Thursday June 28, 2018
Title: Ruth 4:8-12. Final chapter - The virtuous woman creates a home as a type of Christ, part 8.
PRO 31:10 An excellent wife, who can find?
For her worth is far above jewels.
PRO 31:11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
And he will have no lack of gain.
PRO 31:12 She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.
PRO 31:13 She looks for wool and flax,
And works with her hands in delight.
PRO 31:14 She is like merchant ships;
She brings her food from afar.
PRO 31:15 She rises also while it is still night,
And gives food to her household,
And portions to her maidens.
PRO 31:16 She considers a field and buys it; From her earnings she plants a vineyard.
PRO 31:17 She girds herself with strength, And makes her arms strong.
PRO 31:18 She senses [tastes] that her gain is good; Her lamp does not go out at night.
PRO 31:19 She stretches out her hands to the distaff [the ring fastened to the spindle below which gives it its necessary weight], And her hands grasp the spindle.
She had dedicated herself to a consistent work so as to become skillful.
The Hebrew reveals a skillful labor of spinning using a spindle which is sort of like a stick with a weight at the bottom that would give it the proper centrifugal force for spinning and pulling the thread. This was a slow process.
The spinning wheel would not be invented until the 16th century AD, which would greatly increase the speed of the work.
She has skill. There is only one way to get skill; to become good at anything that demands muscle memory or brain power - practice, and more practice.
Some people seem to be talented at a particular task, but talent is useless without practice. Talent may be nothing more than actually liking or loving the task.
Skill demands that one be willing to practice as a novice. As a novice a person fumbles through, makes many mistakes, does not look good, and has to humble his ego. Skill in something that will serve others and not ourselves demands a much greater loss of ego.
Are we willing to reach out our hands to the labor (be it mental or physical) that is unfamiliar yet needed? Are we willing to dedicate ourselves to the work until we are skillful?
On a practical level concerning women in the home in our day, in a day of convenience, it has become convenient to feed children and ourselves with processed unhealthy food. Nutrition is actually quite important to well-being. It is a skill to learn how to cook well, inexpensively, and healthily.
Perhaps more damaging is the convenience of putting smart phones and tablets in front of our kids in order to occupy them. It is becoming increasingly documented that technology leads children into difficult problems and in fact is fast becoming their first addiction.
It would be a great skill to teach our children how to occupy themselves with things that stimulate their minds and imaginations and challenge them personally, making them mature and wise. Video games do the opposite and they are addictive as much as nicotine and other chemicals.
It is more difficult and time consuming to do things the best way, like cooking and rearing children as well as many other things. Yet, our relation to Christ impels us to do them all properly, as God would intend.
Jesus faithfully and patiently trained and taught the disciples. He did not make it easy on them. He sent them out the towns and villages of Israel to teach the kingdom of God was at hand. He showed them by example as well as word. He trained them like they were His children, and as Creator of all things, they were.
PRO 31:20 She extends her hand to the poor; And she stretches out her hands to the needy.
The Hebrew states that she stretches out her “palm” to the needy. This phrase would refer to tenderness, counsel, and being ready to help. It means much more than offering the needy some coins or money.
The idiom, “stretching out the palm,” means lovingkindness and care in whatever is needed. It means much more than walking by and throwing a few coins at them. She is genuinely concerned for the poor and desires to help them in any way she can.
As you know, examples for this in the life of Jesus abound.
Map of Israel.
Jesus’ ministry in Perea had ended. He had crossed the Jordan and now it was time to approach Jerusalem for the final time to attend the Passover, His Passover. In the last three and a half years He has healed thousands, even tens of thousands. Now it is time to do something much more important.
MAT 20:29 And as they were going out from Jericho, a great multitude followed Him.
MAT 20:30 And behold, two blind men sitting by the road, hearing that Jesus was passing by, cried out, saying, "Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!"
MAT 20:31 And the multitude sternly told them to be quiet; but they cried out all the more, saying, "Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!"
MAT 20:32 And Jesus stopped and called them, and said, "What do you want Me to do for you?"
MAT 20:33 They said to Him, "Lord, we want our eyes to be opened."
MAT 20:34 And moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes; and immediately they regained their sight and followed Him.
With their newfound sight, they are going to see the crucifixion of the Lord. I’m going to go out on a limb and say they were at Calvary.
The verb “she stretches out” is in an intensive stem. She purposely reaches out with both hands to the needy that they may grasp them.
The attitude speaks for itself. We all know what it is. We only have this life to have it. Sometimes we fear it. Overcome your fear through the love of God and speak to your Father in prayer concerning all attitudes. Self-deception is far too easy to not fully seek the will of God in all areas of life. This excellent woman of Pro 31 is going to touch on every aspect of our lives.
PRO 31:21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household, For all her household are clothed with scarlet.
Snow is not rare in Palestine. The cold is coming but the house is ready. Winters in Palestine are wet, and so the land will be wet and cold for two to three months.
The material that clothes her house is likely wool and so is warm. We’ve already seen that she extends her hands to the spindle and therefore she has made enough covering to keep her home protected during the winter. The scarlet color might refer to its being ornamental and dignified. She doesn’t just make coverings that are functional, through her skill and her care, she makes them ornamental. In other words, she cares that the home is protected and she also cares that it looks good. She would not be concerned that it looks good for guests. That would be vain and not excellent. She wants her family to be pleased aesthetically with the condition of the home.
Winter approaches and times will be tougher. She is prepared and not afraid. The coverings in her house are wool; warm (she spins) and scarlet; not only functional but ornamental (skill and care).
The principle in this verse is the excellent disciple of Christ being ready for adversity. We know that we have not only been called to believe upon Him, but to also suffer for His name’s sake. When Jesus finished the Sermon on the Mount he said the one who heard His words and performed them was the house built upon the rock, that when rain, floods, and winds burst upon that house, it stood.
Jeremiah writes of the man who trusts in the Lord. He is like a tree planted by the water, that extends its roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat comes; but its leaves will be green, and it will not be anxious in a year of drought, nor cease to yield fruit.
There are many verses in the Bible on this subject. Only the righteous who love the Lord are ready for the fiery trial when it comes. This excellent woman, the matriarch of a farm, must be prepared for the winter.
Jesus was prepared for His hour of winter:
JOH 12:23 And Jesus answered them, saying, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.
JOH 12:24 "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
JOH 12:25 "He who loves his life loses it; and he who hates his life in this world shall keep it to life eternal.
Hate is used as an intense contrast. It is not a call to asceticism or self-flagellation. It is common in the east to use hate towards something that interferes with a desired goal. When self threatens to interfere with the life of Christ then it is proper to hate it that it may be fully laid aside.
JOH 12:26 "If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there shall My servant also be; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.
JOH 12:27 "Now My soul has become troubled [agitated within]; and what shall I say, 'Father, save Me from this hour'? But for this purpose I came to this hour.
JOH 12:28 "Father, glorify Thy name." There came therefore a voice out of heaven: "I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again."
JOH 12:29 The multitude therefore, who stood by and heard it, were saying that it had thundered; others were saying, "An angel has spoken to Him."
JOH 12:30 Jesus answered and said, "This voice has not come for My sake, but for your sakes.
JOH 12:31 "Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world shall be cast out.
JOH 12:32 "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself."