Posts Tagged ‘Proverbs’

A More Beautiful You (Part 5)

Proverbs 31 is it too outdated for us 2010 modern day women???   I think not!  When I go through this proverb and dissect it line by line for my own personal understanding I say wow up before dark to make food for my family? Buy things of great value? Sew my family’s clothes? Bring my husband good and not harm?  Open my arms to the poor and needy? Walk around with strength, dignity, wisdom, confidence?  These do not sound like a woman of today.  No I think  fast food, prepared meals, nannies , store bought clothes, disgrace and dishonor to husbands, the needy are gross, dirty  people who they tell their children to avoid at all cost, women who are arrogant and prideful  who think they too are a man and must be treated equally as one or else!!

So then I ask myself what must I change about myself to line up with this proverb that God gave us women as a guideline to be virtuous and worth far more then rubies?  Isn’t this just what we are looking for anyway to be valued, to be loved, to be thought of as precious and honorable?  I think so.   So I see that it is my heart that must change before I even think about my daily routine and actions.  I must love my God enough to trust Him that what He gave me as a guideline on how to be virtuous, beautiful, confident, strong and wisdom filled is what I should strive for.   It is what will make me more precious than rubies to my husband and honorable to society.

So in what some women think of as outdated or politically incorrect we find the very thing that God has given us as a picture of a virtuous, beautiful, confident, strong and wisdom filled women.  I am willing to look weird and strange to the entire female population and society at large in order to look right and acceptable to God, how about you?

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A More Beautiful You (Part 4)

I have been reading through Proverbs each day this month.  He’s a selection from the reading today.  How appropriate:

Proverbs 31:10-31 – 10 An excellent wife who can find?  She is far more precious than jewels. 11The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. 12She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. 13She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands. 14She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar. 15She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens. 16She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard. 17She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong.18She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night. 19She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle. 20She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy. 21She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet. 22She makes bed coverings for herself;  her clothing is fine linen and purple. 23Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land. 24She makes linen garments and sells them; she delivers sashes to the merchant. 25 Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. 26She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. 27She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. 28Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: 29“Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” 30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. 31Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.

What a great way to end the book of Proverbs.  Though perhaps it seems as if some of the references are outdated and not clear because of the lives we live today – nonetheless this is a picture of a godly, virtuous and excellent woman and wife.

The qualities of this woman are beautiful.  She is caring.  She is self-sacrificial.  She is giving.  She is diligent.  She cares for her husband and family.

And she receives praise from God, her family, and friends because she fears the LORD.  This is the woman to be praised – the one who chooses to fear God and live a life of love.

The Sluggard Says, There Is a Lion Outside! I Shall Be Slain

This is one of the entries of John Piper’s Book “Taste and See” which I was reading recently.  I thought that this entry was particularly helpful and inlighting.  I know I often struggle with laziness and Piper emphasizes the battle that is going on our minds at times when we are lazy.  This might be helpful to you too.

Proverbs 22:13 – The sluggard says, “There is a lion outside! I shall be slain in the streets!”

This is not what I expected the proverb to say. I would have expected it to say “The coward says, ‘There is a lion outside! I shall be slain in the streets!'” But it says, “sluggard,” not “coward.” So the controlling emotion here is laziness, not fear. But what does laziness have to do with the danger of a lion in the street? We don’t say, “This man is too lazy to go do his work because there is a lion outside. The presence of a lion does not produce laziness, it produces fear. So what’s the point of the proverb?

The point is that the sluggard creates imaginary circumstances to justify not doing his work, and thus shifts the focus from the vice of his laziness to the danger of lions. No one will approve his staying in the house all day just because he is lazy. But they might sympathize with him and approve his staying home if there is real danger outside. So, to hide his laziness and justify himself, he deflects attention away from the truth (laziness) to an illusion (lions).

If we would be wise people – people on the way to being “sages” – we must understand how our sinful human hearts and minds work. One profound Biblical insight we need to know is that our heart exploits our mind to justify what the heart wants. That is, our deepest desires precede the rational functioning of our minds and incline the mind to perceive and think in a way that will make the desires look right. It is an illusion to think that our hearts are neutral and incline in accordance with cool rational observation of truth. On the contrary, we feel powerful desires or fears in our heart, and THEN our mind bends reality to justify the desires and fears.

This is what the sluggard is doing. He deeply desires to stay at home and not work. There is no good reason to stay at home. So what does he do? Does he overcome his bad desire? No, he uses his mind to create unreal circumstances to justify his desire. He may even believe the creation of his mind. Deception can cross from moral depravity to mental derangement – from deceiving others to deceiving ourselves.

Thus Proverbs 26:16 says, “The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than seven men who can give a discreet answer.” Now why is that? Does laziness make a person haughty? Not necessarily. But it does make them resistant to any truth that exposes their laziness. So when seven men say, “There is no lion in the street,” the sluggard cannot concede. He must insist that his own answer is wiser: There is a lion in the street. Otherwise his laziness is exposed for what it is. Thus truth is sacrificed on the altar of self-justification.

It is an old tale. From Cain (Genesis 4:9) to Clinton, truth has been sacrificed to desire, and the mind has been shrewdly employed by the darkened heart to shroud its passions. We are all given to this. Our only hope is the transforming work of God in our hearts to free us from the bondage of a hardened heart that produces a futile mind (Ephesians 4:17-18; Romans 6:17).

This is what we saw last Sunday in Romans 1:18: “They hold down the truth in unrighteousness.” Truth is held hostage by the unrighteous commitments of the heart. The unrighteous heart then employs the mind to distract and deceive. As Jesus says, “Everyone who does evil hates the Light” (John 3:20). Doing the evil we love makes us hostile to the light of truth. In this condition the mind becomes a factory of half-truths, equivocations, sophistries, evasions and lies – anything to protect the evil desires of the heart from exposure and destruction.

O growing sages of Bethlehem, consider and be wise.

Pastor John

By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org – for original article link, click here.