Here are my latest thoughts …. 4 Challenges from Prov 31:15
She also rises while it is yet night, and provides food for her household, and a portion for her maidservants.
Often this verse is summarised as
Rise early and get your washing machine, dryer, dishwasher (our maidservants) working for us.
I think there is more to it than that.
To start with I believe it is, on the surface, talking about meat/food. She rises early to provide food for her household and this included a portion for her maidservants. The word portion has a legal context. She was legally (the Law of the Lord) bound to look after the needs of her maidservants.
There are four main challenges I get from thinking on this verse
1. She rose early, she rose with a purpose and it infers others are still sleeping
2. She provided, it was her responsibility
3. She served her maidservants
4. She obeyed the Law
She rose early, she rose with a purpose, and it infers others are still sleeping
I am an early riser – this is not hard for me, my body clock kicks in and I wake up. But unless I use that time wisely there is no benefit. Looking at the word "rises" in its Hebrew context gives you a sense that the Prov 31 woman rose with a purpose. She knew why she was rising early, she knew what she was going to do and she knew how she was going to do it.
"While it was yet night" not only infers that it was early, but that it was earlier than anyone else in the household, including her maidservants. This touches on my attitude. Am I prepared to be the only one awake and working? Am I grumpy because my day is longer than anyone elses? It is my responsibility to provide food for my family, to look after my responsibilities in my household – I need to do whatever I need to do. And I need to do it with a happy heart!
She provided, it was her responsibility,
It was her responsibility. It is my responsibility to ensure that there is food in the house and that the equipment necessary to cook it is working.
One aspect that I need to improve in covering my responsibilities here is to make it easier for my family to record what has been depleted in the pantry and what needs to be on the shopping list.
She served her maidservants
This could have looked like anything – she could have given wheat to her maidservants and they had to ground it up and cook it themselves, it could mean she baked the bread for them. We don’t really know from reading Prov 31:15. But the pictures that come to my mind, and therefore the challenge to my life is a picture of serving. She was up early, providing, organising and even preparing breakfast for them.
In our household everyone gets their own breakfast and to be honest, I like it that way and I don’t believe this scripture is setting a godly requirement that all mums prepare breakfast for their family. What I am challenged by is her spirit. Do I have a spirit, an attitude within me, where I am prepared to serve my family. If she could "serve" her maidservants how much more so should I serve my family.
She obeyed the law
The Law to the Prov 31 lady was the Law of the Lord – the Scriptures. I to want to live my life by the Word of God. Do my actions line up with what God requires of me?
He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.