Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Proverbs 31 Challenge, Day 1

(10) An excellent wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
(11) The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
(12) She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.

 "She is far more precious than jewels" The wording here is...beautiful. I love it. If I could change any word, I wouldn't. I would just leave it as it is. Solomon knew how to write it perfectly through God. Or rather, God knew how to write it perfectly through Solomon.

As for it's meaning, it means a lot more than it seems. At first, it may seem "Oh, hey. She's worth more than that necklace I bought her. That's nice. Couldn't you think of anything better?" But the truth is, that isn't what it means. Back when this was written, they didn't have any machinery, or drills. So any mining that was done was done completely by hand. With a shovel, chisel, and hammer. It would've taken a LLLOOOONNNGG time. But then they still had to ship it. And once again, they didn't have any airplanes, or trains, or even cars. They would have to ship it across oceans in a boat. And not one of those ferry-boats that has a motor and goes at around 35 mph. No, these boats relied on the wind. No wind? Get to work on those oars, men.

It would take weeks; months just to ship it across the ocean. And even if they didn't have a giant ocean in the way, and could travel by land, they would have to go on foot, or on the back of some horses. So everything took a long time, and a lot of work. Which meant that the price was super high. So expensive, in fact that only the super rich people, like the king and royal family, would usually buy them. So this verse is a lot more powerful than it seems to us who, although jewels are still relatively expensive, most of us can at least afford to get a engagement ring for a fiance, or a necklace for a girlfriend. Therefore, when he says that she is "far more precious than jewels", he is putting her up to almost the standard of the king.

The next part, "The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain." emphasizes this. 
Ok, so I think we are all aware of how easy it is for guys(and even girls) to "stumble". Even in marriage, the struggle not to look at another woman/man and think "wow, she/he is 'hot!'" or "Why can't my wife/husband be like that?" is still there(I wouldn't know for certain-I'm not married, but the fact that there are so many divorces today seems like pretty good evidence).
I think that this verse means that the wife should give the husband no reason to envy other couples. Yes, I know that guys are naturally "visually orientated"-it's just the way they're made, but that does NOT mean they're shallow. While yes, the struggle not to "stumble" will always, always be there, but if that were to ever happen, this proverb means that husband should be able to look at his wife, and who she is, and what she does for him without question, and realize that she far surpasses whoever it was he was "stumbling" over.

This verse also speaks the same to women. You see the part "The heart of her husband trusts in her"? That pretty much means the exact same thing, to the wife. He trusts her to not look at other men wrongly, and if she should happen to "stumble", she should look at her husband, and realize that the guy just isn't worth it. Her husband is WAY better than that guy. Her husband loves her, respects her, and works to please her.

Alright, I know I started off with a kinda large chunk today, but I do want to do that last verse. "She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life."
At first, this part seemed strange to me. My initial thoughts went to physical abuse, and I thought, "generally, the guy is stronger than the girl...why is this speaking to the girl??" 
But then I realized that it wasn't talking about physical abuse, but about mental abuse.
Ok, I bet right now you're thinking "what? That's kinda....weird. O.o" But stick with me:
There's a fairy tale. It's called the "Fisherman and his wife". Long story short, guy finds magical fish, magical fish promises wish, guy tells wife, wife never happy, no matter what she wishes(even to the point of her being pope, lord of the heaven and seas, and queen of all the land). My point of bringing this up is because everytime the guy goes to the fish  to ask yet ANOTHER wish from his wife, he calls her "My wife-the plague of my life".
This illustrates what I'm trying to say perfectly. I'm sure you can agree with me when I say that when the wife isn't happy, NOBODY'S happy. It does harm to the husband.

Alrighty, so I've gone one fairly long about what it means, now how do we apply it? Especially if we're not married yet?

I think that we women should all strive to be that woman, who is far more precious than jewels, unique("An excellent wife who can find?") and not changing constantly(specifically, in her faith in God) so as to fit into the demands of the world, and faithful to her husband, whether or not she is currently married or not. And also giving her husband no reason to to envy other couples, or to think her of her as a "plague".
Exactly how to become that woman will become clearer as we continue to read the proverb.

One other point I want to stress is that as I go through this proverb, I know it may seem as though I'm trying to call us all to be the impossible "superwoman". But this isn't what I'm trying to fulfill by doing this study. While yes, we should strive as much as possible to be like her(and we never will. It's like trying to be like Christ. We strive to be like him, but we never will succeed), remember not to get so caught up in it all that you forget to put God first. If you still  have time, here's an article that I would highly recommend you read, so you get what I'm trying to say:
Girls Gone Wise: The Godless Proverbs 31 woman

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