THE VIRTUOUS WOMAN (PART SEVENTEEN)

Administrator Patriarch and Presiding Prelate

HH Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div

Proverbs 31:25

Strength and honour are her clothing

Her wardrobe is remarkable.  These items of clothing are not available at any marketplace or shopping mall.  The LORD Himself provides these garments to the believing heart that is looking to Him.  Such clothes adorn the inner man which is renewed day by day (2 Corinthians 4:16).

Those ladies who wear gold and jewels dazzle the eyes and draw the regard of ordinary understandings; but how much brighter are the ornaments of a meek and quiet spirit, of strength and honour, which are the constant dress of the woman of virtue! Those who wear costly array rejoice for the present, because they think themselves the object of all men’s admiration; but they are often preparing future sorrow for themselves by their extravagance, and their neglect of those accomplishments which would gain them respect in old age (George Lawson, Commentary on Proverbs, p. 568).

Concerning her garment of strength, see the discussion under Proverbs 31:17.  The virtuous woman knew that the LORD was the strength of her life (Psalm 27:1).

The word “honour” means splendour, majesty, honour.  In the book of Psalm 8:5 it is used of the honour and majesty conferred by the LORD upon Adam and Eve:  “and hast crowned him with glory and honour.”  In the book of Psalm 21:5 it is used of the God-given majesty David had as a king:  “honour and Majesty hast thou laid upon him.”

Of special interest is how this word is used by our wonderful Lord.  We learn that honour and Majesty are before Him (Psalm 96:6) and that the LORD is clothed with honour and Majesty (Psalm 104:1).  This was certainly true of our Lord Jesus Christ in His pre-incarnate state.  We catch a glimpse of Christ in His majesty in Isaiah 6:1-3 (John 12:41 in a context where the glorious King of Isaiah 6 is identified as Christ).  This splendid King of the Universe stepped out of His ivory palaces and descended to this world of woe.  He laid aside His majestic garments, as it were, and humbled Himself by taking upon Himself our humanity (John 1:14).  In Isaiah 53:2 we have a description of God’s suffering Servant, the Messiah Himself:  “when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him.”  The word “beauty” is the same word as “honour” (Majesty, splendour) which is found in Proverbs 31:25.  The Lord laid aside His glorious splendour so that He could die as the perfect Substitute for sinners (Isaiah 53), thus making it possible for the believer to be clothed with garments of majesty and splendour; we who were once dressed only with filthy, bloody rags (Isaiah 64:6, “filthy rags”=bloody cloths, menstrual cloths).

And she shall rejoice (laugh) in time to come

The word “rejoice” (KJV) is the Hebrew word meaning “laugh.”  It is used in Ecclesiastes 3:4–“A time to weep, and a time to laugh.”   In Psalm 37:12-13 we learn that “the LORD shall laugh at him (the wicked); for He seeth that his day (of judgment) is coming.”

The virtuous woman will laugh at “time to come” (coming time), a clear reference to the days ahead, the future. She will laugh at the future.

In reliance on her ample stores, and still more her inward strength and skill, she laughs at the future as respects the evil that it may perchance bring.  This “laughing at the future” is of course not to be understood as expressive of a presumptuous self-confidence (see Proverbs 27:1), but only of a consciousness of having all appropriate and possible preparation and competence for the future (Lange’s Commentary under Proverbs 31:25).

Having been so wisely provident for the morrow, she is not overburdened with its cares (Charles Bridges, Proverbs, page 626).

There is an analogy between this passage and Psalm 2.  In Psalm 2 the armies of the world’s nations are gathering together to wage war against the LORD and against His Messiah (the Lord Jesus) at the great final battle of Armageddon.  We can imagine the scene.  The world’s armies aim their weapons toward God (their missiles, their warplanes, their nuclear weapons, etc.).  Mankind against God!   Puny man taking on the Omnipotent One–how laughable!  It would be like a toy sailboat taking on a massive battleship or an ant trying to do battle against an elephant!  “He who sitteth in the heavens shall laugh.”  The word “laugh” is the same word found in Proverbs 31:25.  The LORD will laugh because He knows that all the armies of the world are not able to hurt Him or defeat Him.  Likewise, the godly woman can laugh at the future because she knows that the future cannot hurt her.  She has made provision for the future, to the best of her ability (as we studied in Proverbs 31:21), and because of her trust in God, she knows that she can face the future with great confidence and optimism.

It is the privilege of every believer in Christ to confidently laugh at the future.  We have been guaranteed a bright, eternal future.  We have been guaranteed eternal security (John 6:37-40; 10:27-30).  We have the sure promise of God that the future (“things to come”) cannot separate us from the love of God (Rom. 8:38-39).  In fact, in 1 Corinthians 3:22 we learn that we possess the future!  It is ours!  The future belongs to us.  God has marked out a glorious future for every child of God, that we should be conformed to the image of Christ (Rom. 8:29).  This is what predestination is all about.  Never does the New Testament teach that a person is predestinated to hell. The term “predestination” is used to teach us that God has marked out a glorious future for every believer.

Unsaved people dread the future and they have good cause to do so.  They have nothing to look forward to but eternal punishment and an eternity without Christ (Matthew 25:41,46).  Their future promises that, unless they repent, they will perish (Luke 13:3,5).  Unless they repent they will someday hear these frightening words, “I never knew you; depart from Me, ye that work iniquity (lawlessness)” (Matthew 7:23 and compare Matthew 25:41). But the saved person can thankfully laugh at the future, knowing that someday he will hear God’s invitation to enter eternal bliss (see Matthew 25:34).

How confident we can be!  We do not know what the future holds, but we know Who holds the future.  We know that everything that happens to us in the future is for God’s glory and for our good (Romans 8:28).  We are fully persuaded that the God who began a good work in us will complete that good work in the future (Philippians 1:6).

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