God’s Ideal Woman

Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. ~ Proverbs 31:10

Abba wrote an entire Proverb just about us women. His ideal woman! Truth be told the woman in this Proverb seemed a bit overwhelming to me. A Martha Stewart on steroids! She seemed so unattainable to me as a young wife and mother. How could I possibly be all those things that this woman was?

But Abba didn’t give us a picture of a woman that we couldn’t be. He wasn’t dangling a carrot in front of us… teasing us with an image that was impossible to walk in. Nor did He give us a picture of a woman that we should strive to become! What He did give us in this picture of His ideal woman is a picture of us. A snapshot of who we already are. Of what we actually look like through His eyes.

The word virtuous used to describe the Proverbs 31 woman is chayil. This word includes the possession of whatever attributes are needed to carry out the task at hand. All of the attributes of what is needed for you to be the woman He designed you to be are already inside you.

There are 150 words in Hebrew in this poem.  Female in Hebrew is nekeiva (nun-kuf-beit-hei) Nun kuf is 150 and beit hei is a spelling for bah which means “in her.” Together that literally says “150 in her.”  All the words, all the meaning, all the potential and all the beauty of the 150 words is within us as females.  I love that!

The pressure is off! We don’t have to strive to become this woman. She is not an ideal that we are trying to achieve. All of her qualities are already in us waiting for us to wake up to and walk in.  We are fully equipped to be what our husbands and families need to excel and to prosper in their destinies.

The Proverbs 31 woman is more true to the Hebrew text when it uses words like this… “who can find a powerful, mighty, valiant woman?” Synonyms for these three words include wielding power, superhuman, influential, strong, unafraid and brave. WOW! This woman in the simplest translation is a warrior.

Abba is saying with this Proverb, “This is a picture of you My daughter of Grace!”

Rest in this!

Stop trying to become…. and just BE who you have always been, God’s ideal woman… perfect and complete in Him!

~ Robin

Wise home builders — Abigail

A couple of weeks ago I began a series of posts called Wonder Woman and chose different women throughout the Bible to highlight as wise home builders.  It’s been a busy couple of weeks and this is the first moment I’ve had to resume the teaching.  Today’s post is on Abigail in 1 Samuel 25.

Abigail has always been one of my favorite women of the Old Testament.  It’s hard to understand how a gracious, generous, loving woman could marry a man who’s character matches his name…. fool.  Maybe it was an arranged marriage… it seems unlikely that he was ever a catch that would’ve caught her eye!

1 Sam 25:3 says she was married to Nabal (meaning fool).  Psalm 14:1 talks about a fool.  The Complete Jewish Bible translation says:  Fools say in their hearts, “There is no God”, they deal corruptly, their deeds are vile, not one does what is right, an evil doer)  This pretty much summed up Nabal.  According to the Midrash (collection of explanatory works on the first five books of the Bible), he believed his lineage entitled him and not David to succeed Saul as King.  What does 1 Sam 25 tell us about Nabal and his wife Abigail?  It says he is very wealthy, he has 3 thousand sheep and 1 thousand goats.  He was hard hearted, oppressive, and evil in his deeds.  It also tells us he is a Calebite.  He and David are from the same tribe of Judah.  Of Abigail, it says she is beautiful and a woman of good understanding.  She definitely is a polar opposite of her husband!

In 1 Sam 25:4-8 we see David sending his men to appeal to Nabal for generosity towards them.   They greet Nabal in David’s name and pronounce a blessing upon him and his household. They call Nabal’s attention to the fact that it is shearing time, reminding him that while his men were in Carmel they protected them and his sheep.  They encourage Nabal to ask his servants to verify the truth of these words.  They have politely asked Nabal for a gift, waiting patiently and expectantly for his response.

Nabal’s response:  “Who is David? and who is the son of Jesse? there be many servants nowadays that break away every man from his master. Shall I then take my bread, and my water, and my flesh that I have killed for my shearers, and give it unto men, whom I know not whence they be? “ (1 Sam 25:11).  

