Okay I'm going to get real with you, real quick. Today's verse is going to seem like it has NO relevance to your life. But trust me, it totally does. Ready?
Here we go! Proverbs 31: 14 says that the 'Wife of Noble Character' (who we've all learned by now is wisdom, embodied in the life and character of a woman) is like a boat*,
'She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.'
*Correction: A bunch of boats.
Okay so, if you're prepared to stick it out, I'm going to explain two reasons why this verse relates to YOUR life.
You know when you're feeling really hungry but also feeling too lazy to go all the way to the supermarket, so you go to a corner shop? You know that if you go to the corner shop you're going to have to pay £1.60 instead of £1 for a Pot Noodle. But you do it anyway because you're more hungry than you are concerned about the extra 60p. Well this verse is like that.
Back in the day, women would go down the the market place to collect their food. If they stayed local, the likelihood is that the sellers in the market were turning a profit on the food they were selling - because they'd bought or harvested them cheaper elsewhere. So to make their money go further, you would have to go further.
This verse tells us that wisdom doesn't waste that 60p. We need to be wiser and go further. We need to be good at managing our money.
What if the boats that this woman is like, were not boats at all?
What if 'they' are actually the people of God, the church?
What if the food they're talking about here doesn't just mean Pot Noodles?
What if the food here, is the bread of life?
What if the land from afar was not just Egypt, or Tesco?
What if it was Heaven where the Kingdom of God is?
That makes sense right? Because the church does deliver the spiritual food, (the knowledge/wisdom/love of God) that we learn from the Bible, comes from Heaven.
But what's interesting is that if we take this imagery into account, it says that she is like the merchant ships. So she, to her family and those around her, brings the 'food'. She feeds her family with the bread of life.
As corny as it sounds - this is really important to learn ladies!!
We cannot keep relying on preachers, fathers, mothers, friends and husbands to provide us with all our spiritual sustenance. They do provide us with some but we have a responsibility to remain in relationship with God. We don't just need to 'eat the Word' because we're hungry, but because we have other people to feed too.
If you are married this means you cannot put the full weight of your personal faith on your husband. Yes, he may be the spiritual leader of the household - but this is not an excuse to neglect your relationship with God and expect your husband to have it for you.
You are like merchant ships. Where are you going for your food, your provision and your influence. And what are you bringing back from your journey?