Happy Monday everyone! I am looking forward to getting back into the Virtuous Woman study this week. I was not sure how I was going to like working on the study here and there while writing on other topics, but I am pleasantly surprised. This approach has prolonged my interest in the topic and I always look forward to the time I can work on it again.
Today, we will be looking at Proverbs 31:22.
Proverbs 31:22 (NLT): She makes her own bedspreads. She dresses in fine linen and purple gowns.
Proverbs 31:22 (NIV): She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
Proverbs 31:22 (NKJ): She makes tapestry for herself; Her clothing is fine linen and purple.
Proverbs 31:22 (KJV): She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.
FINALLY! From the start of this study we have seen the virtuous woman serve, give, serve, and give some more. It is nice to finally see her doing something for herself for a change. Let me digress a moment to give some background information before I go any further in this area.
She makes her own bedspreads/She makes tapestry for herself:
Tapestry as referred to in the KJV and NKJ is commonly known to be bed linens or bed coverings. Therefore, to me, this means that a virtuous woman’s bedroom is a special place, and she makes it a priority in regards to time and finances. Once again, the virtuous woman places her husband or marriage above other needs and wants. I think God is reminding us over and over again where our husbands should rank on our priority list.
She dresses in fine linens and purple gowns/her clothing is silk and purple:
Silk as referred to in the King James Version is commonly known as fine linen, which was the best linen of Egypt, but not necessarily the same silk material we know today. In addition, the clothing was purple. Now, back then, purple was not a common color. It was not common because it was very expensive due to the long and tedious process of making purple dye. Below is an insert from http://www.middletownbiblechurch.org regarding the whole process:
“The purple was manufactured by the Phoenicians from a marine mollusk (shellfish). The shell was broken in order to give access to a small gland which was removed and crushed. The crushed gland gives a milky fluid that becomes red or purple on exposure to the air. Piles of these broken shells still remain on the coast at Sidon and Tyre” (The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, Vol. IV, p. 2509). A total of 250,000 mollusks was required to make one ounce of the dye, which helps us to understand how valuable this dye was (Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary, p. 288).”
After reading the above insert, I can see why purple dye would be so expensive and why it was used mostly by royalty, the very rich, or for very special items and places. The Bible tells us that purple cloth was found in many places including, but not limited to, the tabernacle (Exodus 25:4) and Solomon’s temple (2 Chron. 2:14; 3:14). It was worn by many including, but not limited to, high priests and kings (Exodus 25:4; 26:21; Judges 8:26), the rich man in Luke 16:19; the harlot woman in Revelation 18:16; and Jesus Christ (Mark 15:17,20).
I will admit that I was stumped by this part of verse 22. Why would a virtuous woman waste valuable money, time, and resources on something so expensive and seemingly frivolous? After all, we just read verse after verse on how resourceful she is with her finances. After some careful research, contemplation time, and prayer, I came to the conclusion that this verse was trying to show us the importance of taking care of ourselves as Christian women. Christians do not have to be poor and downcast, wearing filthy rags. We are not more spiritual walking around in rags than we would be in high-end attire. No, we should take the time to make ourselves presentable and treat ourselves to nice things. Now, I am not saying we should do this at the expense of our families’ financial stability because part of being a virtuous woman is living within our means, but rather that we should enjoy the rewards of our hard work.
Now, I know some of you may be thinking how does this work in comparison to 1 Timothy 2:9?
Timothy 2:9 (NLT): And I want women to be modest in their appearance. They should wear decent and appropriate clothing and not draw attention to themselves by the way they fix their hair or by wearing gold or pearls or expensive clothes.
This does seem to go against Proverbs 31:22. I researched this topic extensively, but what I came back to was good old common sense. It is a heart issue plain and simple. If you are dressing in expensive clothing and adorning yourself in gold and jewelry for the attention and lust of others, you are clearly in the wrong. If you have the means to purchase nice clothes and accessories, are not overly wasteful, and modest, I don’t see a problem with it. Now, I am not bible scholar, but it seems to me that Paul was cautioning woman against becoming vain and conceited; furthermore, it is much more pleasing to God and beneficial to other Christians for Godly women, to be more concerned with doing good than looking good (Timothy 2:10)
I think it boils down to balance and moderation. In almost every verse of Proverbs 31 we see the virtuous women give and give. You can’t tell me that this woman has not earned the right to spend a little bit of that hard-earned money on herself. This verse gives me a little hope. It is like a sigh of relief. It helps me see this woman as a real woman and not just some ideal some man thought up. The key here for me is balance and moderation. I struggle in this area. I struggle with my selfish wants and desires. I work all day, I write this blog, I spend time with God, the last thing I want to do when I get home is cook, clean, or whatever. I would much rather sit in front of the TV, read a good book, visit with friends, or go to some church activity. However, if I give into those selfish desires, my family suffers. On the other hand, if all I am doing is giving, giving, giving, serving, serving, serving, I become bitter, bitter, bitter. BALANCE! MODERATION! BALANCE!
How do we find that balance and moderation? I don’t know. I know that was helpful, huh? I can’t tell you what will work for you, but I have set aside 1 hour of my day for myself. I have until 10:00 P.M. to get everything I need to get done and at that time, whether I am done or not, I must stop to do something for me. It can be time to watch TV, take a bubble bath, read a book, or go to sleep early. Now, there are some days this doesn’t happen, but I do try to stick with it. I do watch TV sometimes outside of this time, but more often than not, it is when I sit down with the kids. This is a real improvement for me because I used to be a diehard TV watcher. Every night I had TV shows that I had to watch, and before I started working outside the house I had daytime TV shows I had to watch too. Because I can be selfish with my time, I have to set boundaries. I can only watch so many TV programs, spend a set amount of time reading (whether it be Christian non-fiction or fiction), or only so much time at bible studies, Christian activities, and even band practices and gigs. It may sound harsh for some, but for me and my selfishness, it is a must.
How about you? How are you doing in finding your balance?
Remember, God loves us and he wants us to be blessed. There is no shame is having nice things or doing nice things for ourselves. The Bible warns us about the dangers of loving money (1 Timothy 6:10) and putting our faith and security in our riches rather than God (Matthew 6:24). Once again, it is a heart issue seeing as we must desire God and God’s will for us in all areas of our lives over anything this world can provide.
Until next time, stay safe and God bless,