Covenant Godly Living: (2) One in a Thousand

January 26, 2003 / No. 3134

Dear radio friends,

     Our text for today is found in the Word of God, Ecclesiastes 7:27, 28.   We read, “Behold, this have I found, saith the preacher, counting one by one, to find out the account:  which yet my soul seeketh but I find not:  one man among a thousand have I found; but a woman among all those have I not found.”

     God is telling us in this Scripture that a believing, holy, Christian wife, woman, or girl is an exceeding rare thing, an endangered species.  The one who is conducting the survey is not simply the writer of the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon.  But this is Scripture and, therefore, God’s accounting or reckoning of the matter.  God says that few godly woman are to be found.  You see, this survey is not the survey of a selective bachelor who has all of his requirements for “Miss Right,” and cannot find her.  But God is looking among women for the qualities of grace, wisdom, a meek and quiet spirit, faithfulness, a God-fearing woman.  And God says that that is rare.

     The world today has a tender regard for species which are threatened by extinction.  If there is a bird or a tadpole which, due to man’s sinful abuse of the creation (they do not call it that, they call it capitalism), is near extinction, then the world will handicap industry, cripple the economy, and cause taxes to soar, all to save what is rare and threatened.  But I will assure you that the world has no anxiety over this endangered species — a woman, a girl who fears the Lord, holy women of God.  They will not spend a dollar to preserve them.  One for the world is too many.  The world spends millions, billions on pornography, devilish propaganda.  The world will adjust its whole economy to see to it that the few who are left are slain and killed.  As in Solomon’s day, when wicked nations and ruthless bands would invade the villages of Israel and take Israel’s daughters and wives and girls captive to dedicate them to their gods and to kill them, so the world today, the devil and the media, the TV and the movies, the magazines and the culture, seeks to eradicate the godly woman.

     A godly woman is a rare thing.

     Although they are rare, our risen Lord Jesus Christ has promised that they are going to flourish in the church, in the house of God.  Listen to this concerning the work of the missionary Paul in Thessalonica:  “And some of them believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and (now note the words) of the chief women not a few” (Acts 17:4).   Jesus Christ has promised that this rare breed will flourish in the church — godly women.  They will come out of believing homes.  They will grow strong in the church of Jesus Christ, nurtured by the Word of God.  They will flourish under the tutelage of Christian mothers.

Jesus Christ has promised that this rare breed

will flourish in the church.

     That means that the church is a rare place, does it not?  Did you ever think about that when you go to church?  What a rare and wonderful place, what has God done for us!  The blessing of His covenant of grace!  So many of the endangered species, so many godly men and women!  Oh, not perfect.  We are saints in Jesus Christ.  We have many sins as women.  But, by the grace of God, there are women who fear the Lord and who have hearts for Him and say, “Behold, the handmaiden of the Lord.”  Then we are on our knees, are we not, when God gives to us the blessing of a Christian wife, a Christian woman, a Christian girl, and a Christian young lady.

     They are one in a thousand, says God, telling us that the Christian, believing woman is to be viewed as a rare thing.  Behold, this have I found, saith the preacher, counting one by one, to find the account:  yet which my soul seeketh and I find not:  one man among a thousand I have found; but a woman among all those have I not found.  Solomon is speaking as the preacher.  That means that he is conducting a spiritual survey, he is on a spiritual quest.  He places his sacred office on the foreground.  As the preacher he was king over Jerusalem.  He was appointed by God to lead and to direct in the way of the wisdom of God, to expose the deceit of the world’s pleasure and to humble the people of God before God.

     Then Solomon, a man gifted with the wisdom of God, looks at the multitude of the people who come to his courts — the guards, the diplomats, the soldiers, the men, the women who are found there.  And he seeks to find out those who are faithful and true, those who are loyal, those who are filled with the wisdom and love of God.  And he says, “The result of my inspection is this:  one man among a thousand I find; but a woman I do not find.”  What does he mean?  Does he mean to tell us that there is some spiritual defect in a woman as a woman compared to men?  Shall we make this text teach that in some way a man is more harmonious to the grace of God than a woman?  Most emphatically, No!  Men and women alike share in the depravity of Adam.  Both alike share in the redeeming grace of Jesus Christ.

