Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour;......Everyone who is called by My name, whom I have created for my glory; I have formed him, yes, I have made him" Isaiah 43:1-3, 7

Because all creation groans for the manifestation of the sons of God (Romans 8:18-23) and until that day, we will have to face what all creation faces, but we are not without hope and we have a Redeemer to turn to in times of trouble. What comes forth is the virtuous woman, full of strength. power, might and ability!!