|Home||News||Contact Us||Pictures||Calendar||Links||Missions||Bible Search|
PROVERBS 31: 26 SHE SPEAKS WITH WISDOM, AND FAITHFUL INSTRUCTION IS ON HER TONGUE. 27 SHE WATCHES OVER THE AFFAIRS OF HER HOUSEHOLD AND DOES NOT EAT THE BREAD OF IDLENESS. 28 HER CHILDREN ARISE AND CALL HER BLESSED; HER HUSBAND ALSO, AND HE PRAISES HER: 29 MANY WOMEN DO NOBLE THINGS, BUT YOU SURPASS THEM ALL. 30 CHARM IS DECEPTIVE, AND BEAUTY IS FLEETING; BUT A WOMAN WHO FEARS THE LORD IS TO BE PRAISED. 31 GIVE HER THE REWARD SHE HAS EARNED, AND LET HER WORKS BRING HER PRAISE AT THE CITY GATE.
A WOMAN WHO FEARS THE LORD IS TO BE PRAISED:
1. The Hebrew word is "yir' a" and means an "emotional reaction, terror, or to be afraid, and to have reverence for God, a deep respect."
2. In many places in the Old Testament the use of the term to fear God and proper living are so closed related they are virtually synonymous ideas. If a person feared God, it resulted in living a godly life. The fear is seen as the motivation which produced righteous living.
3. Exodus 1:17, The midwives feared God and would not kill the new born baby boys. In Exodus 1:21 God richly rewarded them.
4. Godly fear is the result of believing in God! When one's sees who God really is it will bring about a godly fear of God.
The Virtuous Woman is Trusted by Her Husband.
A. Trust is something that is earned. Trust does not come automatically to anyone or to a person simply because the hold a position. Many parents are not respected by their children because they have not earned their respect. Many wives and husbands suffer greatly because their spouses do not have confidence in them. I believe everyone initially wants to trust other people. But trust will only come from the experience of observing the person and how they live.
B. A godly woman will earn the trust and respect of her husband as she lives a consistent righteous life before him. She honors the Lord and that manifests itself outwardly to others so that they trust her. One the of the great benefits in living for the Lord is that you live a life of character and people learn you can be trusted.
Verse 26 says the virtuous woman is wise and kind.
Where do you think this woman will get her wisdom? Psalms 111:10 says, "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever." Wisdom comes from a fear of the Lord and understanding His commandments.
1 Corinthians 13:4-5 instructs the believer about the effects of love and says, "Charity (love) suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up. Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil."
III. FAVOR IS DECEITFUL, BEAUTY IS VAIN. Prov. 30:30
A. Favor is deceitful. It is referring to living one's live seeking the favor or approval of others. Means living to impress others. Sure it is all right to look nice to look one's best. But dressing to attract attention is sinful because it is based in pride.
B. Beauty is vain. The word "vain" means worthless or of no value. Over dressing and making one's appearance the driving force in a person's life is worthless says God.
1. Anorexia and bulimia
1 Timothy 2:9 - 9 likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, 10 but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works.
VALUABLE (Vs. 10)
"An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels." The expression is a wish. It is an expression of desire that all men could find such a valuable treasure as an excellent/virtuous woman. This is the idea of moral goodness and propriety combined with the idea of fine manners and culture. This virtue is an outgrowth of her godliness.
The writer expresses here that such a woman is hard to find for there are few women that achieve the high qualifications needed to be considered virtuous or excellent. This is one reason why this woman is so valuable. She is of high quality. The other reason is that she is rare and therefore precious just as are jewels. Jewels are not valuable just because of their beauty, but because of their rarity. Quartz is a very pretty crystal, but because it is so common it is not valuable. Diamonds on the other hand are very rare and therefore very valuable. Marble is very pretty, but because it is common it is not considered valuable. Other rocks and minerals which are not any more lovely than marble are valuable because of their rarity. So it is with the virtuous woman. She is marked by such beautiful character qualities that she is rare and therefore extremely valuable.
The reference to her worth being more than jewels or
"rubies" may actually even be a reference to the type of dowry that
would have to be paid to acquire such a woman for a wife. In ancient
TRUSTWORTHY (Vs. 11)
"The heart of her husband trusts in her, And he will have no lack of gain." The word "gain" comes from a word which means, "spoil of war," and signifies the profit which she brings in. He can trust her wholly for she is seeking what is best for the family and not just herself. He has no fear of her pilfering from the family or squandering finances on herself. Instead, she actually brings profit into the family. To put it in modern terms, she can be trusted with the credit cards. She will not bring the family into debt but will instead increase its wealth. We will see how she does this in later verses.
Too many husbands fear that their wives will bring them down into debt through careless and frivolous spending. (Although actual statistics show that it is the husband that usually brings on family debt. He buys big items and takes the family into debt in leaps, while she will buy little items and take the family into debt slowly). Trust is important. It is an aspect of love (1 Cor 13).
