PROVERB PRACTICALS women, the grand creation of god, proverbs 11:16, audio
Proverbs 11:16, A gracious woman retaineth honour: and strong men retain riches.
One of the joys of studying the Bible and specifically the book of Proverbs is bumping into words that are fading from our culture.
For these fading words are high words, words that move us to focus on heavenly things, high things, dignified things, and refined things.
Unfortunately we do not live in the age of refinement but on the contrary we live in the age of coarseness, roughness, grossness, and boldness.
It is not only experienced in our speech but in our dress and in our actions.
When was the last time you heard the word gracious or the word honor.
I am glad we still hear the word honor when it comes to our military heroes who receive the Metal of Honor but that word is becoming part of the past in this age where ill manners and coarseness are the norm and where honor is a strange and foreign idea.
So Godís people study Godís word and find that God gives us elevating words in order that we may know what pleases him and therefore we can live accordingly.
In our proverb for today we are given to study what a gracious woman does.
For we are told: A gracious woman retaineth honour: and strong men retain riches.
We have in this proverb the twice used word, "retain."
A gracious woman retains honor. Strong men retain riches.
Strong men use their strength to guard their riches and will go to great lengths to insure that what they treasure will not be taken by thieves.
This contrast between a strong man and a gracious woman is given in order to show that what a gracious woman has is as valuable or more valuable than the riches of the strong man.
And because of the great value of what this woman has, it is guarded and kept by all means necessary.
God wants us to know what is valuable and what is not.
He wants us to know that what is valuable cannot be hoarded in a bank vault or kept under your mattress.
He wants you to know that what is truly valuable survives this life and meets you again in eternity.
Of course Satan disagrees and convinces his people that what is valuable is only that which can be known by your five senses.
Only that which is physical is valuable in Satanís realm.
But in our proverb we learn that a woman of grace is valuable.
In this world we know that valuable things are rare things.
You cannot find gold without great effort.
Silver is elusive and can be found only after much labor.
Diamonds are within the deep earth and are mined only by the hard labor of many.
And the Bible also tells us that certain women also are rare and therefore very valuable.
We read of this in Proverbs 31:10, Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
Who is a virtuous woman, who is a gracious woman?
First of all a gracious woman is a godly woman, a woman who fears the Lord.
She is a woman who has given herself to God and Godís word.
She is a woman of loveliness from the heart, a woman of dignity, and a woman of influence.
She knows that outward beauty is vain for it is in a race against time and time always wins.
She is a favorable woman meaning she spreads favors to others.
She is friendly, benevolent, kind and merciful.
She is given to forgive offenses and impart unmerited blessings to others.
Being gracious to others means not expecting any return for favor.
She is not a favor for a favor, kind of person.
She is a woman who adorns herself in modest apparel, she is a woman of self control, still capable of blushing when untoward things are said.
She refrains from showing herself off by adorning herself in a way designed to draw attention to her outward appearance or figure.
Her concentration is on the hidden man of the heart, that which is not corruptible, that which has eternal consequences.
Her ornament is not the outward adorning but an inward ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which in the sight of God is of great price.
God tells us what is valuable and His word gives great credence to this kind of spirit.
If she has a husband she is in subjection even as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord.
Now today in our culture wives do not call their husbands lord but this subjection ought to be a subjection of the heart.
It ought to be an understanding and a love of the reality that the husband is the God given head of the wife.
This is a mark of the gracious woman.
And a mark of a husband who directs his home accordingly is that he dwell with his wife according to knowledge, the knowledge of Godís word, giving her honor, as unto the weaker vessel and as being heirs together of the grace of life.
The husband of the gracious woman encourages her graciousness.
He knows that she, as the weaker vessel is to retain honor as strong men retain riches.
Ruth, the Moabitess, was called a virtuous woman by Boaz when she presented herself to him on the threshing floor as a near kinsman.
She retained her honor in doing things according to Godís word.
She blemished not her character by presenting herself to Naomiís people in ungracious ways.
She did things decently and in order according to the law.
Deborah was the fourth judge of Israel in the time when all the people did that which was right in their own eyes.
She was the only female judge mentioned in the Bible, a fighting woman, who led a successful counterattack against the forces of Jabin, king of Canaan and his military commander Sisera.
She commanded under the banner of the Lord and became Mother of Israel, retaining honor as she brought victory to Israel.
Deborah lived a life directed by God and in living she retained her honor but also made sure that all honor received from her victory was ascribed to Jehovah for Deborah sang Godís praises as recorded in Judges 5.
Remember Esther who put her life on the line for the good of her people.
She retained honor as she influenced her husband, the king, to take away the sting of Hamanís degrees to kill all the Jews of the land.
There are so many examples of woman in the Bible, gracious women, woman who sought to retain honor, women who guarded their honor as precious.
Hanna, the mother of little Samuel, sought from the hand of the Lord a man child, who when weaned was returned to the Lord for His service.
