Other comments on this day's readings can be found here.
Reading 1 - Deu 4:10
"Remember the day you stood before the LORD your God at Horeb,
when he said to me, 'Assemble the people before me to hear my words so that they
may learn to revere me as long as they live in the land and may teach them to
their children' " (Deu 4:10).
" 'The fear of Yahweh' is the beginning of wisdom (Deu 6:2),
and this reverential awe is induced by hearing (Deu 4:2), doing (Deu 5:29),
keeping (Deu 6:2), serving (Deu 6:13), and walking (Deu 8:6). Thus it is no
inarticulate, superstitious awe of the unknown, but a respectful, reverential
love for One who has revealed Himself in His Word, and whose goodness has been
experienced in our lives" (GE Mansfield).
Reading 2 - Pro 31:10-31
Pro 31 [vv 10-31] describes the character of the ideal wife or
mother. So wonderful are the characteristics of this woman, that sisters despair
of ever being able to attain unto her standard, whilst brethren live in hope
that they may find a wife that comes somewhere near the character
There is no doubt that the Virtuous Woman was no single
personality, but the wise man's estimation of the ideal woman, on account of
which he elucidates the positive virtues of such a woman. It is also equally
true that the woman in question was not as the ordinary housewife of today, but
more the supervisor of a large household wherein she exercised control over her
"maidens" (v 15), who would assist in the daily tasks of such an house, making
possible her achievements as described.
Sisters in today's society must learn to cope almost
single-handed in the daily round of household chores and need not despair if
they cannot reach unto the ideal spoken of here. Even so, ideals are set that we
may aspire to be like them. If sisters give up in their attempts to emulate the
virtues of this woman, there is little hope that they will ever aspire to be
"like him" who is our heavenly Bridegroom.
In order then that sisters may better understand the virtues
set out in Proverbs 31, we list them under various headings, and couch them in
language more familiar to our generation.
As A Wife
She is faithful: Pro
Her influence is for good: Pro 31:12.
She enhances her husband's name: Pro 31:23.
She earns his love and respect: Pro 31:29.
As A Mother
She controls her household: Pro 31:27.
She gives careful regard to her children's
health: Pro 31:21.
She labours at night for her
children: Pro 31:15.
She is a light sleeper ever
ready in an emergency: Pro 31:18.
love and respect her: Pro 31:28.
Her Home Management
She is a good knitter: Pro 31:13.
She is skilful in all the domestic arts: Pro
She dresses her family sensibly not
fashionably: Pro 31:21.
She dressmakes for
others as well as herself: Pro 31:24.
attentive to the need of others, earning her every meal: Pro 31:27.
Her Economic Sense
She takes trouble to buy well: Pro 31:14.
She only buys quality goods: Pro 31:18.
She puts her purchase to good use: Pro 31:16.
She uses money wisely, and does what she can to
improve her return: Pro 31:16.
Her Personal Character
She is not a weakling: Pro 31:17.
She has a firm, reliable, honorable character:
She dresses neatly and attractively:
She extends her kindness outside of
her household: Pro 31:20.
She speaks with
wisdom: Pro 31:26.
She speaks with kindness: Pro
She fears Yahweh, her greatest asset: Pro
Where among these virtues is there room for the demands of so
called Women's liberation? Where indeed? All the virtues here listed are opposed
to that degrading spectacle of women trying to ape the opposite sex, and
achieving nothing more or less than that which John Thomas said would be the
tragic result: "In proportion as they rise in assurance they sink in all that
really adorns a Woman" ("Elpis Israel" 122).
Sisters who pattern their lives on the God-given ideal of Pro
31 will in no way feel degraded by their loving submission to their husbands,
but will find in that subjection is the crowning fulfilment of God's purpose
with them. Indeed by their submission they will share the dominion allotted to
the man in whom they lovingly and willingly lose their own identity. Again to
quote JT: "They will then rule in the hearts of their rulers, and so ameliorate
their own subjection, as to convert it into a desirable sovereign obedience"
("Elpis Israel" 122).
"A sovereign obedience." What a wonderful expression. Queens
by their very submission, and so to be enthroned by their influence in the
practise of humility. May the ideal set forth in Pro 31 have its fruit in the
lives of sisters, by being translated into actions, so that it may be said of
them: "Let her own works praise her in the gates" (Pro 31:31). (John
Reading 3 - John 15:4
The central exhortation of Christ's parable in John 15 is
found in John 15:4: "Abide in me." Each branch must abide in the vine in order
to bring forth fruit. If for any reason it is severed, the branch may continue
in existence for a time -- but in the day of reckoning the "husbandman" will
gather it together with the other lifeless sticks and cast them into the fire of
eternal destruction (John 15:6).
All of the emphasis here is upon our duty, our necessity, to
attach ourselves solidly to the true vine, and never to relinquish our grasp. A
dog with a bone was crossing a bridge one day, when he chanced to glance down
and spy his reflection in the water. Thinking this to be another dog, and a
rival claimant for his bone, he bared his teeth and let out a growl and a
ferocious bark. Unfortunately, in the process he dropped his bone, which sank
irretrievably to the bottom of the stream.
Like that dog, we sometimes forget who our real enemy is, and
in giving our attention to fighting a supposed enemy we may lose our grip on the
prize. Christ has wisely advised us to hold firm to our hope, and not to worry
too much whether someone else should have a right to that same hope. Unlike the
dog's bone, there is food enough for all in Christ; the "branches" need not
squabble among themselves.
This teaching, of what should be our proper attitude toward
our fellow "branches", is emphasized further in v 16. Christ says, "Ye have not
chosen me, but I have chosen you." The one who chooses is the one who holds the
right subsequently to refuse!