Posted by: The Simple Guy | December 29, 2010

Proverbs 31

A couple of Sundays ago, I preached a message on Proverbs 31.  Haven’t gotten around to archiving the essence of it here, but here goes:

We began by reminding ourselves of what Jesus said:

Joh 5:39 ESV(39) You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me,

Recently the President visited the troops in Afghanistan.  I know a man who is stationed there.  When his wife heard the news of President Obama’s surprise visit, I bet she watched more intently than I did, hoping for a glimpse of her beloved.

The Pharisees of Jesus day loved their scripture, but they didn’t read it looking for “their beloved”

Jesus said that the Old Testament tells us of Him.  We should always read it looking for our beloved.

Ephesians says this about marriage:
Eph 5:31-32 ESV
(31) “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”
(32) This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.

Marriage is a picture of Christ and the Church.

So, with this as the backdrop, let’s look at Proverbs 31.

Pro 31:1-9 ESV
(1) The words of King Lemuel. An oracle that his mother taught him:
(2) What are you doing, my son? What are you doing, son of my womb? What are you doing, son of my vows?
(3) Do not give your strength to women, your ways to those who destroy kings.
(4) It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine, or for rulers to take strong drink,
(5) lest they drink and forget what has been decreed and pervert the rights of all the afflicted.
(6) Give strong drink to the one who is perishing, and wine to those in bitter distress;
(7) let them drink and forget their poverty and remember their misery no more.
(8) Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute.
(9) Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.

These first 9 verses tell us of the King.  Lemuel is most likely a special name that Solomon’s mother (Bathsheba) called him.  It means “for the Lord”

This tells us that the King should not waste his energy on his own passions, or live as a victim of circumstance, but should exercise justice and mercy.

Incidentally, Bathsheba knew first hand the heartache caused by a king who pursued his own passion and desire. . .

Sadly, Solomon didn’t listen to this advice too well.

But there is a King who did!  If any King ever had the right to pursue his own agenda and fulfill his own pleasure, Jesus did.  But He did not.  He humbled Himself on our behalf.  That is the very nature of God.  (think Philippians 2)

So as husbands, we should emulate this King.

But does that mean that the rest of the chapter is just for the ladies?  No, a thousand times, NO!  We are the bride of Christ.  50,000 years from now in eternity, when our earthly marriages are a distant memory, we will still be the bride of Christ.  We should all strive to exemplify the character of the “excellent wife” in the rest of the chapter.  Why?  Well, let’s remember Ephesians 5.

Eph 5:25-27 ESV
(25) Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,
(26) that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,
(27) so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.

The reason Jesus did what is spoken of in Philippians 2 was so that He could present to Himself a bride in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.

He also said that He would build His church, and the gates of Hell would not stand against ht.   This is a work He is going to do, and He will not be stopped.

So read the rest of the chapter with this in mind.  What does this excellent bride of Christ look like?  How can I be like that?

Pro 31:10-31 ESV
(10) An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. (He demonstrated this, He died for her – but my “value” is in His beholding, not my own.  I was not a worthy bride, I was like Hosea’s wife Gomer. . .)
(11) The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. (Can His heart trust in me?  One day, it will!!)
(12) She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. (This is a lifestyle, not a “job” where I can check in and out)
(13) She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands. (in the raw form, this is labor intensive, points to hands on activity, and to starting with a rough product with an eye to the final product)
(14) She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar. (the merchant sends the ships, the ships serve the merchant)
(15) She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens.
(16) She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
(17) She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong.
(18) She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night. (verses 15-18 speak of vigilance, strength and vitality, care for her own health as well as others – am I vigilant for my own health as well as others in my daily walk with my Beloved?)
(19) She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle. (her hands – personal involvement, both the walking stick and the spindle, within the home and without)
(20) She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy. (remember, her husband is defending the same in the gate)
(21) She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet. (her family is well cared for – speaks to balance, cares for the needy, but also for her own, one is not at the expense of the other, and there is enough for both)
(22) She makes bed coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple. (speaks to the care given to her intimate relationship with the King)
(23) Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land. (Speaks to the public honor of the same King)
(24) She makes linen garments and sells them; she delivers sashes to the merchant. (from the wool and flax spoken of before, remember starting with the raw form, she looks forward to the exquisite quality that will be produced)
(25) Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. (her character is not a facade, it is the real thing and can stand scrutiny and hard times)
(26) She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. (both wisdom and kindness – reminds me of James 3:17, the wisdom from above is pure, peace-loving, gentle, sown in peace, opposed to the earthly wisdom that is harsh and violent)
(27) She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. (Recognition that we are always in motion.  If we are not progressing, we are regressing.  Always pressing on)
(28) Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: (those who come after us, and He who has gone before us)
(29) “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.”
(30) Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
(31) Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.

What do you think?

Craig

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Responses

  1. Brother Craig, If we had the kind of devotion that is spoken of here, we would shine so brightly in this world as the “peculiar people” that we are called to be. Such love and loyal consecration cannot be hidden! I must confess, my heart is often more in tune and more enamored with the things of this earth and my own comforts than with the beauties and perfections of my Bridegroom! How I need His enabling grace!…..We can only love Him because He “first loved us” and shed that love abroad in our hearts!

  2. I am so thankful that He is presenting this bride to Himself. He is able to do what He sets out to do. He who started the work, will complete it.

    He is preparing us for our home, and our home for us.

    Craig


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