Category Archives: Wisdom

A Final Thought (5 Years, 10 Months Later!)

Proverbs 31:31

“Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.”

What of Us?

At long last, we have come not only to the end of a chapter, but the whole book of Proverbs (and the second time through – it’s taken SIX YEARS!). The last verse of the last chapter is both a statement of praise for the virtuous woman and a challenge for us. Wisdom will receive the fruit of her labor. Her works will praise her in the gates. But what of us? What of our works?

The virtuous woman of this chapter has done everything with wisdom and grace; she deserves what is coming to her. The product of her faithfulness, her ingenuity, her holiness, and her benevolence will speak of her in the highest places of honor. Her works are her testimony; she need not speak of herself. But what will be said of us?

Fruit? Praise?

When it all comes down to where the rubber meets the road, we will reap what we sow. If the nearly two years it took to write the “thoughts” found here on this site (or the book which hopefully will follow) were worth anything, there will be fruit, and Wisdom will be praised in the gates.

proverbial thought pictureIt is hard to believe that almost SIX WHOLE YEARS have gone by since the first post on Proverbial Thought was written back on April 1, 2012! Much has happened; much has been endured; much has been learned; many have been blessed, and many have become wiser.

But the real blessings yet to be had are the ones that will be revealed in eternity: the marriages that stayed together; the poor choices not made; the hearts made more in tune with God’s Spirit; the lives saved by simple moments of vulnerability; the eyes turned to Christ, the Wisdom of God.

Thank you, dear friends and subscribers, especially all the contributors, for a wonderful and enlightening journey through this ancient book of wisdom – God’s Wisdom. I pray it was fruitful.

Now, what next?


The God-Fearing Woman

Proverbs 31:10,30.

“Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies… Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.” 

The Charming Woman:

There are three common descriptions given to women in today’s Proverb. The first one is favour. This comes from the Hebrew word chen which means grace, favour or charm. In other words, a graceful or charming woman. Charm, King Lemuel says, is deceitful – a lie, deception, disappointment, and a falsehood. Don’t be deceived by a charming woman!

I’m so glad that I’m done with the dating scene. This coming March, my wife and I will be celebrating our 19th wedding anniversary. I don’t miss the dating days at all! When you meet someone new and you are romantically interested in them, an unfortunate thing often happens – both of you will put your best foot forward, trying to impress the other person, and sadly, you don’t really get to know that person well. They might seem charming, but it could be an act.

This is why I think it’s so important for you to get to know a person on a friendship level for an extended period of time before you even consider dating (or courting, whatever you prefer). My wife Liza and I got to know each other in this way and had become best friends for about a year before we ever started dating. In doing so, we had a chance to observe and evaluate the other person’s character without fear of charming deception. It’s a wise thing to do.

The Beautiful Woman:

The second description that King Lemuel gives to a woman is that of beauty. But beauty, he says, is vain – vanity, a vapor, or a breath. In other words, it’s not going to last! How many men have chosen a woman to marry just because she was beautiful, and yet she lacked any sort of inner beauty or godly character? Now, this is not to say that men looking for a wife need to look for someone who’s as ugly as a dog – no! But what it means is that there is something far more important and valuable than an external beauty that will one day fade away, and that is an inner beauty of the character of a woman who fears the Lord.

A God-Fearing Woman:

At the beginning of his poem, King Lemuel asks the question: “Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.” As we come to the end of his treatise, he declares: “A woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.” In other words, the ultimate character trait of a virtuous woman is someone who fears and respects the Lord. She not only calls Him Lord, but she also submits her life to Him and His Word. She shuns sin, and strives to live a pure and holy life. And this is the sort of woman who will be praised, and shine brightly!

This is my final devotional post on the Proverbial Thought blog. It has been a joy and a blessing to write alongside of such a great team of men (and one young lady) from around the world, and I wish you all the best as you continue to serve the Lord in every area of your lives. And reader – may you be richly blessed as you put God’s Word first in your life, too!

The Rejoicing Woman

Proverbs 31:10,25.

“Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies… Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.” (KJV).
She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs with no fear of the future.” (NLT).

The Strong Woman:

The first thing we learn about our virtuous woman in this verse is that she is strong. Daniel 11:32b declares: “but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.” When we take the time to get to know God, and cultivate our personal relationship with Him, we become strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might. The virtuous woman in Proverbs 31 gets her strength from the Lord.

Do you want to have the strength to serve the Lord, and do everything you need to do today? The key is found in the Bible: “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31). Amen!

