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A Noble Woman (Proverbs 31:10)

Sermon on 24 May 2020 by Pastor Gaius

Proverbs 31:10 - “Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is more precious than rubies.”

When you think about a noble woman, what comes to your mind? In the world there are many famous women that could be important people or celebrities. Many of us would quickly think of some people, even our wives or mothers. There will be many people in our head. More importantly let’s come back to the Bible and see what a noble woman is like.

Proverbs 31:10-12 - “Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is more precious than rubies. Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.”

It is an acrostic poem using Hebrew letters. Over here, we want to see the rest of the verses to see what good this wife brings to her husband. Proverbs 31 talks about a noble wife. When there’s a wife, there will be a husband. It is talking about a relationship between a husband and wife and the hopes the husband has on his wife. In the Bible, we must understand there is a deeper meaning as to why God uses the analogy of husband and wife.

Ephesians 5:25 - “For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her”

Husbands love their wives, Christ loves the church. Christ is like the husband and the wife is the church, which is everyone. Proverbs 31 is not just talking about what qualities a woman should have, but rather what qualities the church of Christ should have. As we talk more about this passage, it is not just for wives and women alone but for everyone who belongs to Jesus Christ.

Attributes of a noble woman:

1. Hardworking

Proverbs 31:13-19 - “She finds wool and flax and busily spins it. She is like a merchant’s ship, bringing her food from afar. She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household and plan the day’s work for her servant girls. She goes to inspect a field and buys it; with her earnings she plants a vineyard. She is energetic and strong, a hard worker. She makes sure her dealings are profitable; her lamp burns late into the night. Her hands are busy spinning thread, her fingers twisting fiber.”

We can see the job that the noble woman does. We can tell that she is hard at work. It is not just that alone. We can see that she not only works, she also provides for the family and takes care of the household to make sure that everything runs well. At the same time, she is a wise investor and knows how to make a purchase wisely. She does not just buy things for herself but for the family. We can see that she not only takes care of her house but also continues to spread her talents to others around her. This is a description of a person who is not idling at home but is someone who is hard at work, taking care of herself, her family and people not in her family.

2 Thessalonians 3:6-10 - “And now, dear brothers and sisters, we give you this command in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ: Stay away from all believers who live idle lives and don’t follow the tradition they received from us. For you know that you ought to imitate us. We were not idle when we were with you. We never accepted food from anyone without paying for it. We worked hard day and night so we would not be a burden to any of you. We certainly had the right to ask you to feed us, but we wanted to give you an example to follow. Even while we were with you, we gave you this command: “Those unwilling to work will not get to eat.””

We have to keep away from someone who is not working and idle. Look closely. These are not non believers or people who do not know God. They are believers. There are believers who don’t work and are not hardworking. We must shun away from such bad practices. Being hardworking is not just something to prove ourselves and be good enough to be recognised by others. However, it is so that we do not burden others. In the army, there is this physical training we often do as a team, which is called log physical training. They find a very big tree log, which is quite heavy. You need at least 8 people to carry it on your shoulders. When 8 of us carried it on our shoulders, it was still bearable to carry the log from one end of the camp to the other end. However, if one person decides to take it easy and relax, the 7 others will know because suddenly the log becomes very heavy and is a big burden. Similarly, if we are not hardworking, we are causing others to work harder for us. As a noble woman, she is hardworking. Work is a blessing from God. When Adam was created, he was commanded to work. In the parable of the talents, the reward for doing faithful work is more work. Work itself is something we should thank God for. In the past, I used to complain about certain things to my father, like how I seemed to be doing more work than others and it is unfair. His answer is, would you rather serve others or need others to serve you? After thinking through, you will naturally thank God for the grace to not only help yourself but to help others.

2. Helpful

Proverbs 31:20-22 - “She extends a helping hand to the poor and opens her arms to the needy. She has no fear of winter for her household, for everyone has warm clothes. She makes her own bedspreads. She dresses in fine linen and purple gowns.”

Over here, she will help the poor and needy. She will also help her household and finally helps herself. She is helpful to everyone around her. This reminds us of a passage in James 2, talking about faith and works.

James 2:14-17 - “What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.”

As the Lord blesses us, we should always look around and see how we can bless others. A noble woman is also a helpful woman.

3. Honour

Proverbs 31:24-31 - “She makes belted linen garments and sashes to sell to the merchants. She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness. She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness. Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her: “There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!” Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised. Reward her for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.”

This talks about a person who is able to present herself well, make business and communicate with others. At the same time, she has strength, when times are getting tougher, she can laugh over them. Right now in this situation, this noble woman will probably be someone that doesn’t panic but knows that God is in control and let you see the strength and dignity in her. We can see that she is not an idle person.

2 Thessalonians 3:11-12 - “Yet we hear that some of you are living idle lives, refusing to work and meddling in other people’s business. We command such people and urge them in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and work to earn their own living.”

A noble woman is not a busybody and idle. In our daily walk, let’s reflect on ourselves. Not long ago, we heard that we need to mind our own business. Have we been minding our own business or are still busybodies? Another thing is that she speaks with wisdom. Let’s check ourselves. This does not apply only to woman but to the church of Christ also. Are we brash in our words or are loud? Are we ignorant? Do we not know when we are wrong too? These describes a person who does not speak wisdom.

Proverbs 9:13 - “The woman named Folly is brash. She is ignorant and doesn’t know it.”

Let us watch our tongue and be careful with what we say. When we speak to others, if we are not loud, brash or ignorant, how should it be?

1 Peter 3:3-4 - “Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.”

Over here, we have heard this advice many times that we shouldn’t look at the outward appearance. However, in our inward heart, we shouldn’t be loud but have a gentle and quiet spirit. Therefore, a noble woman is one who is honourable.

Because of her presentation, she is able to have a gentle spirit and present herself confidently in-front of others. Therefore, her children and husband, the closest to her praise her and give her the honour. There’s a secret to success, telling you why she can enjoy the wonderful grace from everyone around her. This noble woman knows that she must fear the Lord and honour God first. Therefore the reward is that people around her will honour her. When we honour God, He allows others to honour us. It is not because of our abilities, but of the Holy Spirit and the characteristics of the fruit of the Spirit.

4. Humble

Proverbs 31:23 - “Her husband is well known at the city gates, where he sits with the other civic leaders.”

It seems to say that the husband is the one who’s famous and is respected by everyone. We must understand that this whole context is about the noble woman. Because this woman is noble, others know her husband and respects him too. Therefore, this woman will only do good to her husband.

Ephesians 5:22 - “For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord.”

Ephesians 5:24 - “As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything.”

Because of our fallen nature, we always want to be proven better than others; want others to listen to us and convince. If we can’t convince we threaten others to listen to us. This wife is so capable and her husband can be well known because she submits to her husband. Let’s look around us. Some of our sisters in church are really noble woman. Easily, we can match them to their husbands. I am not forcing everyone to submit to their husbands. Paul did not tell the husbands to tell their wives to submit to them. If husbands can be like Christ, their wives will automatically find it easy to submit to their husbands. More importantly, it is for us as a church, whether we submit to God and to Christ. Therefore, we are to humble ourselves down to submission.

A noble woman is hardworking, helpful, honourable and humble. Let us strive together and encourage one another to be like this woman. As we live out the words of God in our lives, we can be like Proverbs 31:12. We will only bring the good things to God and no harm. Let’s pray that our lives can be the life of this noble woman, not only to herself and the people in her household but those around her. May God’s glory be manifested in our life.


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