Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Proverbs 31 Woman and the Bride of Messiah

If you are like me, you have perhaps read the description of the Perfect Woman in Proverbs 31 and groaned inwardly (or outwardly), saying, "I will never be able to be like her!"

Verse 10 starts out with what seems like a rhetorical question.  "A wife of noble character, who can find?"

But the second part of that verse says her worth (her value, her price) is far above rubies.

In their ancient culture, women were purchased.  A bride price was always agreed upon before a woman became someone's wife.  Our Proverbs 31 woman KNOWS that she is valuable to her husband because he had paid a high price for her. Knowing how much he values and cherishes her, she serves him joyfully and without reserve.  Her family flourishes, and her children and husband praise her and call her blessed.

As the bride of Yeshua, we too were purchased at a very high price -  the blood of the Lamb.  Proverbs 31 actually foreshadows our Christian walk!  We don't (or shouldn't) serve Jesus out of some guilty sense of obligation.  When we realize what he has done for us, we can BE that Proverbs 31 gal when we serve Him joyfully and without reserve!

There are many parallels between the ancient Hebrew marriage customs and the coming Marriage to the Lamb.  Let's look at a few.
  • The Father chooses a bride for his son.  The Father also chose us for His Son. Eph 1:4 -  just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love

  • The Ketubah was and still is the marriage contract in a Hebrew wedding.  We have a ketubah today:  the New Covenant, in which the groom promises love and care for His bride - and to give Himself for her. The bride promises to pay her dowry - her financial status - that of her yielded life and to keep herself for Him.  1 Cor 6:20 - For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s

  • The bride and groom were separately immersed in a mikveh, which we know today as baptism.  Yeshua was immersed as He began His ministry, and He asks us to do the same when we receive Him.

  • The betrothal period - This is where we now are!  In scripture, it was as binding as a marriage.  The time of betrothal was a time of sanctification (being set apart and preparing for the wedding and marriage).  The groom's responsibility at this time was to prepare a place for them to live.  In Bible times, this was usually not a new home, but rooms that were added onto his father's house.  John 14:2-3 illustrates this beautifully:  In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

  • Before the betrothed couple parted to prepare themselves, the groom would give the bride a gift, called the matan in Hebrew.  Its purpose was to be a reminder to his bride during their days of separation of his love for her, that he was thinking of her - and that he would return to receive her as his wife.  Interestingly, the Greek word for this gift, or pledge, is charismata.  We see the gift that is given in Ephesians 1:13-14 - In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.
These are just a few things to ponder as we await the return of our Bridegroom.  Watch for another post soon on the rapidly approaching marriage!

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