The Honored Woman:

Not only is a virtuous woman strong, but she is also one who will be honored. Other translations of the Bible render that word honor as dignity, self-respect, beauty and nobility. A little later in King Lemuel’s poem, he writes: “Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.” Women who respect God will be honored by others.

And notice that King Lemuel says that she wears her strength and honor like clothing. She doesn’t need fancy clothes or jewelry to look beautiful – her beauty shines from the inside out.

The Rejoicing Woman:

Finally, we see that a virtuous woman shall rejoice in time to come. There is a joy that comes from living a godly, virtuous life that can’t be found anywhere else! It’s unfortunate that many people have bought the lie that anything that’s fun is sinful, and Christians can’t have fun. The Bible says that Jesus came to bring us life, and that more abundantly (John 10:10). One of my favourite Scriptures is Psalm 16:11: “You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

Do you need more joy in your life? Joy unspeakable and full of glory? The joy of the Lord that is your strength? Then walk in the pathway of life. Live in God’s presence, where there is fullness of joy, and eternal pleasures! As you walk in holiness, happiness is not far behind. You can rejoice in the Lord always. Taste and see that the Lord is good!

p.s. Happy Valentine’s Day!

The Generous Woman

Proverbs 31:10,20.

“Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies… She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.” (KJV). 

The Virtuous Woman:

In Proverbs 31:10-31, we have a portrait of the ideal, perfect, virtuous woman. These are the qualities that a man should look for in a wife, and that a godly woman should strive to be. A woman who attains this character is called a virtuous woman, and the Bible says that she is more valuable than rubies or any precious jewels.

The Generous Woman:

In verse 20, we learn that a virtuous woman is one who is generous – one who stretches out her hand to help the poor, and reaches out her hands to the needy. This message is so timely for today’s generation! Our whole culture, it seems, promotes selfishness, a ‘me-first’ mentality, get-all-you-can-and-keep-it-for-yourself-ism. Advertising and commercialism tells us: “You deserve it! Get all you can and get it now! Buy, buy, buy! More, more, more!” However, the Bible teaches us that we should be content with what we have, and be generous with the same.

I’m so thankful that I am married to a godly woman who is generous. Sometimes people give her a hard time because she likes to shop, and she likes nice things, but there is nothing selfish about her. Her hearts beats for helping others, and extending her heart and hands to the poor and the needy. Whenever she and I are presented with an opportunity to help someone in need, and we both contemplate how much to give to that person or need, she almost always purposes a higher, more generous amount than I do – to my shame.

Do Whatever You Can!

I’m so thankful that I have a wife who believes that what we have is not our own. We are merely called to be stewards of the resources that the Lord puts into our hands. We tithe our income to the church, sponsor a child through World Vision Canada, and more often than not, have at least one or more people in our home to love and care for. We most recently took in a teenage single mom and her daughter for three months after she gave birth to her baby, to help them get on their feet. I praise the Lord that I have a wife who values generosity as much as I do!

So the challenge – to women and men alike – is for us to be generous. Whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone, especially to our Christian brothers and sisters (Gal. 6:10). We should do whatever we can to help the poor and the needy, and share what we have with others. In doing this, we will be letting our good deeds shine before men, bringing honour and glory to our Father in Heaven.

The Diligent Woman

Proverbs 31:10,15.
“Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies… She also rises while it is yet night, And provides food for her household, And a portion for her maidservants.” (KJV). 

The Virtuous Woman:

As we continue through Proverbs 31:10-31, we learn more and more about the ideal virtuous woman. We have already learned that this virtuous woman is valuable (v.10), she is trusted by her husband (v.11), she does good to her husband (v.12), she works hard with her hands (v.13), and she goes the distance to get what her family needs (v.14). In today’s passage, we learn another important fact about this virtuous woman: She is diligent and takes care of her family.

The Diligent Woman:

There are two things that King Lemuel teaches us about the perfect Proverbs 31 woman in this passage: She rises while it is yet night, and she provides food for her household. The fact that she rises while it is yet night tells us that she is diligent: She is not a lazy woman who lies around watching soap operas and eating bonbons (whatever bonbons are!). Rather, she gets up in the morning to take care of her duties in the household.

Secondly, we learn that she provides food for her household. In other words, she takes care of her family. Now, this is not in any way to say that a woman must be a homemaker while her husband has a job outside of the house. There is nothing wrong with a woman wanting to have a career and be in the workforce making a living. However, whether she stays at home or has a job outside of the house, the point is that she contributes her part to taking care of the family – just as her husband also should.

