Friday 30 September 2016

Bible Book:

“Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” (v. 30)

Proverbs 31:10-31 Friday 30 September 2016

Psalm: Psalm 17


A while ago, it was noted in the news that a famous footballer had advertised for a newpersonal assistant, with a list of over 50 key tasks thatranged from creating a global brand to stocking his fridge. Butthat pales into insignificance beside the capable wife described inthis passage, who gets up while it's still dark, organises herhousehold, buys a field, plants a vineyard, serves the poor, makesher own clothes and, it seems, has children who don't draw on thewalls or eat peanut butter straight from the jar. It can betempting to write off this terrifying portrait of womanlyexcellence as an unattainable ideal, or as an attempt to establishor reinforce particular gender roles.

But perhaps there's more to her than that. These verses form theend of the book of Proverbs; in its opening verses, we are toldthat "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge" (Proverbs 1:7). The capable wife, who embodiesthe qualities that Proverbs has sought to encourage over theprevious 30 chapters, fears the Lord (verse 30). The suggestion isthat our relationship with God must be the starting point, and thatall else (who we are and what we do) will follow. Ken Howcroft, reflecting on the words of John Wesley, says that holiness forWesley "is no less than the image of God stamped upon the heart; itis no other than the whole mind which was in Christ Jesus...". Hegoes on to say that that involves all of what we would call ourinstincts, feelings, emotional dispositions, ways of thinking andspiritual sensitivities being brought together, made whole and madeholy. It makes us respond to God thankfully and lovingly in turn.And, says Wesley, if we start to love God, we shall naturally endup loving the rest of the world as well. We will not be able tohelp it. God's love will not let us."

Holiness has many forms and expressions, not all of which willresemble the portrait in this passage. Some will be decidedlymessier (thank goodness). But they all begin with God.

To Ponder

  • How does the description of the woman in this passage make youfeel? Would you like to meet her?
  • What do you think the author of this passage wants us to aspireto do or to be?

Previous Page Thursday 29 September 2016
Next Page Saturday 01 October 2016