“Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.” (Proverbs 31:10)
This is the opening scripture from the beautiful passage honoring a righteous woman in (Proverbs 31:10-31).
It is the praise for every woman of virtue. And yet, we might be surprised by the compliments bestowed upon this woman of valor and her description. For example, the word “valor” or “noble” is nearly identical to the Hebrew word “chayal” meaning “soldier” …….
The woman of valor is first and foremost a soldier. She is strong, competent, and loyal to her family; and those whom she protects. She is strict when necessary, unbreakable when tested, and hard-working for the sake of her family and community. And yet, the next phrase reads, “her price is far above rubies.” As strong as she may be, the virtuous woman is also more graceful and beautiful than a ruby …..
The seeming contradictions between being both hard and soft; strong and kind; a woman of the home and a successful businesswomen outside the home, all describe a virtuous woman. Thousands of years before women of today struggle with balancing motherhood and careers, strength with grace, being a loving mother and spouse while contributing to her community as well; the woman of valor is described as encompassing all those roles and thriving in them …..
What’s that? Not easy you say ……
True, the woman of valor or a virtuous woman doesn’t have it easy; but her life is meaningful and satisfying. Toward the end of the passage we read: “Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.” (v. 25).
Moreover, “her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.”
Sadly, I cannot hold claim to my children calling me “blessed”, nor praising me. And physical beauty escapes me as well, yet how I wait for that day and time to come of rejoicing when my Jesus I shall see and He shall clothe me in white and lay that beautiful crown upon my head …….
As opposed to an overwhelming sentiment held throughout the ages that a woman’s worth is determined by her beauty, these verses remind us that, “Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.” (v. 30).
This brings us back to the very beginning where the virtuous woman is compared to a ruby. The (CEB) Bible – Common English Version, uses the word “pearl” in place of ruby. I kind of like that one because just as a pearl is hidden within a mollusk, a woman’s true beauty can’t be grasped from her exterior; but rather from her character on the inside. Moreover, her physical beauty isn’t forever, while her good deeds will resonate for generations to come. May it be so my Lord ……
The beauty and gracefulness is created through pressure and adversity just as a pearl is created when a mollusk senses an irritant or perceived danger and seals off the troubled spot with a pearl sac. You could say the birth of a pearl begins in hardship. As well, a woman who grows through adversity becomes the graceful woman of valor. She is deeply hidden and hard to find; but she lies in potential within each and every woman, even someone like me …..
Therefore in closing, it is my hope that you will use this passage to celebrate and praise the amazing women in your life this upcoming Valentine’s Day; whether she be a sister, a mother, a grandmother, a daughter, an aunt, a pastor, or simply a friend. We can recognize the unique character traits that can make women a woman of valor and a soldier in their own right …..
We should honor all the women in our lives every day and can learn from the women who have come before us, all the way back to the biblical times. This week I will explore and study some of these women, and may we all be inspired by some of the bible’s finest women, each one a virtuous woman in her own right.
I hope maybe you may feel led to pass these reflections on with other women in your lives as you are inspired by their kindness, their leadership, their courage, and other qualities that make them women of valor. May we give each special woman her due praise, and honor God by becomming the best that we ourselves can be …..
Tomorrow we will begin our study with the first and greatest virtuous woman: Sarah. I have been reading and studying; and I have found nine women that I would like to share with you; so over the next nine days I think maybe we will look briefly at each. I hope you will feel so inclined to stay with me as we look at each woman’s unique qualities and traits; and may God bless you each ….