The Virtuous Woman and Covenant

Blog #34 July 12, 2022

Many people myself included fail to realize that reaching out for God is a process of unity. Trapped inside our own bodies, we tend to live life as one alone and aloof from any need for others. As a young man I valued above all other things the ability to conquer life's challenges relying only on my strengths and my knowledge. This attitude is lauded and approved of even in a world that seems to be obsessed with team sports, team effort, and teamwork in general. When I chose to follow God, I clung to that self-reliant attitude, and I struggled.

In my years in the Protestant world I was beset with age-old traditions, fostered by people who refused to recognize any of the joy that should be present within our belief in God. Instead, they chose to fear God and fear what He might do if we did the "wrong thing". Late into my high school career the drug culture of the free love generation came to our little community and exposed to those who would look, a fundamental weakness in a faith founded on ritual, tradition, and a fear of God. It was rigid. It was static. The faith I had been taught neither contained nor required growth of any kind. In fact, when I sought to take God with me into a world foreign to the rituals and traditions of my youth, the very brethren I grew up with were the first to turn their backs on me. My best friend was one that refused to join me and he did so based solely on the fact that if you live like they live; you're going to hell. He tried many times to scare me with just that threat. His love for God was not love at all. It was nothing more than a fear of what God would do. As I looked around me I saw nothing but hypocrisy. Even those friends that traveled the same path I did, refused to even consider allowing God and His Spirit to lead them through this time. It seemed as if everyone was done growing. At age 18, I turned my back on all of them, joined the world, and began my search for something better, alone. Hindsight now tells me that I was anything but alone.

Joshua 1: 9 Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed; for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

Many years later for no apparent reason I picked up my Bible and began reading. I know now, God was leading me to a passage written by my much-quoted friend Solomon as the preacher in Ecclesiastes.  

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 
4:9 Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labor.
4:10 For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow; but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.
4:11 Again, if two lie together, then they have heat; but how can one be warm alone?
4:12 And if one prevail against him two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken

The thoughts of this passage haunted me because it spoke of a kinship in faith that I had walked away from and I found that I missed it very much. About that time God sent to me an Elder in the RLDS Church. He was very much convinced that I needed to know God in the same way he did, and he came to my life to convince me. On our first meeting he began our discussion with Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, and because of the Spirit in him, I finally began to grow again. He offered as proof of these verses in Ecclesiastes a passage from Mosiah, one from Psalms, and one from the Doctrines and Covenants. In this he was teaching me of fellowship, one of the greatest tenants of the fullness of the Gospel.

Mosiah 9:58 And there was one day in every week that was set apart that they should gather themselves together to teach the people, and to worship the Lord their God, and also as often as it was in their power, to assemble themselves together.

Psalms 50:5-6
50:5 Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.
50:6 And the heavens shall declare his righteousness; for God is judge himself. Selah.

DC 6:15b Where two or three are gathered together in my name, as touching one thing, behold, there will I be in the midst of them; even so am I in the midst of you.

Over time I came to realize, how very necessary it is that we gather. We gather that we might form common understandings. We gather that those common understandings unify us in our acceptance of God's ways. We gather that our unity allows the strength of one to overcome the weakness of another. We gather that our unity of oneness becomes a testimony before the world of a family united in our concern of one for another. We gather that the world might cease to fear God and come to recognize Him as their Father. We gather that all might learn, grow, and be able accept the love He offers them. Yes Brethren I was made very aware of my hearts desire. I wanted to be one of many reaching out for our Father, growing in His ways, blessed with oneness of Spirit, the very essence of God and His Kingdom.

Matthew 16:18-19 
16:18 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona; for flesh and blood hath not revealed this unto thee, but my Father who is in heaven.
16:19 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Notice in this passage the word church. Strong's Exhaustive Concordance defines this Greek word ekklēsia as a feminine noun depicting an assembly of Christians gathered for worship in a religious meeting. It describes the very gathering we seek, but this can be very confusing. First of all, which church is God's church and what makes it His church? There are literally thousands of churches in this world. How can we tell which one is His?

In the scriptures are accounts of women who symbolically represent the church. The vision of John in Revelations gives us two, both the acceptable and the unacceptable.

Revelations 12:1-3
12:1 And there appeared a great sign in heaven, in the likeness of things on the earth; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars.
12:2 And the woman being with child, cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.
12:3 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up unto God and his throne.

Revelations 17:4-5 
17:4 And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet color, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication;

Both of these examples represent adequately a people gathered for worship. Even to the point of stating their purpose. The lady of chapter 12 speaks of a dedication to God, even to the point of bearing a man-child that many believe is God's Kingdom on earth, Zion. The whore of Babylon tells of her need to bring death and corruption to all. But other than what they look like, how do we tell which is which? In Proverbs Solomon brings to light how a life partner can change the very nature of the life we lead.  

Proverbs 12:4 A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband; but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones.

Proverbs 31 gives us an in depth study on one of this virtuous woman. 

