Donna Gaines teaches Week 1 of the new Bellevue Women study, "Home Builders: Embracing the Art of Home."
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The Home Builders
Through [skillful and godly] wisdom a house [a life, a home, a family] is built,
And by understanding it is established [on a sound and good foundation],
And by knowledge its rooms are filled
With all precious and pleasant riches.
“It means wisdom, knowledge, experience, intelligence, insight, judgment. It is always used in a positive sense. The figure of Wisdom was never regarded as independent of God. It is only one of His attributes. The noun is not a woman, only feminine in gender. True wisdom leads to reverence for the Lord (Job 28:28; Proverbs 2:2). Therefore, skeptics will never find this kind of wisdom (see James 3:13-18), and they will never know the true meaning of life (Proverbs 14:6-7)” (Hebrew-Greek Key Study Bible, p. 1725).
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 9:10).
Wisdom is the foundation upon which a life and a home are built. The Bible tells us that Jesus is wisdom and there is no truth apart from Him. He is the living Word of God upon which we build our lives (1 Corinthians 3:9-17).
When I don’t fear the Lord, then I won’t have the understanding and knowledge needed to discern God’s will and His principles for abundant life.
“The meaning is insight, intelligence (Job 32:11), prudence, understanding (Hosea 13:2), discretion, reason, skillfulness, wisdom. The word is used forty-two times in the Heb. O.T., especially noting the concept of wisdom.” (Hebrew-Greek Key Study Bible, p. 1790).
“Understanding is the ability to discern and gain clarity through the filter of God’s Word, turning information into revelation...Understanding is the ability to gather meaning from the facts in order to develop personal convictions form biblical principles as the framework for living a holy and sanctified life” (The Home Builders, p. 27, emphasis mine).
Understanding establishes the home. Much like load bearing walls that are built upon the foundation, understanding grants us the “wisdom in action” that enables us to build upon the foundation of God’s Word.
“This noun means knowledge, insight, intelligence, understanding, wisdom, cunning. It is knowledge which was gained through the senses...This kind of wisdom is the opposite of ‘folly’ (Proverbs 12:23; 13:16; 14:18; 15:10). It is the contemplative perception of a wise man (Proverbs 1:4; 2:6; 5:2; Ecclesiastes 1:18). This word is also used for moral cognition (Genesis 2:9, 17). The knowledge of God along with the fear of the Lord (Isaiah 11:2; 58:2; Jeremiah 22:16) describes the proper relationship between God and a man who truly obeys Him.” (Hebrew-Greek Key Study Bible, p. 1726)
This knowledge is experiential and is the result of an intimate relationship with God. It is being known by Him and knowing Him. It is knowledge that causes us to value Him above all else. “You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (1 John 4:4 ESV).
“The phrase ‘your eyes will be opened’ is a Hebrew metaphor for knowledge” (The Home Builders, p. 54). This knowledge is also linked with the ability to “hear” God’s voice.
Knowledge is often considered “applied wisdom”. It is through knowledge that we fill our lives and the rooms and the very atmosphere of our homes with pleasant and precious riches.
IV. Building our Lives and our Homes
A. The foundation of our lives and homes is the Word of God and prayer.
“God has called me to delight in Him. The delight I have in my family is only a shadow of the delight I can find in God. His call is to a deeper level of delight than I can ever know in another human being...As I enter into a relationship with Him, I find Him so compelling that everyone and everything else pales in comparison to the splendor of His presence. In beholding His glory, I am changed. The transforming power of His nearness reinterprets my world” (Jennifer Kennedy Dean, Heart’s Cry, p. 1).
B. The Pillars of Understanding (the load bearing walls) are built upon the foundation of wisdom and provide the infrastructure for the rooms of our lives and homes.
“Christianity is not a series of truths in the plural, but rather total reality, not just about religious things. Biblical Christianity is Truth concerning total reality – and the intellectual holding of that total Truth and then living in the light of that Truth” (Francis Schaeffer, Address at the University of Notre Dame, April 1981, recorded in Total Truth by Nancy Pearcey p.15).
Living in the light of God’s truth changes our perception and it shapes our reality. Think about our current culture and how we are raising our sons and daughters.
As male and female we are all created in the image of God. We are brothers and sisters in Christ; a part of God’s family. We must value our femaleness and live in such a way that we raise daughters with strength and dignity. Our sons need to see women as sisters made in the image of God who are to be respected and protected. If we viewed each other as brothers and sisters, we would work to honor and protect each other.
Conversations we need to have with our sons and daughters–
- Beauty and worth are based on who we are in Christ
- Be comfortable being friends with the opposite sex
- Treat boys and girls as equals
- Model for our daughters how not to fall into the sensual trap of our
- Dress to represent Christ and your worth in Him
- Educate yourself and your daughters to maximize strength and passion
- Be and raise a Proverbs 31 woman
- Teach them to ask how can I serve instead of what can I take
- Watch out for the body talk and the food talk
- Focus on eternal significance
- Help your daughter find and use her voice
- Raise sons who see women as image bearers, sisters, not someone to be
- Teach our sons that every woman is your sister, created in the image of
- God. See your face in her face and serve and protect her. (The last three points are from Jen Wilkin’s podcast with The Gospel Coalition, referenced below in Additional Resources.)
C. The Rooms will be filled by knowledge with all that is pleasant and truly valuable. Obedience precedes blessing. As we build upon the Word of God and obey His precepts, the Lord will bless us with additional revelation as our minds are renewed to discern His will, which is “good, acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2).
“To say that Christianity is the truth about total reality means that it is a full- orbed worldview. The term means literally a view of the world; a biblically informed perspective on all reality. A worldview is like a mental map that tells us how to navigate the world effectively. It is the imprint of God’s objective truth on our inner life” (Nancy Pearcey, Total Truth, p. 23).
“Those who make decisions based upon external data become thermometers of society; their lives reflect the natural forces that shape their destiny. But those who make their decisions based upon what they see in God become thermostats of society; they influence their world through the forcefulness of bringing divinely received initiatives to bear upon this earthly sphere. Intimacy precedes insight.
Passion precedes purpose. First comes the secret place, then comes divine guidance” (Bob Sorge, Secrets of the Secret Place, Loc. 511).
Your view of God determines your level of faith. For what are you believing and trusting God? What promise has He given you? To what work has He called you? With what are you filling your life and your home?
Additional Resources –
Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney
Radical Womanhood, by Carolyn McCulley
Girls Gone Wise in a World Gone Wild by Mary Kassian
Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Our Minds by Jen Wilkin Jen Wilkin podcast - https://tgc-audio.s3.amazonaws.com/podcast/Raising_Daughters_Beyond_Stereotypes.mp3