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By: Larry Shaffer
Ruth 3 & Proverbs 31
The village knows Ruth as a woman of excellence. When Ruth made it known to Boaz her desire to be his bride, Boaz replied, “I will do for you whatever you ask, for all my people in the city know that you are a woman of excellence.” Approximately 120 years later, Ruth’s great grandson, Solomon, writes Proverbs 31, a proverb describing a woman of excellence. Perhaps the legacy of Ruth and her upstanding qualities were passed down generation to generation. This legacy of a Godly woman made its way into Solomon’s writings.
Love and Respect
The first quality that stands out in Proverbs 31 is that a woman of excellence has a heart for her husband and loves him exceedingly. “The heart of her husband trusts her…she does him good and not evil all the days of her life.” In Ephesians 5 where Paul teaches about relationships, he states that a husband should, above all else, love his wife. To be deeply loved is the deepest yearning of a wife. But to the wives he says, “…and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.” Without a doubt, the deepest need of a husband is to be respected. Yes, in a healthy marriage, each need both love and respect but the dominance of respect for a husband is foremost to a man. When a man is respected by his wife he will leave the house and go out into the world with a confidence that he can do anything! He will soar!
Her gain is good!
The next quality of a woman of excellence that jumps off the pages of Proverbs 31 is that of being industrious. She works hard and delights in serving her family, but she also is in the marketplace creating value and income. “She rises also while it is still night and gives food to her household.” But also, she works hard to produce food and income. The text says, “She looks for wool and flax and works with her hands in delight…she considers a field and buys it; from her earnings she plants a vineyard…she senses that her gain is good. Her lamp does not go out at night.” There seems to be a compounding power in her life of diligence and hard work that brings her much confidence and a sense of significance. This sense of powerful contribution fuels her willingness and joy to do even more.
She is kind!
Her confidence and industriousness lead her to clothe her family and herself with fine linen. “For all her household are clothed with scarlet. She makes coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple.” Additionally, her confidence and wealth does not lead to pride and snootiness. She remains imminently kind. “She extends her hand to the poor, and she stretches out her hands to the needy…she opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.”
Fear the Lord
Lastly, the foundational quality of the woman of excellence is her fear and reverence for God. “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears (reveres) the Lord, she shall be praised.” Boaz said about Ruth, the entire city knows you are a woman of excellence. Her reputation could not be suppressed. Such a woman does not need to promote herself. Her life and her reputation will cause a stir of respect from all who know her. Lord, may we consider the example of Ruth and seek to live a life that honors you and blesses all who we meet. Amen!