Lessons In The Life Of The Proverbs 31 Woman
Let’s do a little set up for the study before we start. This study is going to show us the exterior traits of this woman. We will learn that the exterior characteristics of this Godly woman come from knowing who she is on the inside. Knowing who she is in Christ affects how she meets the needs of others. We will get to at the very end of Proverbs 31.
I believe this is a pivotal thing that could revolutionize how we see ourselves.This woman knows who she is from her relationship with God. Her exterior deeds, work, gifts and influence stem from that. She doesn’t do all the exterior deeds to find validation.All the “exteriors” happen because she already knows who she is not the other way around.
We are also going to talk about where her influence starts and how it grows outside her home. So to recap, we are gonna hit her “exterior” deeds that stem from her personal relationship with Christ. And see how her influence starts in her home and how it has far reaching affects outside her home…..
So here we go…..
Is The Proverbs 31 Woman An Actual Woman ?
Our reading started in Proverbs 31: 10 but I think it’s important to go back to Proverbs 31:1 for a little clarity. These words about the “Proverbs 31” woman “as she has been dubbed” are the words of a mom to a son. Proverbs 31:1 gives us insight that this is a conversation.These are the words of wisdom the king Lemuel mom gives to him on womanhood and a virtuous wife. A laundry list of characteristics of a Godly woman if you will.This changes the dynamics and our approach to this “woman”.
I think many of us, me included, kinda get the a “mully grubs” when we read all this “woman” has accomplished but does this woman exist or is this just a conversation a mom has with her son giving instruction to him about womanhood.
A woman, if she had all these attributes, would be the cream of the crop. Wouldn’t you agree?
So is this an actual woman or a goal in which we should pursue? There are definitely some areas that we could take a look at in our own life and spruce up on.Most of us have read this chapter a million times but I want us to look at “her” in context.
This is a mom sitting down with a son telling him about godly “women”. Some scholars believe King Lemuel is in fact Solomon which means his mother is….Yep! You guessed it..Bathsheba. What better woman to share this information with a son than Bathsheba!I mean she had been through a thing or two. This information has been handed down from Jewish Tradition that in fact King Lemuel is Solomon however as far as I understand this can not be confirmed.
Either way whether it is Bathsheba telling the story to Solomon or just a mother that had walked on this earth what a powerful conversation to have with your son! Might be a good conversation for us to have with our sons and grandsons!
This is my first “ah ha” moment in this study that it wasn’t a particular woman. This was a conversation between a mom and a son as to what a godly woman who fears the Lord looks like.
Wammy no. 2….You ready….
What does the word “virtuous” mean to you?
Words that have a specific meaning today might mean something completely different in that time in history.In our day and time, you might read the word virtuous to mean, “she doesn’t run around”! She is faithful to her husband.
Honest confession! I have viewed that’s exactly what this word “virtueous meant.When thinking about the word virtue you might think it means patient, loving, gentle, tender, kind, giving….which all are true
when we look at this word in the original language it has a whole different slant to it. If you aren’t familiar with books such as concordances or word study books that help us delve into the Hebrew or Greek meaning of a word, a word study may seem way over your head but trust me it isn’t. It can be overwhelming at first but once you use one a couple of times its self explanatory. So I began to do a word study on this word “virtuous”. Of course there are numerous concordances and word study lexicon type books out there but the jest is this word is quite different than the meaning we would give it today.
Virtuous means to be a warrior type woman. This word virtuous was the Hebrew word “chayil”. Other words that were given for the word virtuous lent themselves to an army and excellence. Might, power and others were also given as synonym definitions for what this word would have meant in that time.
This is a wammy for most women because we have been taught to not view ourselves in this way.We have been taught Godly woman are tender, patient, loving, kind, ministering, soft and meek.While I do not disagree with that because those are fruits of the spirit there is another side to a woman that is also God honoring and the proverbs 31 woman exposes it!
So as we begin our study let’s the meaning of this word in mind. Let’s think about those words that gave us a clearer explanation for this word “virtuous” and let’s input them into the scripture to help us see her more clearly. Please know I am not adding to scripture . I am only giving clarity to what this particular word would have meant in this scripture in that time.
Scripture reads, “who can find a virtuous woman”? For clarity for our purposes let’s read it this way. These were all synonyms for the Hebrew word “chayil” as it would have been used in this scripture.
Who can find a “strong” wife?
Who can find a “mighty” wife?
Who can find a “warrior” wife?
Who can find an “efficient” wife?
Who can find a “capable” wife?
Who can find a “powerful” wife?
Makes her look quite different doesn’t it. I know!!!