     Does it mean, then, that God elects more men than women?  Shall we deduce that from the text?  Shall we establish as a doctrine that evidently (although the elect are few) there are more men than women in glory?  One man have I found, but a woman have I not.  Shall we say that?  No!  That is not the way to speak of the truth of God’s sovereign predestination.  To inquire foolishly about percentages of male, female, black, and white — do not ask foolish questions.  Remember II Timothy 2:19:   “The Lord knows them that are his.”  There shall be a great multitude in glory which no man can number of every nation, tribe, kindred, and people.

     What does it mean?  It means simply this.  A God-fearing woman is a rare blessing of God.  That is the way God insists that we are to think about it and view it.  Rare is the woman of godly wisdom.  Rare is the woman of Christ-like bearing, when we consider this godly woman with the multitude of the daughters of this world.

     How does Scripture consider the women of the world?  Very often there are a number of sins mentioned in connection with them.  The women of the world are often associated in Scripture with seduction, the temptress of sexual sin.  That is also in the context in Ecclesiastes 7:26, where we read, “And I find more bitter than death the woman, whose heart is snares and nets, and her hands as bands.”  The women of this world are identified as sex objects and, apart from God’s grace, women willingly comply.  The way to catch a man is by the swing of the hips, the suggestive look of the eyes, the use of sinful seduction to entrap men and to lead them about like an ox being led by a ring through his nose.

A God-fearing woman is a rare blessing of God.

     Now, listen carefully, the evil is not simply the woman.  Do not say, “Well, she tempts, and what can a man do?”  Oh, no.  Man remains the head.  Man remains first in line of responsibility.  Also in the world, men want this from women.  This is the abuse of women — to pressure them into this.  But the women of the world?  They comply.  You have got to be suggestive.  You have to drive them out of their minds.  You have got to be beautiful.  You have got to be slim — skinny!  You have got to know how to shake your head back.  All in one way or another, from little Miss Pageant to tight-fitting styles, to conform to this, that a body of a woman is for seduction.  That is what makes you feel like a woman.  That is the way the world presents a woman.

     How rare it is when there is a woman who finds the fullness of her satisfaction in the Lord Jesus Christ and believes that her body is the Lord’s and her beauty is His love and that her worth is His righteousness, and who adorns herself with the righteousness and modesty of Jesus Christ.  I say, that is rare!

     Still more, the women of the world, according to Scripture, are characterized as being loud and contentious, as using the tongue as a weapon, as being hard and asserting their rights.  That also comes across in the women of the world today.  Little girls, being bossy; teenage girls, strutting through the mall scorning, defiant, sassy.  Is that the kind of woman you want to be?  The world is full of them.  The world is breeding this kind of woman on their TV shows — kick boxing, strapped with guns and knives.  Is that the kind of woman you want to be?  That is not a woman!  How rare it is when God creates in a woman that she stands with the law of kindness in her mouth and when she stands in the beauty of Jesus Christ.

     Still more, the women of the world are characterized by the sin of gossip.  Now this sin of gossip is in men, too.  Yes, especially in men.  But Scripture warns that women, due perhaps to being at home, are subject to this sin.  They are subject to wander about from house to house, not only being idle (I’m reading from I Timothy 5), but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things they ought not.  The world says it is “girl-talk” — on the telephone or over coffee — talking about others, criticizing others, the latest gossip.  This happens also in the church, on the phone on Monday about who wore what at the church, divulging personal details of other people’s lives, slandering the good name of other people.  Is that the kind of woman you are?  Do you walk in that sin?  As a young girl, do you spread evil; do you rag on other people?  Are your friends and are your church members safe with you, and safe with what comes out of your mouth?  That is the characteristic of the women of the world — they are “blabber-mouths.”  That is what they are.

     Rare is the woman who fears the Lord.  Rare in the sense that they are the gift of God’s grace.  Rare also in terms, perhaps, of where Solomon was looking.  Let us remember that Solomon, in his folly, followed his own flesh and married many wives — 700 wives and 300 concubines.  We would say to him, “If your search is confined to the walls of your harem, it’s no wonder that you don’t find a wise, God-fearing woman.  No wonder, because of the way you look and the way you go about things, Solomon.”  Do you live in violation of God’s law?  Do you cast away sexual purity from your life as a man?  Do you sell your soul to lust?  Then how can you expect to find a virtuous woman?  If you look where you have no warrant to look, don’t be amazed at your disappointment.

