As we come to a end this week of Proverbs 31, I pray that we will take into consideration all that we have studied here together. We have learned to submit and respect our husbands whether they are believers or not. We have learned to willingly work with our hands and remain strong through exercise. We have learned to spend the money we earn as well as our husband's money wisely for all belongs to the Lord.
We have learned to teach our children to do the same: respect their father, be wise with money, and work with their hands....thereby honoring God.
We have learned to care for others and give to the poor. We have learned not to fear the unknown but to trust in the Lord. And we have learned to rejoice in the Lord no matter what may come.
Here, at the end of our lesson, we learn that the Virtuous Wife excels all the daughters who have done well.
Let's look at a few of these daughters:
1 Sam. 1:12-18
1 Sam 1:26-28
Our beloved Hannah. She had reasons to be sorrowful, but instead of leaning on her own understanding of the situation or seeking the counsel of another person.....she sought the Lord and honored His kindness upon her by offering her child back to Him.
Sarah- she could be feisty at times, but in the end her faith in the Lord was admirable even to this day. And she is called blessed for her faith.
Rahab feared the God of the Hebrews because she had heard what He had done. Ladies, we serve the same God that Rahab heard about....yet how many times do we shutter from fear after what the Lord did to the Egyptians or to Jericho? Rahab feared God and so should we.
Mary,a young child, believed what the angel spoke to her without question. She obeyed without arguing or complaining. She honored the Lord with the Firstfruit of her womb.
Mary Magdalene- not a goddess that we should worship her like the non-believers say and do....no, she was a humble servant of the Lord Jesus and she worshiped Him as God. Her faith and loyalty was so strong, that the Lord chose her as the first person He would speak to after his resurrection. What blessings!
Lydia worshiped God and the Lord chose her to host His apostles during their ministry. She obeyed without arguing even though this act was a great risk to her and her business as well as her family in the Roman province.
Strong obedience and faith made these women admirable. And these are just some of the women in scritpure who did well. Read about Esther, Ruth, Deborah, the Samaritan Woman, Elizabeth, Anna...... there are so many more examples for us to follow that we are without excuse.
But the main reason we are to learn from these women is their fear of the Lord.
What is our reward for obeying God?
Whom should we fear? Man who is finite....or God who is infinite?
The women mentioned above remained true to their faith even through some horrifying experiences. They learned to praise God through the good and bad times of His covenant.
They loved and trusted a God whom they had never seen. They trusted Him through great tribulation and suffering.
Deut. 4: 6-10
In this passage we see a personal God who wants us to be with Him. Here He instructs His people to obey Him and He will be there "for whatever reason we may call upon Him". How beautiful is that?
"Only take heed to yourself, and diligently keep yourself, lest you forget the things your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. And teach them to your children and grandchildren..."
How fantastic is that?
Tell your children constantly all the wondrous things the Lord has done for you and is doing for you. Otherwise, you may forget.
We try to teach Nathan about the power of prayer that way when things get tough, he can remember that our God is a personal God who will be there "for whatever reason we may call upon Him."
Nathan's dog got sick with a large tumor on the side of his head about 4 years ago. We were told that to remove it would cost about $1500. Well, that was way out of our price range and going into debt for a dog didn't seem prudent. So, we called around many different doctors and found one who wanted to see our dog because he thought he could remove it for a reasonable price. Otherwise, we would have to put the dog to sleep.
Those of you who have an only child understand that their toys and pets are the absolute world to them because they have no one else in the house on "their side" so to speak. So, telling our son that we may have to put his dog to sleep was a horrifying and betraying thing for him to hear from his parents.
So, I told him that we would pray for the dog. Together, we sent a prayer up to the Lord. Nathan prayed out loud that the Lord make it possible for us to afford this doctor to remove the tumor.
The next day, the doctor not only said he could remove the tumor, but he said he could do it for $150 which was well within our budget.
To this day, I will never forget how happy Nathan was and how he truly believed God had answered his prayers.
Well, this year another tumor grew on the same dog and on the same side of his head. But because Nathan remembered how God heard his prayers before, he had so much confidence in God this time as well. He knew God not only hears us, but answers us. And the tumor was removed without incident.....all is well.
Using life lessons like this to teach our children about a personal God is something we can do everyday. Our children not only need to be taught the rules or laws of God, but they need to be taught the relationship part of God as well: that He Himself died for them to forgive them of their sins.
But serving a holy God isn't without the trials and tribulations.
1 Pet 2:18-25
1 Pet 3:1-2
1 Pet 3:13-17
1 Pet 4:12-13
I call First Peter the "suffering" book. We, as Christians, should never be surprised when we suffer for our faith or when we are tested by God.
James 5: 10-11
All the women mentioned above suffered. Yet in their suffering, their faith remained.
We are not to be looking out for our own interests, but seeking to do the Lord's interests:
Phil 2: 2-4
And when we do fail...and all of us have failed......then we come together and confess our sins to one another:
I firmly believe in being transparent. I find comfort in telling my sisters-in-Christ about my former conduct and my sins because only then can I teach others about the Lord's forgiveness:
One example, I was a part of a Moms-in-Touch prayer group and they use the ACTS form of prayer: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication.
One of the first few times I attended I noticed we always did the "confession" portion in silence. But one day the Holy Spirit was really convicting me to confess my sins openly before the group during prayer time. So, when it came to the "C" portion I began to confess that I had not submitted to my husband that week and I sought the Lord's forgiveness.
As a result, several other ladies began confessing before the group as well. Afterwards, they told me that they had been meeting for several years and yet that was the first time any of them had openely confessed before each other. I told them it wasn't me, but the Holy Spirit nudging me to confess my sins.
So, being transparent can lead to others coming before the Lord and leaving all that baggage at His feet. Then truly wonderful things happen! It can be humiliating at times, but it is worth it.
We have seen here that there have been many daughters who came before us. Many daughters have done well indeed.......
How are we doing?
Until next time........
"Dear privileged-and-called-by-God mother, our role of "teacher" is not optional. No, as we learned in the previous chapter, it is commanded by God. It's another one of His high callings to women who have little ones (and big ones, too....and grand-ones also!), So, do you, precious mom, seek to fulfill His command to you to teach your children about Him? And do you love your children enough to sacrifice...
yourself (it will cost you personally to put this discipline in place)
your time (lesser pursuits will have to make way for the greater)
your energy ( training is rewarding work...but never easy work),
your money (Bibles and books and music and materials will have to be obtained to help aim your teaching of God's truth straight into your youngsters' hearts)?
It will cost all of this-and more- plus adequate preparation and consistent scheduling to ensure that your children know all about the greatest thing in the world-God's love for them and His instructions on how they should live their lives."
Elizabeth George, (A Woman's High Calling, 2001, pp.173-174)