Proverbs 31 Wife
In today’s devotion, we are not reading about an actual person, but rather a picture of an ideal wife through the advice given to King Lemuel by his mother. At first glance, this scripture can be overwhelming. When I was newly married, I remember wanting to discreetly remove this page from my husband’s Bible because I would never want him to think this standard was even remotely realistic. But as I dig deeper and consider the context behind these words, a few things stand out.
The first is the personal qualities that are esteemed when describing this woman. The king’s wise mama is trying to convey to her son the importance of choosing a wife based on character over physical beauty. This ideal wife is praised for her virtue, as well as her capabilities. Not once is her physical appearance mentioned. In today’s society, so much emphasis is placed on a person’s looks. These verses remind us of the fleetingness of our outer shell and the important qualities we should be looking for instead when considering our future spouse.
The second lesson I gleaned from this scripture, is that it demonstrates the variety of talents and potential roles a woman might hold. The example given describes a devoted wife and mother, a thoughtful employer, and a savvy businesswoman. She is industrious, organized, and hard-working. She is a planner, someone who looks ahead and is well prepared. She is respected by her family and her community and most importantly, fears the LORD.
Many people mistakenly believe that the Bible’s ideal woman is meek and solely domestic. Here we see a woman using her talents in a variety of ways. As women, we have many paths available to us. Our priorities and focus may shift as we go through life. When I was in my 20’s, much of my time and energy was focused on my career. At 31, when my son was born, I felt called to step away from my job and stay at home full time. It was a good decision for my family and me. As my children got older, resuming my career, initially through part-time work, then eventually full-time, felt right. Other women, like the one described in Proverbs 31, feel called to work outside the home while raising children. God’s plan for some women may not include a husband or children. God gives each of us unique talents and provides opportunities to use them in different seasons of our lives to glorify Him and serve others through our family, careers, and ministry.
When I read these verses now, instead of seeing this as an impossible standard to measure up to, I see it as an encouragement to use the talents I have been given and work excellently in whatever roles I am currently assigned. It reminds me that cultivating my character and inner beauty is far more important than my outward appearance and honoring God should always come first.
Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the LORD will be greatly praised. Proverbs 31:30
1. How do you feel after reading these verses… Inspired? Overwhelmed?
2. What can we do in our beauty obsessed society, to value character over appearance?
3. How are you able to glorify God and serve others in your current role?
4. If you have children who are not yet married, what are some of the qualities you hope for in their future spouse? Do you discuss them with your child? Do you pray for their future spouse?