Mother’s Day being this Sunday must be why Proverbs 31 is on my mind. Before reading the Bible, Proverbs 31:10-31 was my favorite set of verses (I was a Christian a long time before I actually read the Bible). I love the Lord, I love my husband and kids. I want what is best for them and Proverbs 31 seemed to give what we all are looking for in life, a sure fire way for everything to turn out well. I want my husband and I to love and respect each other forever. I want my kids to seek the Lord, love others, and be fully equipped to succeed in their endeavors. The Proverbs 31 woman seemed to be the formula for success in all this. If I do a, then b will happen. So appealing!
If you haven’t read Proverbs 31:10-31, here it is.
10 A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
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 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
I love the picture of this woman and desperately wanted to be her. I got up early every day making sure it was still dark. It had to be dark! I had quiet time with the Lord, I watched sermons and read Christian books and blogs. I worked out daily (making my arms strong). I cleaned the house and planned healthy meals. I even had my MLM business that was in my mind a version of “making linen garments and selling them”. As a stay-at-home mom, I felt that I was “watching over the affairs of my household” every day!
But now that I actually have read the Bible, I know that in all my doing, I was still missing the mark completely.
A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.
Why can no one find this woman? What makes her so valuable?
Well, we first have to look at what the Bible says is also more costly than rubies.
Coral and jasper are not worthy of mention;
the price of wisdom is beyond rubies. Job 28:18
For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it. Proverbs 8:11
Wisdom. She is wise.
Wisdom is in the beginning, middle, and end of these verses.
She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue. Proverbs 31: 26
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Proverbs 31:30
A woman who FEARS the Lord is to be praised. Fear? Why fear a loving God? And what does that have to do with wisdom?
And he said to the human race,
“The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom,
and to shun evil is understanding.” Job 28:28
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. Proverbs 9:10
So you will not be the Proverbs 31 woman if you do not have wisdom, and a fear of the Lord is wisdom. So, there ya go. It’s all understood. Just fear the Lord and be wise!
Not so fast.
But where can wisdom be found?
Where does understanding dwell? No mortal comprehends its worth;
it cannot be found in the land of the living. Job 28:12-13
For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. 1 Corinthians 1:25
So now what? How am I supposed to obtain this thing that is supposedly not in the land of the living?
You go to where it lives!
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12
In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. Hebrews 1: 1-3
I heard Jen Wilkin say that the Bible is our burning bush. I agree! The Bible is how God speaks to us. The Bible is where he grows us and prunes us.
Spurgeon says: “It is the Word that prunes the Christian. It is the truth that purges him The Scripture made living and powerful by the Holy Spirit eventually and effectively cleanses the Christian.”
I can tell you this, I did not have a fear of the Lord until He gave it to me through His word. You cannot be the wise Proverbs 31 woman without reading the Bible.
In a world full of “follows”, we must make sure we are following the right thing. We can’t follow our feelings, they all the time. We can’t follow our hearts either.
The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?
And I hate to break the news but the gut isn’t worth much either.
Wisdom comes from nowhere other than God and to get it you must read His word. If you are like me and have been a Christian for a while but have yet to read the Bible, you are missing the mark. Christ is our wisdom from God and we hear Him through His word.
But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, 1 Corinthians 1:30
My Mother’s Day gift to all of you aspiring Proverbs 31 women is to direct you to where wisdom is found, the Bible.
Blessing to you all!
-Angela (who is by no means wise)