Daniel, Chapter 13, Verse 1-3
1 In Babylon there lived a man named Joakim, 2 who married a very beautiful and God-fearing woman, Susanna, the daughter of Hilkiah; 3 her parents were righteous and had trained their daughter according to the Law of Moses.
Susanna is included in the Book of Daniel (as chapter 13) by the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches. It is one of the additions to Daniel, considered apocryphal by Protestants. She refuses to be blackmailed and is arrested and about to be put to death for promiscuity when a young man named Daniel interrupts the proceedings, shouting that the elders should be questioned to prevent the death of an innocent. After being separated, the two men are questioned about details (cross-examination) of what they saw but disagree about the tree under which Susanna supposedly met her lover. The first says they were under a mastic, and Daniel says that an angel stands ready to cut him in two. The second says they were under an evergreen oak tree, and Daniel says that an angel stands ready to saw him in two. The great difference in size between a mastic and an oak makes the elders' lie plain to all the observers. The false accusers are put to death, and virtue triumphs.
In the Old Testament we already find admirable witnesses of fidelity to the holy law of God even to the point of a voluntary acceptance of death. A prime example is the story of Susanna: in reply to the two unjust judges who threatened to have her condemned to death if she refused to yield to their sinful passion, she says: " I am hemmed in on every side. For if I do this thing, it is death for me; and if I do not, I shall not escape your hands. I choose not to do it and to fall into your hands, rather than to sin in the sight of the Lord!" (Dan 13:22-23). Susanna, preferring to "fall innocent" into the hands of the judges, bears witness not only to her faith and trust in God but also to her obedience to the truth and to the absoluteness of the moral order. By her readiness to die a martyr, she proclaims that it is not right to do what God's law qualifies as evil in order to draw some good from it. Susanna chose for herself the "better part": hers was a perfectly clear witness, without any compromise, to the truth about the good and to the God of Israel. By her acts, she revealed the holiness of God.
In our modern secular world it is often difficult to find a God-fearing woman and even recognize her. One wonders what the characteristics of a God-fearing woman are. An important thing to remember for all women of real beauty is that love is the inner sense of peacefulness and joy that casts out the outer reflection of beauty.
Daniel tells us that a woman of faith is not stormy!
God Fearing Woman
1. A woman who fears the Lord isn’t anxious about what’s going to happen in her life.
First, a woman who fears the Lord is not anxious about the future…“Strength and dignity or her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.” Our anxiety reveals what we think about God. Do we honestly think He’s a sovereign and good Father? Do we honestly believe He cares about the mundane details of our lives and is working everything out for our good? If so, it will affect our anxiety about how our kids are going to do in school this Fall or our fears about being single this time next year, or our obsession with how we’re going to pay our bills next month, or worry about how we’re going to do in that meeting at work tomorrow.
2. A woman who fears the Lord speaks wisdom and kindness.
Second, the woman who fears the Lord has practical wisdom. Proverbs 31, Verse 26, “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.” I love this because I’m a big fan of women redeeming passive communication. This verse tells us that if we’re going to be good stewards of our words we have to know and love God. A right view of Him will affect the way we choose to spend the gift of language He has given us.
3. A woman who fears the Lord is strong.
Proverbs, Verse 25, “Strength and dignity are her clothing.” Verse 17, “She girds her loins with strength and makes her arms strong.”
Think for a second about how you define ‘strength’ Proverbs 23:17 says, “Let not your heart envy sinners, but continue in the fear of the Lord all the day.” The woman who continues in the fear of the Lord will have power to resist all the allurements to envy, to desire what she shouldn’t have. True strength looks like contentment. Do you want to know if your fear of the Lord overflows into strength? Do you envy others? Threads of discontentment reveal a heart that does not fully grasp the greatness and goodness of our maker.
4. A woman who fears the Lord is for other people, not against them.
A woman who fears the Lord will live not for herself alone but for others…Proverbs 31, Verses 11, 12, “The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not harm all the days of her life.” Our view of God will play out in our interaction with others. If we trust that God is for us, it frees us up to be for other people. We can look out for their interests because we know God is looking out for ours.
All four of these characteristics overflow from a right understanding and relationship with God.
You can’t just get out of your chair and go do these four things to earn the ‘proverbs 31’ merit badge. If you want to be free of anxiety, if you want to speak kindness and wisdom, if you want to be strong and be for other people, the solution is gloriously complex: fear the Lord. My hope is that, like me you’ll see this list as a reminder of just how far you have to go in your sanctification. Let this list remind you of the opportunity you have to grow in your ‘fear’ of the Lord. Let that opportunity excite you. There’s more of Him to know. There’s more of Him to trust. As we grow in fearing Him we will be transformed – not to the image of some cool Proverbs woman. We will be transformed into the very image of His Son.
· Manhood of the Master-Day 4 week 12
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 IOANNES PAULUS PP. II, VERITATIS SPLENDOR
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