One In A Thousand
May 14, 2006 / No. 3306
Dear radio friends,
Today we celebrate the wonder of God’s grace in believing mothers and in Christian women and girls. The Scriptures tell us that a God-fearing, believing woman is an exceedingly rare thing today. You might call it an endangered species. We read in the Word of God in Ecclesiastes 7:27, 28: “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.”
The one who is conducting the survey there is not simply a picky, selective bachelor who has all of his requirements for “Miss Right” and cannot find her. It is not even Solomon, the world’s wisest man. But this is Scripture and, therefore, it is God’s accounting of the matter. God says that a believing woman is an exceedingly rare thing upon the earth.
God looks among women for the qualities of His grace: of wisdom and grace and a meek and quiet spirit, of faithfulness and of the beauty of God. And God says, “Today it is rare, almost extinct.”
Is your mother a believing woman? Oh, you must give God thanks for that! You have a believing wife today, man? You must be on your knees in prayer, not agitated, picking apart all of her faults.
The world today has a tender regard for species that are threatened by extinction. Is there a bird, a spotted owl, a tadpole, which, due to man’s sinful abuse of the creation (now, I know, they do not call it that!) is near extinction? Well, the world will do something about that. They will handicap industry, they will cripple the economy, they will cause taxes to soar and they will save, if it is in their power, what is rare and threatened. But I can assure you that the world of sin has no anxiety over this endangered species: a woman who fears the Lord. They have no concern about the holy women of God to which I Peter 3 refers. And they will not spend a dollar to preserve them. One godly woman for the world is too many! The world spends billions on pornography, on devilish propaganda. The world adjusts the whole economy to see to it that the few godly women who are left are slain.
As in Solomon’s day, when wicked nations and ruthless bands would invade villages and take Israel’s daughters, wives, and girls captive, to dedicate them unto their gods, so this world of sin (the devil, the media, the television, the movies, the magazines, the cultures, the Internet) seeks to eradicate a godly woman and either turn her into an object of lust or sex, or turn her into a man!
One in a thousand, says the Word of God. No, says the Word of God. Even among a thousand He did not find this woman. This woman is rare who fears the Lord.
But although this woman is rare who fears the Lord, our risen Lord Jesus Christ has promised that there shall be a place where they flourish, where they are found in abundance. That is in the church. We read of the church in Thessalonica (Acts 17:4), “And some of them believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief woman, not a few.” So the word of God in Ecclesiastes has said, searching among all the earth, a godly woman is exceedingly rare. And the Word of God has said that under the preaching of the gospel and in the church of Jesus Christ, they are not rare. There is not a few there, there are many. They have come out of the power of the gospel. And the gospel has made them beautiful, oh, so beautiful. They have come, many of them, out of believing homes. They grow strong in the church of Jesus Christ, nurtured by the Word of God. They flourish under the tutelage of their own mothers. What a rare place is this church! This church today, on Mother’s Day, I am sure, is saying, “Oh, what has God done for us? The blessing of the covenant of His grace! Here there are many of an endangered species.”
No, these mothers, wives, and women are not perfect. They are sinners. But they are saints in Christ Jesus. Their sins have been forgiven, and implanted in them is the beauty of the Lord Jesus Christ. Now they fear the Lord and they love Him. And they would say with the psalmist: “Look upon thy handmaid, O Lord.”
How we must then today be on our knees as the church, how we must be on our knees as men and husbands and boys, thanking God for godly mothers! You say beamingly, when God gives you to see how rare a godly woman is, “She’s one in a thousand!” And God says, “You don’t know the half of it. You don’t know how true your words are! They are one in a thousand.”
The verse that I quoted from Ecclesiastes a while ago, in which God says that a godly woman among the many is not to be found, that Word of God is not the conception of Solomon. Surely Solomon was gifted with wisdom. He functioned as king, and probably wrote this as he looked at a multitude of guards and diplomats and soldiers and women in his court. But this is not simply the word of Solomon. This is the Word of God.
