It's just another manic Monday which means it's time to get stuck into the Bible, before we end up frantic and forgetting to do it all week. Let's start as we mean to go on, right?
Proverbs 31 verse 24 (NIV) says this,
'She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.'
This doesn't mean we need to start a clothing business (although I am tempted to try) but it's part of a Biblical poem - which means we need to look at how it can be related to our lives in a literal sense but also for the symbolic relevance to our spiritual walk with God.
I'm going to make it really easy for you today. John Gill speculates this verse has three underpinning themes, I think there are four and I'm sure you'll find at least one will relate to you. Let's break it down:
This woman saw a need and used that to create a business opportunity. Providing for her family by creating sashes (or girdles) for the merchants. She is not afraid to use her initiative to step out and create opportunities for economic, finance and character growth.
2. Setting an example.
From my basic understanding of how a 'garment' is made, I know that you need to follow a pattern. This woman makes the patterns, creates the desired item and passes her knowledge on.
For example, with a Cath Kidston hand bag (or if you're real fancy, a Louis Vuitton) - you know where that handbag has come from because it follows a distinct design. In some cases, you can buy the exact sewing pattern and create your own from their example.
Spiritually, she influences those around her. If we follow the pattern of living that Christ has set out for us, we can be an example for those around us. They will see His design, His influence and His inspiration on our style of living
2. Living evangelism.
As with seeing that merchants had a need for girdles, providing and selling items that fulfill this need - the same can be said of our evangelistic mission as Christians. We need to ask the Spirit to open our eyes to the need of the people around us. And as we have freely received the fulfilment that Christ, in His salvation gives us, we must freely pay it forward.
3. Linen = righteousness.
Revelation 19 (NIV) talks about the 'bride of Christ', which is the 'body of the Church' - in basic terms this means people who believe in Christ as their saviour, a.k.a. Christians. It talks about how when Jesus comes back to Earth he'll be like a groom on his wedding day and the Church will be like His bride.
This isn't some weird 'cult talk'. But because marriage is based on the model of eternal relationship that we see within the Trinity, this is why it's used here. Because Jesus made a way for us to enter into an eternal relationship with God.
This is where we see the connection between the verse about making clothes out of linen in Proverbs and verse 8 (NIV) in Revelation which says this,
'Fine linen, bright and clean,
was given her to wear.”
(Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people.)'
So, if linen = righteousness and the wise woman creates clothing out of linen, we can assume that the relevance to our spiritual life is this: