Today’s post features a broad selection of passages from Scripture. Deep Strength’s most recent post got me thinking about how we should look for evidence of positive traits in a woman, and how that ties in to scripture. Here is a snippet from the Book of Sirach on what makes for a good wife:
13 A wife’s charm delights her husband,
and her skill puts fat on his bones.
14 A silent wife is a gift of the Lord,
and there is nothing so precious as a disciplined soul.
15 A modest wife adds charm to charm,
and no balance can weigh the value of a chaste soul.
16 Like the sun rising in the heights of the Lord,
so is the beauty of a good wife in her well-ordered home.
What binds the positive traits in a wife (or a women a man is considering for a wife) listed here is that all can be detected and discerned by observation. What are those traits, and how can they be observed? A few from those four verses:
- Pleasant personality- Can be discerned based on how she interacts with other people and how they respond to her
- Skilled Cook- Easy to test- just taste some of what she cooks
- Reticent- Can be observed over time to see how often she talks, and if it is unnecessary or not
- Modest- Observed body language is important here
- An able Homemaker- An examination of her living space, whatever it might be, will reveal if she knows how to keep an ordered home or not
We can never know a person’s heart. But we can know a great deal based on the fruit of a person’s works. And while we are on the topic of fruit, here are some sobering words from our Lord:
33 “Either make the tree good, and its fruit good; or make the tree bad, and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit. 34 You brood of vipers! how can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 The good man out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil man out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. 36 I tell you, on the day of judgment men will render account for every careless word they utter; 37 for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
Knowing when to speak, and when not to speak, is one of the most important disciplines that a Christian can practice. I know that it is one that I myself must constantly strive to work on, as all too often I tend towards one extreme or the other. Like a horse, we must bridle and train our speech, else we find ourselves thrown astray.
An example of how speech can condemn us can be found in the story of David. While in flight from his rebellious son Absalom, David and his party ran across a man named Shimei:
5 When King David came to Bahu′rim, there came out a man of the family of the house of Saul, whose name was Shim′e-i, the son of Gera; and as he came he cursed continually. 6 And he threw stones at David, and at all the servants of King David; and all the people and all the mighty men were on his right hand and on his left. 7 And Shim′e-i said as he cursed, “Begone, begone, you man of blood, you worthless fellow! 8 The Lord has avenged upon you all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose place you have reigned; and the Lord has given the kingdom into the hand of your son Ab′salom. See, your ruin is on you; for you are a man of blood.”
9 Then Abi′shai the son of Zeru′iah said to the king, “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over and take off his head.” 10 But the king said, “What have I to do with you, you sons of Zeru′iah? If he is cursing because the Lord has said to him, ‘Curse David,’ who then shall say, ‘Why have you done so?’” 11 And David said to Abi′shai and to all his servants, “Behold, my own son seeks my life; how much more now may this Benjaminite! Let him alone, and let him curse; for the Lord has bidden him. 12 It may be that the Lord will look upon my affliction, and that the Lord will repay me with good for this cursing of me today.” 13 So David and his men went on the road, while Shim′e-i went along on the hillside opposite him and cursed as he went, and threw stones at him and flung dust.
(2 Samuel 16:5-13)
David spared Shimei this time, but later advised his son Solomon to deal with him. And so Solomon did:
36 Then the king sent and summoned Shim′e-i, and said to him, “Build yourself a house in Jerusalem, and dwell there, and do not go forth from there to any place whatever. 37 For on the day you go forth, and cross the brook Kidron, know for certain that you shall die; your blood shall be upon your own head.” 38 And Shim′e-i said to the king, “What you say is good; as my lord the king has said, so will your servant do.” So Shim′e-i dwelt in Jerusalem many days.
39 But it happened at the end of three years that two of Shim′e-i’s slaves ran away to Achish, son of Ma′acah, king of Gath. And when it was told Shim′e-i, “Behold, your slaves are in Gath,” 40 Shim′e-i arose and saddled an ass, and went to Gath to Achish, to seek his slaves; Shim′e-i went and brought his slaves from Gath. 41 And when Solomon was told that Shim′e-i had gone from Jerusalem to Gath and returned, 42 the king sent and summoned Shim′e-i, and said to him, “Did I not make you swear by the Lord, and solemnly admonish you, saying, ‘Know for certain that on the day you go forth and go to any place whatever, you shall die’? And you said to me, ‘What you say is good; I obey.’ 43 Why then have you not kept your oath to the Lord and the commandment with which I charged you?” 44 The king also said to Shim′e-i, “You know in your own heart all the evil that you did to David my father; so the Lord will bring back your evil upon your own head. 45 But King Solomon shall be blessed, and the throne of David shall be established before the Lord for ever.” 46 Then the king commanded Benai′ah the son of Jehoi′ada; and he went out and struck him down, and he died.
So the kingdom was established in the hand of Solomon.
(1 Kings 2:36-46)
You reap what you sow. Shimei sowed hated, and it bloomed into fell fruit in due course. His tale is a warning to us all not to anger others without later seeking their forgiveness. Jesus addressed this subject, with a lesson that Shimei could have benefited from:
21 “You have heard that it was said to the men of old, ‘You shall not kill; and whoever kills shall be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother shall be liable to the council, and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be liable to the hell of fire. 23 So if you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Make friends quickly with your accuser, while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison; 26 truly, I say to you, you will never get out till you have paid the last penny.
Our time on this world is short. We would do well to seek forgiveness while we still have time to do so.