The Virtuous Woman

A devotional commentary on
Proverbs 31: 10‑31
Part 2
Having the Glory of God

She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar. Proverbs 31:14

HehHeh = a window or lattice, presenting a view through and beyond a wall. Figuratively it may speak of the penetration of that wall that encloses our own personal inner feelings and thoughts, as the eyes are windows to the soul. It also may be used of the barrier between the present moment and time to come. In the latter sense it depicts far sight and foresight. The "windows of heaven" also reveal the divine abundances when opened towards us, in Genesis 7 of judgment, in Malachi 3 of mercy. The Beloved of the Song of Songs makes His presence known through the lattice, but even the partial and momentary glimpse is enough. How we value those glimpses!

Epitome of Edification:

Enriched with jewels of silver and of gold bequeather by Eliezer, the betrothed goes forth. She emulates all that is edifying. She is like the merchant ships laden with good things. She is an exhibition of blessing‑laden grace. The windows of heaven have been opened unto her, and from that vast and wondrous store she draws forth supplies abundant as she has space to receive. Her sight is for her treasure. She shares a view of higher things of a different realm, and the glory of them shows in her eyes. Beyond the world of the momentary she sees the realm of the eternal. The abundances of divine goodness bring forth an abundant living that is shared with all she may meet.

Food from Afar

From this body of humiliating contradictions she looks away unto Jesus. She sees Him waiting there for her, Himself a Victor at His Father's right hand. He stands ready to intercede on her behalf, and to her prayers He adds the sweet incense of His love, confessing her before Her Father and His. Only by that preceding incense can any pass into that holy place. Thus does she find the boldness to enter and explore the courts of heaven, the land of far distances and immeasurable. She dwells on earth, yet in her heart sojourns in a land of promise. She spies out its resources, and tastes its luscious fruits. Yet not for herself alone. Beyond her needs, by nature of this atmosphere of heaven itself in which she walks, she now the more perceives another's lack, the parched ground thirsting for the rain. And it is hers to give, and blessings shared increase. So ready to dispense, to be out‑poured, and none who meet her leave with empty heart. Into their lives she enters but to bless, to edify, and leave behind her peace. Her very breath brings hope, her presence joy. She has wherewith to comfort from her God. No shallow platitude of words, but truth that stems from treasure in her heart. Enriched of Him, her Lord, she has within abundant life that yet through her is destined to make glad and satisfy the present groaning race.

Out of the Abundance of the Heart
And Her Light like unto a Stone Most Precious

She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens. Proverbs 31:15

VavVav = a nail or hook, something fixed and solid upon which one may depend (as the "nail in a sure place" of Isa.22:23,24.). Its own reliability depends upon two factors, the solid firm structure of the wall, and the tenacity of its hold. Its trustworthiness is thus linked by faith to His.

Vitality of Faith

The English alphabet would bring us to the corresponding "F" for faithfulness. The Hebrew roots deeper by suggesting in the very sound of "vav" that vital union with Christ on which that faithfulness depends. Herein lies the vivacity of that compelling vital force of the Spirit of God which habitually rises early. In Scripture this is the language of great earnestness. Thus in Psalm 63:

1."O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;
2.To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary.
3.Because thy loving kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.
4.Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name.
5.My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips:"

The daily attitude of each devoted soul may be voiced in the determination of David. Psalm 132:3‑5 "Surely I will not come into the tabernacle of my house, nor go up into my bed; I will not give sleep to mine eyes, or slumber to mine eyelids, until I find out a place for the LORD, an habitation (worthy) for the mighty God of Jacob. "

To this end each day he stored the most durable and precious materials, all that, when his course was done, would complete the Sanctuary of God. (1 Chronicles 29:2) "Now I have prepared with all my might for the house of my God".

The fullness of God is for those that thirst for Him, and is exhibited in the spiritual food and blessedness with which they each are filled to the building up of the household of God.

Faithfulness of the Life

Who are these maids to whom she assigns her tasks? These are all the powers she owns, now dedicated to the business of her Lord—Her lips, her hands, her feet, her heart, mind and strength, all that she is in joyful service for the glory of her King. Such sentiments and blessedness, the spirit of a living faith, like coals of fire, enkindle others with their warmth, enthuse with their diligence in service, and leave a glow in the heart of that love shared between the Lamb and those who seek to follow closer every day. Thus does He betroth them to Himself in faithfulness forever. They are His jewels, His today, tomorrow, and forever.

Leaning on the arm of her beloved...
Like a jasper stone, clear as crystal

She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. Proverbs 31:16

ZainZain = a weapon or instrument or tool, including for measuring out, cutting out, chopping down and building up. Weapons not carnal, yet mighty through God. His Word, like a sword, searches our hearts, laying bare our very motives. Instruments of iron cut and prepare the stones for the Temple of God.

Zeal for Knowledge

The zeal that uses every opportunity as a tool, instrument, weapon in the Lord's work in order that she might grow in the acquisition both of knowledge and of grace. "Hearken O daughter, and consider." It was to her an invitation to begin to try to evaluate, weigh, and measure the immeasurable. Since that first wonderful day of receiving that proposal of love new fields of knowledge and understanding have opened up for her to zealously explore, for her to seek to comprehend and to make her own. The land is good land indeed, richly flowing with honey‑sweet words of grace, with nurturing milk, and with the fruit of the great vine.