David’s appeal for food was not an unreasonable request.  This was during a sheep shearing feast (1 Sam 25:8) and it was known as a time of abundance, a time of sharing, and public celebration.  At such times the Law of Moses instructed the Israelites to be generous with those who were not so fortunate.  And since David’s men had contributed to Nabal’s well-being and wealth, David’s request is even more reasonable.  But Nabal refused.

At first, it looks like he doesn’t know who David is, asking “who is David?”  But obviously, he does as he refers to him as Jesse’s son.  It also appears that he knows of the tension between David and Saul.  Most likely he also knew of David’s fame as a giant killer and a war hero.  But he refers to him as a beggar and a runaway slave.  He had just insulted the region’s most powerful man. So the men return to David and report back to him Nabal’s response.  David tells his men to grab their swords and he and 400 of his men go after Nabal.

Meanwhile, Abigail (who had been out) hears what her husband did and sets out to repair the situation.  She quickly takes a gift of abundance to David (200 loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five sheep already prepared, six quarts of roasted grain, a hundred clusters of raisins and 200 fig cakes.)  She then asks him to blame her since she was not at home rather than blaming her husband since his inhospitable nature is part of his poor character.

Abigail was a Proverbs 31 woman…… she extends her hands to those in need, she speaks with wisdom, watches over the affairs of her household and definitely feared the Lord.  

  • She had good discernment.   Verse 3 describes her as beautiful and having good understanding or discernment. In verse 17 the servants make her aware of the situation, confident that she will “know and see” what to do.  This probably wasn’t the first time she had to smooth over things caused by her husband’s foolishness.  In verse 33 David praises her for her judgment and perception in the situation.  It was her good discernment that saved the lives of her household!
  • She was courageous.  She set off on her donkey to meet with David.  She boldly approached David and 400 men with swords who were coming to her home to kill everyone… herself included!  She stepped into a potential battle with a man who was known as a warrior!  She didn’t think of herself but rather risked her life in order to plead for the lives of her household.
  • She spoke well.  Her words were full of grace (Colossians 4:6).  Just like the Proverbs 31 woman, she spoke with wisdom and the law of grace… the law of chesed (covenant loyalty) was on her tongue.  She spoke to David as no other woman ever had.  She prophesied blessing and destiny over him.  Reminding him of God’s care over his life and that he didn’t need to shed needless bloodshed and vengeance.  She spoke well of God and well of David.  She spoke the Father’s heart and it pierced David’s heart causing him to change his mind.
  • She walked in humility.  She humbled herself before David bowing down before him and apologizing for anything she had done to offend David.  She took responsibility for her husband’s actions and asked that the blame falls on her.
  • She was generous.  She didn’t just provide for David’s need…. she abundantly provided food for them.  And she did it quickly… she didn’t hesitate.
  • She had the heart of a servant.  In verse 23 when she saw David, she bowed low before him and fell at his feet.  At the end of the story when David’s men at his request came to take her back to him as his wife, she again bowed low to the ground.  Calling herself a servant… happy to marry David… willing to be a slave… and willing to wash the feet of the servants of her lord.

Abigail was sensitive to the heartbeat of God…. aligning herself with His plans for David.  She saw David not as a runaway rebel (as her husband had) but rather as the anointed King of Israel.  She knew it was only a matter of time until God’s promises over David’s life were fulfilled.


Wise home builders — Deborah

This has been a fun series and we’re only just getting started.  So far we’ve looked at God’s purpose for women (Wonder Woman) and 3 wise home builders… Eve, Sarah, and Rebecca.  Now let’s look at Deborah.   This post will probably be a bit long.. because there is just so much about her! This woman broke traditional, male female role barriers.  What an inspiration for us as women….

