If you've dropped by and wondered where I was the last couple weeks, I've been out of town a lot lately, and I just got back in town from a nice long visit with my Mom and Dad! :)
Today I am glad to be back and continuing my series for wives (and future wives) based on the ideal wife of Proverbs 31. It is both fun and challenging to look at this passage verse by verse and then examine our own lives and look for practical ways to apply these timeless principles. Please join me each Monday as we continue to examine the character and wisdom of this noble woman and learn how we can each become a Model P31!
She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night. ~ Proverbs 31:18As we've already seen, the virtuous wife was an enterprising woman. She used her time wisely and scouted out the best possible deals, so she could provide the highest quality merchandise for her household. Also, as we will see when we get to verse 24, she not only made fine linen garments for herself and her family, she made extra to sell to the merchants.
She perceived (same Hebrew word as "tasted") that her work was good and profitable.
This woman was truly amazing! She was a hard worker who did everything with excellence! She knew the secret of meeting her family's needs first and foremost, while also managing a profitable home business!
How on earth did she did it all??? Are we to understand this verse to say that she stayed up all night working? We know she didn't sleep until noon, because we discovered in verse 15 that her habit was to rise early in the morning while it was still dark!! So, did this woman "burn the candle at both ends??" Was she some kind of super woman that didn't need sleep??
While it may seem otherwise, she was flesh and blood just like you and me, and she needed a good night of sleep each night, just like we do, in order to function at her best! So, let's look at the second part of this verse a bit more closely.
The word "candle" is translated "lamp" in other versions of the Bible and refers to the oil lamps which were commonly used in those days. After doing some study, I think the primary meaning of this verse is that this virtuous wife had planned ahead and had plenty of oil on hand so that her oil lamp would not go out at night. (Contrast that to the foolish virgins of Matthew 25, who did not have oil for their lamps.)
Also, because Psalm 119:105 teaches that, "Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path," I think that this verse has deeper spiritual implications. I think this woman who feared the Lord relied on God's Word to direct her life and fuel her ability to shine His light into her home and community.
Let's take a look at this passage in the Amplified version of the Bible:
She tastes and sees that her gain from work [with and for God] is good; her lamp goes not out, but it burns on continually through the night [of trouble, privation, or sorrow, warning away fear, doubt, and distrust]. ~ Proverbs 31:18 (Amp)
According to Elizabeth George in her book, Beautiful in God's Eyes, the lighting of the lamp in a home signified several things:
- First of all, a lighted lamp meant that work was going on so light was needed.
- Hospitality was another reason the lamp was used. Its light signaled to needy travelers that comfort and refreshment were available.
- A light -- shining because precious oil was being burned -- also meant prosperity (Proverbs 21:20)
- Finally, a lighted lamp meant wisdom. Someone inside had the practical wisdom to keep a lamp burning so that the kitchen fire could be lighted in the morning.
To pull it all together, the virtuous woman is a diligent worker, and because of God's direction and blessing, her work is good and profitable and benefits herself, her husband and children, her home and her community.
Especially for Single P31s:
If you are a single woman, you can prepare yourself to be a virtuous wife by learning to be a diligent worker and by redeeming the time to develop and expand many useful skills. You can also start exploring possibilities for home businesses, something that you could do from home without neglecting your husband and children, if the Lord so blesses someday. If you are at the point of choosing a college major or future career, do so with the needs of your future family in mind. I've always encouraged my daughters to consider career fields where they could work part time or preferably from home, so that they could fulfill their God-given callings and priorities of serving their husbands and children and managing their homes.
Project P31, Mission #8:
Your mission for this week is to begin to consider some possibilities for a cottage industry. Think about what you enjoy doing, what you are good at, the amount of time and energy you have, and the needs you see around you. What "Proverbs 31 Project" could you start that might grow into a profitable home business? What business could you run that would bless your husband and children and your community??
(If you are interested in health and wellness and in offering hope to those who are suffering, please contact me. I'd love to tell you about an opportunity I've discovered that is blessing numerous people with improved health, energy and vitality while offering financial freedom!!)
Your Turn to Share:
I hope you'll take time to complete your mission for this week and share your thoughts here! Please leave a comment here on my blog or over on my Facebook page, so we might all be encouraged! You may also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to share a private testimony or a guest post.
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