What comes to your mind when you think of Proverbs 31 from the Bible? It’s become a commercial item in many ways—it’s printed on tshirts, coffee mugs, journals and stationary and used throughout women’s ministries or sold in stores like Hobby Lobby….but beyond pretty script fonts and cute designs….what is Proverbs 31 really all about? Well, I’m glad you asked, because we are going to kick off the new year answering that question today. Who is the Proverbs 31 woman?!
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I have spent a lot of time thinking and praying about the ministry direction for the new year, and the Lord kept leading me back to Proverbs 31 over and over…
So, who is this Proverbs 31 woman? That is the question for today.
If you have never read all of Proverbs 31, then I encourage you to, and if you have before, then go back and read again to review.
Either way you will probably come away with the same feeling I always have from this chapter….overwhelmed by all this woman does, finding her completely unrealistic and unattainable..
Pastor Adrian Rogers said, “As you read and study this chapter, you might say, “I feel so inadequate.” But what a wonderful picture but it’s just an ideal and I don’t think there is one of us, male or female that could reach the ideal…But it’s better to reach for an ideal and miss it than aim for mediocrity and hit is squarely.”
That is so true! We need to be challenged and realize it’s not about what we do but who we are doing it for, and the Proverbs 31 woman understood this. So, what can we learn from her—or rather it may be more accurate to say, from them…
A little background…
Most Bible scholars actually believe that the Proverbs 31 woman may not even be about one specific woman, but it is compiling characteristics of different women that we can look to and be challenged by…Since no one woman can possibly have ALL of these gifts and talents!
Or maybe even, I’ve thought many times, Proverbs 31 could be different snapshots of ONE woman’s life over time: first as a wife, then as a mother, as a business woman, a Gardner and the list goes on and on…
Because you and I both know, that there is NO way in the world that you can be buying fields and growing your family’s food, when you just had a newborn! Not that we really do those things today as much, but you get the idea…
So if Proverbs 31 really isn’t a checklist for a Christian woman, then what is it’s purpose then?
In Proverbs 31:1-9, we read about a guy named King Lemuel, who is retelling some of the things that his mother had taught him, specifically about how to find a godly wife and what characteristics he needed to look for.
Then in verses 10-31, he lays out in poem form, some characteristics of this Proverbs 31 virtuous woman, that his mother spoke of. You might call them her expectations..And We know a lot about expectations as moms right?!
Christian church culture often says to us as moms: We need to have a certain car—full of kids, and live in a great big house where we love to host, we are to be gourmet cooks, the PTO president or at least a room mom at our kids school, volunteers in the church nursery, teach a Biblestudy (or at least be involved in one), keep a perfectly clean house—not to mention, making time for friendships and taking meals to the sick or our friends who recently had a baby—and then on top of all of that, we need to work from home or provide in some way?!
That is a lot for anybody, and even though none of these things are bad things, none of us as women and moms can do it ALL and be ALL of these things!
Plus, even if I could or you could, we would be so un relatable to other women, because we all have things that we excel in and shortcomings but that is real and honest!
And let me just put your mind to rest—because none of those things I mentioned are really necessary to be a quote on quote “Proverbs 31 woman.”
Understanding this, you might be thinking…
So if I don’t have to buy fields, and sew my kids clothes, be a homeschool mom or whatever other expectations I have put on myself, then what do I need to do to be a Proverbs 31 woman who is living for the Lord and worthy of praise like it says in verse 30?
Well, I’m glad you asked! I have 2 simple things:
- First of all in the beginning verses, 10 and 11, we learn that this virtuous woman (or women) is WISE and said to be “worth more than rubies.”
This reference to rubies is from previous verses all throughout the book of Proverbs referring to wisdom and understanding what is truly important in life. An example is Proverbs 3:15 speaking of wisdom:
“She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her.”Proverbs 3:15
So, it’s not about having money or things or status…it’s about your character, your virtue, your moral strength, your honesty and ability to make WISE decisions to follow the Lord’s path for your life and not the world’s…
Pastor Adrian Rogers said, “God does not compare this woman in Prov. 31 with a diamond. A diamond catches and reflects light, but a ruby has that inner glow. It’s beauty is rare and on the inside.”
2. This leads us to our next point: The Prov. 31 woman is wise and of high moral character, but she ALSO REALIZES THAT IT’S NOT the things you DO or how you LOOK ON THE OUTSIDE.
“Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.”Proverbs 31:28
So why do they do they call her blessed?
“Many women do noble things but you surpass them all. Charm is deceptive and Beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”Proverbs 31:29-30
So this is saying: your beauty will fade. Your kids will grow up. Things will change all throughout your life. But you don’t have to worry about checking off a list or staying ahead of the latest trends that the world sets. All this verse says that is required to be praiseworthy is to just LOVE JESUS, and to fear and respect Him enough to spend time with Him and let Him lead you into the things that He would have you do.
We can ALL find plenty of GREAT things to do, for our kids, for others, for our careers or whatever it may be, and they can sound and look really good on paper or in our Christian communities, but if we don’t get this part right, we miss it completely!
We must be women that are more concerned about spending time with Jesus than we are with our busy schedules and caring what others think. Spending more time consistently in God’s Word, so we can be those rare rubies of wisdom and high moral character.
I said this earlier and I’ll say it again…it’s not so much what you and I do or what this Proverbs 31 woman did, but it’s more about WHO she was, who we are, on the inside…and the fruit that her life produced because of the source it was coming from. She was just trying to live for the Lord, not trying to live by the world’s standards. She was too wise to be tricked by that lie satan tells that busyness or seeking the approval of others will bring happiness. Or the lie that we need to be perfect from social media.
The Proverbs 31 woman knew ONLY life connected to Jesus will leave you satisfied! And EVERYDAY MOMS, like you and I, are not perfect, but we can be women who actively choose to live our lives for JESUS and share Him with our kids.
To be continued…
So over the next few months, I am going to be calling a series of interviews “Faithful Everyday Moms” that are trying to do these things we have talked about today…not for the checklist or the approval of others, but to honor God, walk in wisdom and share that with their kids.
If someone comes to your mind when you think of a Faithful Everyday Mom or maybe it’s you, please send me a message from FACEBOOK OR INSTAGRAM social media. I would love to hear from you about potentially coming on to interview on our Faithful 31 Moms Podcast!