This woman, called by God, broke traditional male female role barriers.  What an inspiration for us as women…. that we can be all that God has called us to be and our being a woman is a strength and an asset.  God didn’t use Deborah because He couldn’t find a man who would fill the position!

He chose Deborah to lead Israel because she was the person He anointed and appointed for the position!  Deborah was in a class of her own; her leadership role was unprecedented and unparalleled! She was a woman who led a nation to victory against all odds.  She was the 4th judge out of a total of 15… and the only woman who judged.

She was a born leader.  She was an intercessor, a judge, and a prophetess.  She was a deliverer and a military strategist! She was also a mother to Israel.  She possessed wisdom, strength, and compassion.  While she was judge, the land had peace for forty years.  She held the highest executive office in the land!  She led a nation to victory against all odds!!

I love Deborah!  I love the inspiration she gives us as wives and mothers.  Especially as mothers.  My ceiling is my children’s floor… so I am constantly raising that ceiling.  Breaking boundaries.  Pushing limits.  And showing my kids… especially my daughters…. that you can continue to go higher and that there isn’t anything you can’t do with God.  I’m a wife, a mom, a homeschool teacher, a business owner with my husband, I also run a second business with my mom and a couple of friends, I teach Bible study, and I write.  I want my ceiling to be as high as it can be so that their jumping off point is from a great height.  I want them to follow me as I follow Christ and go higher than I ever will!

Proverbs 31:28 Her children arise and call her blessed.  Each line of Proverbs 31 begins with a Hebrew letter from the aleph bet (alphabet).  Verse 28 is the letter “kuf.”  Kuf is a picture of the back of a man’s head.  The idea is following after or behind.  Her children arise.  Arise is “kum” in Hebrew which means to rise up, to go higher spiritually.  And they bless her.  Bless is “ashar” which is not the typical word for bless but rather means guide, advance, lead.  Put it all together and it shows us that her children are following after her lead… after her advances…. she is guiding them and they are going higher spiritually because of it!  This is what a wise home builder looks like.

Although there is no evidence that Deborah had children, she was a mother of Israel.  She led her “children” to go higher spiritually.  Deborah broke outside of her culture, but she wasn’t in rebellion.  She wasn’t a feminist,  she was in obedience to her God.   As a result she was used radically to set her people free, and the people loved her.  Her life is a wonderful story of faith in God.

She spoke life and released what God was saying NOW!

Now Deborah, a prophet, the wife of Lappidoth, was leading Israel at that time. ~ Judges 4:4

This is our first introduction to Deborah….. she is a prophet, she is Lappidoth’s wife, and she is leading Israel.  The first description we have is her name.  Names often have profound prophetic meanings.  Names reveal the character of the person, unusual circumstances at birth, or prophetic destiny.  Names are so important that at times God changed the person’s name to reflect what He said of them.

Deborah’name means bee (devorah).  Bee comes from a word that means “word” (davar)  and can also be translated thing or matter.  The original picture painted by this word to the Hebrews is the arrangement of things to create order. The fact that God said she was a prophetess tells us that she was saying what she heard from Heaven restoring or arranging order in Israel.  She was one who would set things in order and release honey….. a time of plenty, a time of peace in the land designed to flow with milk and honey!

Deborah operated in a heavenly dimension of a spirit of wisdom and revelation. She spoke life and released what God was saying to Israel right now thereby restoring order in the land.  And the result was 40 years of peace for Israel.  40 years represents a generation….. like David would one day do, she served her generation well.

But that’s not all we know about her… that’s just the first thing


She was a prophet.  There were seers (ro’eh and chozeh) and prophets (nabi).  1 Samuel 9:9 says tells us that prophets were once called seers.  In Judges 4:4 Deborah is called a nabi… a prophet… but she must’ve at one time been called a seer.   Samuel was the only other person who was both a prophet and a judge.

2 Peter 1:21 tells us that prophets were holy “men” who spoke under the power of Holy Spirit.  They were anointed by God to call the people to repentance and to reveal the will of God for Israel.  Numbers 12:6 says that if a person was a prophet then God made Himself known to them in visions and spoke to them in dreams.

