May 16, 2018
William Moulton Marston, a scholar from Tufts and Columbia universities, the inventor of Polygraph (lie detector) technology stepped out of academia and into the world of pop culture in the October 1941 edition of All Star Comics.
Marston was a sort of Alter Ego to the marketing genius of Stan Lee who fascinated boys across America with heroes like Captain America, the X-Men, Hulk, and Iron Man.
Marston feared that comic books were becoming too violent with their, “blood curdling masculinity”. So to curb the descent to depravity Marston conceptualized a new character - Wonder Woman.
This woman would be stronger than her male counterparts, from an Amazon Island was uninhabited and uninfluenced by men. She would even employee Marston’s polygraph technology with her golden lasso of truth.
Wonder Woman became an icon of the feminist movement throughout the 50’s and 60’s.
Not surprisingly, Wonder Woman re-emmerged last year to become the highest grossing superhero origin film of all time.
What is happening in our culture to create an environment for Marston’s Diana to re-emmerge? Perhaps at no time since the 60’s has there been more bewilderment and confusion over the role of women in our culture.
ILLUSTRATION: The “Boy Scouts of America” have been caught in the quagmire of this cultural confusion.
The concept of scouting began in 1907, when Robert Baden-Powell formed the organization as an avenue for the development of “muscular Christianity” among boys.
ILLUSTRATION: The #metoo movement has radiated through Hollywood annihilating producers and movie stars in it’s wake. News icons like Matt Laurer and Tom Brokaw were not immune, now Politicians are feeling the effect.
ILLUSTRATION: Churches aren’t immune either. Just this week - a coalition of Southern Baptist women released a open letter to the trustees of Southeastern Seminary regarding sermon excerpts taken from that institutions President Dr. Paige Patterson. Someone had uncovered statements he made some sermons, some over 14 years ago and compiled them to create a narrative that seems indefensible.
IN THIS IS THE CULTURE to which we desperately need a new and better Wonder Woman. That is what God gives us in Proverbs. Before introducing us to her - Solomon Introduces a couple of other women to which we may compare and contrast Pro. 31.
Proverbs 14:1 (NASB95)
1 The wise woman builds her house, But the foolish tears it down with her own hands.
The Hebrew Word for Foolish Means- Thick, dull and sluggish or lazy to the things of God. She is bent on destruction. She tears down her home with her own hands.
Notice what marks the life of a foolish woman.
Proverbs 9:13 13 The woman of folly is boisterous,
What does it mean to be boisterous? Constant commotion and turbulence. It literally means to murmur in the heart. Or to murmur under one’s breath.
God didn’t tolerate it in His people and you shouldn’t tolerate it in yourself.
Beware Parents; the boisterous, murmuring daughter will one day be what God calls the foolish woman. She will take that same foolishness into her job, her family, your grandkids will be raised by that kind of a mother.
Not only is she boisterous…
Pro. 9:13b She is naive and knows nothing.
Now that doesn’t mean that she literally knows nothing.. she knows how to tie her shoes, she knows how to work a cell phone, But this is speaking of a girl or a woman who is void of weighty knowledge.
Someone said, There are no lighthouses in the harbor of her soul.
She finds herself regularly thrown against the rocks of turbulence.
She does not think deeply
She does not examine carefully.
We have said in this series - the Wise Woman can zoom out and see how decisions effect many people over a long range of time… but the foolish woman only sees the immediate effect of her decisions, what is right in front of her.
As a result she is a victim of the person, the philosophy, the theology with the greatest emotional sway.
It’s not to be that way among you ladies, you are to know those things that are worth dying for, and thereby those things that are worth living for.
You learn to discriminate between that which is of temporal value and that which is of eternal value. Learn the difference between the sacred and the common.
The foolish woman is boisterous, she is naïve…
Proverbs 19:13 13 b. the contentions of a wife are a constant dripping.
The Word Contentious Means – One given to strife, one easily angered, never content and never satisfied.
This girl will argue for the sake of arguing. Invariably the outcome is misery for those around her.
THOUGHT - I’ve met gals like this before
and I thought to myself , I’m glad I’m not married to her. But
ILLUSTRATION; During the Korean War, the Koreans would take our POW's, isolate them in a room and they would let water drip because they knew that 24 hours a day. Constant dripping could break them down emotionally, and breaking them emotionally, they could get anything they wanted to out of them. God's Word says a quarrelsome daughter is that kind of a thing. A constant dripping.
Living with a contentious woman is like getting nibbled to death by a Chihuahua.
Chuck Swindoll said, It is my observation that all things being equal contentious mothers raise contentious daughters.
