Proverbs 31 – Welcoming Dawn 迎接黎明
Friday, 30th June 2023
Sister Joanna Liu
We have read Proverbs 31 many times, and many sisters use it as their guide to be a good wife. But what about the husbands? What about single people? Today is a special day, it marks the end of the first half of 2023, the year we will arise and shine, and I believe Proverbs is speaking to all of us at Zion Bread of Life Christian Church, not just the wives.
Section One V1-9 – Away from Temptation and Lies 遠離試探謊言
V1 ‘The words of King Lemuel, the utterance which his mother taught him:’
Scholars tried to find who king Lemuel is, some say it’s King Solomon, others say it’s king Hezekiah, but either way, today this proverb is in the Bible, therefore no matter who this was originally for, today, it’s for all of us.
V2-3 ‘我的兒啊，我腹中生的兒啊，我許願得的兒啊，我當怎樣教訓你呢？ 不要將你的精力給婦女，也不要有敗壞君王的行為。’
V2-3 ‘What, my son? And what, son of my womb? And what, son of my vows? Do not give your strength to women, nor your ways to that which destroys kings.’
And this is the teaching from the king’s mother, what does it mean for us? Back in the days, proverb 31 was used as the words of praise from a husband to his wife. Every week, on the night before the Sabbath day, the Jewish family will sit down at the dinner table, and the man of the house will start to praise his wife. It’s so easy for us to use Proverbs 31 as a guide to be a good and godly woman, but we often realise that it’s for the husband to speak out these viturals. In the same way, as leaders and as followers, can we also see the good virtues of others?
V4-7 ‘利慕伊勒啊，君王喝酒，君王喝酒不相宜，王子說「濃酒在哪裡」也不相宜。 恐怕喝了就忘記律例，顛倒一切困苦人的是非。 可以把濃酒給將亡的人喝，把清酒給苦心的人喝。 讓他喝了，就忘記他的貧窮，不再記念他的苦楚。’
V4-7 ‘It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine, nor for princes intoxicating drink; lest they drink and forget the law, and pervert the justice of all the afflicted. Give strong drink to him who is perishing, and wine to those who are bitter of heart. Let him drink and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.’
What are the temptations and lies in our lives? Here it talks about women and wine, of course we all know about the sins of adultery and the sins of additions. But what else might this mean in our lives? What is it that stop us to focus on God?
V8-9 ‘你當為啞巴開口，為一切孤獨的申冤。 你當開口按公義判斷，為困苦和窮乏的辨屈。’
V8-9 ‘Open your mouth for the speechless, in the cause of all who are appointed to die. Open your mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.’
Do we know our identity? Do we know God created us to be followers and to be leaders? As leaders, do we speak for the speechless? Do we plead for the poor and needy? Also as followers, we must stand in the right post, and in section two, it’s teaching us how to be the followers pleasing to God.
Section Two V10-27 Diligently Live Out Life 殷勤活出生命
V10-12 ‘才德的婦人誰能得著呢？她的價值勝過珍珠。 她丈夫心裡倚靠她，必不缺少利益。 她一生使丈夫有益無損。’
V10-12 ‘Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies. The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.’
‘Diligently’ is the attitude we use, ‘to live out’ is the verb, the action, what we are doing right now, and ‘life’ is the destiny God created for us. When we look at this, how to arise and shine, this is the essence. Do we know what is the best image God created us to be? Do we know the unlimited potential our life can be? Do we live out every moment and enjoy every moment? And are we diligently doing this?
V13-19 ‘她尋找羊絨和麻，甘心用手做工。 她好像商船，從遠方運糧來。 未到黎明她就起來，把食物分給家中的人，將當做的工分派婢女。 她想得田地就買來，用手所得之利栽種葡萄園。 她以能力束腰，使膀臂有力。 她覺得所經營的有利，她的燈終夜不滅。 她手拿撚線竿，手把紡線車。’
V13-19 ‘She seeks wool and flax, and willingly works with her hands. She is like the merchant ships, she brings her food from afar. She also rises while it is yet night, and provides food for her household, and a portion for her maidservants. She considers a field and buys it; from her profits she plants a vineyard. She girds herself with strength, and strengthens her arms. She perceives that her merchandise is good, and her lamp does not go out by night. She stretches out her hands to the distaff, and her hand holds the spindle.’
V20-22 ‘她張手賙濟困苦人，伸手幫補窮乏人。 她不因下雪為家裡的人擔心，因為全家都穿著朱紅衣服。 她為自己製作繡花毯子，她的衣服是細麻和紫色布做的。’
V20-22 ‘She extends her hand to the poor, yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy. She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household is clothed with scarlet. She makes tapestry for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple.’
V23-27 ‘她丈夫在城門口與本地的長老同坐，為眾人所認識。 她做細麻布衣裳出賣，又將腰帶賣於商家。 能力和威儀是她的衣服，她想到日後的景況就喜笑。 她開口就發智慧，她舌上有仁慈的法則。 她觀察家務，並不吃閒飯。’
V23-27 ‘Her husband is known in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies sashes for the merchants. Strength and honor are her clothing; she shall rejoice in time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness. She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness.’
Section Three V28-31 Arise and Shine 興起發光
V28-30 ‘她的兒女起來稱她有福，她的丈夫也稱讚她， 說：「才德的女子很多，唯獨你超過一切。」 豔麗是虛假的，美容是虛浮的，唯敬畏耶和華的婦女必得稱讚。’
V28-30 ‘Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many daughters have done well, but you excel them all.” Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.’
V31 ‘Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates.’