Aug23MonAugust 23, 2021
Proverbs 31, famous for its description of a godly wife, begins with the influence of a godly mother (vs. 1-9). For some 30 chapters we have been hearing advice from a father to a son. Now we hear a mother warn her son. Wisdom is for both genders, not reserved for male leaders only. Actually, a woman gets the last word on the issue of wisdom. We see that a house that has godly parents, and specifically a godly mother who uses her wisdom for the raising of her family and the benefit of the community, is blessed and valued. We need to remember that wisdom is not found in the world’s sages, but comes rather from God. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Prov. 9:10) and the woman of Proverbs 31 exemplifies that truth (Prov. 31:26, 30). For the Christian woman, in Christ is all the wisdom of God found (Col. 2:2-3). Proverbs 31 depicts wisdom applied in a family environment.
What do you think the first thing a mom would say to her teenage son? “Don't waste your life chasing after women! This has ruined many kings” (vs. 3 – Contemporary English Version); or more bluntly stated, “Don't spend all your energy on sex and all your money on women; they have destroyed kings” (vs. 3 – Good News Translation). No mother wants her child’s life ruined by loose living and immorality. Secondly, no mother wants her child to be controlled by addictions to alcohol (vs. 4), or nowadays, drugs for that matter, because drunkenness leads to lawlessness (vs. 5), and debauchery (Ephesians 5:18 – the Greek word for “debauchery” in this text literally means one who cannot be saved). This kind of sinful behavior causes a mother great grief, and we see the urgency of the warning as the mother pleads, “o my son, O son of my womb, O son of my vows” (vs. 2 NIV). I am sure that behind every wayward child, was a mother pleading for the child not to go down the road of ruin. Sad when a child neglects the warnings of his/her godly mother. If only I had listened! A godly mother will even instruct her children to stick up for the poor and needy and not abuse them (vs. 8-9).
Now we come to the famous “Wife of Noble Character” passage, a poem arranged alphabetically. The first word of each line begins with a letter from the Hebrew alphabet. Why would the author (probably Lemuel’s mother) do this? For easy memorization. They didn’t have a printing press 3,000 years ago! This was important wisdom to impart to moms – wisdom that would produce a successful home, marriage, children and community.
I will list the different qualities of a wise wife, and leave the application to the reader. May I just say that the wisdom in these 22 verses is not just for moms and wives, for every husband and father would do well to apply these principles to his life for the success of him and his family.
For all of this, she is highly valued by her family. She is blessed and praised by her husband and children alike (vs. 28-29). She is recognized not for her beauty, but for her fear of the Lord (vs. 30), and respected by her community (vs.31).
Now maybe you are saying, “this superwoman is not a real role model…we live in the real world”. Well, that may be true in some sense, but can we not take the principles taught here and apply them to our own life? Principles we have seen all through the book of Proverbs, like hard work and responsibility, planning, being led by God and His word, living not for yourself but rather for those you are called to serve. Can we put our own name in place of “she” and do a checklist of our own virtuous qualities or lack thereof? I have seen many godly mothers and fathers, men and women who live up to these standards. Actually, I am amazed at how many I know who fit this bill! This list is not to discourage you, but to encourage you to be all that God wants you to be…not in your strength but in His. I close with the reasons Proverbs was written in the first place; notice the promises:
For the Lord gives wisdom;
from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.
He holds success in store for the upright,
He is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,
for He guards the course of the just
and protects the way of his faithful ones. (Proverbs 2:6-8)