The Valiant Warrior, Lesson 5: Proverbs 31:14
She is like the ships of the merchant, she brings her food from afar. Proverbs 31:14
My mother is a wonderful hostess and cook. My mother in law could take everyday food and lay down a meal that would almost make me believe she had been expecting me. I come from women who are amazing hostesses. Sadly, that is not me. I have a difficult time getting two dishes to finish at the same time, I frighten more souls then I make feel loved when they come to my table. Am I therefore disqualified as a Proverbs 31 Woman?
(1) The Hebrew letter hey
(2) Hebrew word of the week; hayah (hay-yah)
(3) Review of Lessons 1-4,
(4) like a ship
food from afar
(1) The letter hey.
The Hebrew letter Hey (5) is one of my favorites. I LOVE the little stick figure with his arms in the air who proclaims BEHOLD! Why is the hey used for “behold”? It is the letter of revelation, a window to heaven.
As the number 5 hey represents “a people called out of mankind, redeemed and saved, to walk with God from earth to heaven” (Bullinger,129). Grace is also associated with hey (5).
From E.W. Bullinger, page 130. “Grace means favor. But what kind of favor? Favor shown to the miserable is called mercy; favor shown to the poor is pity; favor shown to the suffering is called compassion; favor shown to the obstinate is patience; but favor shown to the unworthy we call GRACE!”
Romans 3:24 they (all who have sinned and fall short, v 23) are justified by his grace as a gift (freely), through the redemption (the buy-back program) which is in Christ Jesus,
The word translated “gift” (or freely) occurs in John 15:25 as “without a cause”
John 15:25 It is to fulfill the word that is written in their Torah, 'They hated me without a cause.'
“Gift” and “without a cause” are from the same Greek word. Just as there was no actual cause why they hated Y’shua-Jesus, there is also no “cause” in us why God should ever justify us. So Romans 3:24 could read, “Being justified without a cause by his grace.” Favor to the unworthy.” (Bullinger 130)
When God chose Abram and Sar'ai, he marked them with his grace when He added the letter of revelation to their names, the letter hey. Hey adds a breathy sound to words. Spirit is the breath of God. By adding hey to their names he indicated that his Spirit was filling them.
Hey as a prefix to a word works as like a direct object (The President instead of a president for instance). As a suffix, hey makes a word feminine. Just about every key word we have looked at in Proverbs 31 has a hey suffix and is translated as “she girds” or “she is like.” More than adding the word she, the hey suffix says that the word is fruitful.
(2) Hebrew word of the week hayatah (ha-yaw+ta+ha)
Hayah (the root word without the suffix) means “to exist.” It means more than simple existence. It means as God exists, all things follow God in their existence. Take another look at that sentence;
as God exists, all things follow God in their existence.
That is almost an overwhelming thought.
The first use of ha-yah is Genesis 1:2, The earth was… the word translated “was” is ha-yah. Even though it was formless and empty it still existed. Next use is Genesis 1:3, God said, “Let there be light”… “let there be” is ha-yah. English plays with the tense (time). Elohim said, “The earth is… there is light…
I AM is the famous name of YHVH. The ha-yah with an aleph prefix. This prefix is called “Qal Imperfect, first person, masculine” in Hebrew grammar. It does not have a tense. We give these verbs a tense in English. At the most basic level of understanding, God told Moses, “I IS” (Exodus 3:14)
I had a difficult time finding this word used in a way that blew open the doors of understanding for me, until I came to a verse in Hebrews.
Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please him. For whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
Hayah is belief by faith. Ha-yaw is “The God” (yaw is a short form of YHVH). The unseen God exists. He rewards us for seeking him.
(3) Review of Lessons 1-4
Lesson 1: Aleph, the strong leader, the mighty God. The key aleph word in Proverbs 31 is ‘ishshah meaning woman. In the beginning, God created women to be strong. Only wisdom is more valuable then the chayil-virtuous woman.
Lesson 2: Bet the house, the Son of God. Our key bet word was batach-worthy of trust. The idea of one woman for one man for one life as something that can be trusted (a safe place to fall when we are weak). Just as we are safe trusting Y’shua-Jesus, our husband (even if we have not met him yet) can trust in us because of Him.
Lesson 3: Gamal the Spirit of God who brings what we need, be it comfort, help or daily food. The key word was gamal meaning to bring a person to maturity for service. Not weakening our husband by making him dependent on us, but strengthening him to serve God, not yourself because we are yoke-mates, serving together.
Lesson 4: Dalet the door. We learned that Y’shua is the door. We come to him as needy people and he provides for us. Our key word was darash to seek along The Way.
(4) Lesson 5: She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar. Proverbs 31:14
The Proverbs 31 woman’s existence is like “the ships” of the merchant. Verse 14 is dominated by the Hebrew letter hey, for insight from the breath of God. In the 21st century, merchants transport cargo on huge container ships. Nearly every man who has taught this passage to me seems to think that this verse is all about boats, merchants and exotic food. Bad news for a post-modern, subsistence farmer who buys local. By men’s standards I am disqualified from being a Proverbs 31 woman because of my shopping habits.
