11 October 2009
One morning on my way to work, I saw this woman dropped off her child in an International school. As she was coming out from the gate of the school, another car blocked her way. A woman got down, went over and opened her car door and started hitting and pulling her hair. Caught by surprise, the lady could just sit there, trying to avoid the blows with her two hands.
Recently, an advertisement of a certain product shows a confident-looking young executive with a leash over his neck. An equally well-dressed, pretty woman was shown pulling the leash hung around his neck, like taking her favorite pet dog down to the park for a walk.
Both are ugly scenes.
Sometimes we are like these three women: taking what is not ours, selfish or acting domineering just to show we are in control. A godly woman in their right mind does not want to have their man leashed or be submissive in that way. Neither do we want to have to fight with some women over what is ours. People should be able to value the rubies when they see one.
Does the account of the ideal woman in ancient times still hold water? What value can it bring to woman of today who lives with such complex life-styles? To each one of us, married, single, young and old, to those working outside the home or inside the home, to those women with children or without children? Unlike our mothers’ time, women today are competing in the place, once thought to be a men’s domain. Besides competing with the men, we are also competing with women who also want everything you want. How do we survive without having to trade our godly values to compromise with the acceptable worldly values?
The ideal woman is definitely not about the stereotyped housewife occupied with dirty dishes and laundry, her daily life dictated by the demands of her husband and her children. Nor is she the hardened, overly ambitious career woman who leaves her family to fend for itself. Or the single woman who enjoys her freedom oblivious to anyone else.
She is a composite of many capable women: strong, dignified, multitalented who is an individual in her own right. After all, God equips each of us with different skills, strengths & compassion, sensitivity and talents and also different degree of beauty. She uses God given talents and makes a success of her life. She is thrifty and is prudent in her investment, a good manager of her real estates and her household. Good dressing gives strength and honor to her. Being rich does not stop her from showing compassion and fulfill the needs of the less fortunate. She tackles the challenges that each day brings with fervor and cheerfulness. Her husband safely trusts in her and children love and respect her for all that good virtues.
But with all her responsibilities, first and foremost, she fears God. Her primary concern is God’s will in her life. She is a woman after God’s own heart.
Here are some remarkable women in the Bible who show some traits of the ideal woman:
1. Abigail, the wife of Nabal. According to I Samuel 25, we have the story of a beautiful woman with good understanding but has a rich but harsh, evil and a scoundrel of a husband. But that doesn’t stop her from turning a deathly situation into a saving one. When David was hell-bent on taking revenge and murder on Nabal and his household, Abigail uses her wisdom and good sense to approached David with a solution. A woman instead of creating more problems for both the party, she managed to restrain an angry man who felt he deserves to be paid for providing protection to Nabal’s men and herd while out shearing the sheep.
1 Samuel 25:32-35: we read how David praised Abigail for her good sense and spiritual maturity.
David said to Abigail, ‘Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who sent you to meet me today! Blessed be your good sense, and blessed be you, who have kept me today from bloodguilt and from avenging myself by my own hand! For as surely as the Lord the God of Israel lives, who has restrained me from hurting you, unless you had hurried and come to meet me, truly by morning there would not have been left to Nabal so much as one male.’ Then David received from her hand what she had brought him; he said to her, ‘Go up to your house in peace; see, I have heeded your voice, and I have granted your petition.’
Sometimes, if a man behaves like a fool, a sensible wife should not just sit and let her whole household perish. (Prov. 14:1 The wise woman builds her house, the foolish pulls it down with her hands). Being submissive is not being soft and unintelligent. It is nothing wrong when the man takes heed of a woman’s sound advice. Even the servants can see a wise and sensible lady of the house as opposed to their master.
Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.”-Prov.31:31
2. Mary of Bethany in Luke 10:42. Each time I read of her, I remember how she has gotten her priorities right. Oftentimes, we busy ourselves with thousand and one things and still can’t get it done, but ultimately, what is really needful is going for the best, not just settling for anything. Mary has chosen that good part.
3. Tabitha or Dorcas in Acts 9:36-37. She is full of good works and charitable deeds. We too have such a woman in our midst – sis. Lily comes to mind. Everywhere and anywhere she’s needed, you can see her there.
4. Rebekah in Genesis 24:47-60 & Hebrews 13:1-2. Her godliness opened the door to her destiny. Her kind heart led her to help a stranger. And her discernment led her to make the right choice. She put her faith in God.
5. Deborah in Judges 4:8-9. God chose a faithful woman, Deborah as Israel’s judge and prophetess. It was she who encouraged Barak, the son of Abinoam, to heed God’s call to duty and lead Israel’s army against Sisera’s 900 iron chariots. It was she who accompanied the troops to the battleground at Mount Tabor to fortify Barak’s wavering courage. And it was during her time, that the land finally had peace for forty years. What a remarkable brave woman.
6. Lois and Eunice, the mother and grandmother of Timothy (2 Timothy 1:5). They are fine biblical examples of women who laid a great foundation in raising an exemplary young man for Christ.
Sometimes we don’t have to look too far. There are also godly mothers in our midst who gave up their careers to follow and supported their husband’s work for the Lord. They have raised godly children to speak God’s word, assist in the teaching and visiting ministries.
Time and cultures change, but this woman’s God-inspired character still shines brightly across the centuries.
Are you that woman? If not, aspire to be one!