Proverbs 31 (12-30-17)
For our final Saturday Study of the year, we get to focus on the woman who fears the Lord.
Oh, what a treasure it is to know and have in your life a woman who truly fears the Lord and lives to honor Him in all she does while not in her flesh. Proverbs 31 is one of the best places in all of Scripture for a woman in Christ to look for a picture of what a God-honoring life looks like. It is also a great resource for a single man who is praying for and seeking the kind of woman that authentically lives for God and not herself. It is also a great passage for the training of our daughters to understand the attributes of a godly woman that she should aspire to grow into. So, this one is for the ladies. Can I just say that I am so very thankful for the God-fearing women our Lord has blessed us with in our ministry? We men are thankful for you and are praying for you.
Let’s read Proverbs 31:10-31 again.
Proverbs 31:10 An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.
Our society is far too passive and flippant when it comes to the union of two lives into holy marriage. Couples link up and say, “I do,” simply based on emotional bonds and good times shared together. Maybe attraction and compatibility are weighed in there too, but I have found in 20 years of pastoral ministry and with hundreds of couples that I have counseled that people simply do not slow down to rightly weigh all that must be considered and vetted in who a person really is. It is especially important to know who they are in their maturity in the Lord before saying “I do”. The excellence of a wife is rightly found in the depth and dependence of her heart and life on the Lord. She is genuinely far more precious than jewels. For all the reasons stated below that are signs of a devoted and dedicated life of a godly woman for her Lord and the things He has entrusted to her, she must first and foremost be sold out for and mature in her Lord if these things will truly last and bear great fruit for a lifetime.
Proverbs 31:11-12 The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.
Why does the heart of a husband trust in a godly woman? Because she is hard working or beautiful or fun to be with?
No. It is because she is desperate for and dependent on God in all that she does. He trusts in her because she is fixed to the vine, who is Christ. She is not governed by her own ambition or standard but by the Lord. A husband will have no lack of gain because his wife’s life will be fruitful in the Lord and therefore a great blessing to do him good and not harm all the days of her life.
Proverbs 31:13-16 She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands.
She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar.
She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens.
She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
Proverbs 31:27 She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.
A godly woman works hard in whatever her task is. She is not slothful or lazy but rises to steward well the day that the Lord has entrusted to her. The descriptions given in verses 13-16 point to the managing of the household and the basic gathering of the things needed for the family. Her aim is to be sure her family is clothed and fed well. So, she rises to tend to her household and the things needed for her family to thrive and be cared for. I have heard many say over the years that a stay-at-home wife or mother doesn’t have a job or work. They have never met the godly women I know who rise early and work hard to care for their family and household and the women they get to invest into and disciple along the way. No matter what is on the plate of daily tasks and responsibilities, the managing and tending to the family and household is a God-given priority for a godly woman. May we not let a modern worldview prevent us from training up our daughters to do these things well and unto the glory of the Lord.
Proverbs 31:17-18 She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong.
She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night.
A godly woman lives and thrives in the strength of the Lord. She is not weak but is strong in Christ. This does not mean she is strong-willed or not meek. It means she is focused on the things that the Lord has put before her with a God-honoring drive and not a passivity. She knows what God has entrusted to her is profitable, and she finishes her day well. Meaning, she walks in the strength of her Lord from start to finish. This is a blessing to her husband and family, because she doesn’t tap out and quit part way. She is able to do this because of who Christ is in her life and because she is not doing it in her own strength, which is often fleeting and self-serving.
Proverbs 31:20 She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy.
A godly woman is selfless in her love and therefore generous and sacrificial in her love for others. When a woman’s heart is captivated in Christ, what was formerly to be gained in selfish pursuits falls away because her heart is satisfied in Jesus. Therefore, she is able to open her hand to the poor and serve the needy. This is the gospel at work through the redeemed for the good of those God puts in our path.
Proverbs 31:23 Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land.
The point about her husband being known among the leaders of the land is less about ego and fame and more about the fact that because she is rightly stewarding the household and the family, the husband is able to invest himself in the things the Lord has called him to among other men. This is similar to the saying, “Behind every good man is a good woman.” The blessing of a godly wife frees her husband to thrive in doing what God has entrusted to him.
Proverbs 31:25 Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.
A godly woman walks confidently not in herself, but in her God. She laughs at the time to come, because she knows and trusts the One who ultimately controls it. She trusts in the sovereignty of God and rests in Him.
Proverbs 31:26 She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
A godly woman is a disciple-maker and gladly invests her time into mentoring and teaching others the good things of the Lord.
Proverbs 31:28-30 Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.”
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
There is something special about the love and praise of those closest to you. It is not because you will win a prize to hang on your wall that will bring your fame, but because God blesses you with a true and deep appreciation from those who matter most in your life. My life is forever impacted and blessed by my own mother, who was truly and in every way a Proverbs 31 wife and mother.
By the grace of God, my wife, Jennifer, has been the greatest gift God has given me and the greatness of her is beyond doubt her love and devotion to the Lord. When Solomon says, “Her children and husband call her blessed and give her praise,” it is a true thing of a godly woman who fears the Lord and practices the things mentioned above. While she is beautiful on the outside through and through, it is truly a right and growing fear of and devotion to the Lord that is her greatest and most blessed attribute.
In closing, no matter where one is on this journey, may we recognize that the cause of a godly woman’s life and devotion is not herself but is Christ alone. He is the only one who empowers good stewardship and devoted hard work unto His glory. He is the only one who changes the heart to fear the Lord and love others sacrificially. He is the only one who changes us from the inside out. No matter where you are, ladies, or no matter where your wife or daughter is, men, may we point the women in our lives back to the gospel and all that Christ is to us. May He change us from the inside out to be good stewards of the life He has entrusted us, for His glory and others’ good.
* I am very excited to bring this year’s study to a conclusion and to kick off a new year of Bible reading and study on Monday.
This year, we will study a book in each of the critical eras of the Old Testament and a couple gospels and epistles along the way, too. Below is an outline of what is to come. Who can you invite to join us in our daily reading? This is the perfect time to recruit others to join us as we start a new year of reading and growing in God’s word. It is a joy to walk with you in this way, as we look to grow in Christ and make much of His great name.
By His grace and for His glory,
Pastor Joshua Kirstine