God’s Word for You
Proverbs 31:10 willing hands
by Pastor Timothy Smith on Thursday, October 17, 2019
13 She picks out wool and flax
and works with willing hands.
Wool and flax were the elements used in Biblical times for spinning into cloth. Flax, a flowering plant, produces linen, and wool of course comes from sheep. The fourth letter of the Hebrew alphabet is dalet, and the dalet-word here, darashah, means “she has chosen.” This means that the heroic wife doesn’t just manage her home from the back seat; she is the one who goes out to choose what will be used in her home, even down to which wool from which sheep, and which flax from which flowers. Curiously, the same verb darash which means “choose” or “seek” wool, also means to seek a lost sheep (Deuteronomy 22:1-2). So, the same care the heroic wife takes to find just what she’s looking for is an illustration of the care the Lord uses to seek after us when we wander from his fold. And Jesus tells us that there is rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents (Luke 15:4-7).
Not many women spin their own yarn or flax or weave their own cloth anymore. But there are many things a heroic wife does for herself, for her husband, and for her family. If her husband is a fair cook, she encourages him and sees to it that their children learn at least what he knows. If not, she prepares meals herself, and teaches them the basics. She shows them how to sew on a button or repair a torn seam. She teaches the whole family ways to be frugal with the things that they have. She gives God glory and thanks for all of the gifts he showers them with.
When I first met my wife, she arrived on the campus of the all-male college I was attending to try out for a woman’s role in Shakespeare’s King Lear. I was the director, and as she tried out for the part and told us about herself, I was struck by her confidence and by her faith. When she left, my friend Steve (now the Reverend Steven Daily) said to me, “I think we just found our Regan” (Lear’s middle daughter). I said to Steve, “I think I just met my wife.”
A year and a half later, she was sewing together her own wedding dress and also the dress of one of her bridesmaids. To this day she finds ways to make the skills she has serve the needs of our family. When the children were babies, she made home-made baby wipes. Today, she still cooks her own laundry soap, tough but so much better smelling than the potent and perfumed stuff on the grocery store shelves.
Not every wife has every skill, but the wise woman knows how to use the skills she has to God’s glory and the good of her family. That’s what it means to work with willing hands. That’s what turns a man’s head and causes him to say, “What a heroic wife God gave me!”
Pastor Timothy Smith