We may also surmise that her husband is in some important position in the community since he "known in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land" (vs 23). It may well be that because he is able to trust in her that he is able to pursue this calling to community leadership. He would not have time to be involved in such a thing if he had to constantly be watching over what his wife did. This is a woman who is trustworthy and so is a blessing and a profit to the entire family.
CONTINUALLY GOOD (Vs. 12)
"She does him good and not evil All the days of her life." Her love is not dependent upon her feelings or the personal gains she may derive from her husband. This is the kind of love described in 1 Corinthians 13that is based on deep moral grounds of self-sacrifice for the good of the other person. From this she obtains the ability to remain constant and pure. No wonder the heart of this man can trust her for she is consistently good to him.
INDUSTRIOUS (Vs. 13)
"She looks for wool and flax, and works with her hands in delight." Part of the gain that she brings into the household is her industrious nature. We are not told specifically why she looks for the wool and flax. Perhaps to make clothing for her family? Perhaps to make something to sell? Perhaps both as indicated later in this passage, but the emphasis here is on here industrious spirit. She does not wait around until something has to be done or until someone tells her to do it. She goes out looking for the materials that she will need for whatever project she is working on. And please note her spirit while doing her work. She does not have the complaining, grumpy attitude that seems to affect so much of our society. Instead, she finds joy in doing work. It is "work her hands delight in," and she is "active with her hands' pleasure!"
Work is a good thing. The Old Testament story of Ruth is a good example of such a woman. She is one that Ecclesiastes 5:18 would describe as enjoying herself in all her labor in which she toils under the sun during the few years of life God has granted to her. This is her reward.
PRUDENT (Vs. 14)
"She is like merchant ships; She brings her food from afar." In the care and advancement of her family this woman will go out beyond the nearest circle to be more prudent in her business. In other words, she does not shop at stores just because they are convenient, but she sacrifices her own comfort to get the best value in both what she buys and what she might sell. Again, we find that with qualities like this that it is no wonder that she is valued so highly. She extends herself to find the better goods and the best value.
DILIGENT (Vs 15)
"She rises also while it is still night, And gives food to her household, And portions to her maidens." The care of her family is more important to her than her own comfort. It is easy to stay in bed and let those that have to be somewhere else early get their own breakfast, but this woman desires to be part of meeting the needs of her family. She is not lazy, for her life is caught up with her concern for others instead of her own comforts and convenience. The phrase "portions to her maidens" is thought by some to mean the daily work to her servants in which case she is also a diligent household manager.
ENTREPRENEURIAL (Vs 16)
"She considers a field and buys it; From her earnings she plants a vineyard." She is entrepreneurial. She has a head for business and knows how to increase her profits through diversification. We have already seen in verse 13 that she may have some sort of business dealing with wool and flax, and in verse 24 we will find that she is making things for sale. It is from the profits of these things that she launches out into real estate and farming. She is very intelligent and wise for she adds to the wealth of her household not only through her own manual labor and manufacturing, but by wise investment in other interests. PaulĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s comment in Titus 2 that young women are to be "workers at home" does not exclude this, it only sets the priority. Home comes first and outside work and investment come later. The Proverbs 31 woman demonstrates those priorities. It should also be noted that what any particular woman does will depend on her particular abilities. The principle here is simply that she is entrepreneurial.
STRONG (Vs 17)
"She girds herself with strength, And make her arms strong." She is not afraid of physical labor. She is not lazy. You may be getting the idea that this lady would have to be strong to carry out all she does anyway, but there is more.
ATTENTIVE (Vs 18)
"She senses that her gain is good; Her lamp does not go out at night." She perceives, she senses, literally, she "tastes" that her profit has been good from her industry and enterprise. She is attentive to the outcome of her labor and investments. "Her lamp does not go out at night," does not mean that she labors all night too. If that were true she would not be human. But she is no couch potato. She is busy during the evening and attentive to the needs of her family to make sure the lamp does not go out at night. She anticipates what could happen and plans accordingly. She has checked the oil to make sure there is enough to last the night.
HARD WORKER (Vs 19)
"She stretches out her hands to the distaff, And her hands grasp the spindle." This woman is a hard worker and here we find her busy about the activity of spinning wool or flax. This may be why verse 13 notes she was looking for those items. She is preparing material for either sale or for making clothes for her family, or both.
COMPASSIONATE (Vs 20)
Beyond being a hard worker, we also find she is compassionate. "She extends her hand to the poor; and she stretches out her hands to the needy." She meets not only the needs of her family but in compassion she also reaches out to the poor to assist them. The idea here of extending her hand and stretching her hands goes beyond just the idea of providing them with some material thing. It includes reaching out with a tender touch to comfort, counsel and encourage. She may not need to be compassionate to the poor to please her husband, but she does need to have this quality to please God. The desire to please God is the foundation upon which all her other character traits are built.
CONFIDENT (Vs 21)
All her diligence in labor and watchfulness over her family gives her confidence for what the future may bring. "She is not afraid of the snow for her household, For all her household are clothed with scarlet." The has anticipated the future and worked hard so that not only will her family have warm clothing for the cold months, but they will be clothed well in scarlet. She has prepared clothes that will both protect them and look nice.