If you didn’t know this before your mind is completely blown. You might not even trust what I am telling you. Trust me I had to stew on it for several days.. When I came upon the explanation of the word “virtuous” from the Hebrew lexicon concordance and how it was different than what I thought all this years I didn’t believe it.
I had to do my own study!!!
I want you to do your own study…..
That is what this is all about…..
The Progression of Her Impact.
She meets the needs in her home.
Her reach extends outside her home to meet the needs inside her home.
She stretches herself to strengthen those in need outside her home.
The fact that she is a virtuous (warrior, strong) wife will affects everything she touches!
It affects Her Home.
It affects Her Husband.
It affects Her Community.
Her valor and strength has long reaching affects. In complete opposite of this woman is the woman listed in Proverbs 12: 4.
A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown, but she who causes shame is like decay in his bones
The Proverbs 12:4 woman is a polar opposite to the Proverbs 31 woman and I don’t want to be her.I want to bring life and good to my husband, to my house or to my community. No one wants decay around them or to cause decay. The attributes of the Proverbs 31 woman are life giving…
Verse By Verse BreakDown
She is rare, invaluable and trustworthy.
Proverbs 31: 10-12
WHO CAN FIND?
She’s rare but she’s out there. She is invaluable and trusted. This type of rare warrior woman is rare and invaluable. Her worth can not be measured. Scripture tells us that she is worth more than rubies. Scripture also tells us that her husband safety trusts in her. She is trusted by those who are closest to her. How many of us know when you live with someone you really know them? Her husband safely trusts in her so he will have no lack of gain all the days of his life..
HE HAS CONFIDENCE IN HER !! WOW….
Scripture even tells us in Proverbs 31: 16 that she goes and considers a field and buys it. That’s a lot of trust right there! He trust her to not be dishonest. He has full confidence in her. I can’t wait to share with you why her husband has complete confidence in her. We are going to hit that a little later at the end of this chapter…
Proverbs 31:12 follows up with “she does him good and not evil all the days of her life”. There seems to be a mutual respect for one another gifts and knowing and trusting each other is huge.
Let me do a shameful plug for a strong marriage!
When you have mutual respect and trust as King Lemuels mom is laying out there, Marriage gets good.
She is a hard worker and takes care of her business in her home and out.
Proverbs 31:13-15, 18-19, 21-22
Scripture tells us she isn’t a sloth. She is eager to work with her hands.
Verse 14 tells us she wanders where ever she has to so she can meet the needs of her family. She does what she has to do to provide for her family physically and financially we see. She doesn’t mind going without a little sleep to meet the needs of her family. She plans ahead to provide for her home. She plans and makes sure they have the best food. She plans and makes sure they have the finest clothes. She makes sure they have their physical needs met but also their financial needs met which leads me to my next point.
She is a smart business woman.
Proverbs 31:16, 24
She appears to be on top of her game inside her home and outside her home. She thinks about buying a field. She buys it and with the proceeds from that she buys a vineyard. She sells linen garments to the merchants. She looks at what she can do with her hands and she does it. Her hands are not idle.
She has Intestinal Fortitude.
Proverbs 31: 17
I have no doubt this type of woman gets tired. Some of you are those type of women! We all have lots of plates spinning and we get tired. Verse 17 tells us she girds herself with strength and strengthens her arms. She strengthens herself.
Whatever it takes to strengthen herself so she can meet the needs of those she cares for, she finds a way to do it. When she is tired, she gets back up and shows herself strong. They used to say “she pulls herself up from her bootstraps! “
There is a reason why she is able to do that and we will see that in Proverbs 31: 30.
I read somewhere the word ‘aggressive’ was attached to this woman. She seems that way yet she is praised in these verses. I don’t know that she is necessarily aggressive but that she is on top of her game. She is a good steward over her family, over her gifts and over her time.
She stretches herself to meet the needs of others to support them.
Proverbs 31: 20
As I read the word study on Proverbs 31:20, one word kept sticking out to me. She “stretches” herself. She “extends” herself ! This verse literally means she stretches herself out to be the strength of another. I love that a woman hands are “a support”. In the word study, her hands are even explained as someone’s axle.
I don’t know if you know what the axle of a car is but the axle is it’s main structure. What good stuff. So her hands as she stretches to strengthen and support someone in need can be the main support to someone! We can be the “axle” to the needy! Good stuff ladies !
Her character gets her husband noticed.