Now, what does that mean? It for sure does not mean, and you must not read the verse to mean, that there is some type of spiritual defect in women when compared to men. When the verse says, “One man among a thousand I have found, but a woman among all those have I not found,” it does not say that in some way man is more harmonious to the way of grace than a woman. That is utterly false. Most emphatically men and women, boys and girls, both sexes alike share in the depravity and the devastation of Adam and are received only in grace through Jesus Christ. Not only do both share in utter depravity, but both man and woman share equally in the redeeming mercy and grace of God. There is, in Jesus Christ, neither Jew nor Greek, male nor female, bond nor free. For ye are all one in Christ Jesus (Gal. 3:28). That verse does not mean that God has obliterated the roles that He gave to male and female. Of course not. Redemption does not destroy what God has created as male and female and the place that He has given to each in marriage. But it is a declaration that male and female share equally in the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.
What then does that verse in Ecclesiastes mean? Well, it means just this: A God-fearing woman is a rare blessing of God. And that is the way that God insists that we are to view them — as exceedingly rare and precious.
A godly woman is exceedingly rare and precious when considered against the backdrop of what she would otherwise be, that is, against the backdrop of the daughters of this world. How does Scripture consider the daughters of this world? The Scriptures declare to us that the woman is lost in sin. She has now become the source (as far as men are concerned) of seduction. Women of this world are identified as sex objects. And, apart from the grace of God, 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 a man — to lead him about as an ox is led by a ring in its nose. Now the evil there is not to be found simply in the woman. She tempts. And then we would say, “Well, what can a man do?” That is the way they reason in the world. No, the truth is that men want this from women. Men pressure them into this. They have to have this type of figure. Their hair has to be just this way, according to the standards of the world. The world says, “Girl, you’ve got to be seductive. You’ve got to drive them out of their minds. You’ve got to look beautiful. You’ve got to be slimmer. It is all about what you wear, and it is all about the shake of your head and the swing of various body parts. That is what it is all about to be a woman.” That is drilled into the women of the world from little Miss Beauty Pageant to tight-fitting styles to display of the body for seduction.
Is that true of you? Is that the way you look at femininity? A child of God responds, “No, I believe that my body (male or female) belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ. It is His possession. It to display the worth of His righteousness. It is to be adorned in all modesty.”
As you look at the women of the world, then, and you look for a God-fearing woman, you would have to say they are exceedingly rare. I can well imagine that they were rare to Solomon, considering where Solomon had been looking. Before in his life, when he followed his flesh, Solomon married many wives. I Kings 11:3 tells us that he had 700 wives and 300 concubines. And his wives turned away his heart from the Lord. If his search for a God-fearing woman were confined to the walls of his harem, it is no wonder that he did not find a God-fearing woman among the thousand there. Living in violation of God’s law, having cast away sexual purity from his life, having sold his soul to lust, in today’s terms going through the Internet and lusting — how could he expect to find a virtuous woman? If you look where you have no warrant to look, then please do not be amazed that you cannot find a good woman.
Young man, where do you look? Would you search for pearls from an oyster on the polar ice cap? Would you search for diamonds on the polar ice cap or in South Africa? Would you search for polar bears in the desert? You say, “Well, that’s absurd! Of course not.” But where are you looking for a wife? As a young man, you look, do you not? Of course you look. Where do you look? And what are you looking at? You look on a campus where students are doctrinally different from you? Do you look among those who are immoral? Do you go to a bar? Do you look among those who are drunk on the weekend? You cannot find someone who is suitable to your parents? And you wonder about that? Where do you go? What do you look at? God knows. It is no secret to Him. Look where God deposited them. As I believe the Creator deposited diamonds in South Africa, and pearls in the sea, I know that God has deposited beautiful Christian women (girls) in the church of Jesus Christ.
Young women, where do you go? With whom do you have fellowship? Where do you look for a man? Genesis 34:1 says, “And Diana, the daughter of Leah, which she bear unto Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land.” Before the fornication that she fell into, she began by seeking the daughters of the land. It can happen this way. You meet a girl at work or college. You hit it off. She says, “Hey, on Friday night come along with me. There’s going to be ….” And it turns out to be a bar, a party, and guys. What kind of a girl-friend do you have?
A woman who fears the Lord is exceedingly rare and, therefore, valuable. The only way that you can account for such a woman is the grace of God. That is the only way you can account for a God-fearing man. They are so rare and so precious when you see them as created by God — the lofty God, the God of infinite grace, the God of pure mercy. This God has had mercy upon us. And the wonder of His grace is displayed in His salvation of the woman. The woman, according to sin, was cast down into a life of sorrow, subjected to hopelessness. The daughters of Eve — under the darkness of sin, there to abide of themselves in the hopelessness of emptiness, subject to abuse, not the stronger one positionally over the man and, therefore, subjected to the lust and to the evil of men. But God has raised them up out of sorrow and has made them His daughters. God smiles upon His elect, believing women. And God says, “Hephzibah” (Is. 62) — “My delight is in her.” The Christian woman is the object of the Savior’s wonderful love and grace. Now what value will you place upon that grace, upon that blood of Jesus Christ, that blood of Jesus Christ that washes away our tears, scatters the darkness, gives to us an everlasting smile, and earns for us the embrace of the arms of God in His covenant? What price will you place upon that? That is what is represented in the Christian mother.
