Proverbs 31 Commentary
by Hank Workman
The readings of Proverbs come to a close. These have spoken of most practical and inspirational advice to walk uprightly before God. They have shown the dark contrast between the righteous and the wicked all through choices and decisions they make. Involving every relationship, our job, our involvement within the Body of Christ, they have exposed over and over again the selfishness of our ways and how many times we choose what we want due to our pride.
We all wrestle with a certain aspect of pride on some level. For some it is a demonstrative noticeable behavior. For others it is the deadly force growing within where through our actions and sometimes slight undertones state: I don’t need help. I don’t need someone’s outside advice. I don’t need anyone telling me what to do. When we live in such feelings and allow the pride of our heart to overrule everything of our involvement, the Lord does a remarkable thing. He lets us fall. He lets us find ourselves in disappointment and hardship.
God uses others in our lives to expose such deep secretive thoughts and behavior. He brings situations to the forefront where we must wrestle with who we are and why we are responding the way we do. It’s always best as we know when the Holy Spirit begins to meddle with areas of our life and personalities we best heed the pricks of His conviction and leadings. He uses others sometimes to bring the tangible exposure of such things. He uses events of failure and disappointment to work the same way. Be open this day to the lead of the Spirit and what He’s saying to you now in whatever situation you may be facing. His goal and purpose is ever to be transforming us into the likeness of the Son of God, Jesus, who in every way modeled humility and was victorious.
Proverbs 31 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
Proverbs 31 is a famous chapter describing a virtuous woman of God. Many of us have heard the phrase “Proverbs 31 woman.” As this chapter has become more popular within Christian circles, I have been encouraged and troubled by the effect it has had on women within the church. Let me explain.
In this chapter, we read a various range of topics such as faith, marriage, motherhood, serving, finances, health, time, duty, homemaking, and beauty. It truly is a complete picture of what a woman of God should strive to be in Him. But it also brings pause. What if you don’t know how to make your own bed sheets? (v. 22) Is a Godly woman really required to work into the night and rise before the sun? (v. 18)
Part of the disconnect exists within the cultural aspect of our society. An ancient wife had a different lifestyle than women of today. That’s not the main point I want to make, but keep it in mind as we explore.
This chapter is introduced by King Lemuel and he is relaying information that his mother had given to him. Consider the original context. This is motherly advice to a son. To me, it reads more like a direction than a destination. Should Christian women strive to exemplify these qualities? Sure! But just like the entire book of Proverbs, many of us will struggle to embody every specific characteristic of wisdom and knowledge. The question is whether or not our hearts are pursuing a path of wise living according to God. The details are helpful, but I do not believe they are exclusive.
It’s A Process
It takes years of struggle, growth, and sacrifice to obtain even a few of these characteristics. As a young man looking for a wife, I’m sure King Lemuel did not begin his search with the most qualified women. Most likely, that would have required him to search among women much older than him who had grown into these roles. The advice from his mother led him to evaluate his future wife by her heart posture and potential.
What Is The Main Point?
I could go on, but let’s get to the point. A Proverbs 31 woman desires to fulfill her God-given purposes. She is sensitive to the Spirit and self-sacrificing. Her life is heading in the direction of Christ even if she does not fit the exact mold described in this chapter. In fact, Proverbs 31 can’t describe a “do-it-all wife” because, in reality, she would have had servants helping her.
To break this all down: A Proverbs 31 woman has her priorities straight! The specifics are not as important as the framework. Mrs. 31 is a picture of wisdom because she does what she ought to do and she does it with diligence and excellence.
It’s difficult and somewhat overwhelming to look at this chapter as a whole. It’s natural to put ourselves somewhere on the map as to where we stand in each of these categories. However, this chapter is less about measuring and more about motivation. It’s not about perfection but about purpose. What is your driving force and what is fulfilling your life? What are you pursuing? Where are your priorities?
Women, do not let Proverbs 31 discourage you. God has created each of you uniquely with a diverse set of gifts. This chapter should be a motivating and encouraging text for any woman seeking to live a Godly life!