Over and over in the Scriptures, God commends hard work and diligence and condemns laziness and slothfulness. A good wife is diligent and does her part to build her household.

A Spicy Ship

Proverbs 31:10, 14

“Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. … She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar.”

Being Careful

I must be careful, for any time a man writes about his wife he should first consider: what he is about to say…the weather…her mood…her future mood…whether or not she will ever read what he writes…what people will tell her he wrote…and most importantly, has she taken out any new life insurance policies?

King Lemuel was a very fortunate man, much like King Solomon. Both had the luxury of living in a culture that prized such things as goats, flocks of sheep, and merchant’s ships. They thought these things were beautiful and found no difficulty in comparing their wives to them. However, I must be careful when I compare my wife to a heavily-laden wooden hull that creaks, leaks, and has to be patched with tar. I’m better off comparing her hair to a flock of goats, and her teeth to a flock of sheep (Sgs. 4:1-2)!

However, in order to keep with the program, I must find a way to relate to Proverbs 31:14, to share my “thoughts,” and to make an application. Therefore, I will get to the point of what the passage is telling us before I get into trouble.

Spiced Up

The rare and virtuous woman of Proverbs 31 is like the merchant’s ships in that she is always a source of variety. Instead of being content with the same old stuff day after day, this woman is like a merchant’s ship, one that goes out far and wide to find new spices, new colors, and new fragrances to adorn not only herself but to spice up her home.

Most people know how plain and dreary a man’s home can be without a good woman. I was always one who liked white walls, plain dishes, and simple clothes. But when my wife came along, up went color on the walls, color on the table, and color on me (I would have never worn anything but a white or blue shirt under a suit).


The woman of this verse is also a bargain shopper. Like the merchant’s ship, she travels far and wide to find the best deals, the ones most advantageous to her family, and always comes back with something to show for her efforts.

Anyone who really knows me could tell you that I hate – I HATE – to negotiate on prices. On the other hand, my wife almost never pays full price for anything. I have literally witnessed her negotiate on an object at a rummage sale when the asking price was only 25 cents! My response was, “Valerie! Pay the man a quarter and let’s go!”

Variety is the spice of life, so they say. If that is true, a good woman brings plenty of flavor to the table.

The King’s Beverage

Proverbs 31:4-7

“It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink:  Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted. Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts.  Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.”


As a life-long Baptist, I know that I am treading on thin ice when I tackle this passage. There are many within my denomination who are what we call “teetotalers,” which is a term for those who will never touch a drop of beverage alcohol. And because of this, if I say anything positive about alcohol I am likely to be censured.

On the other hand, there are whole denominations within the Christian faith that have no problem with drinking beer, wine, or whatever suits their fancy, even purchasing wineries with tithes and offerings. For the record, I don’t approve of going that far.

However, I do feel that there is more to the subject of drinking alcohol than totally abstaining or totally imbibing. Wisdom is the key. And that is why, as we look at the verses above, we can see that king Lemuel’s mother was evidently not a proponent of “teetotalism” (total abstinence), but rather a developer of wisdom in a son who was destined to lead.

Not for Kings

There are several things this godly mother warns her son about in the first part of this chapter, but much of her focus is on the use of alcohol. Why is that? Could it be that alcohol is a dangerous, mind altering, inhibition-destroying drug? Could it be that even though it may have its uses, a leader worth his salt is wise enough to avoid it?

Plenty of men and women from all walks of life have been able to drink alcohol with little or no adverse consequences. However, the gutters of history are strewn with the carcasses of leaders who drank away their kingdoms. The broken hearts and ruined lives caused by drunkeness are innumerable.

I can envision a young prince Lemuel, his mother’s hand on his shoulder, as they walked by the equivalent of a modern bar. As they peeked in on the raucous behavior brought about by the effects of wine and strong drink, she may have whispered in his ear the words he later penned: “It’s not for kings, my dear Lemuel, it’s not for kings; nor even when you’re just a prince.”

Proper Place

Even though a king, a man whose decisions carry so much weight, should avoid strong drink, king Lemuel’s mother, and thereby king Lemuel himself, knew that there was a time and place for it. You see, wine has the dangerous ability to make one “forget law” and “pervert judgment,” but it also has the ability to lift a heavy heart, to numb the pain.

Warnings against wine are plenty, but king David declares that God creates the “wine that maketh glad the heart of man” (Psa. 104:15). The key is to not only know its proper place, but the proper place of the one who must choose.

Wisdom should be the king’s beverage of choice.