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

It then goes on to name the assets that a virtuous woman brings to the covenant marriage. I have made a study on several of the exposed assets of this virtuous woman, and will probably use this study as a basis for sharing with you a way to recognize the gathering that constitutes Christ's Church. I am convinced that those who gather as Christ's Church will be a living testimony of all that is God and is of God, and that the virtuous woman is a type and shadow of that testimony. That which we need to begin with is covenant, because our covenant with God seeks to create the oneness of Spirit that is God's true church. A proper understanding of the very nature of covenant is what I offer today. I targeted two verses of Proverbs 31 to support our discussion.


Proverbs 31:11-12
31:11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
31:12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.

In the modern world these verses could be shunned for their obvious sexist overtones. They definitely imply that a good wife is a loyal and true servant of her husband's temporal assets. That she will manage his holdings by his standards and expectations in his absence. This was the norm in Christ's day because women of Judah were not allowed to own anything neither were they allowed to buy sell or trade except as an agent of their husband. In a world gone by we can understand easily the implications inferred and the way it colored our understanding of the true nature of the church/woman. Using Solomon's virtuous woman as a base-line example, the Church was to administer all of Christ holdings making preparation for His return. In other words we were to be obedient to God's ways and faithful in caring for His property or face the reprisal of an angry Lord. Brethren, I believe that this master servant relationship is correct, but only in the short term and insufficient for the fullness of understanding we seek. If the fullness of God's Church is a fear centered servitude, sometime in the last 2000 years Zion would have come. I believe growth is needed for us to understand all we need to know about this woman/church.

In our target verses we are being exposed to something much more important than mandated servitude and obedient service. If we were to put a name to the relationship between man and wife, we would call it covenant. According to the fullness of doctrines, God's relationship with us as His church is also called covenant. If we are to serve to the fullest measure of our abilities, we must open our hearts up to the fullest meaning of this relationship. We are asked to grow in our covenant, understand fully the covenant we made, and apply this understanding to our perception of the true nature of the woman/church we seek.   

Proverbs 31:11-12
31:11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
31:12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.

Our covenant labor is to join God in His work of bringing about the immortality and eternal life of man. 

DC 22:23b and there is no end to my works, neither to my words; for this is my work and my glory, to bring to pass the immortality, and eternal life of man.

Most theologians even those within the fullness of the Gospel, define covenant as an agreement between two people; each bearing an equal weight of responsibility for maintaining the agreed to conditions. Most of the Christian world believes that God sets the conditions of the covenant and it is man's responsibility to adhere to those conditions. Again we are faced with a master and servant situation that in truth, fails to create the oneness God seeks for His covenant people. God defines covenant as that which creates unity in a way no contract can. He does so using covenant marriage as the example.

Genesis 2:30 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one flesh.

Brothers and sisters, the point of covenant is for two to become one. Both must recognize that which makes them different and seek for those attitudes and desires, which will make them the same. In covenant with God through Jesus Christ we seek to leave behind our lonely existence, as sinful people in bondage to doubt and fear to join with others in the freedom of like mind, like faith, and oneness. In this same covenant God seeks to do away with His need to judge mankind for all its sinful deeds. Our God-given ability to choose and God's own respect for that ability requires Him to be the judge He never wanted to be. His heart's desire is to have all recognize and embrace His justice, which allows Him to fill the world with His mercy and welcome all of creation into His heavenly abode forever.

Christ prayed for His disciples stating clearly what He offers mankind and the purpose He serves. Read this passage carefully and recognize it as a prayer that the true strength of covenant will be our oneness with God. 

John 17:19-23 
17:19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.
17:20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
17:21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
17:22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one;
17:23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

The word covenant is more than just a synonym for agreement or contract. In a contract you agree to little more than conditions within a situation. Covenants are created by a mutual need that neither party is able to fulfill on their own. Common need creates common purpose. As man and a woman share the joy of love they find a common need in their wish to face life and all its challenges together. The covenant of marriage voices their common need as a common purpose and opens for them a path by which they might stand before God and mankind as one in this purpose. Therein is displayed the difference between a contract or agreement, and covenant. Purpose needs covenant because covenant creates purpose.          

In covenant we go beyond trust. We move into the realm of complete assurance that those we made covenant with think as we do, act as we do, and react to the world around us with the same depth of loyalty to the purpose created by the covenant we made. In the case of the husband and the wife, neither are ruler or servant. Instead, both are companions craving the fulfillment of the purpose they created. The beliefs and virtues of one mirror the desires and hope of the other, because in this............they are one. If we are to be the God's true church we must be able to both commit and trust. We must commit to laboring with God for a family dedicated to the growth of righteousness and truth in the hearts of all His children, and trust that He wants the same thing as much as we do. Both attitudes are needed, because trust will die without commitment, and commitment is hollow without trust. God's need to be merciful depends on humanity recognizing their need for His mercy. Such is the nature of covenant. 

Helaman 2:25 Thus we may see that the Lord is merciful unto all who will in the sincerity of their hearts, call upon his holy name; yea, thus we see that the gate of heaven is open unto all, even to those who will believe on the name of Jesus Christ, who is the Son of God;

Psalms 37:4-5 
37:4 Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
37:5 Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.

Covenant is the foundation on which the Kingdom is built. Understanding covenant lights the path we choose to walk with God. 


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