Mama was my greatest teacher, a teacher of compassion, love and fearlessness. If love is sweet as a flower, then my mother is that sweet flower of love.
I was given two questions. “Why does the Bible not hold women in high regard (importance) in either the Old or New Testament?” “How does God feel about women in Power Today i.e. preachers, politicians, and CEOs?” I have used the emphasis in the questions as they were given to me.
This is one of those areas where I wish that I were able to speak to the issue from the realm of experience. I wish that I were independently wealthy so that I could speak to the vanities and errors of the rich so that they would not have the crutch or excuse that I am poor and hence jealous. I wish that I were a heart-stopping hunk so that I could speak to the vanities and abuses of physical beauty for the same reason. I wish that I were a woman for this topic to remove the possibility of being flatly dismissed as another man just trying to control a woman through the Bible. Of course, if I were a woman, one could always say that I was just a traitor or brainwashed by men.
As with any issue, a person can choose to believe what the Bible says and trust God or they can choose to blow it off with any combination of the plethora of excuses, rationales and theologies that are available today. Personally, I have no axe to grind or halo to shine on the topic. I have no desire to control anyone be they male or female. I have no desire to set myself up as god in people’s lives. I didn’t write the Bible. My job is only to faithfully preach and teach what it says. I wish that my record keeping were better. I wrote a paper on Women’s Lib and the Church back in college. If I find it I will provide you copies.
I contend that the Bible does not have a low regard for women in either Testament. I also contend that they have never been powerless when God’s people were following Him. A woman’s role is different and hence her power and the way she uses it might be different than a man’s, but it is just as effective and in some ways more effective.
I want to start out this series on a positive note so I picked a passage that clearly shows a woman in power and yet within her divinely ordained role. If there was ever a woman that had it all it is the following dynamic lady.
10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
A woman appears to be rather valuable here and a bit rare. She is priceless. She is better than economic treasure.
11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
She is trusted. Spoil or booty was a way to increase wealth and attain public stature, but she gives him all he needs so that spoil is not sought for or needed.
12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
She is his life long partner that is good to him and for him.
13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.
14 She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar.
15 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.
16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.
17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.
She is hardly one to be called lazy. She understands and can chose quality raw materials and talented enough to turn them into a finished product of quality. She knows where the best deals and produce are located and will go the distance to provide the best for her family. She practices the motto early to bed and early to rise. She cooks for a large family and there is enough for the servant staff. She knows real estate and how to bargain and close a deal. Depending on the size of the field she might be a farmer, but at least a gardener that knows how to prepare, plant, preserve, and pick a patch of produce. She is strong in spirit and it manifests itself in her body and deeds. Strength can also be translated power.
18 She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.
19 She layeth her hands to the spindle and her hands hold the distaff.
20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.
22 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.
She is indeed talented and gifted. She is a Domestic CEO. She is involved with purchasing, importing, real estate, agriculture, clothing manufacture and design. She avidly practices charity. She is no wimpy glass doll, pretty girl. I picture a woman on a prairie farm in the Old West. She’s a hard worker and probably fairly muscular. She might not win any of our beauty pageants. She’s an early riser and a fantastic provider of her family’s needs. She is no frump. She can gussy herself up when some fine clothing. It is interesting to note that one of the early women activists started the first college to prepare them for a career as a Domestic CEO or housewife. Just a housewife is a pretty lame phrase when you look at this housewife. I would that I had half her energy and skill.
23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.
Men envy her husband. The gates of the city are where the local government met. He has added respect and influence because of her. She increases his importance with the right people by her reputation. It is true that behind every great man there is a great woman. It may be a mother or a spouse, but the influence a man has is enhanced or diminished by the influence of the woman in his life.
24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.
She manufactures, sells and delivers merchandise from her home. She is self-employed. She fears no layoff. She has no insensitive, intolerant or incompetent boss. She fears no corporate takeovers. She is free from the temptations and trials of the workplace and violates no scriptural edicts or principles no matter how conservatively interpreted.
25 Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.
She has character and a positive outlook on life. Her power and honor are as evident as clothing and she commands respect. This “clothing” is the result of her confidence in her God and her hard work. She will never be naked in the sense of embarrassment or vulnerability.
26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
She is not a dumb broad. She has a brain, which is obvious by her industry, and people listen to her. She speaks with kindness not arrogantly or condescending.
27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.
She is ever vigilant and not a bon-bon eating, couch potato soap opera watcher.
28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.
Because of her care of the household, the household rewards her with blessing and praise.
29 Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.
Solomon may have had one of his wives in mind when he wrote this or God put it in this way to encourage the woman who can read this passage and match its example as a personal praise of that woman. We have folks put their name in John 3:16 to show it is a personal message. If you can read this passage and you fit the bill than you excel above women.
30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.
I am a fixin’ to go to meddlin’ here. I feel that many women seek a career to find favor. They think they have no identity or worth unless they have a career so they seek an identity and worth in that career. Trust me, in the modern workplace favor is indeed deceitful. You can be the fair-haired boy or gal on one day and fired or laid off the next. Your subordinate may one day be your boss as you are passed over time and again all the while receiving praise and good performance reports. Trying to obtain favor and climb the ladder has been the downfall of many a person. It has destroyed their lives and those they love. It has brought about the destruction of the family as much as any other cause whether it is the man or the woman that is ladder conscious.
I could go on for a very long time about the beauty thing, but I will defer for now. Suffice it to say that no matter what you do beauty will fade and it is a useless or vain thing on which to attach your worth or goals. Holy women are beautiful forever internally and it will reflect itself outwardly if you attend more to the internal. Women spend hours and countless dollars on the outward. If they only expended half as much effort on their inward beauty Cindy Crawford would look like an old tired hag in comparison.
It cannot be said any better than what verse thirty says. Praise and favor that comes from God is priceless, eternal and true. Seek that praise, as you fear the Lord.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates. (KJV)
One thing about her self-employment, she has no glass ceiling. She writes her own paycheck. She succeeds by her own performance and sets her own hours. She gets the rewards of her labor and her reputation is good in the city even to the local government. Hmm, sounds like freedom and power to me.
I see no disrespect here or keep them barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen mentality. Within the realms of her role there is great freedom and power. She was still submissive to her husband, but I do not see where that hindered her very much. We are not told, but it is obvious from the content that her husband was a godly man that was fulfilling his role correctly and not using her as a door mat or abusing his headship. That is the rub. Both sexes need to be fulfilling their roles correctly for the individuals, the marriage and the family to blossom in God’s love.
Today, it is either one or none that are fulfilling God’s design and our society is what we have to show for it. If you like what we are seeing in our society then continue on as you are or support others to continue. If you do not like it then maybe you need to rethink some things and take some attitudes and actions to the Book and to prayer and ask God for wisdom. We may need to seek “the old paths.” Jer 6:16
Are you a virtuous woman? Are you using the power and talents you have or are you sitting on your duff? You can whine for what you don’t have or use what you have to the best of your ability and in God’s supernatural ability and find more success and fulfillment than you have ever known. If you choose to whine at least have the courtesy to serve cheese. If you seek to use what you have then You go, Girl!!! More power to you!!!
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