A WOMAN OF NOBLE CHARACTER (PROVERBS 31:10-31)
It’s been more than a year since my beloved wife Doris passed away on May 22, 2016. I wanted to preach this sermon last month, but the church has Worship Sunday and I was assigned to speak on the subject of worship. I am one month late but not in my memory. Doris held two doctorates – one PhD (BIOLA) and one Doctor of Education (USC). She taught at two universities (Azusa Pacific, University of Macau) seven years each. When I was into a few chapters of the 2017 Condor Heroes, I recognize she was the heroine Huang Rong of life, to which a pre-study leader replied when told at a sharing: “Now you know!”
This sermon is one month late but months in preparation to dedicate to Doris and to all ladies at the church.
11 husband 3x
15 Give 3x
28 praise 3x
13 work 4x
15 Household 4x
The parameters of this message is set with these words repeated: four times for work (v 13), hand (v 13) and household (v 15), and three times for husband (v 11), give (v 15) and praise (v 28).
What are the noble characteristics of women God placed among us that set them apart? How are they outstanding and magnaninous? Why do we need to learn from them - whether they are you mother, wife or daughter?
Be Tough and Trustworthy
10 A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. 11 Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. 12 She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. 13 She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. 14 She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. 15 She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants. 16 She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. 17 She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. 18 She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. 19 In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. 20 She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. 21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. 22 She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. 23 Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. 24 She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes.
A website reports: “The typical U.S. Congregation draws an adult crowd that’s 61% female, 39% male. Almost 25 percent of married, churchgoing women will worship without their husbands. Midweek activities often draw 70 to 80 percent female participants. Churches overseas report gender gaps of up to 9 women for every adult man in attendance.” http://churchformen.com/men-and-church/where-are-the-men/
“Without women, how many men would come to church by themselves?”
“Without women there would be no church!”
“The life in the Christian church cannot continue without women, without their labour, prayers, and love.”
One of the most misunderstood words in the Bible is the word “noble” or virtuous” (KJV) in verses 10 and 29. You would think it stands for morals, virtues or ethics, but it is none of the above in translation. Traditionally it is translated as army (56x), man of valour (37x), host (29x), forces (14x), valiant (13x), strength (12x), riches (11x), wealth (10x), power (9x), substance (8x), might (6x), strong (5x). So the word “noble” or “virtuous” means capable, courageous and commanding or conquering.
The Sunrise Ruby is the world's most expensive ruby in the world. In May 2015, it was auctioned for US$30 million. (Expdedia). The first statement summarizes what the chapter is about – she is worth far more than rubies.
With her husband the woman has a confident (v 11) or trusting (KJV) relationship. Her husband has full confidence in her. You can read the virtuous woman’s resume or biography by the use of the personal pronouns “her…” that debuts in the chapter at verse 10, as many as 30 times in the chapter - her price (v 10), her husband (v 11), her life (v 12), her hands (v 13), her food (v 14), her household, and her maidens (v 15), her hands (v 16), her loins and her arms (v 17), her merchandise and her candle (v 18), her hands, and her hands (v 19), her hand, her hands (v 20), her household, her household (v 21), her clothing (v 22), her husband (v 23). We can see that she is very responsible, resourceful, resilient, reliable and respected, no matter with things, people or herself