Proverbs 31:18 “She senses that her gain is good, Her lamp does not go out at night.”
Tonights lesson is short but meaningful. The most concise definition of widom, I believe, is “the right use or exercise of knowledge.” Any woman may study or apply herself as she wishes, but how is it that we should put such education to use? What is the right use knowledge? The Proverbs 31 woman knows, and this verse shows it two fold.
Firstly, this woman shows wisdom in her business dealings. The word for “gain” here literally means “profit” and she senses that the profit is good. To sense, or perceive something means that it is not obvious, which would imply that the gain she is perceiving has not yet come into her hands. How then can she know that it is good? Well, if we jump back to verse 16 we read about a well laid business plan that reaps both financial and spiritual profit. We cannot forget that there is a duality of meaning in a proverb, both literal and figurative, and that in a Hebrew mind the physical and spiritual are not separate. One aspect may be emphasized over another to make a point but they are both present and must be considered. This woman knows that she has sown good seed and so she is able to perceive that both the financial and spiritual profit will be good.
Secondly, it says here that her lamp does not go out at night. For a lamp to not die in the long hours of the night it must be filled with oil before it’s steward goes to sleep. A lamp is a practical light but it is also a symbol, and if it is cared for, the wick trimmed and the belly well supplied with oil, then it will shine without ceasing. I know that if my son gets enough sleep he will shine. He gives me the most beloved, adorable smiles when I go to pick him up from a nap that I cannot resist squishing him and smothering him with kisses. In return he giggles, wiggles, and kisses me back before laying his little head on briefly on my shoulder as if to say, “I missed you mommy, I love you.” If I care for him he will continue to be this wonderful little boy, but a child needs a lot of care to keep his wick trimmed and belly full. How do I know what to do? The woman in these verses has gained the knowledge she needs to care, not only for her lamps but for her entire household. She has evidently applied herself to much study and sought out education so that she is able to do these remarkable things we read of. To all this she has added a very valuable treasure, the wisdom that the previous 30 chapters of Proverbs are written about. The wisdom that Solomon wrote hundreds of proverbs about to his son in an endeavor to teach him, this woman has! Can you see it? Do you want it?
This woman’s most remarkable feature is her love for learning. Embedded in seemingly impossible attributes is a heart that is ready to learn to weave, to pick flax and prepare it for linen, to manage fields and vinyards AND another small business selling clothes, she knows how to cook, to care for her household, which would include singing, teaching, most likely managing servants and children, and as we will see in the verses comming, she has an intimate relationship with the Lord and knows and understands His covenant. Think about all of the things you know how to do. No matter how small, write them all down, everything from using a cell phone to writing a research paper. How did you learn those things? Did you want to? Inevitably the things you have the most knowledge of are things that you DESIRED to learn about, things you have an interest in. Could it be that simple? Yes!! When you choose to love learning, to seek after wisdom and understanding, you will succeed. You were made in the image and likeness of God and if we have even a fraction of His memory, His creativity and His imagination, we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.
It’s true! Practice makes habit! And your habits will reflect what you practice. Do you have a habit of keeping your lamp lit at night? I know several areas in my life where I need to practice some different habits, and taking the time to study this passage is one of them 🙂 I know that I need to practice hearing the voice of God around me and thorugh me. I hope He has spoken to you through these studies because He is certainly speaking to me. Be blessed.