Zeal for Fruitage

Not for long does she clasp in her palms the earnings from all their efforts of meticulous endeavour. The profit ensuing from such hours of sweet research are turned to the planting of more vines, to produce that more abundant harvest of the fruitage that brings glory to Him, fruit of heavenly wisdom and love overflowing the heart., fruit that remains. Might not such growth in knowledge puff her up? The invitation was to weigh, and to expand the mind to consider a proposal of great love. Her thirst is to know that One from Whom it came.. KNOW HIM, more intimately know that wise and mighty skill revealed in His wondrous works, more closely feel the things that fill His mind., that grieve His Spirit.. that bring Him joy. She has the zest of love to share the whole realm of His being. the abundances of His living. Without that love the understanding of all heaven's secrets would be academic and empty. He is her Light, and Light is sown for the righteous to harvest, and all the gladness of exploring that eternal Light...for the upright in heart.

I am my Beloved's and Beloved is Mine...

She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms. Prov.31:17

ChethCheth = a surrounding hedge or fence used both to mark out a possession, and to protect and defend from wind, wild beasts, and enemies. So did the Lord set a hedge around the vineyard He had planted. It was the lament of Satan that the Lord had set a hedge surrounding His servant Job. Zech.2:5 "For I, saith the LORD, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her."

The Claim of Faith

The character of her strength lies not in her own powers but rather on that confessed weakness which leans hard upon the Lord and the power of His might. His care for her, assured by many infallible proofs, is the joy of her heart. She knows that she is precious in His sight, that He loves and cherishes, comforts and consoles, circles her about, centre of His desire. Thus corsetted with love, she clasps to her heart His promises, knowing He will never leave her nor forsake. This is the ground of her strength. It is in this blessed state of faith she dares to lay her claim on what else she never could conceive. The land of promise she considers well, and finds therein the goal of her desires. How might she gain this promised place of "rest"? What currency will purchase such a field? Her claim is one of faith, and with her feet she thus marks out the promised land as hers, and lays her hold upon eternal life. That field, that holy heavenly prize, would never be possessed save by such trust that stakes it's all upon its gain. Counting all else but loss, accepting any cost that proves that faith is real, she manifests a zeal consuming as her Lord's, an inner holy fire.

To Bear Much Fruit

Her place of rest is lying at His feet, and there she finds the sense of inward calm. She trusts Him come what may. But well she knows her faith must now bear fruit, to yet complete its growth and victory. The Vine, its fruitfulness reflects the care of the Husbandman, yet hers a precious part, to swiftly respond to His attentive care. To share that same design as His that she might grow to yet more fully glorify His Father's Name. Into her hands He puts the task of planting and of watering that peace, and honours honest toil by His increase. So tirelessly she works the work of trust, from morn through noon‑day heat until the dusk, and then, at last, all labour done, the fruit of her works will follow on.

"Let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it." Psa.90:17

She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night. Proverbs 31:18

TethTeth = something that twists, hence a serpent, something entwined. Be ye wise as serpents. Strength of understanding and wisdom depends not on just one strand of knowledge. Through just one single wire a thousand messages may flow. Where many strands entwine they form a cable great in strength. The pillars of the Temple were entwined about their upper chapiters (heads of columns) with chains and pomegranates, each member of the Christ a link, the bonds of love entwined with endless life.

Tasting and Testing

As in the kitchen the woman tastes what she prepares, such is the sense here. This woman tests and tries her work against the Lord's standards of what is true and right. She tests her understanding alongside His understanding revealed in the Word of Truth. There will be one ultimate moment of truth at the hour of her appearing before Him. Then will she stand without shame for her endeavour in the blessedness of His approving smile. And it will be of her He speaks, when, from those gracious lips she hears the words, "Well done!" The value of the finished work lies in the loving zeal that prompted toil, the hours of diligent care, the testing of each stage, all which that final state reflects. The pattern was not of her own devising, but hers the labour and the love that prompted such devotion to her task. His instruction, closely sought, though sometimes costing concepts of her own device. So to her hands entrusted was the work, the careful application of pattern to cloth, the right dividing, piece by piece, the making up and matching of each part. Spiritual was to spiritual neatly laid, the needlework of grace so deftly sown that only He could see each tiny stitch. Each stitch endeavour showed, and one design that unobtrusively she might complete a work that brings all glory to her Head. Together did that daily task involve them both, He working in, she working out. Like growth rings in the tree each stitch betrayed the many varied seasons of each day, life's ins and outs, and ups and downs, contrived, by His direction all along the way.

Trimming and Tending

Within the Word of Truth lie messages designed and coded for the hungry mind, and only such, to find. The students of the Light knows how impeded sight so easily distorts. His way of searching hearts is what that Light imparts whose eyes are single and whose vision one. Whose minds are full of light His lights become. His Word of truth her light, and precious is the sight to Our Dear Lord, her candle through the night. With well‑trimmed lamp and vessel full of oil, she bends intent upon her task to seek, the silver piece that waits in some corner of the house with joy she finds, and crumb of leaven lurking in the dark she sweeps away.

Her lamp is not allowed to dim ..So tireless does she feed and trim.
Love's own objective forms her light. Will it have beauty in His sight?

The tale once was told (in sacred song) of fisherman returning in his boat from days of toil, who as he neared the shore looked up to see the lamp that shone so brightly through the dark. ‑ Love's welcome at the window of his home. And as he rowed for shore the sight did cheer his heart.

She lights her lamp for Him, and in the night its light expresses love's desire, a holy warming fire. And does the woman see that love returned? In Psalm 43 the psalmist speaks for me, when to the Lord He cries 'Thy Light and Truth....send out! Let them my leaders be to bring me safe to Thee, upon The holy Mount.' Thus two‑ways is this message sent of light, of those who in the light rejoice, and shall yet know inheritance of saints in light of perfect day.

That I may shew forth all Thy praise in the gates of...Zion. Psa.9:14.