The prophets are called by various names including: “Man of God,” “Servant of Jehovah (LORD),” “Messenger of Jehovah,” “Interpreter,” “Sentinel,” “The Man of the Spirit.”  I like the last one… man (or in this case woman!) of the Spirit.  The Old Testament only mentions 4 women prophets…. Miriam, Deborah, Huldah, and Isaiah’s wife (Isaiah 8:3).  And 1 woman prophet who attempted to stop God’s will for Israel….. Noahadia (Numbers 22-24).  

She was a holy woman…. a woman of the spirit.  God spoke to her in dreams and visions. And she boldly spoke under the power of Holy Spirit the will of God for Israel.

She burned for God

In addition to being a woman who restored order to Israel and a prophet who spoke with divine authority, she is referred to as the “wife of Lapidoth.”   His name means flame or torches.  According to rabbinic tradition, she was a keeper of the oil and the lighter of the lamps.  I’m not sure about that because Exodus 30:7-8 and Leviticus 24:3 tell us it was the priest’s (Aaron’s) job to do that.  She wasn’t a priest.  Of course, it may be saying “woman of fire/torches” instead of the wife of Lapidoth.  Either way, whether she was a woman of

Either way, whether she was a woman of lapidot or Lapidoth’s wife, she was a woman who burned for God.  She was a keeper of oil… of Holy Spirit.  She obviously valued and guarded her relationship with Him.  And she was a light given to Israel to deliver them from darkness.

She judged righteously

She held court under the Palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites went up to her to have their disputes decided.

She held court under the Palm of Deborah.  She would judge under a palm tree.  This was her court.  Palm tree means righteousness. Psalm 92 reveals that palm trees represent a life of righteousness that flourishes in God.  Her court would be a reminder to the people that a life of righteousness is what would cause them to flourish.  This would be a refreshing prophetic reminder to them after so many years of cruel oppression….. a wonderful encouragement.  Palm branches also represented victory…. through this woman’s leadership they would achieve victory over their enemies.  

She had Holy Spirit revelation and employed divine wisdom and strategies to influence her world.  John 7:24 tell us to not judge by appearances but to judge all things righteously.  We are to judge things the way God judges them….. His righteous judgments are always founded on restoration and reconciliation. Reconciliation to Him.

We judge righteously by applying 2 Cor 5:20-21 to our life “And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” 

From the palm tree bearing her name, and elsewhere, called “the sanctuary of the palm,” she dispensed righteousness, justice, and mercy.  She was God’s answer to the Israelites, who cried out for help to the LORD, who had been cruelly oppressed for the last 20 years by Jabin, king of Canaan.

 She was abundantly fruitful 

She dwelled under the palm tree (righteousness) between Ramah and Bethel in the valley of Ephraim, which means doubly fruitful.  The one city was Ramah, which means “high place or the seat of idolatry.”   Bethel was known as the house of the Lord with open heavens….. this is where Jacob had his ladder experience in Genesis 28.  Bethel housed the ark of the covenant (Judges 20:27).

From this place, she judged.  From this place that she abided …..victory and righteousness (under the Palm), Deborah was abundantly fruitful.  She turned the Israelites hearts back to God.  Back to a desire for His Presence.  And away from idolatry.  And it stayed this way for 40 years.  Double (Ephraim is double fruitfulness) the time of their oppression.

She would hear from God and release Heaven on earth.  He led, she followed. She led, Israel followed.

She loved well

Of all the things that we learned about Deborah…. a prophet, a judge, a leader of Israel, a military strategist, a warrior, one who burned for God, there were, however, a couple of things she said about herself.  And both of these things are about how she loved…. first God and then out of that, others.

  1. In Deborahs Song, her love for the Lord is described as “like the sun, when it comes in full strength” (Judges 5:31).
  2. She called herself the Mother of Israel.

