Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.
Proverbs 31:30 KJV
As I’ve read Proverbs 31 over the years, I can say that 99% of the time, I walked away from it with a sense of my own inadequacies as a female. I heard it said years ago that a young man was overheard saying, “I’m praying God will give me a Proverbs 31 woman to be my wife!” To which a young woman nearby said, “Yes, and I’m praying God will give me a Proverbs 1-30 man!” There is so much written on this particular Proverb, and it seems to be a favorite for pastors to pull out on Mother’s Day. Nice. The one day out of 365 that a woman is supposed to feel blessed, and she walks out of her church with a cloak of guilt and shame hanging on her shoulders because she was, once again, reminded of how she doesn’t toe the line.
I don’t think pastors mean to do this, but it happens way too often! You can almost feel the tension in the sanctuary when he says, “Today, we’ll honor all the moms by reminding them all of the things they’re supposed to be doing, but aren’t. Maybe this year they’ll get it together!” Does he say that? No, of course he doesn’t. But for most women, this is what they (we) hear.
So, let’s get to today’s devotion. As you read the beginning verse, we are told that this particular Proverb comes from, of all people, a woman. Interesting, isn’t it? Secondly, we see that this was advice given by a mom. Most scholars agree that King Lemuel was Solomon, so his mother was none other than Bathsheba, aka the wife of Uriah the Hittite. Bathsheba was the woman David stole from another man, impregnated, and then had her husband killed. Solomon was the second child born to them, after their firstborn, conceived through their affair, died.
The fact that Bathsheba is credited with this advice is significant. To see that God would give such grace and wisdom and dignity to a woman who had been to the depths of brokenness is another proof of God’s mercy and love. No matter where you’ve been, or what has been done to you, God has a good plan and purpose for your life. You can begin today to allow Him to begin unveiling that purpose to you—throwing off your shoulders and guilt and condemnation for whatever past may still be haunting you. I heard Beth Moore say one time that you will never be able to divorce your past from your destiny. Wise words from a woman who has experienced a heaping helping of brokenness herself, wouldn’t you agree?
The other thing I want to point out is this: in the first few verses, Bathsheba describes to her son the importance of being a person of integrity and godliness himself before she describes to him what kind of person to look for in relationship. This advice can go for all of us, no matter our age or marital status. We can receive this wonderful counsel on the importance of allowing Christ to change us, mature us, and teach us before we choose those people who will be allowed up close to us in our inner circles of friendship and even marriage.
- Wisdom can take the realities of my past (the good, the bad, and the ugly) and by God’s grace, ensure of positive and purposeful future. What does this mean for you personally?
In our key verse, we see that a woman’s charm which can include her looks, her youth, her personality, etc. can be deceitful. As a 40 year old woman, I am beginning to see how quickly the “beauty” of youth begins its downhill decline! What is lasting and permanent, though, is a woman who fears the Lord = a woman of WISDOM. That is what remains when all else fades. WISDOM remains even when the wrinkles come, the dog dies, the husband is unfaithful, the friend betrays, the bills come, the kids move out, the bathing suit gets bigger. Wisdom remains, so get wisdom!
Finally, the verse ends with “…she shall be praised.” By whom? Those under her influence. A woman of wisdom will shine above the others who have made priorities out of passing, fleeting, external things. A woman of wisdom can face her uncertain future knowing it is held by a certain God who deeply loves her. A God who sees her, the real her, when no one else seems to see past her external self. A God who holds her tears in a bottle and remembers all her cries to Him. A God who delights to see her living out of her true self.
For the guys who read this, I want to encourage you to “praise” your wives, your moms, your sisters. Take the time to express how much you value the women God has sovereignly placed in your life. Be a “wise guy!” and affirm the women in your life, knowing that this is a culture that battles her heart every day.
May God bless each and every one who reads this devotional guide, and may He bless you as you make wisdom a high priority in your life. Diamonds are not girl’s best friend! Wisdom is!
This blog post is an excerpt from "Wisdom: A Girl's Best Friend ~ 31 Days with Proverbs" available for purchase at www.church4chicks.com