Proverbs 31:10-31 (Select verses)
An excellent wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
An excellent wife (or woman) is one who is exceptional and admirable. She is not ordinary or mundane. She is special. She is unique. And, she is commendable (praiseworthy), although she should be one who gives all the praise and glory to God, and not to herself, for she is only excellent because of the excellence of the Lord Jesus living within her and out through her.
(Regarding her husband):
She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.
She, too, is one who considers what is best for her husband. And, she does for him what is for his good, not what will harm him. And, this “good” will depend largely upon their situation and their age and their status in life.
For, it will be different for a wife married to a man, and they have no children together, than it will be for a wife married to a man, and they have children. And, it will be different if both spouses are working full-time for pay, or if just one of them is working for pay, or if one or both are retired. And, then it depends on the needs, too.
So, the “what” she will do for her husband may vary, but not the fact that it must be for his good, and not for his harm. And, this is very important that we understand this, for it is not good for our husbands if, for example, we participate with them in something sinful, or if we watch movies together which are bad for us, or if we do something we know might lead them into sin or that might be a stumbling block to them in their walks of faith, if they have faith in Jesus Christ, which some of them may not.
And, depending upon the situation, the good that we must do to them must be something for their well-being, that will be beneficial for them in godly and holy ways, not in fleshly ways. We must set the right example before them of holy living and of godly lives, and of those who are following our Lord in obedience. And, then we must love them with the love of God which prefers what is holy, just, righteous, pure, honest and trustworthy, etc.
She rises while it is yet night
and provides food for her household
She dresses herself with strength
and makes her arms strong.
Her lamp does not go out at night.
Again, what this looks like in our day and time largely depends on our individual situations and cultures, etc. But the point is that she provides for the needs of her household (family) in whatever ways she has means to do so, and in whatever way God has called her.
And, the provisions may not be primarily physical, though certainly physical needs are part of it. But she may be one whose work it is to provide spiritual nourishment to people, which she would also share with her family members for their encouragement in their walks of faith, if they are people of faith.
And, the way in which she may provide for them, too, is by her example of faith, in how she will serve the Lord day or night, and how she will get up while it is still dark to do whatever the Lord wants her to do, or to meet the needs of her family members. This happens with moms of young children, I know. Their work is never really done. They are on call 24/7.
She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her hands hold the spindle.
She opens her hand to the poor
and reaches out her hands to the needy.
She is a hard worker, too. She is not slothful. She is not lazy or idle. She doesn’t waste away her days on stuff that has no value to her life or to the lives of her family members. It doesn’t mean she doesn’t laugh, or that she doesn’t enjoy life, or that she is just staunch and stiff all the time. She smiles a lot. She is filled with the joy of the Lord. And, she enjoys her family and spending time with them. So, she knows how to relax, too.
She is also generous, and she shares her heart, and her time, and her resources with those in need. And, it may not always be money or physical supplies, but it may be free babysitting of grandchildren, or it may be taking a walk with a neighbor, or spending time talking with a neighbor, or it may be calling someone or texting them or sending a card or giving them a word of encouragement or a song to sing. She cares about people.
Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
She does not dress herself in seductive ways that draw attention to her form. She dresses herself modestly and she carries herself with maturity and dignity, and she lives a moral life above reproach, and she doesn’t give herself over to doing what is wicked and/or that would harm others.
She has no fear of the future. It doesn’t mean she is never tempted to fear, but she gives her fears over to the Lord, as her practice, and she rests in her Lord, and she trusts him and his sovereignty over her life.
She also opens her mouth with the wisdom she receives from God. It doesn’t mean she is perfect always in her speech, but that words of wisdom are what regularly and consistently are on her tongue, especially when she is teaching the Word of God for the benefit of others, to encourage them in their walks of faith. For, she depends on the Lord for what to say, and she does not contrive it herself. She trusts the Holy Spirit to speak through her.
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.
The older that I get (I am 70), the more I realize how very much this is true. So, if someone is considered “charming,” that is most likely not a good thing. That usually means that they are manipulative and deceitful, and they don’t have your good at heart, but they intend you harm. They are just using you for their advantage to get what they want, regardless of what it does to you, or how much they hurt you in the process.
So, as women of God, we are not to lie to anyone, not even tell a white lie, which is still a lie. We are not to manipulate anyone or use anyone for our advantage. But we are to always look out for the good of others and not to do them harm. For we are to be women of integrity.
So, how do we do all of this? How could any of us possibly measure up to this virtuous woman? Only by walking in the fear of the Lord and in his mighty power can we live like this. Only as we daily die to sin and self, by the Spirit, and put on Christ and his armor, and as we walk in obedience to our Lord, in doing his will, are we able to live such lives above reproach.
And, when we do that, when we surrender our lives to our Lord, to walk in his ways, and to do what he says, and we are on call with our Lord 24/7, for whatever he has for us to do, then his love, his grace, and his mercy should come through us, and the fruit that we bear should be the fruit of righteousness for the kingdom of heaven, and not the fruit of the flesh, which is for the kingdom of this world.
And, we shouldn’t be looking for the praise of the world for what we do. And, we shouldn’t fear the rejection and persecution of the world, either, or the disapproval of the worldly adulterous church who may find us an offense. But we should find our purpose and our worth in God, and in God alone. And, our lives should be for his praise. But what we do must be done in his strength and power, and not in our own, then all the glory goes to God.
Be with Me, Lord
By Thomas O Chisholm
Be with me, Lord – I cannot live without THEE,
I dare not try to take one step alone.
I cannot bear the loads of life, unaided,
I need THY strength to lean myself upon.
Be with me Lord, and then if dangers threaten,
If storms of trial burst above my head,
If lashing seas leap ev’rywhere about me,
They cannot harm, or make my heart afraid.
Be with me Lord! No other gift or blessing
THOU COULDST bestow could with this one compare –
A constant sense of THY abiding presence,
Where’er I am, to feel that THOU ART near.
Be with me, Lord, when loneliness o’ertakes me,
When I must weep amid the fires of pain,
And when shall come the hour of “my departure”
For “worlds unknown,” O Lord, be with me then.
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