God is Setting All Things Right. So I am Blogging Through the Bible in a Year.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

June 22 - Proverbs 30-31: Agur and King Lemuel Present Their Wisdom

Today’s Reading: Proverbs 30-31

The Message

English Standard Version

Congratulations! You have (almost) finished the wisdom literature books and have finished 15 books overall! The 11 remaining psalms will be spread out from now until the end of September. But we'll celebrate now! Way to go!

Thought to Guide Your Reading

A good woman is hard to find but is well worth the search.

Summary in 100 Words or Less

Agur's words:
Skeptics deny God's existence and call it freedom.
Believers remain under the all-true God's protection. They ask God to remove all untruths and to give just enough physical blessings to stay dependent on Him.
Treat others with respect. Leeches only take.
Some things are insatiable, mysterious, and intolerable. Others are wonderful and dignified.
King Lemuel repeats his mother's advice:
Stay away from wine and loose women and speak up against injustice.
A good woman is hard to find, but well worth the search. All are blessed by her. Beauty fades, but an admirable woman deserves great praise.

How Today’s Reading Contributes to the Gospel: God is Setting All Things Right

Skeptics and believers cannot see truth the same because they do not understand faith the same.

The biggest difference between the skeptic and the believer is that the skeptic needs tangible or visual proof for everything while the believer trusts in God. Skeptics cannot rely on faith to take them into trust, obedience, and dependence. The believer trusts God to remove all falsehoods from them and to give them enough to remain dependent without dishonoring God's Name.
They have completely different mindsets which lead to two different comfort levels with uncertainty. The believer allows God to fill in the blank spots while the skeptic cannot stand blankness. They almost speak two different languages. There is no surprise in a skeptic not understanding a believer (and vice-versa). They have two differing and opposite worldviews.

A good woman is hard to find but well worth the search.

It is difficult to write about this section of scripture because of the culture war raging about the role of women in churches. The idea that a woman would have different gifts, responsibilities, duties, and rewards than a man is anathema to American hyper-equality zealots. Lemuel's description of the woman "skilled in the crafts of home and hearth, / diligent in homemaking" (31:19) which leads to the husband being "greatly respected / when he deliberates with the city fathers" (31:23, The Message) would seem at odds with what I hear from feminists—I am willing to be proven wrong if you have an example.
What I think much of the feminist conversation lacks is the "team" aspect of a marriage. What I mean by that is in the rush for equality Lemuel's words quoted above are dismissed as "patriarchal" or ignored completely. But what if that is how God has wired many to most women and men? What if many women want to get married early, have children and stay at home? What if their husbands want to honor their wives for being great homemakers instead of career women? Equality as defined by Americans may not be biblical. What most feminists fight against is equally unbiblical; however, I rarely hear those arguments anymore (the last person I heard give an argument against women was a backwoods preacher well into his 70s). Maybe it's time to retire the hyper-dramatic rhetoric and encourage women in the same way Lemuel or Lemuel's mother encouraged women, whether they stay home with their family or go into the marketplace themselves to work:
"Many women have done wonderful things,
   but you’ve outclassed them all!”
Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades.
   The woman to be admired and praised
   is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-GOD.
Give her everything she deserves!
   Festoon her life with praises! (vv. 29-31)

Have you praised the women in your life who live in the Fear-of-God?

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