I think above all else this one strikes me speechless. Her husband is thought of more highly of because of her character. The verbiage of this passage is unusual to me. In this day and time women were property so using a sentence like “the husbands wife” makes much more sense but that’s not what we see here. She adds to his leadership role in the community because of who SHE is. With her worth and dignity she is able to lead well in the home and in the community and this even spills over onto how her husband is perceived.
This type of woman is a “go getter”. Many would frown upon this type of female leadership but this is just what strength and honor look like in the life of a woman. You have to remember from Proverbs 31:10-12, she does all this with her husband safely trusting in her. I am just blown away at that ! This is not the picture we have been taught of Biblical womanhood.
She is willing to teach.
I love that she is willing to teach. So many of us are afraid to open our mouths and give the wisdom God has given us. She does! So can you! As she speaks truth, she is careful to speak with tons of mercy. Something we need to add to our set of character traits.
I want to be her best friend, don’t you?
She is on top of her business.
She isn’t idle!! God has given her a life to look over and she does so. She is serious about keeping careful watch over it. Living “idle” lives has hurt the average Christian woman more than we care to admit.
When we aren’t good stewards over what God has given us and have too much time on our hands then we start looking at the lives of other women. The outflow of a “idle” life can be seen everywhere. When I keep my eyes on what God has given me the position of care taker of, I have no time to be delving into your business. The devil flourishes there! Idle eyes, hearts and feet keep things stirred up and it kills our testimony and the furtherance of the gospel. Ladies, get back to keeping your eyes on what God has given you responsibility for! It’ll cut down on a lot of issues we all have.This would revolutionize our lives if we just grasped hold of this one verse.
Her virtue and character speak for itself.
Her children and grand children stand up (become powerful) and call her blessed. They confirm her. They validate her virtuous(warrior) (strong) (mighty) (efficient) lifestyle.
Her husband praises her. I don’t know about you but when my children and husband are pleased with me…and the Lord of course, I’m golden!
He praises her. He commends her strength and honor. He goes over and above honoring her for who she is.
Her “Interior” Is Spilling Out !
I want to dig into her “interior”. The exterior is just that.That’s what we have been talking about we find listed in Proverbs 31: 10-24.
What I want you to see is her exterior is a reflection of her “interior”. What’s on the inside of her is pouring out !!
She trust her future to the Lord.
Proverbs 31: 25
She isn’t afraid of the future. She is strong and mighty. Might and honor are who she is. When strength and honor are described as her clothing means she is a Godly woman. She puts Christ on as a garment! We need to take a closer look at this. This scripture tells us she is ready to face whatever may come her way because she safely trust in the Lord.
Stay with me……
Proverbs 31:30 is going to tie all these loose ends together.
A woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Proverbs 31: 29-30
You can have all the charm and looks you want but a woman who fears the Lord (reverences) the Lord will be praised. Exterior beauty will come and go but a lifestyle that honors the Lord will always shine. My exterior beauty has diminished with age but my interior beauty is growing as I mature in my relationship with God.
This is why this woman is a warrior….
She safely trust in Gods plan for her life. We start out with seeing how this “type” of woman is a warrior. She has the strength she does because she trusts in the Lord. We don’t get there on own on. We aren’t trusting in our own merit. We are trusting in His.
Where Do I Start?
So we might look at this list of attributes of this “type” of woman who is blessed and praised and think “How do I even start”?
You might say, “I am not a Proverbs 31 woman! “
“I AM NO WHERE NEAR IT ! “
Where do I start?
We start by fearing the Lord. Let’s be real, many of us didn’t have an example of what this looks like. I always want a model. How many of you know you don’t always get what you want? So, if you have no model how do you start?
You start with the basics that made this woman the warrior woman she was……
You start by fearing the Lord !!
“Fearing” means to reverence Him.
We start by taking Him seriously at His Word !
We start by standing on His promises !
We start by hating what He hates !
We start by being obedient !
We start by finding worth in Him !
So the beginning of wisdom and knowledge is the fear of the Lord. – Proverbs 1:7
The fear of the lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. – Proverbs
Here are some core qualities we see as we look at the guidelines King Lemuel’s mom gives her son.
SHE FEARS THE LORD…
SHE IS A WARRIOR…
SHE IS HOME FOCUSED…
SHE IS OTHERS FOCUSED…
SHE TEACHES WHAT SHE KNOWS…
This type of woman has a reverence for the Lord that will have far reaching effects and how she lives her life.
She is a good steward of her time, resources and the relationships God has given her.
Bottom Line !
She does the most with what God has given her care over. She does this because she reverences the Lord.
A life that reverences the Lord will always draw others to the God you serve.
REMEMBER THIS WOMAN IS RARE !