Summary: As the "Bride of Christ" we, the church have work to do to prepare ourselves for the great wedding feast.
A Woman After God’s Own Heart
A Wife of Noble Character
10 Who can find a virtuous and capable wife?
She is more precious than rubies.
11 Her husband can trust her,
and she will greatly enrich his life.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
13 She finds wool and flax
and busily spins it.
14 She is like a merchant’s ship,
bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household
and plan the day’s work for her servant girls.
16 She goes to inspect a field and buys it;
with her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She is energetic and strong,
a hard worker.
18 She makes sure her dealings are profitable;
her lamp burns late into the night.
19 Her hands are busy spinning thread,
her fingers twisting fiber.
20 She extends a helping hand to the poor
and opens her arms to the needy.
21 She has no fear of winter for her household,
for everyone has warm clothes.
22 She makes her own bedspreads.
She dresses in fine linen and purple gowns.
23 Her husband is well known at the city gates,
where he sits with the other civic leaders.
24 She makes belted linen garments
and sashes to sell to the merchants.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity,
and she laughs without fear of the future.
26 When she speaks, her words are wise,
and she gives instructions with kindness.
27 She carefully watches everything in her household
and suffers nothing from laziness.
28 Her children stand and bless her.
Her husband praises her:
29 “There are many virtuous and capable women in the world,
but you surpass them all!”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last;
but a woman who fears the LORD will be greatly praised.
31 Reward her for all she has done.
Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.
(Let me hear all the husbands give a loud, “Amen” if this describes your bride perfectly...smile.)
How true is the opening question of the Proverbs passage? She is most certainly the woman that every man would want to marry. And she is the wife most women aspire to be. She is confident and trustworthy. She is a hard worker and compassionate. She works hard in the home and in public. How can one person possibly live up to the standards of this noble wife described in Holy Scripture?
As I prayed and meditated this scripture, it became clear to me that this passage is not talking about one individual, nor is it talking about an earthly wife. I believe this passage speaks of more than strong traits of an outstanding wife, but gives to us a message for the church...the bride of Christ.
Marriage is the perfect metaphor to explain the closeness of the relationship God has desired with His people. Sadly, when sin entered the world, it caused a separation in the marriage. In Isaiah 54:5-8, God describes the rocky relationship between God and man who has acted as an unfaithful wife who was abandoned by her husband...But because of His great love for His bride, God promises to redeem and take her back. (For your Creator will be your Husband; the LORD of Heaven’s Armies is His name! He is your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, the God of all the earth. For the Lord has called you back from your grief—as though you were a young wife abandoned by her husband,” says your God. “For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with great compassion I will take you back. In a burst of anger I turned my face away for a little while. But with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,” says the LORD, your Redeemer.)
Because of God's great love for His people, He does what it takes for the unfaithful creation to be reconciled unto Him.
Isaiah 62:3-5 gives a detailed description of the reconciliation. (The Lord will hold you in His hand for all to see—a splendid crown in the hand of God. Never again will you be called “The Forsaken City” or “The Desolate Land.” Your new name will be “The City of God’s Delight” and “The Bride of God,” for the Lord delights in you and will claim you as His bride. Your children will commit themselves to you, O Jerusalem, just as a young man commits himself to his bride. Then God will rejoice over you as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride.)
Man’s own sinfulness makes us unfit to be God’s bride. But because of His deep love for them, God provides another way. Through the death of His Son, Jesus Christ, our sins will be washed away and we will become pure once more. Christ’s death is about God’s preparation of a bride and groom. God was willing to pay the ultimate price, the death of His only begotten son, to make this marriage happen and His own joy made complete. God’s plan to end the separation caused by sin by preparing a wedding feast for the Jesus, the groom and His bride, which the church. This event is revealed to John in Revelation 19:6-8. (Then I heard again what sounded like the shout of a vast crowd or the roar of mighty ocean waves or the crash of loud thunder: “Praise the LORD! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns. Let us be glad and rejoice, and let us give honor to Him. For the time has come for the wedding feast of the Lamb, and His bride has prepared herself. She has been given the finest of pure white linen to wear.” For the fine linen represents the good deeds of God’s holy people.)