June 14, 2020
The book of Proverbs is a collection of short sayings in the Old Testament meant to instill wisdom in God’s people. As we read, it is important to remember that a proverb is a statement which is generally true in principle, not a universally true promise. Let’s dig into the Word together and allow the Lord to shape our hearts, our minds, and our lives in his wisdom over the next month!
The author of Proverbs 31 is identified as King Lemuel. We do not know who this king was, but his words reveal a great respect and appreciation for his mother and his wife. While he receives the wisdom his mother taught him, and admires the character of his wife, the qualities cited can be characteristics seen in anyperson seeking the heart of God. This means that the example of the “Proverbs 31 woman” is one that you should seek to put into practice too men!
The king’s mother gave him three things to practice. First, she warned him against using his authority and power to engage in immorality or to seek the demise of other kings. Secondly, she warned him of the dangers of drunkenness and the inherent risks of trying to rule under the influence of strong drink and the harm and suffering he could cause. Thirdly, she urged him to always come to the aid of those who are suffering or oppressed.
The king praises his wife and her noble character. He considers her to be a virtuous woman of excellence who has his heart and deepest trust. She is wise, discreet, industrious, supportive of her husband and cares deeply about his good reputation. She not only rises early to serve her husband and family, but also those who attend to her needs. She has a healthy self-respect and is admired by those who know her. Every day she models a life worthy of imitation!
The Words of King Lemuel
31 The words of King Lemuel. An oracle that his mother taught him:
2 What are you doing, my son? What are you doing, son of my womb?
What are you doing, son of my vows?
3 Do not give your strength to women,
your ways to those who destroy kings.
4 It is not for kings, O Lemuel,
it is not for kings to drink wine,
or for rulers to take strong drink,
5 lest they drink and forget what has been decreed
and pervert the rights of all the afflicted.
6 Give strong drink to the one who is perishing,
and wine to those in bitter distress;
7 let them drink and forget their poverty
and remember their misery no more.
8 Open your mouth for the mute,
for the rights of all who are destitute.
9 Open your mouth, judge righteously,
defend the rights of the poor and needy.
The Woman Who Fears the Lord
10 An excellent wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.
13 She seeks wool and flax,
and works with willing hands.
14 She is like the ships of the merchant;
she brings her food from afar.
15 She rises while it is yet night
and provides food for her household
and portions for her maidens.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
17 She dresses herself with strength
and makes her arms strong.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
Her lamp does not go out at night.
19 She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her hands hold the spindle.
20 She opens her hand to the poor
and reaches out her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of snow for her household,
for all her household are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes bed coverings for herself;
her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates
when he sits among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them;
she delivers sashes to the merchant.
25 Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
27 She looks well to the ways of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the gates.
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
Family Discussion Question:
- Do you find the king’s mother’s instructions apply to your life in any way? Do you see any of the character qualities of the king’s wife in your life? What areas of your life do you still need to submit to God?