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UCGia Bible Insights Thursday, August 12 2021

Proverbs 31: A model for today's woman

A busy woman running a household, rushing to work, making business decisions, juggling meal planning and shopping, as well as volunteering time for worthwhile causes, while also caring for her family was described nearly 3,000 years ago in the Bible.

by Linda Elliott

Women have been struggling with priorities and time management for millennia. The advice in the 31st chapter of Proverbs, describes a ‘supermum’ of old, and is just as relevant today as it was back then, because the wisdom of the Bible is timeless.

Proverbs 31 tells us God, our Designer and Creator, should come first in our lives. Without His revelation we cannot even understand why we exist. Developing strength of character by living and obeying the word of God should be our first priority. In other words, know and do what is right, even when no one is looking. Put God first and ultimately all else will fall into place.

Strong marriages are based on God's principles of love, respect, cooperation and teamwork. Serving as an asset to your husband should not be demeaning. Proverbs 31:10-12 and also verse 28 depict a situation in which a solid marriage leads to success in and outside the home.

Proverbs 31:13 and 18 describe a woman who is motivated, industrious and confident in the face of challenges. She has business acumen (verses 14, 21) and uses her time wisely, rising early (verse 15). Volunteering to help others is also important and teaches the children the value of showing concern and helping those who are less fortunate (Proverbs 31:20).

God's wisdom gives us insight many other people do not have, and we can also learn from each other's example. We are known by the company we keep and advice from older Christian women can be invaluable.

Proverbs 31 gives an outline of real priorities for becoming an effective and successful woman. Home and family have always been the foundation of civilization. Solid, loving families build stable neighborhoods, towns and cities that in turn form strong nations. To find real help to be competent in home, community and business there is no better place to look than the Word of God.

The author of this article relates that when he was a boy his parents came to realize the Holy Days described in Leviticus 23 were commanded in both Old and New Testaments. Until then, his family had observed Christmas, Easter and Halloween, and he did not want to give these holidays up.

With time, he also came to understand the days observed by most of Christianity are not commanded in the Bible, and Scripture backed up his realisation that associating the name of Jesus with these days did not make them more acceptable: "... in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men" (Matthew 15:9).

While in high school, he also discovered that in the King James Version of the Bible the word translated as "Easter" in Acts 12:4 was an erroneous translation of the Greek word ‘pascha’, a word clearly meaning the Passover (described in Leviticus 23:5). It was not until the second century, long after the New Testament was written, that people began to replace the Passover observance with Easter.

Jesus and His family observed the Holy Days of the Bible, travelling to Jerusalem, when He was twelve years old, to observe the Passover (Luke 2:41, 42). John 7 also shows Christ keeping the Feast of Tabernacles and Last Great Day (described in Leviticus 23:33-36) in spite of the threat of bodily harm. Jesus kept all of the annual festivals, not only because He was a devout Jew, but because God commanded them and He was setting an example for Christians today (Matthew 28:20).

These Holy Days were also observed following Christ's ascension. The disciples were gathered together to observe the feast of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was sent (Acts 2:1), because Pentecost was still a "holy convocation," a commanded assembly (Leviticus 23: 15- 16, 21).

Gentile Christians also observed the biblical Holy Days. More than 20 years after Christ’s crucifixion, about the year A.D. 55, the Apostle Paul gave important instruction to the Church in the gentile city of Corinth, where most church members were gentile. A man was involved in an immoral relationship, and Paul instructed them to expel him from the church:"...Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump...For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with ...the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth" (1 Corinthians 5:6-8).

The Corinthians had put out leaven to observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, but had not applied the spiritual lesson. Paul’s intent, by instructing them to "keep the feast," was not to spiritualize away the Days of Unleavened Bread, but to magnify them. The New Testament builds on the foundation of the Old by emphasizing the spiritual intent of the Holy Days.

Colossians 2:16, 17 is perhaps the most oft-quoted New Testament Scripture used to discredit the Holy Days: "So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ."

Paul was not saying not to keep the Holy Days, he was addressing their proper observance. The Colossians had been introducing ascetic practices on the Holy Days, as they were being influenced to follow the commandments and doctrines of men (verses 18-23). If anything, these verses corroborate the practice of God's true Church in the first century was to observe these days,

Another misunderstood text is Galatians 4:8-10. Verses 8 and 9 refer to the practices of the Galatians before they knew the true God, and after learning the truth, they were beginning to return to these ‘weak and beggarly elements’. To say God's laws are weak and beggarly is blasphemous. These "days and months and seasons [times] and years" were pagan practices, possibly similar to astrology today.

When a person looks into the commands and examples in the Bible to determine which religious festivals to observe, there is only one choice to be found: the annual festivals and Holy Days of God. If we are to build on the foundation of the apostles and prophets and follow the example of Jesus Christ, we will faithfully observe these days, and come to learn more about God's plan of salvation for humanity.