Deborah was a lover above all things.  She loved well!  She loved God fully — like the sun in full strength.  Hot and bright.  There was no dimness or coolness in her love for Him.  It was a wholehearted love…. one that could pour out to those around her.

She loved Israel. She prayed, interceded and judged them as only a mother can…. tenderly, lovingly… always with a heart of restitution and reconciliation to God.  And she was obviously loved by the people…..the eleven other dispersed tribes of Israel walked for miles and literally risked their lives on the dangerous highways as they pushed through to hear from God, through Deborah’s voice.  They must’ve felt her mother’s love for them.  She felt the ache in their hearts for God. She knew they had come so far, how could they leave empty-handed?  Deborah could hear the groans of the Israelites who were oppressed for 20 years and feel the pounding pain in God’s heart over His peoples sin and oppression. I believe that it was her ability to hear His heartbeat that allowed her to save a nation in a day.

Deborah could hear the groans of the Israelites who were cruelly oppressed for 20 years and feel the love in God’s heart for His people…. a love that wouldn’t give up on them.   It was her ability to hear His heartbeat that allowed her to turn a nation back to Him.  Deborah ruled with the sword of a prophet but with the heart of a mother.  She led well because she loved well.

In “Matthew Henry’s Commentary,” he writes  “…..She was totally devoted to Israel. After Jehovah, Israel was her first love.”

Will you be like a Deborah?  Hearing God’s heartbeat and expressing His love for those who are oppressed?  Judging them in righteousness and victory?  Waging war on an (already defeated) enemy by declaring them free IN CHRIST?

~ Robin



Wise home builders — Eve

The wisest of women builds her house, (she saves her household with her wisdom) but folly (lack of good sense or judgment) tears it down with her own hands”     ~ Proverbs 14:1

Yesterday I began a blog post series on “A Woman’s Purpose”  entitled Wonder Woman.  God created us as women in His image and likeness.  I didn’t grow up with that understanding.  I didn’t grow up in church, so everything I knew about a woman’s purpose came either from TV or from observing my parents relationship.

My dad was a good man.  A good provider and protector of his family.  He was however extremely chauvinistic and domineering.  My mom, while she was a strong woman, she was very submissive.  That was what the expected roles in marriage. They grew up in an era where women didn’t have many career options, and in marriage, the man was the supreme head of the house… there was no equality.   I, on the other hand, grew up in the era of Mary Tyler Moore, Charlie’s Angels, and Laverne & Shirley… all independent women who had freedom, careers and no husband to submit to.

So, not surprisingly, I wanted a life different from my mom’s.  I moved out on my own at 19 because all of those women in the tv shows lived on their own. I wanted a career, and I didn’t want to get married until I was 30… after becoming self-sufficient, living a life that I wanted…. having freedom and not being told what to do by a domineering husband.  

I believed that women kind of got the short end of the stick.  That our purpose was to live a life of submission… never questioning our husband’s absolute authority or decisions.  I realize now that God created us in His image and likeness…. that we are as Proverbs 31 calls us “virtuous women” or “women of excellence”.  

Proverbs 31 became very special to me in my late 20’s.  Steve (my husband) read it to me before we started “officially” dating and told me that it described me.  In his eyes, I was the Proverbs 31 woman.  Of course, after marriage and babies, I began to have a love/hate relationship with the Proverbs 31 woman.  It seemed so far out of reach…. this woman appeared to be a type of wonder woman!  Unattainable for someone like me!! It seemed like I was always falling so short and that God had set the bar too high for me.  It looked like a domestic checklist, and I wasn’t exactly Martha Stewart!

But then God began to give me the revelation that it is a picture of who I was created to be and it’s how He sees me “now”…… not someday when I get it all together.

Phil 1:6:  being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you (me….Robin) will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. 

