HH Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div
She riseth also while it is yet night
She is up before the sun, showing that idleness and laziness have no place with her (compare verse 27). The sluggard (Proverbs 6:6-11) should not only go to the ant but should also go to the virtuous woman to learn a lesson on diligence. There are great benefits to rising up early. It is a quiet time free from the noise and distractions of the day. It is an ideal time to spend with the Lord in quiet meditation and prayer, starting the day with Him.
We also see this principle in the manna which God provided for the children of Israel in the wilderness. Manna had to be gathered anew every morning (Exodus 16:14-22), just as fresh food for our souls is needed each day.
We have the example of our blessed Lord: “And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed (Mark 1:35). The Psalmist was in the habit of morning prayer: “In the morning shall my prayer come before thee” (Psalm 88:13).
|Did you meet the Master,
At the break of day,
Before your mind was clouded
With your work or play?
|Yes, I met the Master,
In the secret place.
Oh! the blessed comfort
When He giveth Grace.
Rising up early also allows us to get a good start on the day. If a person sleeps in late, by the time he really gets going it may seem that half the day is gone and he has time to accomplished very little. Sprinters know that the most important part of the race is how they start the race (how they get off the starting blocks). The key is beginning well. May God help us to start our days well, beginning the day with God and getting a good early start on the tasks and duties that demand our attention and diligence. Needless to say, a mother may have to sleep in after being up during the night with a sick child. The virtuous woman is diligent, yet flexible and realistic.
She giveth meat (food) to her household and a portion to her maidens.
One of the reasons she rises up so early is to provide food for her household. When the father and children get up they are greeted with a hearty, home-cooked breakfast! Nutritionists consider breakfast the most important meal of the day, nourishing the body that has not had any food for many hours (the “breaking of the fast,” that is, “breakfast”) and providing energy for the toil of the day. The virtuous woman makes sure that her family gets off to a good nutritional start. This term “food” (translated by some as “game”) is also used in Psalm 111:5 of God’s gracious provision of food for those who fear Him.
Young women today, in many cases, hardly know how to prepare meals. Many families eat out frequently or order food that can be brought into the home. How many families take time to sit down at a meal together around the table? Often families don’t eat together, don’t pray together, don’t read together, and as a result don’t stay together.
Her maidens are her female servants. This virtuous woman was blessed with a large household that included female maids or servants. She did not live in poverty. We are reminded that under the Old Testament economy, the Israelites who honoured and feared the Lord were promised not only spiritual blessings but also material blessings, and certainly the woman described in Proverbs 31 had both.
One might think that this virtuous woman could command her female servants and tell them to rise up early and prepare the breakfast meal and have it ready for her entire family. But we are told that she gives a portion of food to her maidens. Not only does this speak of her kindness to those working under her, but it also indicates that she demanded of others only what she herself was willing to do. Workers and servants will greatly respect a superior who is willing to “get his hands dirty” and do some of the very tasks which he might require of them. The term “portion” is used in that wonderful passage found in Job 23:12–“Neither have I gone back from the commandment of His lips; I have esteemed the words of His mouth more than my portion of food“.