I have always had a love/hate relationship with the Proverbs 31 woman. I had a desire to be this Biblical gold standard, but then at other times, it seemed to be another standard I could just never live up to. I mean, really. Come on. She finds wool and flax, and spins it (v 13); she plants a vineyard (v 16); and she makes her own bedspreads (v 22). I don’t do any of this!
I decided to turn my love/hate relationship into one of understanding.
Who is she? And why is there an entire chapter devoted to her in the Bible? The last chapter of Proverbs, in fact; when so many others have focused on a different type of woman-an evil, manipulative, promiscuous, and adulterous woman. One who uses her beauty to deceive and lure.
Maybe because she is in fact the total opposite of those described in Chapters 5, 6, and 7. One closer to God. She is more than a woman who is “bitter poison” (5:4), or “cares nothing about the path of life” (5:6).
She honors God. Loves God. Does His will. Seeks Him first.
The writer of this well-versed chapter makes this difference known in the very first verses of Chapter 31. According to the author (King Solomon…who actually needed this advice), King Lemuel was actually given this advice from his mother: “Don’t dilute your strength on fortune-hunting women, promiscuous women who shipwreck leaders.” Proverbs 31:3, MSG. Those chronicled in those earlier chapters; those that bring destruction. Momma goes on to describe what kind of woman she desires for her boy.
Who can find a virtuous and capable wife?
She is more precious than rubies.
Her husband can trust her,
and she will greatly enrich his life.
She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life. Proverbs 31:10-12, NLT
Virtuous. Other translations describe her as noble. In other words, righteous. Good. Honest. Upright.
And she isn’t just trusted and honored by her husband. But most importantly-God.
Momma wanted the King to find him a godly woman. One of integrity. Honesty. With strong moral character.
One who was the same in secret as she was in public.
Our Heavenly husband desires this as well.
If you look back to those other chapters, those women (and ladies…let’s not be remiss to realize that men can be these things, too. This isn’t just for the ladies)…what do we find? Worldly qualities. Things folks desire simply from seeing, hearing, and trusting things other than one’s character. “Words like honey.” (Proverbs 5:4). “Lustful beauty and coy glances meant to seduce” (Proverbs 6:25).
The P31 woman is much more than looks, charm or words. She walks with God, and she mirrors His ways. When she speaks she doesn’t speak words to deceive or beguile. She speaks words of praise. Encouragement. Truth in love. She is a woman of integrity, and God has confidence and trust in her decisions, because they match the truth she reads. The life she lives, and the way she speaks.
She desires good for everyone. Not destruction. Most of all, she desires God.
And she desires Him for others, too.
I used to hate her, but now I love her. I used to want to be anything BUT her, but now she’s all I want to be.
She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness. Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised. Proverbs 31:25-26, 30
That’s a godly woman. A woman of truth and integrity. A woman I long to be.
Note: Now that I have made peace with the Proverbs 31 woman, and continue to find peace with myself, I have some ways for you to do the same. Come back this weekend for an exciting announcement!