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Posts Tagged ‘Proverbs 31’

An excellent wife who can find?  She is far more precious than jewels.  The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.  She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life (Proverbs 31:10-11)

The Proverbs 31 woman seems to receive lots of praise from both men and women.  But, perhaps the praise is for something different than we think.

The first woman, Eve, fell into sin when she failed to trust God, doubted His Word, and determined for herself what was right and wrong.  This is not the case with the Proverbs 31 woman.   She appears to know her identity as a feminine creature loved and valued by God.  She trusts God and the fruit of that trust is her service to others.  She does all that she does — smart and talented as she is — for her household, her family, her husband — out of love for the Lord.  She does not focus on having her needs met, but on meeting the needs of others.  She does not sit at the “gates” of the community “among the elders;” her husband does (v.23).  She practices self-control because “she opens her mouth with wisdom” (not foolishness) and “the teaching of kindness is on her tongue” (v. 26).

If we cannot praise the first woman, Eve, because she doubted and was deceived, then think about it.  Why can we praise the Proverbs 31 woman?    One of the early church fathers, St. Bernard of Clairvaux, wrote, “You have been enabled to reject the deceitful glory of the world . . . you deserve to be praised for not being deceived.”

So, then, “the heart of her husband trusts in her.”

Eve was tempted by a distortion of truth.  Vulnerable — and not trusting God, she allowed herself to be deceived.  I venture to say that the Proverbs 31 woman, living in a fallen and sinful world, was also tempted by distortions of truth.  But, every time she put her trust in God, she was able to reject the “progressive” trends, lifestyles, and behaviors of the world around her.

In being submissive (remember gals: Jesus is God, yet He was submissive to the Father), a wife can win her husband for the Lord even if he is disobedient to the Word.  It is not a woman’s outer appearance that influences a man so much as it is the “hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious” (1 Peter 3:1-4).  This is how “holy women” who put their hope in God have always adorned themselves (v. 5).

So, then, “the heart of her husband trusts in her.”

Now, it’s time to get personal.  I’m a wife.  I’ve had my “Eve days” and my “Proverbs 31 woman” days.  The prince of darkness likes to see me in conflict.  But, when the Holy Spirit nudges me out of myself to see the men in my life, I recognize their fragility.  My husband and sons, my dad and brother, my brother-in-laws and uncles all know how to tackle the “hard work” of life, make their way through obstacles, and faithfully provide for and cover their families.  But, they often aren’t sure what to do with the relational side.  They may appear strong, but feel weak.  They may seem heartless, but feel wounded.  They may look confidant and even arrogant, but feel like a failure.  The heart of a man needs the “gentle and quiet spirit” of a godly woman.

The Proverbs 31 woman was aware of the feminine influence God had given to her, but she was not deceived into abusing that influence.  I wonder: Could her husband open up to her because he knew she would bring him good not harm?  Could he have confidence in her respect for him even when she disagreed with his leadership?   Could he trust her to act rightly toward him no matter if she was having a good — or bad — day?  Could he depend on her for an encouraging word, even in the midst of difficulty?  I think so.

So, then, “the heart of her husband trusts in her.”

In all of my travels and all of my conversations with both men and women, I hear the same message: Wives need loving affirmation, conversation, and commitment.  Husbands need respect.  They receive this respect in a number of ways including intimacy, companionship, and domestic support and admiration.  The “heart of her husband trusts in her” when she speaks well of him to his children and in the community.  A godly man knows when he’s failing.  When his wife speaks well of him in front of children or friends, he knows she isn’t giving him a pass or letting him off the hook.  What he recognizes and values is her loyalty and “gentle and quiet spirit.”  This encourages him to try harder, to do better.

Well, that’s how I see it.  Anyone reading this may disagree.  That’s o.k.  I’m not calling myself a Proverbs 31 woman because I too often act like Eve.   The struggle within me between deception and truth rages on.  But, I have hope:

Those whose eyes rest on the Savior’s Cross will be renewed and transformed.  Those who trust the Lord will obtain the wisdom needed to oppose deceit.

So… “the heart of her husband trusts in her.”  He praises her, not because of what she does, but because she has been enabled to reject the deceit of the world.

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