So, are you on your knees today, thanking God for your Christian wife and Christian mother? Are you thanking God? Maybe you look for a reason to value who your wife or your mother is. Or, for that matter, you look into the Christian church and say, “Well, what is there about them that is good?” And you say, “Not much.” You look at her and say, “It’s not hard to criticize them. They are catty, irritable.” You look at your wife not in terms of how God looks upon her in His grace and mercy, but you look at her through your own pride and say, “She’s not all that I thought she was going to be.” Then there comes bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil-speaking (Eph. 4:31). God says, “You have to know how to look or you won’t see it.” You need to look through His eyes, the eyes of God, which looked upon you as a desperately wicked sinner —and in grace, grace alone, saved you.
Such a woman who confesses faith in Jesus Christ is beautiful. She believes. She struggles with her sin. She hopes in Christ. She is one in a thousand. And that is why you love her and you care for her.
So, on this day, as every day, the church of Jesus Christ celebrates the wonders of redeeming grace and the beauty of God in believing women. You are to prize them. Obviously Solomon means that such a woman, when she is given to you, is to be prized. Do not take her for granted. Husbands, young men, boys and girls, do not take your believing mothers for granted. And do not sin against them. If I had a picture of a departed loved one framed and I gave it to you to keep and you used it as a dartboard, then I would accuse you of sinful cruelty and insensitivity. God gives you a rare thing. It is called a believing mother. It is called a believing woman. How do you use them — for lust, for a slave? Do you take her for granted? How do you talk about your mother?
You understand that I am not talking here about interpersonal problems in a family. That is not what I am talking about. If you sin against your mother or against your wife, I am talking about a problem you have with God. And I am talking about a problem you have of your soul with God. You are not aware, are you, of what God says and of God’s grace given to her and to you, and of God’s gift in a believing woman. Therefore, the gospel of Jesus Christ calls us as the church of Jesus Christ to prize these women. We must prize them and love them dearly even if God does not give to them, according to His own will, to be a mother. The barren woman is not less in the eyes of God than the woman with children. That wife is selected of God for a special way of service to God the creator and our Savior. You are to think of her today in compassion. You are to embrace her and to love her dearly.
We are to thank God for all believing women and girls in the church — mothers and those who are not mothers. The church is to say very clearly: We don’t want seductive, loud, discontented, gossipy women. But a woman who fears the Lord — she is to be prized above all other things. A Christian woman — for her we are filled with humble thanks. God places high value, high regard, upon her.
Maybe you struggle as a woman with the issues of self-esteem. You struggle with guilt. You struggle with being content with yourself. You begin to hate yourself. You do not like yourself — the way you look, or anything about yourself. Now, listen. Listen to God speak. His Word makes the difference, you know. He speaks not the way Elkanah spoke to Hannah (I Sam. 1). There Hannah was grieving because she could not have children. Elkanah, foolishly, had another wife who could have children. And that other wife ridiculed Hannah. Hannah came to her husband with the grief of her heart and her husband said, “Hannah, is not my love enough?” Well, if his love was just for her, maybe. But, no, that was not enough when he had another woman in the house. Now listen to God. “To me you are one in a thousand. I have redeemed you in the blood of Jesus Christ. I love you and I will never forsake you. And I have marked out your way (as a mother or not as a mother) with tender care just so.”
So, your esteem for yourself is not found in a Barby-doll figure. It is not found in the latest fashion. It is not found in being able to keep up with men. It is not found in being able to keep up the house, being handy, and all those other gifts. But it is found in this: in the eyes of God, you are one in a thousand. God has had grace upon you in Jesus Christ. God has forgiven you. God dwells with you. God will glorify you. God intends to adorn His house with beautiful daughters who are rare, valuable, and prized. They are called Christian women.
Let us pray.
Father, we thank Thee for the Word. We pray for its blessing upon our hearts. And we pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.