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Pondering Proverbs: A Pig’s Snout or a Precious Jewel? (Part 5)

“A gracious woman gains respect.” 
Proverbs 11:16a NLT

As I close out this series of doses from Proverbs, I would be amiss if I didn’t cover one of the most recurring themes that I discovered – WOMEN! Whether it is a lengthy passage, or a single verse randomly placed within its pages, it is fascinating to read the diverse descriptions and details written about the female gender. To make it simple, most of the references about women fall in one of two categories – the good or the bad.

We’ll start with the ‘not so desirable’ grouping and work our way to the good. In the beginning chapters of Proverbs, one can read explicit details about the dangers and the pitfalls of falling for the seductive adulteress and the wiles of the harlot (for more on that check out Part 3 of this series). How any man could not heed the warnings of this kind of woman is beyond me! Solomon’s advice is loud and clear.

Throughout its thirty-one chapters, the Proverbs include other detrimental descriptions of women such as foolish, contentious, evil, cunning, lacking discretion, boisterous, rebellious, and unstable.  At all cost, let’s avoid these character flaws. Proverbs 11:22 sums it up with a graphic word picture.

Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman without good sense. (NRSV)

Let’s focus now on some of the good things we find about women in the Scriptures. If you are unfamiliar with the Proverbs 31 woman, you definitely need to check her out. Verses 10 through 31 give an in depth look at a most remarkable lady. I think it only fair to assume that the lengthy description covers many years of her life as she learned and matured in her walk with God. There’s not enough room in this short devotional to list all the outstanding traits she possessed. Whether you are male or female, I trust you will take time to acquaint yourself with these verses and put into practice some of her worthy actions.

It is refreshing and encouraging to study the beneficial qualities and behaviors of a godly woman. Throughout Proverbs you will find her described as worthy, wise, prudent, excellent, virtuous, gracious, strong, and God-fearing. She attains honor; she builds her house instead of destroying it; she is the crown of her husband; she is worth more than jewels – diamonds, rubies, or pearls!

To all our female readers out there, what kind of woman do you want to be? The choice is yours. Make a wise one!                                                                                                                                 [Digging Deeper – Proverbs 12:4, 14:1, 19:14, 23:27-28, 27:15-16, 31:10-31]

His priceless jewel,

Beverly <><

 

 

Photo Credit: Courtesy of www.freeimages.com/photo/pot-belly-pig-2-1464076

Courtesy of Pixabay.com/jewels-jewelry-necklace-broach-396441

 

 

Pondering Proverbs: Les Miserables – The Miserable Ones, The Poor Ones, The Victims (Pt.4)

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” 
Proverbs 31:8-9 NIV

When a new musical movie version of Les Misérables was released in December of 2012, I made a point of seeing it on the big screen. Set in France in the 1800’s, the story is a gripping tale of an ex-convict, Jean Valjean, who finds redemption following his parole from 19 grueling and bitter years in prison. Becoming a prosperous factory owner, he spends his life as a force for good to the poor and wretched of society. The movie does an incredible job of depicting the horrible treatment the afflicted and needy endured at the hands of the wealthy upper class.  Valjean’s goodwill, however, is a poignant tribute to a life transformed by the power of God.

Valjean is a perfect example of our theme verse today. Written in the imperative, these two verses demand our attention. Inactivity is not an option. We are to speak up, stand up, and defend the rights of the deprived and poverty-stricken.

Proverbs goes on to applaud and bless those who care for the well-being of the less fortunate. Those who are gracious to the poor will be happy and blessed, as well as honored and repaid by God Himself. (Prov. 14:21, 31, 19:17, 22:9) Even a king (or anyone in leadership) who judges the poor with truth will find his throne established forever. (Prov.29:14) That’s powerful!

On the flip side, woe to those who would oppress and mock the poor or ignore their cry. To do so is to taunt God and find oneself in poverty with no one listening or caring. (Prov. 14:31, 17:5, 21:13, 22:16) To shut your eyes to the reality of the down and out will result in a life filled with curses (Prov. 28:27b) That’s scary!

As God’s beloved, I pray you will let God move your heart to always be sensitive to the needs of others, especially the underprivileged, the sick, the impoverished, the lowly. Let us strive to imitate the actions of the godly woman of Proverbs 31:20 (NIV).

            She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.

[Digging Deeper – Proverbs 22:22-23, 28:27a, 29:7, and 30:14]

Willing to help,

Beverly <><

 

 

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Pixabay.com/hands-poor-human-refugees-help-1005412

Pondering Proverbs: The Plea for Purity (Part 3)

“Can you build a fire in your lap and not burn your pants? Can you walk barefoot on hot coals and not get blisters? It’s the same when you have sex with your neighbor’s wife: Touch her and you’ll pay for it. No excuses.”
Proverbs 6:27-29 MSG

To countless millions in our twenty-first century America, sexual purity is an archaic virtue. It’s hard to escape the lies and deceptions straight from the pit of hell that are so glamorously portrayed in our movies, TV shows, billboards, advertisements, and music. All have desecrated and devalued the sacred gift of sex God intended for a husband and wife. Yet, many families have experienced the true heartbreak, shame, and ugliness of the deceit.

In my study of Proverbs, I noticed within the first few chapters some rather lengthy descriptive passages of the dangers and consequences of sexual immorality. There is a heightened sense of warning for men to beware of the charm and deceit of a harlot. Though these Scriptures speak specifically to the male gender, the lessons taught within its pages certainly apply to women as well.

In today’s vernacular and a little help from the Message Bible J, I have listed below some words of warning and wisdom from Proverbs. Use them to ward off sexual temptation when it comes knocking at your door.

Words of warning:

5:3-6 The adulteress’s lips and words are sweet and smooth but turn to gravel in your mouth. Her dances of Death lead straight to hell, taking you with her.

6:24-25 Don’t listen to the seductive talk of a temptress or be taken in by her bedroom eyes. She’ll reduce you to bread and eat you alive!

6:32-35 Adultery is a brainless act. It will destroy you, not to mention the rage you will ignite from the cheated spouse. Nothing you do can make it all right.

7:21-23 Don’t let the evil woman bewitch you with her smooth talk or you’ll soon be like a calf on the way to the slaughter house.

Words of wisdom:

5:7-20 Listen to the voice of the wise and STAY away from sexual temptation!

6:20-24 Heed the godly advice of your parents; wrap it around you from head to toe!

7:1-5, 25 Wisdom’s teaching is as precious as your eyesight – guard it! Write it on your hands; etch it on your heart; let it be your companion to ward off that smooth-talking, honey-tongued Seductress. Don’t fool around with her; don’t even stroll through her neighborhood!                                             [Digging Deeper – make time to read chapters 2, 5, 6, and 7 of Proverbs.]

Remaining pure,

Beverly <><

 

 

 

Photo Credit: image from freelyphotos.com

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