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 Chayil – An excellent woman

This word is used in Proverbs 31:10 and Ruth 3:11 to refer to women, elsewhere in the Bible it refers to men

Chayil means a force, power, an army, wealth, virtue, capable, valor, strength

1) often used in a military context,

Psalm 33:17 uses chayil to refer to a war horse.

2) Wealth – Joel 2:22It also refers to wealth or products of the ability of a tree to produce fruit.

3) Able –

4) An army –

This word has perplexed and challenged me for a several years. Chayil – Oh dear Jesus, what does that look like in me, in the ministry to which You have called me? Define that ministry please… can I have a job description? What do you mean, “that’s not my job” is not an acceptable response?”

Oy, I have taken several side trails on this discovery journey…

I know that no matter what words, what attitude, what preparation, what spirit, whatever God chooses to offer through me, there will be those who hear, and those who reject or explain away these words. I have written from the cry of my heart, from pain, from shame, from hopelessness and been told I was too arrogant. I have written using “me/I” and told I was self-centered, I have written using “You/we” and been told I was preachy. Ultimately, my words are empty and fruitless… however, the Holy Spirit can use whatever words to teach, affirm, convict and/or to plant hope, encouragement, discernment and joy in the hearts of readers. It is not me and my words that are significant, I do not condemn or convict, it is what the Holy Spirit speaks into the hearts of readers that is important and whether they choose to accept or reject them.

Everyone will hear and read something different, because we are all at different stages in life’s journey. And so, I write about my journey, the peaks I have climbed, the pits into which I have fallen, the journey through sunshine, the journey through rain and mud… Your journey will look different, but the core message is the same, “stay close to Jesus”… and He will guide, protect, and provide along the way. My journey is about me. Your journey is NOT, NOT, NOT, about me, it is about you and what you choose to do with your life, your calling, your choices. I don’t have a clue what that is… But I love watching and seeing what God is doing on your journey.

Chayil… what does that look like?

Chayil, sounds like a strong woman, a capable woman, even a warrior woman… what does that look like?

The enemy would love to provoke into wild swinging to wear down strength… this often results in discouragement, in shame from jumping in without adequate preparation… Chayil could be a fighter… but not blindly fighting perceived enemies… should not our fight be reserved for the fierce foe?

The enemy would shame and blame… to teach us to suffer in silence, to teach us to take credit for what God has/is doing… It is not about us, our wants, our pride… it is about being part of a bigger, beautiful picture… and being our part… not trying to be someone else.

What if Chayil starts with praying? Is not a warrior is first clad in prayer armor?

What if Chayil looks like grace? Like mercy?

What if Chayil looks like caring for others, caring for the needs of others? Not necessarily the wants, and not necessarily fixing things, but mentoring, teaching and preparing them so that they can learn to care for themselves, and helping those who are honestly trying. The saying goes, “they don’t care what you know until they know you care…” often caring for someone opens the door to teaching, to mentoring.

What if Chayil looks like loving? Love speaks: embraces truth and speaks the truth in love, encourages… plants hope…

love respects and is not critical…

love hears and does not ignore…

What if Chayil looks like discerning? Like being proactive instead of re-active? Isn’t an effective warrior strategic?

Oh, Do NOT fight a battle you are not committed to win, my sister!

Does Chayil look like obedience to God? Do NOT be deceived, if we choose to walk away, to not do our part, God will use AND BLESS through that ministry, someone who is willing to step up to the plate and take a swing.

Could Chayil be more concerned about persons than our own personal rights?

What if Chayil looks like being a verb (an action) rather than a noun (a name)?

Are not, Praying, caring, grace, mercy, love, discerning are all action words?

Does not a Chayil woman puts actions to those words?

What if we are defined as Chayil by what we say to and about others, as well as our actions to and about others – the fruit produced in our lives is displayed in our words and actions.

Chayil is strength, but does not strength also look like bearing one another’s burdens?

I think of our visits on military bases… Reveille is played (LOUDLY) each morning… Is not God playing reveille? Wake UP! My warrior child, the day is at hand and I have called you to begin…

I had a Jewish woman tell me that in traditional Jewish households, Proverbs 31, Chayil is sung over the woman of the house. What a beautiful picture, a beautiful, encouraging tradition. The Bible tells us that God sings over us… somehow I wonder if this is what He sings over His beloved daughters… you are Chayil, my daughter… this is our reveille…

Define Chayil in me, Lord, so that I may live Chayil in order to teach it to my daughter(s) and granddaughter(s).

Your word, Lord, created the heavens and the earth out of chaos… create order out the chaos in my life… and speak Chayil, excellence, into me.

Deeper still:

Zephaniah 3:17

The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”

9 There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. 10 For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.

11 Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience. 12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. Hebrews 5

4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not [b]puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, [c]thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

8 Love never fails.

I Corinthians 13