Thursday, January 18, 2007

Mining for Rubies

As I've grown in my Christian faith, I've read over and over the 31st chapter of Proverbs. It stands as the measuring stick for godly women. When my Mom passed away, the pastor used this passage as his text for her funeral message, and my Mom definitely was a great example of a Proverbs 31 woman.

Reading the Scripture has become a bit mundane for me, and hard to apply at times due to the fact that it speaks mainly of women as wives and mothers. I've asked myself, "How can this apply to me now?" Knowing that the Bible is the living Word, surely there is application there. So, I began my quest. Diving into this Scripture can be painful for a gal who truly wants to be married, but isn't. But, being a godly woman has to start before, I committed to dissect this passage. Over the coming weeks and months, I plan to go through the entire section of Proverbs 31 - from verses 10-31 - and highlight my findings and understanding of a 31 woman in the 21st Century here on my blog. Today, I'll just focus on verse 10.

"A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies."

The most interesting thing about this passage that I discovered while studying commentaries is that it is proposed that King Lemuel is really King Solomon and this chapter is filled with lessons from his mother. Let's think about that. Solomon's mom was Bathsheba and we all know her sordid tale....bathing on a rooftop in full view of the vulnerable David, who has his way with her, has her husband killed, and grieves his sin. Who better to instruct her son on how to avoid the wrong women, than someone who's made mistakes in the past. This is the same principle why Daddys never trust their daughter's suitors because they know from whence they've come.

Noble character, or "virtuous" as other translations say, is translated as an inner strength. The same Hebrew wording was used in Exodus when describing judges and the selecting men for those roles. A good judge is a rare breed, and finding a woman who gains her strength and wisdom from her fear of God is equally as rare. When seeking a wife, it sounds like a daunting task, but it doesn't appear that way with the frequent weddings we all may attend. One of my favorite bloggers, Carolyn McCulley, put it well. "Everyone says they want to be married, but rarely do they say they want to be a wife." Being a wife of noble character carries a lot of weight and responsibility.

The part of this Scripture that says "she is worth far more than rubies" always fascinated me. Ok, so a godly woman is a precious jewel. Ho hum. So, I decided to research it more. I knew there had to be depth in the use of that jewel to describe a virtuous woman. Dating back to the high priests in the Old Testament, rubies were part of their rabbinical robes, and even more interesting, rubies were part of the architecture of Solomon's Temple. Ah-ha. Men equate things intangible better when tied to a tangible. He knew the worth of the building of that temple, I'm sure, and equating that to the worth of a noble wife surely made his eyes widen.

I did a little study on mining rubies. They aren't the easiest jewels to mine. Generally they are found in the secondary deposit, which, in layman's terms means, you have to dig deeper to find the rubies. It is quite primitive manual labor to uncover a ruby. Like rubies, virtuous women are hard to find. You have to dig deep, and not just take a quick glance at a woman and think, "Oh she's virtuous." It requires many hours of "digging." Plus, the true ruby is most beautiful when it's gone through the most abrasion within the soil to refine it. Truly a woman that has been sifted much through a life of challenges will most certainly make an excellent wife.

Maybe you are a guy out there looking for a ruby. If so, don't take the first rock that falls at your feet. Dig for the good stuff. Maybe you are married, guy or gal. Cherish the beautiful ruby wife you have and ladies, be the strong and gracious wife you promised on that wedding day. Or maybe you are like me, and single. Don't get discouraged in the deep, soil-infested life you may find yourself. One day, a man who is willing to dig deep for the precious jewels may just be the one visiting your soil.


Katrina said...

I love that you're going to be delving into this passage, Rose. It's always been a daunting one for me, and my readings of it are often colored by a haunting suspicion that I'm not quite measuring up to what I should be.

But still, I find a beauty in the description and an everlasting desire to really be like the woman described in these verses. It certainly helps to know that the verses are not a description of a specific woman, but a collection of characteristics to which women can continually aspire and for which men can continually seek.

I'm so looking forward to your insightful thoughts in the days to come! (And from what I know about you just from your blog, your worth is certainly far above rubies, my friend.)

RosieBoo said...

This passage is not only daunting, but becomes ho hum for me after hearing it and reading it so many times. I'm looking forward to getting a fresh look at it. Thanks for you sweet words....pass that along to all of Paul's geeky single friends ;)