She retained her honor by keeping her promise and turned over her little boy to Eli the priest.
Godís Spirit prompted Paul to make mention of Timothyís grandmother Lois and mother Eunice who were known for their unfeigned faith.
That unfeigned faith of Lois and Eunice was the faith that insured that from a child Timothy had known the Holy scriptures which made him wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
Those two gracious women brought up Timothy in the nurture and admonition of the Lord which led to his salvation and his ministry with Paul.
In I John, John the Apostle, devoted this letter to the elect lady and her children whom he loved in the truth.
John rejoiced greatly that he found her children walking in truth.
What a testament to others children can be when they walk in the way of the Lord and follow what they were taught by a godly mother.
Women retain their honor by the walk of their children.
Paul was pleased to mention many gracious women throughout his epistles.
Phoebe and her companions were of utmost help to Paul.
Luke recounts the help of many woman in his Gospel as they traveled with the disciples and Jesus Christ throughout Israel.
Names like Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Susanna and Martha ministered unto him of their substance.
Remember Mary the Mother of Jesus, Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, and Anna the prophetess.
We also see that much is made of womenís works after the resurrection.
Women were among those who observed the crucifixion of Jesus.
Women prepared spices to anoint Jesus' body.
Women were the first to find the tomb of Jesus, empty.
Angels told the women that Jesus had risen.
Women were the first to tell the other disciples.
And among the few resurrections recorded in the Bible one notable one was of the woman Tabitha also known as Dorcas.
Luke records in the book of Acts that this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds.
And when we read of her and Peterís hand in her resurrection we know that she retained her honor, not only into her second death but for all to be blessed through the centuries as an example of a gracious woman.
She is indeed an example of Psalm 112 which tells us that the righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance.
A gracious woman retaineth honour:
This proverb also infers that a woman retains honor when she celebrates her womanhood.
Moses told us in Genesis 1:27, So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
In this statement it is Godís will for you to be what you are as regarding your gender.
God did not intend for men and women to be the same for he made them differently not only physically but mentally, emotionally, and psychologically.
But he did not make one of greater value than the other for each has the will of God to perform.
And he joined them together using the term for Eve as a help to Adam, fit for his use.
Eve was fitted to Adam so that Adam and Eve would be complete.
Each one was lacking in something or things that the other was made to provide.
Male and Female created he them.
We have said before that Satan hates what God has wrought and is pledged to destroy and turn on its head every edict and plan of God.
God said, You shall have no other gods before me.
Satan convinces otherwise. Go ahead and invent as many gods as you wish.
God says, Make no carved image to worship.
Satan says, Donít pay any attention to this silly prohibition. Worship things, worship idols. Go ahead, do your thing.
God says Do not take the name of the Lord your God in vain,
Satan says, Fill the airwaves with cursing and trashing words using the very name of God at will. Dash it in the dirt, who cares.
God says, Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.
Satan says Work, work, work.
Fill you mind and body with work so you can keep your eyes from the heavens which declare the glory of God.
God says, honor your father and mother. Satan says, Do your own thing.
Let them fend for themselves. Let Social Security and Medicare take care of them. Let the government do it!
God says, you shall not murder.
Satan says, Go ahead and do this for I have gotten rid of that nasty unloving capital punishment.
God says, Donít commit adultery, donít steal, donít bear false witness.
Donít covet that which belongs to your neighbor.
Satan says, whatís the big deal?
Adultery is between two consenting adults.
Stealing is just another way to redistribute wealth, and lying is needed to get what will make you happy.
And what is the big problem with coveting?
It is good for the economy to be dissatisfied with what God has provided.
Go ahead and be jealous of your neighborís goods and if you steal some of them heís got plenty and you should have plenty also.
Satan studies Godís entire word and most likely has made a great list of Godís commandments.
He checks the list regularly for his goal is to overturn each edict of God.
Perhaps today he looks at Genesis 1:27 and says, Wow, Iím doing so good on this one.
I have brought about a turning from male and female to just one gender.
Its so mixed up today that it will never get back to Godís will of male and female. I congratulate myself, he says.
For I have brought about the one gender only mode and I call this gender "guys."
Everyone fits into this title. It is so easy now for you donít have to bother recognizing Godís unique purpose for the male and the female.
Guys dress alike and now I am getting them to think alike.
Men are being feminized and woman are being masculinized.
No male nor female for me for Godís commandments are old fashioned and will never overrule again.
But Godís people who study Godís order of things are to get in the way of Satanís devices.
Godís women are to rejoice in their womanhood for they are unique creatures of God.
They are not to cast aside the permanent on the altar of the immediate.
They are not to cast aside their womanhood as if it were of no value.
They are to be gracious women who retain their honor.
And men are to rejoice in their manhood for male and female created he them.
Women and men are to be strong, retaining their riches, knowing that the true riches are infinite riches only found in Christ Jesus