I hope by now you are a step ahead of me and know that God’s Ways are very different then the ways of men. When Bathsheba advised her son on finding a valiant warrior for a wife, merchant ships were still powered by the wind. To carry food from far away, the sails must be filled with wind to move the boat. Even the largest, most impressive boat at the dock is “dead in the water” unless its sails are filled with the wind. Wind and Spirit are the same word, Ruwach.
Be filled with the Spirit. We are moved with purpose by an invisible force we call “the Spirit of God” Y’shua spoke of the Spirit when he answered Nicode’mus.
John 3:3-8 Jesus answered him, "Amen, Amen (Truly, truly), I say to you, unless one is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God." Nicode'mus said to him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?" Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born anew.' The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know whence it comes or whither it goes; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit."
Often scripture seems to compares being filled with the Spirit to drunkenness. A common name for alcoholic beverages is “liquid courage.” Being filled with the spirit is our courage. Paul wrote, “I can do all things in him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13) No matter what Paul’s circumstance, no matter what resistance he faced, what threats he was under, no matter how hopeless his circumstances seemed, he knew that he was along for the ride and he would get where God intended him to go. That is how Paul was like a ship, filled with the wind of the Spirit, moved with purpose through these storms. It is no different for you and me. It was that way for our master Y’shua too.
Mark 14:35-36 And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, "Abba, Father, all things are possible to thee; remove this cup from me; yet not what I will, but what thou wilt."
Hebrews 12:2 looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
…bringing her food from afar. What is our food?
John 4:31-35 Meanwhile the disciples besought him, saying, "Rabbi, eat." But he said to them, "I have food to eat of which you do not know." So the disciples said to one another, "Has any one brought him food?" Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of him who sent me, and to accomplish his work.
We come to God, believing that He Is, not so we can have cheese from Italy, wine from New Zealand or produce from Chili. The reason we are filled with the Spirit as a ships sails are filled with the wind is to do the will of God. That is the definition of our food. The purpose that drives our life is in being the hands and feet that accomplish the will of God. This is the reason that I live in Him and He lives his life through me, to the glory of God.
Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Isaiah 61:1-3 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good tidings to the afflicted; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion - to give them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified.
John 6:33-36 For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven, and gives life to the world." They said to him, "Lord, give us this bread always." Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst.
The Valiant Warrior, the Proverbs 31 woman, is a powerful force because she is filled with the Spirit, the Ruwach of God to do His will. She does not need to be strong willed, head strong, single-focused or physically fit. In the Kingdom of God, there is nothing wrong with anyone who has any of these attributes. But none of these characteristics will empower you to do the will of God (the food of the kingdom). You need only look to women like Corrie ten Boom, Joni Erickson-Tada, or Dorie Van Stone to realize that the will of God is accomplished, not by might, nor by power, but by the Ruwach of YHVH (Zechariah 4:6). My sister in Messiah, be filled with that Ruwach, that Spirit, as a ship’s sails are filled with the wind.
(5) Conclusion Maybe, like Nicodemus, you try to be good, you go to church, you memorize passages of the Bible but it still feels like you may be missing something. You wake up at night, thinking about your life and your life to come. Perhaps it is not comforting, your night thoughts may frighten you. Pick up your Bible, open it to John’s Gospel, chapter 3. It was at night that Nicodemus, the very religious, instructor of the people of God, came to Y'shua-Jesus. At some point all of us must come to him. What He said to Nicodemus he says to all of us.
You must be born again.
There will be no wind in your heart’s sails or food from heaven unless you have been born again. You already realize there will be wrath for every soul who is not born again (John 3:36), that is what wakes you up in the night. How are you born again?
John 3:14-15 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life."
Moses lifted up a serpent in the wilderness? Yes he did. That was what God told him to do after the children of Israel sinned. Their sin was “speaking against YHVH (the LORD) and Moses, despising the food provided for them.” Snakes were sent to bite the people, many died without repentance from their attitude with ungrateful hearts. (Numbers 21:4-9). The people came to Moses, realizing that the snake bites were the result of their own criminal violation of Torah (sin), begging for the serpents to be removed. Moses prayed, YHVH answered. He instructed Moses to put a bronze serpent on a pole. When someone is bitten, if they look in faith to the serpent lifted on the pole, they would live. If they try to hide the bite or treat it themselves they die.
That is how it is with us. We sin for a lot of reasons. The Apostle John summed it up by saying “we lust” and boast about it. It feels good, that is how sin works, that is why we do it, until we feel the sting of the serpent’s bite. Look to Jesus who was lifted up on a pole, the cross, look in faith and he will give you the eternal life that we call born again. It really is that simple.
1 John 2:15-17 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world passes away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.
In the wilderness, God did not remove the serpents. He does not remove temptation to sin for us either. We will still be tempted, we will still sin, but we expose our life, our deeds to the light (John 3:19-21) and by faith in Y’shua-Jesus, turns us away from our sin (repentance), when we look to him for life. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
Mrs. Hagerty, October 13, 2014 (Happy Columbus Day!
Updated December 4, 2014 MsH