Ladies, what do you think of when you hear about the “Proverbs 31 Woman”? Do you think of a spiritual Wonder Woman? Do you see an unattainable standard that leaves you depressed? How should we understand Proverbs 31? Proverbs 31:10-31 is a poem King Lemuel composed to remind him of his mother’s advice for seeking a wife. In the original Hebrew, this is an acrostic poem where each verse begins with the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet in consecutive order.
What Proverbs 31 is Not About.
We must be careful with Lemuel’s poem. It is a blessing for women and not a burden. Proverbs 31 is not a checklist for women to see how godly they are. It is not a “Noble Woman Quiz” designed to reveal how they rank in moral courage. For example, wives/moms, you are not a failure if you don’t buy imported food (14) or don’t buy property with your own money (16) or don’t have strong arms (17). You are not a failure if your children do not tell you how much they appreciate you (28a). You are not a failure if your husband does not praise you (28b). It is also interesting to note that the Proverbs 31 woman rarely (if ever) sleeps (15, 18). Steven Altrogge has wisely noted “when we turn Proverbs 31 into a checklist to be rigidly followed, we crush the women in our churches.” Proverbs 31 must not be misconstrued as a burden for women.
What is Proverbs 31 About?
Proverbs 31 is a call for godly women to be appreciated. It contains principles to help us better appreciate the godly women around us. For example, a godly woman:
- Fears the Lord (10, 30). Her identity is not found in profit or praise. It is not in her husband, kids or beauty. Her identity is in Christ. She loves the Lord and serves Him first.
- Honors her Husband (11-12,23,26). If married, she is committed to loving and respecting her husband. She desires good for him and not harm.
- Cares for her Family (15,21,26-27). She loves her family and is committed to caring for them. She works hard to provide for their needs and well-being.
- Considers the Needy (20). Her heart is compassionate towards those who are in need and she seeks to help those who need help.
- Invests in Herself (22-25). While her identity is not found in her beauty and she cares for her family, she seeks to care for herself and find joy and rest in her days.
Today, let us show the women in our lives our utmost respect and appreciation. Let them know how much you love them and how blessed you are because of them. Godly women are a blessing from God and today we thank God for them.