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True Nobility is Rare

December 27, 2023

Proverbs 31:10-20: In this section, we see King Lemuel’s advice on the wife of noble character. He begins by asking the question, “Who can find one?” (verse 10). The reason for this question relates initially to the enduring difficulty of finding a woman of holy character – which is rare – making the task of finding a wife of holy character even more difficult. King Lemuel points out that “she is worth far more than rubies” (verse 10). Such treasured character makes her partnership invaluable and absolutely priceless. Why is that? What characteristics make a woman (and subsequently a wife) truly “noble?” Here, we recognize differences between the terms “noble, ideal, and holy.” Lemuel presents examples that idealize “the noble,” but these characteristics are not always attainable to every woman. That which truly elevates a man’s partnership with a woman to the level of a treasure – “worth far more than rubies,” is her commitment to live according to the highest biblical standard – holiness. By God’s grace, every woman can attain holiness. Adopting God’s standards for living elevates a woman because His standards sanctify and separate her above the field of all other women - who, either choose to remain uncommitted to God’s standards or commit themselves to their own, ordinary standards. Simply stated, Lemuel’s practical examples follow the woman who chooses to be holy, and holiness reveals the heart of a woman’s true character. In short, this woman is focused on the things that interest God; her concerns set her apart from all other women – like “the pearl of great price.” A merchant who finds her would be wise “to sell all he has” to obtain her (cf., Matthew 13:45-46). God points this out here in His Word to enable young girls and women to set their sights on rising to God’s rare level of beauty and “nobility.”

Revelation 18:1-17: In this section of Revelation, we see the fall of Babylon – that world system which will seek to overpower all mankind during the future end times. We see the wide effects of this system – “a home for demons; a haunt for evil spirits and every unclean bird; all the nations have drunk of her wine; the kings of the earth; and the merchants” (verses 2-3). Even God’s people have somehow been influenced by Babylon, as they are admonished to “come out of her” (verse 4). Her fall will be “terrifying” for those with whom she has trafficked, and her loss of commerce, which has included every conceivable cargo, will incite double “woe” (cf., 18:9-13). According to verse 8 (and verse 17), her end will come in “one day” and “one hour.” We need to recognize what God is saying here in His Word – His wrath is sudden, thorough, and all-inclusive – trifling with our God is a serious mistake.

Nehemiah 5:1 – 7:3: In response to an outcry among some of the poor exiles, who, in order to provide food for their families had to mortgage their fields, subject their sons and daughters to slavery, and/or pay interest on loans, Nehemiah became angry and warned his countrymen that they were exacting usury, which was a violation of the law (cf., Exodus 21:1-11; Deuteronomy 12:15-18; 23:19). Nehemiah addressed this issue, and the people “agreed to return the fields and stop the usury” (5:9-13). In chapter 6, we see continued opposition to God’s work of rebuilding, and in 7:1-3, we see Nehemiah’s appointment of his brother, Hanani, and Hananiah as gatekeepers, “because they were men “of integrity and feared God” (verse 2). In this section, we see God’s approved leadership principles and how God uses and blesses leaders who pray and “revere God” (5:15).

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