Proverbs 31:1-5 ESV
What are you doing, my son? What are you doing, son of my womb?
What are you doing, son of my vows?
Do not give your strength to women,
your ways to those who destroy kings.
It is not for kings, O Lemuel,
it is not for kings to drink wine,
or for rulers to take strong drink,
lest they drink and forget what has been decreed
and pervert the rights of all the afflicted.
Many of our spiritual leaders within the gatherings of the church today, or within institutional churches, have given themselves over to the intoxication of the lusts of the flesh, and to the poisoning of their minds and bodies with what is immoral, wicked, and dishonoring to God. They have become addicted, though not to wine, necessarily, but to sexual immorality, and/or to sensuality, and/or to the passions and desires of their sinful flesh.
Many of them, too, have become greedy for prestige, popularity, notoriety, acceptance, wealth, and/or for power and control. They have been tempted by the tempter, though not necessarily toward sexual perversion, but towards a perversion of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and towards a misrepresentation of what the church, the body of Christ, really is.
So, the “woman” they are following after is Babylon, the Great Prostitute, who is leading many people into spiritual adultery against their Lord. And, they are following her lead, and her example for how to do “church,” and for how to live the Christian life, and for what the gospel truly entails.
But, she is leading many of our men, and many of our church leaders to follow after a lie of Satan, rather than after the truth of God’s Word. And, so many of them have turned the church upside down, as well as the gospel, and they have turned the church into a marketplace. They have joined themselves with a harlot, and they have unequally yoked together with unbelievers, and they have diluted the gospel to make it less offensive and more appealing to the flesh, so the world will feel at home in their meetings.
So, they are deserting their flocks spiritually and morally, and they are leading many of them astray to the cheap grace gospel which requires no death to sin, no submission to Christ as Lord, and no living to righteousness in the power of God’s Spirit at work within them.
So, they are dooming their followers to hell. For, many of these leaders are connected to the wrong power source. They are not connected to Almighty God, but to the flesh of humans, and to self, and so they are being led by the flesh and not by the Spirit of God. And, so God is calling out to these leaders, and he is saying, “What are you doing?” This is a wakeup call.
Proverbs 31:10-12, 27-28, 30-31 ESV
An excellent wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.
She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
She looks well to the ways of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the gates.
During WWII, at least in the USA, since so many men had to go off to war, women had to take their places in the workforce and to do the men’s jobs. Even within evangelical churches, women took to the pulpits because there were not enough men to fill the pulpits in the churches.
And, that is a picture, I believe, where many women are today, having to fill the spiritual roles in the family and in the churches that were meant for the men to fill, but that many men are not filling because they are at war with God in their souls. They are intoxicated with all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life (1 Jn. 2:16). But, they are not on fire for the Lord or living in submission to his will.
So, God is calling many women into his workforce, perhaps in positions which would normally be filled by men, and he is doing this because there are women who are listening to him, and who are following his lead, and who are walking in the fear of the Lord, and who truly want what is best for their husbands, and their children, and for their church family, too.
These are women whose hearts are given over to the Lord to follow the Lord wherever he leads them, whom he is using to speak words of wisdom, and to teach the kindnesses of God, and to look well to the ways of their children and their grandchildren, too, and to the ways of the body of Christ, as well.
For, it isn’t just the men in the church who are supposed to help build up the body of Christ to maturity, but it is the women, too. We are all commanded to encourage one another in the Lord, and to speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. We all have a part in the body which we are to fill for the nurturing and the strengthening and encouragement of one another. And, we have all been gifted with Spiritual gifts for the building up of the body of Christ till we all reach unity in the faith with Christ.
But, I am not promoting mutiny here or the usurping of authority over men. I believe women are to be in submission to the men who are in leadership over them, but only as unto the Lord, not as unto the flesh. We should never submit to sin or to compromising our faith or to diluting the gospel of Christ. We should never deny our Lord or disobey him in order to obey humans.
But, since so many men within our households and within the gatherings of the church have gone AWOL, spiritually speaking; and since the church overall is on such a massive spiritual decline, and the gospel is taking a massive hit, as well; and since lies are prevailing, and the lies are gaining much ground, and the truth is under fire big time, God is calling many women to do what he originally called the men to do, I believe, and that is to speak out on these issues, and to confront the lies, and to tell the truth, and to call the church to repentance, and to warn of divine judgment, too.
And, they are obeying the Lord in doing this, not because they want to usurp authority over men, which they are not doing, hopefully, but because they walk in the fear of the Lord, and they love their Lord and their husbands and their children and grandchildren, and because they love God’s people and the people of this world, and they want to see people saved from their sins and walking in victory over darkness and in pure fellowship with their Lord.
A Biblical Illustration
And, I can’t think of a better illustration of this than the story in Luke 7 of the woman, who had had a reputation, entering the house of a Pharisee in order to wet Jesus’ feet with her tears and to wipe them with her hair and to kiss his feet and to anoint them with an alabaster flask of ointment.
The Pharisee was critical of the woman, probably because of her reputation, but perhaps because she was also a woman. And, Jesus knew what he was thinking or what he was whispering underneath his breath.
So, Jesus spoke to Simon, the Pharisee, through a parable, in which he illustrated for him that those who have had a greater debt, who have sinned perhaps more greatly than others, when truly forgiven by the Lord, and set free by his grace, will love him more than the one who had sinned less or perhaps not in such disreputable ways as this woman.
But, it is not that part of the story that stands out to me the most here. It is the part where Jesus comes to the defense of the woman and he honors her for what she did for her Lord out of love for him, even though she met with disapproval by this Pharisee.
Jesus let this Pharisee know that this woman, whom Simon despised, and who he considered to be less than him, had actually done for the Lord what Simon, the Pharisee, should have done but did not do. There were three specific ways in which she honored the Lord that was the responsibility of the host to do, but he did not do. And, then he ended it by saying that, although she had sinned much, the Lord forgave her sins, because she loved much. But, he said, “But he who is forgiven little, loves little.”
My takeaway from this story is that this is a picture of how our Lord honors people, in general, who love him like this woman did, but it is also a picture of how much he honors women, too, and how valuable they are to him in ministry, too. For, he said that in the last days his sons and daughters will prophesy, and he gifted women with the gift of prophecy, too.
But, I am not speaking of adding on to scripture here, or of predicting the future, but I am speaking of the New Testament gift of prophecy which is used for the building up of the body of Christ in faith, and for the encouragement (urging, motivating, stirring up, and arousing) of the body of Christ to holy living.
A person with this gift has a keen awareness of the times in which we now live, and of the implications of those influences on the church, and of not following our Lord in obedience. This spiritual gift of prophecy helps us to apply the scriptures to where we live, in our culture today, but not by blending in with the culture, but by coming out and being separate. And, a person with this gift has a burden to warn of God’s judgment and of the need for us to repent of our sins and to walk with our Lord in obedience.
And, so God is raising up many women, but men, too, to speak his messages to his wayward church, warning of divine judgment, calling for repentance, exposing the lies that are going on in the name of God, and proclaiming the truth.
And, this is because they love their Lord, and they are willing to do what he says and to say what he wants them to say. And, so he is giving honor to them by calling them to this ministry, too, because they love him, and because they love their fellow humans, too, and they want to see them be free of their slavery to sin and to walk in holiness with God.
Give her of the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the gates.