A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Proverbs 31:10
Probably the most familiar passage of Proverbs is found in chapter 31, and it is the passage that causes the strongest reaction from women. And that reaction is often…
King Lemuel is describing “a wife of noble character,” one that we women would do well to emulate.
This woman brings her husband nothing but good all of his life, and he has full confidence in her. (vs 11-12) She is discerning when choosing her materials and has a splendid attitude toward her work. (vs 13) She gets up before sunup (vs 14) and fixes breakfast for her family. She also provides “portions” for her employees. (vs 15) Whether the latter means food or daily assignments, either way she is responsible and organized.
She is a shrewd businesswoman, owner of a vineyard. (vs 16) She is energetic, setting about her work with vigor, and she is physically strong. (vs 17) She is a lucrative saleswoman who works late into the night. (vs 18) She apparently spins her own wool and makes clothing for her household (vs 19, 21), as well as coverings for her bed – and by the way, she is always well dressed and looking good! (vs 22)
She is kind and compassionate to the poor and needy. (vs 20) She is a supplier of linen garments, which of course, she makes herself. (vs 24) She “is clothed with strength and dignity” and looks to the future with confidence. (vs 25) (If I could do all that, I’d be pretty confident, too.) She is wise, and oh yes, she is a teacher. (vs 26) She always knows what’s going on in her house, and she’s never caught loafing. (vs. 27)
And what does she get in return? “Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.” (vs 28)
If you’re like me, you get tired just thinking about all the things this woman does, and seeing how much you do not measure up, possibly on the verge of depression. . This woman makes Martha Stewart look like a slug. And me? Well, I have a hard time ordering my own life, much less taking care of everyone else, coming out ahead, and looking like a supermodel when all is said and done.
So, what are we to do with this passage? There’s obviously a reason for it, as it’s in the Bible, and in Proverbs, no less – the book of wisdom.
Okay, ladies, take a deep breath. According to Titus 2, older women are to teach the younger ones, and as I have a few years under my belt, I would like to offer some words of comfort and advice to the younger women, especially those of you who are up to your eyeballs in laundry, children, bills, and women’s magazines telling tell you what you ought to be:
First, God loves you, where and who you are. He made you for a special purpose, and He will not ask you to do anything without giving you the resources to accomplish it. And he does not want you depressed!
Secondly, (and I hope I don’t get struck by lightning for saying this) the “Proverbs 31 woman” does not exist. At least, not the way we have been taught to see her. Yes, she does a gazillion things, but nowhere does it say that she does them all every day. Each of us has seasons in life, and I think the idea of seasons applies to women even more than to men.
Tomorrow we’ll look at some of these seasons.
Prayer: Thank You, Jesus, for bearing the burden our guilt, paying the penalty for our sins on the cross. Thank You that through faith in You we can be forgiven and pursue a godly life, free from the weight of guilt. Lord, thank You for Your patience with us, for giving us a lifetime to learn the wisdom that You have for us. Make us teachable, and keep our minds from being clouded by the demands and misplaced priorities of the world. In Your name, amen.