Morning Light – Proverbs 31

ml_2016Today: [Proverbs 31] The Proverbs 31 Woman. In Proverbs 31 woman we get a look at Solomon’s mother Bathsheba who is thought to have been the originator of the wisdom of this chapter. In the book of Proverbs there are two women portrayed and in this chapter, we find the virtues of godliness outlined in clear detail. A Proverbs 31 woman is much more than the weak, dominated creature without any authority or input. A Proverbs 31 woman is a woman of strength, integrity and authority who excels in life and in her family in ways that bring great blessing to herself, her spouse and her children.
[Pro 31:1-31 KJV] 1 The words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him. 2 What, my son? and what, the son of my womb? and what, the son of my vows? 3 Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings. 4 [It is] not for kings, O Lemuel, [it is] not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink: 5 Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted. 6 Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts. 7 Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more. 8 Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction. 9 Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.
Proverbs 31 is attributed in verse 1 to a “king Lemuel” as a prophecy given to him by his mother. Lemuel is unknown other than 2 references here in this chapter. Jewish legend maintains that this is in fact another pseudonym for Solomon just as the previous chapter regarding Agur son of Jakur. Scholars point out that there is a likelihood that this is a pseudonym for Solomon because the name Lemuel means in Hebrew “one who belongs to God…” If we concede that Lemuel is Solomon, then the mother who speaks to the prince in this chapter can only be Bathsheba. Therefore, we read Proverbs 31 as a prophecy of David’s consort and Solomon’s mother Bathsheba prophesying to her son. Due to the subject matter being the ideal of the virtuous woman it is interesting that antiquity would choose to veil her identity yet nonetheless acknowledge the wisdom of her words to her son. This is also an indication to us that Solomon’s God given wisdom was reflected not only in his father David but also his mother.
Verse 3 warns Solomon not to give his strength to women nor his ways to that which destroys kings. No doubt she knew her son well because later in his life after her death that is exactly and unfortunately what Solomon did. Solomon is in this annals of human history purportedly one of the wealthiest and most renowned kings but his testimony is marred by the fact that he exceeded wisdom in the area of marrying hundreds of women and keeping hundreds of concubines who swayed him in his judgment and deeply affected his walk with God for the worse. This is an area that many men would do well to learn from and women as well. How many times have we seen successful and godly men with powerful anointings whose piety and strength was drained and testimony tarnished by a mismatched marriage? This is a wisdom that escapes young men until it is too late and they pay a bitter price their whole life because they join themselves with odious, difficult, immature women without discretion or wisdom who delight to disparage and denigrate their husbands to the detriment of the work of God in their lives. Notice that the admonition here is to the man. For every mismatched marriage, we must realize that the man (who often appears the victim) is the one who made the choice of the spouse who often appears the target of ridicule. Bathsheba here warns her son not to make these errors in judgment, quite honestly no doubt in view of how her own relationship to Solomon’s father was such a great stain upon the character of the sweet Psalmist of Israel.
10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price [is] far above rubies. 11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. 12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. 13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. 14 She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar. 15 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens. 16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. 17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms. 18 She perceiveth that her merchandise [is] good: her candle goeth not out by night. 19 She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.
Who can find a virtuous woman? The virtuous woman in verse 10 is compared to be as rare as rubies. Rubies are in fact very rare gems in nature although they are commonly found in the synthetic gem world. In other words they can be manufactured but a true ruby is extremely rare even more so than diamonds. What is it that makes a ruby so rare? It isn’t because of the mineral they come from. Rubies come from a mineral called corundum which is quite common. What this tells us is that any woman is a ruby in the making. It isn’t the material but the process that material it was subjected to that makes it rare. Jewels, including rubies are formed by heat and pressure. As a woman, what is your response to heat and pressure and difficult circumstances? The answer to that is what defines you either as a rare gem or a cheap, artificial imitation.
Proverbs tells us about 2 women in its chapters. Which one are you? The Proverbs 31 woman is so much more than the submissive little tit mouse that is criticized by popular culture. She is a force to be reckoned with, a powerhouse of influence and acumen able to find her place in the kingdom of God and bring benefit and blessing to all those around her. Verse 11 says that the heart of her husband safely trusts in her. Does the heart of your husband safely trust in you? Popular culture portrays the marriage as a field of tension, back and forth and competition at best. Sitcoms and comedians make great sport of couples ridiculing each other and bantering with each other for sport. This is not the Proverbs 31 woman. Her husband’s heart is so securely ensconced in her regard, respect and love that he finds all his needs are met and has no need for the outside interests that weaken so many marriages.