     Young men, where are you looking?  Would you search for rubies and diamonds on the polar icecap?  Or would you search for them in the mines of South Africa?  Would you hunt polar bears in the desert?  You say, of course not.  That is an absurd question.  All right, where are you looking for a wife?  As a young man, you are looking.  Do not say that you are not looking.  You are looking.  Are you looking on a campus where students are doctrinally different from you and immoral and drunk on the weekends?  You say, “I can’t find a girl here suitable to bring home to the parents?”  Where do you go?  What do you look at?  God knows.

     Young women, where do you go, with whom do you fellowship?  A woman who fears the Lord is a valuable thing.  The only way to account for such a woman is the grace of God.  And the grace of God is rare, oh, so rare.  The woman who was created by God lofty, as the help meet to the man, has fallen also with the man into sin.  And the consequence of that sin upon the woman is that now, apart from Jesus Christ, her life would be a life of sorrow, subjected to the hopelessness of sin and under the darkness of sin.  She would be subjected to abuse, not the stronger one physically or positionally.  Now she is subject to the abuse and to the lust of men.

     But God raises up His daughters out of the sorrow, and He raises them up into the service of His own Name.  He calls them “Hephzibah,” my delight is in her.  A Christian woman is the object of God’s grace and salvation in Jesus Christ.  What value will you place upon that grace and salvation in Jesus Christ?  I tell you, that is, indeed, one in a thousand!  That grace of God in Jesus Christ washes away tears, scatters away the darkness, gives a smile and a fullness within the heart.  Oh, what a wonderful thing, as a woman, to receive the wonderful beauty of the love and grace of Jesus Christ.  Let that filter down to your soul.  Let it sink as oil as it slowly seeps into its object.  Let that word of God now filter down into your soul.

     We love the Christian woman because of who God has made her to be, not first of all for what she does.  Remember that.  That applies, really, to anybody in the church of Jesus Christ.  We are to love them first because of what God has done in them, not first because of what they are.  Look at your wife.  Look at her in terms of God’s grace, first.  If you do not look at a woman or a man in terms of God’s grace first, you are going to begin to pick.  And you are going to say, “She is not all that I thought.”  Then bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil-speaking will follow.  No, look first at what God has done.  See God’s grace in yourself.  And understand that God’s grace is His beauty.  This woman, this girl, believes in the Lord Jesus Christ.  She is one of the people of God.  That is why she is so valuable!

     A Christian woman, by the grace of God, becomes that clear example of a devoted follower of Jesus Christ, one who loves Jesus Christ unquestioningly.  Unquestioning love and devotion to the God of our salvation — that is the beauty of a Christian woman.

     I think of the women who attended the Lord in His ministry — Mary, the sister of Martha; Mary Magdalene; and all of the other women — these women did not ask much.  They stood at the foot of the cross when the disciples fled away.  They were the first ones at the tomb on Resurrection morning.  What was there about them that stood out?  I believe it was this:  With an unquestioning devotion and love for Christ they lived.  They knew one thing:  Jesus was everything to them.  They knew that.

     That is the beauty of a Christian woman:  Jesus is everything to me.  Such a woman is one in a thousand.  We are to prize them.  Do not take your wife for granted, husband.  Young men, do not take those young girls in the church for granted.  And do not sin against them!

     God gives to us the rare blessings of His grace — believing women.  How are we to use them?  As objects of lust?  For your slave?  Take them for granted?  How do you talk about your wife?  We are to prize them.  We are to thank God for them.  And we are to be filled with humble thanks.

     God places high value, high regard, upon godly, Christian women.

     Sometimes as women we struggle with self-esteem; we struggle with guilt; we struggle with being content with ourselves; we can begin to hate ourselves; we do not like ourselves.  That is what comes to us as a daughter of Eve.  Now, hear God speak.  And His Word makes all the difference.  He says, “Your esteem and worth are not to be found in yourself.  They are to be found in Me.  I have loved you.”  The worth of a woman is not that she attains to a Barbie doll figure, that she has the latest in fashions, that she is able to keep the house just so, that she is able to have crafts and sewing and all the rest.  That is not the worth of a Christian woman.  This is it:  In the eyes of God, God’s daughters are one in a thousand.  Oh, how He loves them.  How He bestows His grace upon them.  How He favors them.  How He sees them in Jesus Christ.  And how He intends to glorify them.  God intends to glorify His house with daughters — valuable, rare, prized women of God, to be the beauty of His own house.

     Let us pray.

     Father, we thank Thee for Thy Word.  We pray for its blessing upon our hearts today.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.