There are 150 words in Hebrew in this poem (Proverbs 31).  The word “female” in Hebrew is nekeiva (nun-kuf-beit-hei).  This number, when represented by Hebrew letters, is nun kuf (the first two letters o the word female in Hebrew).  The last two letters in the Hebrew word female is beit hei which is a spelling for the Hebrew word “bah” which means “within her”..  literally 150 in her.

So, the word for female, nekeiva, can be read as “150 within her.”   All the words, all the meaning, all the potential and all the beauty of the 150 words is within us as women.  I don’t have to strive to become this woman, it’s already in me waiting for me to walk in the revelation of it.  We are right now fully equipped by God to be what our husbands need to excel and to prosper as men of God. 

In the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding, there is a scene where the two older women are talking to the younger woman about their power/strength as a woman.  They tell her that “the woman, she is the neck and she turns the head whichever direction she chooses.”  While it’s funny, there is truth to it.   We as women are the neck… either to manipulate it by turning it the direction “we” choose or to be the support system that allows the “head” (our husbands) to function in full mobility.

The term “woman of valor” is only used in the Old Testament to describe Ruth. There are, however, other women in the Bible who were beautiful women of excellence in their families.  They were wise builders of their homes… protecting the seed.. securing their future generations.  Hating evil and loving righteousness.  Respectfully opposing their husbands when the need arose to protect the direction of God in their lives.

One of those women is Eve.  I know, I know we tend to only remember that she sinned and caused the fall of man in the Garden.  She chose to believe the enemy instead of God.  But after leaving the Garden, Eve held on to what God said in Genesis 3:15 “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”

This was her promise!  A seed would come forth from her…. a seed that would hate evil and love righteousness.  A deliverer would come from her!

  • She held onto the promise of God and spoke it forth…

Genesis 4:1 reveals to us that when she gave birth to Cain, she had the promise of God before her….. she knew she had acquired this child from the Lord.  She sounds like she fully expected that the promise was fulfilled when she had her first child.  Here was the offspring that would crush the enemies head!

Hebrews 10:23 tells us to “hold fast to the hope set before us”…. Eve was doing just that by naming the son Cain.  The name Cain basically meant “I’ve got him” or “here he is.” Most likely Eve thought that Cain was the seed that God promised, the deliverer who would come from Eve.

Obviously, this didn’t prove to be true.  But Eve continued to believe……

  • She persevered with what God had said even after she was wrong the first time

When Cain killed Abel her expectations of the “promised seed” came to naught. Later, when she bore Seth she exclaimed, “For God has appointed another seed.”  She held fast to hope of the promise.

With Cain, she was expressing her faith in God’s promise.  In Hebrew, it reads kaniti ish et-Adonai, “I have gotten a man – namely, the Lord“.  This expressed her hope that this child would be the promised Deliverer in the flesh form of a man.  At some point, she noticed the differences between her sons.  She would’ve noticed that Abel, not Cain, was a lover of righteousness.  Perhaps he was the seed.  After he is murdered her hope is restored through the birth of Seth.

She said of Seth, “God has appointed me another seed, instead of Abel”  She seemed to have an understanding when she gave birth to Seth that God had assigned another seed for her.  The promised Deliverer would not be brought forth from her but rather she would give birth to an appointed seed.   And that seed that would produce a lineage that would one day give birth to the Deliverer.

The next couple of verses in chapter 4 tell us that through Seth’s descendant’s men began calling on the Name of the Lord.  They had faith in God as the Faithful One…. keeping His covenant promise with them.   And they began proclaiming who He was in their lives.

Eve was a wise builder of her home… of her future generations.  She is a beautiful example to us of a woman with steadfast faith. A woman of excellence…. directing her family in the promises of God.  She looked ahead to Christ and His redemption of mankind.

Are you holding on to the promises of God… holding fast to hope?  Speaking out His promises over your families lives?  Even when you miss it….. continuing steadfast until you see the manifestation of it?  

Next blog post we’ll look at Sarah 

~ Robin