“Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies” (Proverbs 31:10)
A lot can be said for virtue. So often, words become meaningless due to overuse or misuse. I don’t believe this has happened with “virtue.” More close to the point, we have just about stopped using the word in our everyday conversation. This is because we so seldom see any virtue.
Due to this lack of use, no one knows what it means to be “virtuous.” (Admittedly, I had to look up the word in order to get an understanding of my text verse.) Low use (implementation) leads to no use (application). If we don’t use the word, we won’t know how to use it.
This same principle governs our standard for virtuous living. If no one lives virtuously, no one will have an example of virtuous living. Therefore, no one will desire to live virtuously. Then we have the ever constant demoralization of society.
While this argument applies equally to both men and women, our text specifically tells us that “a virtuous woman” has a price far above rubies. The RSV calls her “a good wife,” while the EV strengthens the meaning by calling her “an excellent wife.” We’re given the correct understanding then, that, as a wife, a virtuous woman has great value.
“Virtue” is defined as the conforming to a standard of right. It also indicates the power to accomplish this conformity. The chief synonym is “morality.” The fact that virtue requires conformity proves that the standard of right is not set by the person that would be virtuous. To be virtuous, a person must be submissive to the standard of what is right, which is set by another.
Ruth was a virtuous woman (Ruth 3:11). She chose to be devoted to her mother-in-law (1:16-17). She chose not to be idle (2:2). She chose not to chase men (3:10). She chose to be obedient (3:5). She chose to love (3:10). Ruth chose to be virtuous as an expression of a submissive spirit – she was humble (2:10); industrious (2:7), faithful (2:23), and Godly (2:12). Such a woman is indeed of great value, especially as a wife.
I believe Ruth chose to be virtuous because she knew and understood the value of such. As I began this message, I stated that we don’t use the word “virtue” because we don’t see any virtue. Ruth had to learn what virtuous living was before she could live it. She had to see and appreciate her value as a woman.
This short series of messages on “The Value of a Woman” is written from notes taken during the preaching of a sermon by the same title. It is my hope that both men and women will be blessed by the knowledge of a woman’s value; that men will seek out a virtuous woman, and that women will choose to be virtuous by submitting to the standard set by God.