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Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Faith Journey #15 - Being a Proverbs 31 Woman in Today's Culture

Welcome back to The Faith Journey. This Sunday series is about my faith walk, and the things the Lord is teaching me along the way. I am always so happy that you are here! I hope you will continue to join me on this journey and grow in your faith as well.

Hi Friends, I feel like it has been ages since we have chatted!  I wish I could say I had a good excuse for staying away from my blog for so long, but the truth is, I just haven't been motivated to write much lately.  After being laid up for several days with a stomach bug that raced through our family, I am feeling renewed.  Starting Monday I will be posting a new schedule for my posts and will do my best to stick to it.  I am looking forward to a more streamlined and organized blog.  YAY!

Anyway, enough on that!  Let's get down to the meat of this post.

A few weeks ago I started a new devotional on being a Proverbs 31 woman.  I pretty much felt convicted just reading the cover, so I thought I would share about what I am learning.  A few key things to keep in mind when studying scripture (especially this chapter) :

1.  When approaching these verses, pray first that the Lord will open your eyes and heart to what He would like for you to learn.  I personally had to pray pretty fervently.  I can be very hard defensive at times, especially when I feel confronted.  It takes a separation of one's pride to fully learn anything here.

2. Take it a verse at a time.  Really absorb what you are reading and pray over each verse.  Something's you may already be doing well, so give thanks for that.  Others may require more effort and prayer on your part. 

3.  The Lord does not expect you to be perfect (in fact he knows that you are not), so you shouldn't expect that either.  Don't waste time beating yourself up over things that you can not change.  Instead ask for forgiveness, and pray for the Lord to encourage you in that particular area of your life.  Just remember, it is only with His strength that you can make a change.   

4.  Use a good commentary while reading.  If you don't have one, use Bible Gateway or a similar site to look at different versions of the same verse (Commentaries can also be found on such sites.)

Proverbs 31: 1-9 (ESV)
The words of King Lemuel. An oracle that his mother taught him:
What are you doing, my son? What are you doing, son of my womb?
    What are you doing, son of my vows?
Do not give your strength to women,
    your ways to those who destroy kings.
 It is not for kings, O Lemuel,
    it is not for kings to drink wine,
    or for rulers to take strong drink,
lest they drink and forget what has been decreed
    and pervert the rights of all the afflicted.
Give strong drink to the one who is perishing,
    and wine to those in bitter distress;
 let them drink and forget their poverty
    and remember their misery no more.
 Open your mouth for the mute,
    for the rights of all who are destitute.
Open your mouth, judge righteously,
    defend the rights of the poor and needy."

If you have never read Proverbs 31, you may be asking what is it all about?  Let me give you a brief summary.  This is an account of a mother giving advice to her royal son, King Lemuel.  It seems to be common opinion of scholars that Lemuel was a nickname given to Solomon by his mother, Bathsheba.  In the first 9 verses this royal mother encourages him to use wisdom in all areas of his life.  Something Solomon was indeed granted by the Lord in 1 Kings 3.  There are two underlining sins that she appears to be warning him to avoid 1) uncleanliness (with women) and 2) drunkenness.  She ends by encouraging him to do good. 

While this is just a little bit of the history/ setup for the next 21 verses which we will be studying, there was more that I came away with.  This mother, whether Bathsheba or someone else, observed things in her son, and took him aside and talked to him lovingly about those things.  Maybe it was something she feared he would struggle with because of what she had already witnessed in him.  No matter what her reason was for approaching him, she took the time to give her child some lasting words. 

As a mother, I felt a strong bond with this woman and her desire to guide her child to the best version of himself.  She shows strong character and a heart for the Lord through her words.  I was struck not only by the words she uses with her son, but also by the fact that she took the time to sit down with him and lay out what was on her heart.  Her first words to him, "What are you doing, my son?" lead me to believe that she is tormented by something she has seen and wants to correct.  She is teaching, leading, coaching, and encouraging all in one speech.    She doesn't give him a vague message that he has to try and interpret.  She does not feed him a large dose of guilt.  She simple tells him what she wants from him.  She also explains in detail what kind of woman he should seek.  We will look in detail at this description over the next few months.  I hope you will come back and grow with me.

So what have you been learning?  Did the Lord reach out to you in the last few months with something you can share?  I would love to hear from you!

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