Leadership & Submission
Part 3: Strong Women
April 18, 2013
* Childcare – really want to make easy for everyone to attend, need at least one person a week.
* Pay for dinner.
* Teaching and homework online.
1. How many of you did the HOMEWORK?
2. What is something you’d like to SHARE from “FOLLOW UP”
This is an acrostic, which isn’t just cool, it indicates something of an “A-Z” description.
This was written first to men, to help them 1) look for better things in a wife and 2) help their wives become this sort of women.
* It take a secure husband to want their wife to look like this; note that he is almost never mention in this passage.
In the process, it is also a great encourage to women to be strong.
(Note these answers without comment, have them talk when we come to that verse)
Q What were things you liked about her?
VERSE BY VERSE:
Proverbs 31:10-31 10 A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.
Not trusting your wife speaks poorly of you. No micromanaging.
12 She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.
* Contra the societal idea where the wife has to abandon her family to be fulfilled.
13 She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands.
Might be translated somewhat more literally “at the pleasure of her hands.” The hands are semipersonified as taking pleasure in their creation and going about their work with a set purpose.
14 She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar.
She adds variety to the lives of her family by trading goods produced at home for food and merchandise the household cannot itself produce (v. 14).
She has moved her household from a subsistence economy to a mercantile economy, and all enjoy the fruit of her enterprising spirit.
15 She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls.
This implies first that she cares even for the serving girls and second that she is diligent about overseeing them; she is a good leader.
16 She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.
An English analogy would be, “She has a strong back.”
18 She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.
Concern for the poor is a fundamental virtue of wisdom literature; in being generous, therefore, she is doing wisdom.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
First of all, a woman who fears the Lord is not anxious about the future. Look at verse 25: “...she laughs at the time to come."
But it doesn't make her naïve. She knows that the Lord has appointed some means for our safety.
22 She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
For all her strength and business acumen, she is still elegant (v. 22). Dressing well and decorating the home with pride is not here regarded as frivolous. “Linen” implies imports from Egypt, and “purple” describes the dyed fabric from Phoenicia.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
A man with a wife like this will be well respected by his peers (v. 23). The presence of this verse in the structural center of the poem implies that the message is for the young man.
* cf. he who loves his wife loves himself
24 She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.
She is morally, intellectually, and physically strong. The Bible promotes strong women.
26 She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
She is a capable teacher and well acquainted with wisdom. Her children are perhaps her primary pupils. One cannot exclude the possibility that she also sets her husband right from time to time.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: 29 "Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all."
31:28–29 Her family gratefully acknowledges all the benefits they have had from her. As far as they are concerned, she is the greatest wife and mother in the world.
* Help your children see how lucky they are.
Personal note: I don’t praise Marilyn nearly enough.
CHOOSE (AND BUILD) WISELY
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
The young man has no choice but to follow one woman or the other. He will either pursue Woman Wisdom or Woman Folly, and with them the good wife or the prostitute/quarrelsome wife.
He cannot attain wisdom without the good wife because she creates the environment in which he can flourish.
* Paul says that we are largely responsible for who she becomes.
31 Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
“Men generally need little encouragement to make their mark and achieve; women can be tempted to settle for the demure role in life... and thus fail to realize their God-given potential for making their own mark.”
* Wives ought to be praised, it is the rightful thing to do; shaming them is crass and uncouth
Break up by gender
WOMEN: Discuss ways that you want Proverbs 31 to describe you and help each other achieve it.
* End by praying over each other.
MEN: Discuss how to help the women of our church to be Proverbs 31 woman and honor them as such.
* End by praying for the women of the church.
* Pick up kids quickly.
* Do your homework!