Hello Chi Alpha! Pastor Heather here :)
I want to take you behind the scenes of the educational component of our #GemCityJourney for a moment. Think of it as a tribute to you as you are finishing up fall push ;) Did you know I'm enrolled in classes as well? 2 to be exact! Did you also know I took an exam today? No? Well, let's just say you should bring cookies over ASAP....
In all seriousness, I just finished a fascinating study on the Poetic books of the Bible (Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon). I was surprisingly encouraged by all the affirmations of women I came across - specifically in Proverbs and Song of Solomon! So this quick post is a shot in the arm for your Chi Alpha ladies out there as you face another year of Kingdom advancement. I believe in you and more importantly, our Father in Heaven believes in you. And He affirms that ALL THROUGHOUT scripture. Don't overlook your role in the Kingdom and the specific words the Holy Spirit inspired in scripture just for you :)
Proverbs is Pro-Women
During my study, I was amazing at the many time women were mentioned in the book of Proverbs. And not only in the last chapter (more goodness on that one in a moment)!! Women actually play a more important role in Proverbs that in other Old Testament books. So I found myself asking:
Why do women play a notable role in Proverbs?
At the end of the Hebrew monarchy, emphasis turned to home, family and community - environments in which women had and still have a major part. The collections in Proverbs may have been gathered around this time. Proverbial wisdom originally arose and finds its most enduring expression in the home and community.
Here are the notable female roles in the book:
The God-given insight and ability of women seems to shine through these characters. The opportunity to choose wisdom and live a prosperous life contrasted with the sorrowful, devastating life of poor choices is the constant tension of Proverbs. And the interesting thing, is that isn't not a book limited to the life of men - who would have been more in society and work force compared to women of the time. It's a book for all of God's people. Women are just as able - and ENCOURAGED - to live a wise, influential lives. Of course, the third character, the adulterous and foolish woman, demonstrates the results of an unwise life. Oops.
Here's a helpful tie in of Proverbs 31:
Although much of the wisdom training offered in Proverbs is directed toward young men, in chapter 31 we see the outcome of a woman who pursues wisdom in her own life. In that time and culture, her own journey was far more likely to take place in the home than in public life. She trained from an early age to take on the many tasks necessary to running a household. The wife of noble character is the one who has taken up her position with its responsibilities. The Hebrew word translated noble or virtuous, when applied to a warrior, is translated strong or valiant.
In many ways, the godly household is the center of society. The valiant wife is essential to her husband's success. She provides for the needs of the family, adds to their economic success and gains honor for them in the eyes of the community. In short, the woman of valor performs for the family many of the same things Lady Wisdom offers to the community at large.
Ladies, scripture tells us we can be VALIANT. Let's assume our positions as each of us receives it from the Lord (be it daughter, student, friend, circuit leader, wife...), not slacking in it or putting it off, and take all of the responsibilities that come with it. The Lord thinks we are able. And really, He is the one that makes us able. He has given us His Holy Spirit to counsel and guide us into all righteousness (John 16:13).
Song of Solomon is Pro Women's Sexuality
Here's just a little added bonus from my reading...
"Song of Solomon questions placing women in a secondary role in sexual relations and the notion that it is somehow unseemly for wives to derive the same pleasure and fulfillment that their husbands do from God’s gift of sexuality. The woman in the Song of Solomon does not fit this traditional interpretation of women’s role in marriage...The book celebrates sexual desire and enjoyment for its own sake without suggesting that procreation is the primary purpose for sexuality. The woman seeks permission from neither her father nor her brothers and actively seeks her lover. She takes pleasure both in his beauty and in his appreciation of her own beauty (Melanchthon 2004, 182). In short, Song of Solomon celebrates the woman’s enjoyment and full participation in sexuality, on equal terms with her lover. This challenges us to think carefully about the ways our cultures affect our ideas and values about sexuality."
Because some think that men feel sexual desire more strongly, they tend to assume that women, the object of men's passion, are somehow at fault for arousing such feelings. Some cultures even put harsher sexual restrictions on women and portray them in a negative sexual light. But Song of Solomon (a book in OUR BIBLE) elevates the woman's status in the marital and sexual relationship to God's original design. She derives the same pleasure and fulfillment as her husband from God's gift of sexuality. She enjoys her husband and is enjoyed in return. In short, Song of Solomon celebrates the woman's enjoyment and full participation in sexuality, on equal terms with her man.
Hey, we all remember the garden fiasco and are well aware of the subordinate role women deal with because of the curse. But here it is, plain as day, that God's design was for women to be equal - even in sexuality.
So girls, the Bible is 100% pro-us. I don't include this portion on S. of S. to tell you to hurry up and find you a man. But rather to illustrate your value, your worth, and your position in society. In the same way that Proverb 31 isn't anything to live in fear of, but rather a sweet picture of the potential of women. Song of Solomon is a book in our Bible that disses the sexual discrimination of women and celebrates their God given design.
Don't ever give into foolish, self defeating thoughts. God thinks highly of His girls and He trumps culture.
Be confident and go do something awesome to advance the Kingdom today!