ELEGANT (Vs 22)
She herself is also clothed well, in fact we could say she is
elegant. "She makes coverings for herself; her clothing
is fine linen and purple." She
used the colors available to her to make fine clothing of contrasting colors.
She uses white linen and a purple colored material. These would be materials
ADMIRABLE (Vs 23)
"Her husband is known in the gates, When he sits among the elders of the land." As I mentioned earlier, because of her excellence, her husband was freed up to be involved in the public affairs of the land. While he may get much of the public attention, the real honor goes to her because without her he could not do what he was doing. A man can only accomplish the extraordinary if he is backed up by such an excellent woman. I may be the one in the pulpit this morning, but anything I do must also be attributed to Diane's excellence in her role as a wife and mother. She is to be admired. Without her I could accomplish very little.
CAPITALIST (Vs 24)
Next we find the entrepreneurial theme repeated again. "She makes linen garments and sells them, And supplies belts to the tradesmen." She is an entrepreneurial capitalist. Contrary to media language and politically correct speech, a capitalist is a good thing. Her industry and spirit lead her to have a business of making linen garments. These were most likely the articles of clothing worn as an undergarment or by itself in the summer as light clothing. She also had a belt manufacturing business and she sold both of these items. The belts were specifically sold to international traders, probably the Phonecians. They would also be the ones from whom she got her own clothes and special things for the family mentioned earlier.
DIGNIFIED (Vs 25)
All of these are wonderful characteristics, but the most important ones are found in the next two verses and in verse 30. "Strength and dignity are her clothing, And she smiles at the future." She may wear elegant clothes, but her real beauty is her personal dignity. If she did not have dignity, then she would be as the woman in Proverbs 11:22 - a well adorned pig. "As a ring of gold in a swine's snout, So is a beautiful woman who lacks discretion." Based on her strength and dignity she smiles at the future for she has nothing to fear. Arnot said it well, "If honor be your clothing, your suit will last a lifetime; but if clothing be your honor, it will soon be worn threadbare."
WISE (Vs 26)
We also find that she is wise, "She opens her mouth in wisdom, And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue." A fitting ornament is her wisdom and especially in its expression of kindness in her teaching. And what is wisdom? It is the practical application in life of the proper fear of God. Foolishness is living as if there is no God. Wisdom lives life mindful of the Lord. This woman is wise and a reflection of that wisdom is a kind and gracious tongue.
WATCHFUL (Vs 27)
Her wisdom is also seen in her watchfulness over her family. "She looks well to the ways of her household, And does not eat the bread of idleness." She keeps watch over the activities of the home and directs for the work to be done. She is not someone who folds her hands and watches others work. She is involved in what occurs. The household runs well because of her organization and management. Her watchfulness also protects her from idleness which leads to all sorts of evil. Paul pointed out to Timothy that the widows the church was to help were those who needed the help and proved to be good workers throughout life. The church is not to support those who would be idle gossips and busybodies (1 Tim. 5:10-14). Arnot put it this way, "Empty hours, empty hands, empty companions, empty words, empty hearts, draw in evil spirits, as a vacuum draws in air. To be occupied with good is the best defense against the inroads of evil."
HONORED (Vs 28)
The result of all this that "Her children rise up and bless her . . . ;" These children are not forced into this. It is the natural reaction of children who are well reared. They have been taught well so they know how to think wisely and properly. They realize how good of a mother they have and so they bless her. We increasingly see children in our society who curse their mothers instead of blessing them. That is a revelation of the childĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s character and a reflection of the mothersĂ˘â‚¬â„˘. Proverbs 15:20 says,"A wise son makes a father glad, but a foolish man despises his mother." Proverbs 10:1 adds, "but a foolish son is a grief to his mother." 17:25 adds, "and bitterness to her who bore him." Many are reaping the bitterness and grief of their own failed character which is then reflected in the curses of their children. The virtuous woman receives the blessing of her children's praise.
RESPECTED (Vs 29)
She also receives her husband's respect. Her husband also, and he praises her, saying . . . "Many daughters have done nobly, But you excel them all. What wonderful praise for a wife to receive from her husband. He recognizes and tells her that she is a cut above, more than just noble, but excellent, virtuous. Men, do not make the mistake of taking your wife for granted. Encourage her by letting her know how God is using her to bless your life and the good qualities you see in her.
GODLY (Vs 30)
Her excellence of character is not a fleeting thing, for it is based in the inward quality of godliness that dominates her life. That is the basis of the praise she receives. "Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised." Charm is deceitful because flattery is used to manipulate people to doing what you want. Beauty is vain because it is always fleeting. At best is only lasts the few years of your short life. The characteristics that mark this excellent woman rise from within because she has the proper fear of the Lord and seeks Him with all her heart.
ACCLAIMED (Vs 31)
Finally we find that she is acclaimed by the rest of society as well because of what she produces. "Give her the product of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates." She has brought much blessing to others by what she has done for them. They in turn give praise for it. Her godly character shines in all that she does including the products of her hands. Thus, she is acclaimed.
|Click here to host your
own church web site today!