Verses 13 and 14 speak of the industriousness and work ethic of the Proverbs 31 woman. The work she employs herself in focuses upon the well-being of those of her household, their wardrobe and their diet. Women are natural caregivers. For all the effort of modern culture to separate women from these traditional roles, I would submit to you that it is not a bondage for a woman to be a caregiver. Do you believe God made woman? By her very design physically and emotionally she is designed to be one in whom comfort and care can be found from those of her household. Even in breast feeding her very body teaches her children she is the source of supply and warmth in ways that men cannot be and are not designed to be.
Verse 15 says that the women rises before daylight to give portions to her maidens. That implies order and authority in the household and in the life of the Proverbs 31 woman. She is a provider but she is also an authority. When I was a vice-president of a software company I would often come to work at 3 a.m. and have done an entire day’s work before my employees showed up to do their jobs. Yet there was never any question who was in charge. The Proverbs 31 woman is the central focus of her home where her children are concerned. Her daughters are trained to defer and have a servant’s heart to assist her mother. Is that who your daughters are? Or are they spoiled and demanding children who haven’t been trained to be responsible contributors to the well-being of the household?
Verse 16 speaks of the Proverbs woman as one who buys land and turns it out to business purpose. How many women would by a house or a piece of land without consulting their husbands? Look at the level of trust this husband has toward his wife. By this we see something of the division of authority in the biblical view. Man, is certainly the head of the family but this woman is the head of her home. Ephesians 5:21 says that married couples are to submit one to another. Anything that has two heads is a freak. There are areas that a woman must defer to the man in home life and there are areas that a woman must rise up in her authority and the man must cooperate and submit himself or he is out of order. Your home is like a business. It has activity, purpose, inventory and scheduling every single day. These things are not up to negotiation. They are your responsibility and your authority. Couples that learn this and teach this to their children will have a level of harmony and peace that will elude families that ignore these principles.
20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy. 21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household [are] clothed with scarlet. 22 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing [is] silk and purple. 23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land. 24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth [it]; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant. 25 Strength and honour [are] her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. 26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue [is] the law of kindness. 27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. 28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband [also], and he praiseth her. 29 Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. 30 Favour [is] deceitful, and beauty [is] vain: [but] a woman [that] feareth the LORD, she shall be praised. 31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.
Verse 20 says that the Proverbs woman stretches out her hand to the poor and needy. We emphasis in our teaching tme and again the importance of giving to the poor. This verse sets that responsibility more upon the woman in the household to see that this gets done. The man may not have the mercy heart that the woman demonstrates. As a Proverbs 31 woman you should always have your attention out there on those less fortunate that you make a point of seeing to it that you and your husband are making yourself a resource for them. Your husband may not do it but you must press the issue. Many women say “well I let my husband lead in these decisions…” It is true that many men are used to being deferred to in these matters but how many men have the sensitivity and leadership of the Holy Spirit in these areas? God didn’t make man to always be tracking these areas of needs in others. As a woman you are anointed by God and appointed by God to provide your husband with the counsel and input to compel him to make certain decisions. It is a cop out to defer to your husband in matters that are uncomfortable to you or may make waves in the home if you bring them up. You have a responsibility before God to speak and your husband has a responsibility to submit. Both are held accountable for doing otherwise.
Verse 23 says that the Proverbs 31 husband is known in the gates. In other words you make him look good. Your work ethic, your leadership, your wisdom make your husband shine and bring him to promotion. This is not a bad thing. This is as God intended. The home is not a soccer match to see whose bank account is larger. Even if your job is more important or you make more money than your husband get it in your heart to see him lifted up and promoted. Likewise as a husband there is no need for you to put your wife down or feel like there is competition in your house because you wife is successful, perhaps more so than you are in certain areas. There needs to be a security and a trust between a wife and a husband that delights in promoting and lifting one another up in all things.
Verse 26 speaks of the law of kindness in the words of a Proverbs 31 woman. Have you ever seen a sharp tongued woman who mercilessly lashes her children and her husband with her words? Those are fires a woman can start and then will cry and complain when something gets burned down that was important to her. Let kindness be a law in your mouth. Hold your tongue when you want to lash out and put your husband or someone else in their place. Your children are watching. The disrespect you show your spouse will show up in much greater magnitude in your children toward their future spouses. What you allow in moderation your children will take to excess.
Verse 28 tells us finally that her children rise up and call her blessed and she is praised by her husband. She may be beautiful in her person but her character, integrity and wisdom cause her to excel above all others.

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