“She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.”
As I began to study and pray over this verse of scripture, the Lord revealed to me that this is not just a simple scripture about being lazy. This is a very serious scripture and indeed a warning to the women of the home. Let us pray for the revelation of the Lord as we study His Word so that we can fully comprehend what He is saying to us.
“looketh well” Strong’s H6822 – tsaphah
1) to look out or about, spy, keep watch, observe, watch
a) (Qal) to keep watch, spy
b) (Piel) to watch, watch closely
I find it very interesting that the Hebrew word for “looketh well” is translated 20 times in the Scripture as “watchman”. Now what do you think of when you read the word “watchman”. In my mind’s eye, I see a guard tower high above the land and I see a soldier going back and forth surveying the entire area. He is watching over his assigned territory for anything that might be amiss. His eyes are constantly surveying the horizon for the enemy.
In Ezekiel 3: 17, we read “Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me.” The Lord was telling Ezekiel that he had called him to a very important position as a watchman, and in that position Ezekiel was to listen to the Word of God and then give warning to the people. In Chapter 33 of Ezekiel we read:
”Son of man, speak to the children of thy people, and say unto them, When I bring the sword upon a land, if the people of the land take a man of their coasts, and set him for their watchman: If when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people; Then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head. He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul. But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand. So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me.” Ezekiel 33:2 – 7
What a dire warning for the watchman! And we see in Proverbs 31:27, that WE are the watchmen chosen to “looketh well”. Sounds pretty serious, doesn’t it Sisters!!
Now what are we supposed to be watching over? What is the territory that He has placed us in charge of? The “ways of her household” is our next phrase and this is what our territory encompasses. The WAYS of OUR household. Ah! Notice anything here. It does not say the ways of our neighbor’s household, does it? It does not say the ways of our church. Nope. And it certainly doesn’t say the ways of our employer and co-workers. It says the ways of OUR household. There are many directions that I could go with this examination but all would be conjecture on my part. I would be trying to extrude from it my own thoughts about the meaning of these words based on what I think this verse is saying but I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to temper the Word of God with my own pre-set ideas. How can we grow and become more Christ like if we simply force the Word to mean what we already think it means. We must seek the Heart and Mind of God in order to gain the truth. Let’s examine the meaning of these words.
“the ways” - Strong’s H1979 – haliykah
1) going, doing, travelling company, way
a) going, walk, marching, doings
b) travelling company, caravan
Not exactly what I expected here – but how compelling this is – the going, the doing, travelling company, marching, etc. Does this not clearly show that we are set as watchmen over all the happenings in the lives of our family whether they are in our house or out and about. Oh the flack I caught all the years my children were growing up because I was involved in every aspect of their lives. If I had a nickel for every time someone told me I was smothering them and not allowing them any freedom, I would have a pile of nickels. In Proverbs 31:27, The Word tells us that He has set us to watch over all the goings and doings of our family. As a watchmen we may not always be able to be down in the midst of the activity – we must be in a position to watch and that means sometimes we have to step back. That being said, we must not step back so far as to be unaware or unable to affect change.
While our children were young, we felt it vital to involve them in social activities and that included many volunteering opportunities. The majority of those I was able to be a real part of like 4-H, the nursing home visits, etc. But there were times when we allowed them to go without us to programs and events like Red Cross Leadership camp and working at the MGH arena in Talladega. But before they were ever allowed to be part of any of these things we checked out every aspect of the program including the leadership and workers. To hand over our children to the authority of people we did not know was not a concept I understood. Because of influence in our lives by authority figures in churches, we did succumb to that modern concept of sending our young children off for 8 hours a day to be taught by strangers, but that only lasted a short time. Thanks be to Father God, that He strengthened us in the midst of false teaching by those authority figures and we were awakened from that stupor and quickly brought our children home.
In the same vein of thought, I want to say that just because an activity or program has an image of Godliness, if there is any part of it which goes against scripture then it is not for the Children of God. We are commanded by Scripture to “train up our children in the way they should go”. You cannot do this if they are constantly allowed to be pulled into worldly endeavors through the mask of “ministry” programs which end up being nothing more than glorified pizza parties and group dating. Oh that God’s people would turn from the world’s enticements.
Before I move on from this, let me also share the importance of watching our own personal activities and pursuits as adults. It is easy to fall into the trap of feeling like we are mature enough as adults that we can handle temporary pleasures this world has to offer, but that is a slippery slope that leads straight to destruction. So many begin to taste of the world’s entertainment and before they even realize it they become hungry for more. An appetite is created and suddenly you find yourself craving these things. Whether it is having a sip of wine at a nice restaurant or going on vacation and ending up at some beach with near nudity on display. Satan is very talented at giving us excuses as to why we should indulge in simple pleasures but remember every juice apple has the potential for a worm and the most perfect, unblemished piece of fruit has probably been sprayed with fungicide, herbicide and pesticide!
Be vigilant Watchman! If those you are diligent to warn are injured or taken by the enemy it will not be accounted to you, but if you did NOT warn them, then their blood is on your hands! A serious scripture indeed!! Much meat the chew on.
Now before we are done, we have another part of this scripture to examine:
“and eateth not the bread of idleness”
The word for eateth is translated as eat, devour and consume. So these are fairly straightforward terms referring to taking something into your body/your life. She does NOT take into her body or her life, the “bread of idleness”. Okay so she is not a lazy person, right?! Right but wait – there’s more! We can follow this one of two ways: passively or actively. She stays in that watchtower continually. There is not a moment lost on frivolous pursuits and “me” time. When did it become passé to surrender your life in the service of others and especially in the service of the Lord to your family. I have often wondered at the modern insistence that women who serve their family are ignorant, lazy or brow-beaten. Let me try to explain what I am seeing in this phrase.
Bread is known the world over and historically as the basis of the human diet. Whether it be referring to an actual loaf of bread or something else – some type of grain. The point being that it is the foundation of the diet. So it is what sustains us in many ways. I have prayed over this section of this Bible Study for two weeks because I felt so strongly about the need to get this right and make it clear.
Merriam Webster’s Dictionary defines idleness as “lacking worth or basis”. This woman, this virtuous woman, is standing guard over her family in a watchtower – ever vigilant, ever diligent and she does not seek after the worldly pleasures in order to feed her flesh. Her life is devoted to a great purpose. She has an immense calling from the Creator of the Universe and that calling is to watch over her household – her family. The bread of idleness is anything that might conflict with her purpose. What activities and pursuits might we be involved in that are truly lacking worth. I mean true worth. What things do we do, as women, that in the long run bring no eternal reward. Take a moment and think about your day. Did you spend time today on serving God by serving your family or did you spend time feeding some lust of the flesh. Sisters, this is a serious matter and while I could continue here listing myriad things which come to my mind, I won’t. It is not for me to say – it is for the Holy Spirit to reveal to you the areas of your life where you might be eating the bread of idleness. Devouring those things which are basically useless endeavors.
“Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.” 1 Corinthians 3:13
Let us pray over these things with a humble heart and determine to deal with any areas of our life where we are consuming the bread of idleness. We all have these things, Sisters – I am right there too. Our time is short and we must labor at that which the Lord has given us.