Compare and Contrast the Foolish and Contentious Woman to…
3. The Excellent Woman
We are all very familiar with Prov. 31, but you may not know that in the Hebrew it was written in the form of an Acrostic, working it’s way through the Hebrew Alphabet verse by verse. This is a clue that it was written to be memorized and taught to the youth of Israel. Also, notice it’s from the Mother of Lemuel… that is significant you and need to remember it.
Proverbs 31:10–31 (ESV)
10 An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.
This wise mom is creating a challenge for her son. She knows
something about male psychology.
Men love a challenge, and men love competition. They prefer the elusive, the rare, the valuable.
The wise mother of Lemuel peeks his interest in her description of her preferred daughter in law by talking about her rarity.
11 The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. 12 She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.
One of the great needs in a man’s life is certainty. Lemuel’s
mom is saying - you can trust this woman.
Notice also the scope of her, “doing good” to her husband - all the days of her life. That means as a high school student, before she ever meets her husband - she is doing him good. How? Perhaps she prays for him, perhaps she prepares for him, and no doubt she stays pure for him.
13 She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands. 14 She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar. 15 She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens.
Do you see what that is saying... notice she has
maidens... that is she has
Now the maidens are supposed to rise while it’s still dark and feed her. But she’s taking care of them.
If your concept of a Godly Woman is an uneducated, un-engaged woman, staying home barefoot and pregnant, cleaning house all day - YOU NEED TO READ PROVERBS.
This woman has a staff. This woman generates a profit. Notice she’s also engaged in real estate and a winery…
16 She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
This woman knows the real estate market, she’s able to discern when to buy and when to sell.
She’s an “IMPROVER” she buys a field - the field becomes more fruitful. No doubt she adds value to her friends, her employees, her family as well.
One of the ways you know you’ve found this sort of woman - look around her. Things around her are getting better. An excellent woman is like an antidote against the perpetual decline of things in this sin cursed world.
17 She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong.
This woman is marked by confidence and strength. She is a strong lady both internally and externally.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night.
This is not to say that she never sleeps, although it may seem
that way for many of your women. This is a Hebrew quoloquialism
that means in effect, “The sun never sets on her work”.
If I said, “the sun never sets on the ministry of FBC... I am saying, we have work all around the world... even while you sleep, your dollars are funding ministry.
This woman’s life is that way. She’s making a difference not just in her family, but beyond her family to the world. She’s not only working hard, she’s working smart.
19 She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle.
She is personally engaged in the production of her enterprise. She oversees from the 30,000 ft level and the 3ft level. She’s working.
20 She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy.
This woman realizes that God has blessed her, but she is not blessed simply to enjoy life - but she is blessed to be a blessing.
She is engaged in philanthropy. She’s working to help those less fortunate than herself.
21 She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet. 22 She makes bed coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple.
This speaks of the fact that she knows that the needs of household are met even when Murphy comes to visit. Murphys law - anything that can go wrong will go wrong. But she knows that her family is safe, because she has planned ahead.
23 Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land.
Now this verse has a couple of implications.
This woman didn’t settle for just any old man. She married a true Godly leader. Her man is known in the gates.
But another way to look at it is this - because of HER influence, the husband has grown, he’s changed, he’s arisen as a leader over time.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them; she delivers sashes to the merchant.
She delivers sashes to the merchants, not to the buyer… think of it - she is at the Wholesale level of the fashion industry.
When I read this I thought of Sara Blakely, the Founder and Inventor of Spanx was born in Clearwater, FL. She became the first female billionaire to join the Gates-Buffett Giving Pledge and the youngest woman in the world to earn 1 billion dollars on her own.
25 Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.
One commentator said, “If honor be your clothing, the suit will last a lifetime; but if clothing be your honor, it will soon be worn threadbare”
Notice also, she laughs at the future - she is not given over to worry and fret. She confidently looks at tomorrow and laughs… not smiles… laughs….that is the essence of confidence.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
This woman isn’t an accident - she understands how her decisions have led to a favorable outcome and she is willing to share her information. She teaches others.
27 She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.
She is a household executive. Now remember, she has servants. But she doesn’t delegate everything to others, she is hands on.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: 29 “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Notice that the fear of God is NOT a deficit that hinders her from accomplishment. Rather, it is the source of the strength that allows her to go further and accomplish more.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.
Is not foolish - she sees the big picture and proceeds accordingly. She doesn’t have time to be boisterous. She’s experienced too much to be naive. She would she be contentious? She and her husband are both working in the same direction.
Some of you read this chapter and find it very discouraging. Perhaps you feel that you are so far from the mark that she sets. Perhaps you messed up, you’ve sinned, perhaps you made some huge mistakes.
Well let me tell you something that might encourage you. The best scholarship suggests that Lemuel referenced in this passage is actually the mother’s pet name for Solomon. If that’s true and she is Solomon’s mother… what do we know about Solomon’s mom? Her name was Bathsheba.