the oreo effect
Have you ever heard the proverb, “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings?” It is found in Proverbs 25:2, and it means that God enjoys our searching out a truth that is found in Him. He will actually tuck it away a little so that it takes our effort to achieve the new level of understanding. Imagine it as a toddler playing with the plastic ball toy with various shape cut-outs. The adult knows clearly which shape fits into which hole, but rather than inserting all the pieces ourselves, we allow the child to work at it, making discoveries along the way. The little one tries first to place the triangle block into the circular cut-out but keeps trying until he finds the triangular cut-out. We all clap our hands and celebrate the successful discovery! Get the picture?
So I am the child, and God is delighting in my discovery of a treasure in scripture that I will call “the oreo effect.” The oreo cookie has two chocolate cookie ends with a creamy middle, and that is the perfect analogy for the scriptural truths unfolding before my eyes in recent months.
In my study of scripture that defines the wife’s role in marriage, I went to Proverbs 31:10-31, a passage entitled: “Epilogue: The Wife of Noble Character.” The verses describe in detail the wife’s character as defined by her faithful care of the home and family. The listing of her duties includes weaving fabric, providing food for family and servants, planting a vineyard, profitable trading and extending her hands to the poor. The statement leading up to the treasure is, “She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple” (v.22). This is the first chocolate wafer; the creamy filling is sandwiched between this verse and v. 24, “She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes.” The passage continues to list more wifely duties such as faithful instruction and watching over the affairs of the home.
What’s the creamy filling? What statement represents the treasure to be sought out? Verse 23 states, “Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.”
Her husband’s place of authority and honor is a direct reflection of the wife’s care of everything entrusted to her nurturing strength. This is the creamy middle. There is no accident that God tucks such a powerful statement right in the middle of a list of wifely duties. It just goes to show that behind every great man is a great woman!
Do not be dismayed. The wife of noble character also gains from fulfillment of her role. VALUE. (“She is worth far more than rubies.) TRUSTWORTHINESS. (“Her husband has full confidence in her…”) DIGNITY. (“She is clothed with strength and dignity.”) JOY AND PEACE (“She can laugh at the days to come.”) BLESSED. (“Her children arise and call her blessed.”) REWARDED. (“Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.”)
And who might be singing praises at the city gate? The husband. He is boasting on his wife to all the others. Next to God’s commendation, that is the highest praise! Husbands know their wives best, and we want to receive their reward of genuine affirmation.
The oreo affect. Two similar truths encasing something different, something pleasantly surprising. There are more of these treasures in scripture, and the wise will “taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him” (Psalm 34:8).