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Mrs. Kathye Jenkins, First Lady, Athens Baptist
Are You An Ideal Woman?
By Mrs. Kathye Jenkins, First Lady, Athens Baptist Church
Scripture: Proverbs 31:10-31
The last part of Proverbs 31, beginning with verse 10, consists of 22 verses, each verse beginning with a different letter of the Hebrew alphabet in order of the Hebrew letters. In the Hebrew text of Proverbs 31, each verse is also clearly divided into two parts.
For example, in verse 10, Part 1: "Who can find a virtuous woman?" Part 2: "for her price is far above rubies". This same two-part format is found in all these verses. The only exception might be verse 15 which seems to be divided into three parts.
When we examine this ancient biblical ideal of womanhood, we do not find the stereotyped housewife occupied with dirty dishes and laundry, her daily life dictated by the demands of her husband and her children. Nor do we find a hardened, overly ambitious career woman who leaves her family to fend for itself.
What we find is a strong, dignified, multitalented, caring woman who is an individual in her own right. This woman has money to invest, servants to look after and real estate to manage. She is her husband's partner, and she is completely trusted with the responsibility for their lands, property and goods. She is a smart shopper, a seamstress, a gardener, a good housekeeper, and trains her children with wisdom.
With all her responsibilities in Proverbs, first and foremost, she looks to God. Her primary concern is God's will in her life. She is a woman after God's own heart.
Some women work for several years after high school or college before marrying. Others, for one reason or another, do not marry at all. Does this mean that unmarried women cannot be Proverbs 31 women? No. Although this chapter describes a married woman, marriage and motherhood are not prerequisites for the successful Christian female's life. The essential characteristics of the Proverbs 31 woman can be applied to the single woman, too.
The model woman described in Proverbs is a portrait of ideal womanhood. The focus of this portrait is a woman's relationship with God, not her particular abilities or marital status. The Proverbs 31 woman realizes that regardless of her natural talents or acquired skills, or all her accomplishments, her strength comes from God.
Who is an ideal woman today? Proverbs 31 tells us that it is the woman who puts God first. The ideal woman of Proverbs 31 should encourage all women everywhere. Cultures change, but this woman's God-inspired character still shines brightly across the centuries.
It's interesting that in Proverbs 31, before God ever addresses what she does, He establishes her worth. He deems her worthy, apart from all works and He does it in such a way that we can never forget it. He doesn't just label her adequate, but He raves about her, ranking her superior to the rarest, most exquisite stones. God's woman is worth more than costly gems.
That woman is YOU if God is placed first in your life.