Tag Archives: Book of Proverbs

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.

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… Happy Life

Proverbs 31:11

11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. (KJV)
11 Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. (ESV)

Happy Wife …

Perhaps you have heard that saying “Happy wife, happy life.”

Personally, I disagree slightly, and, you can ask my wife, I rewrote it: “Better a holy wife than a happy wife.”

Temporary displeasure for the sake of holiness is better than happiness that is based on lies or misunderstandings which lead to mistrust.

Neither of us lets the other get away with simple platitudes or quick answers (though the occasional playful joke does happen!) We help each other to grow more Christ-like. We are not perfect, but the focus is on Christ.

The wonderful thing about this is that we have complete trust in each other.

I know that I can trust my wife in anything. Even if we were to “lose everything” and become homeless, as long as I have her my life is complete.

Holy Bride

Our Lord never promised this life would be easy. In fact, He warned us in John 16:33 that we “will have trouble” if we follow Him.

He has been preparing His Bride, the Church, for His return. Sometimes He rebukes, and often times He encourages (look at Revelation 2-3). He does not necessarily want a Bride that is happy if that happiness gets in the way of the relationship.

He seeks perfection, which can only be found in Him, and He has confidence that His Bride will achieve the mission He has given (Matthew 28:18-20) because He is always there to help us. Our life is complete with Him, and He wants to have us with Him forever. That is what is truly of value.

Loving Savior and Bridegroom, thank You for Your love. Fill us with a desire for You, for Your Bride the Church, and for each other. Strengthen our marriages and our other relationships with a love that refuses to compromise or settle.


The ABC’s of a Virtuous Woman

Proverbs 31:10.
“Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.”

Background to the Poem:

This final passage of Scripture in the Book of Proverbs is actually a 22 verse poem, with each verse beginning with the letters of the Hebrew alphabet in order from Alpha to Omega. So in a way, you could call this section the “ABC’s of a Virtuous Woman.” Here you will find a description of a valuable, virtuous woman – the kind of wife every woman should strive to be, and every man should strive to find. Here we are going to examine the first verse in this passage:

A Virtuous Woman:

If you compare this translation of Proverbs 31:10 with others, you will find the word virtuous translated as worthy, competent, capable, valiant, excellent, good, noble and with strong character. Here King Lemuel says, “Who can find a virtuous woman?” The question is rhetorical of course, and what he is saying is that it is very difficult to find such a woman.

It is easy to find a charming woman. It is easy to find a beautiful woman. But to find a woman of virtue, with a noble, strong character? Good luck! Later in this passage, King Lemuel writes: “Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.” (v.30). Who then is a virtuous woman? A woman who fears the Lord, and obeys His commands.

I Found One!

Before I became a Christian and started following Jesus at the age of 18, I dated many different girls, and I’m ashamed to admit that virtue wasn’t always the first thing I looked for in a girl. But after I gave my life to Jesus Christ, I started looking for a woman who loved the Lord, and had a desire to please Him with her life. I’m happy to say that I found such a woman – Liza Woods. One of the things that attracted me to her was her virtue. She was a beautiful woman on the outside, yes, but on the inside, she had an excellent character that drew me to her.

Liza was 25 years old when we got married on March 25, 1995, and because she had devoted her life to Jesus Christ, she had never been with another man sexually before me. Because she was a virgin when we got married, and she had saved herself for me, I have never had fears or doubts about her faithfulness to me after we got married. For almost 20 years now, my life has been blessed and enriched by having a faithful, righteous, God-fearing woman as my wife. As verse 11 says, “The heart of her husband safely trusts her.” She is a virtuous woman indeed!

Chris & Liza

Chris & Liza

A Valuable Woman:

The second part of this verse tells us that a virtuous woman is worth far more than rubies. Translation? She is valuable! A virtuous woman is a gift and a treasure. And so here is the application to this Proverb: If you are a woman, then strive to be this Proverbs 31 woman. Be a virtuous woman who fears the Lord! And if you are a single man looking for a woman to marry, then seek out a virtuous woman. You’ll never regret a decision like that.


Give Them Wine

Proverbs 31:6-7

“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.”

Debate Addressed 

Chris Jordan did an excellent job of dealing with 31:4 and 5. With wisdom and tact, he expressed both sides of the alcohol debate, ultimately showing that “under the new covenant of grace, all things may be lawful for us, but not all things are beneficial.”

My Baptist upbringing was one that left little room for debate on this subject. It was only after a lengthy (before computers) study of the word “wine” as used in the Bible did I begin to realize that there may be more to the debate than a simple black-and-white, drink-or-not-drink argument. Even king Lemuel’s mother understood there were times when alcohol could be useful (and not just in cough syrup).

The Perishing

Just today, not more than a few hours before writing this, I stood beside the hospital bed of a man in pain, a man dying. Cancer had taken over his body, his breathing and heart rate were rapid, and his mouth was dry. The family was standing around crying as they waited for the inevitable.

As I stood beside him, a nurse came in with a sponge on a little stick and placed it in some ice water, then put it in the man’s mouth. At that moment one family member said, “What he really wants is a milkshake.” Then the man’s sister said, “He should get whatever he wants.” Had he wanted a shot of Jack Daniels, they should have given it to him! He will be dead long before you, the reader, read this.

If alcohol was a sin (not just the consumption of it), then it would have been wrong for Lemuel’s mother to suggest giving strong drink to him that is “perishing.” But the king’s wise mother understood that when a man is at the end of his life or even the ends of his ropes, something that will ease his pain, or lift his spirit, is perfectly appropriate in moderation. But is to be used as a temporary remedy, one that can help one deal with his situation, not completely hide from it.

A Giving King

But there is even a deeper message in all this. What kind of king keeps hoards his wealth when his subjects are suffering? What kind of leader draws comfort from his cellars, while the poor search in vain for relief from their heavy hearts?

“Look at all you have,” Lemuel’s mother might say. “You have more than you need, and you don’t even need what you have. Therefore, open up your wine cellar; give to those who are perishing; lift the spirits of those who are discouraged; and lead your kingdom with clarity and compassion.”

Wouldn’t it be great if more kings, queens, presidents, and politicians would think less about what makes them happy, less about their own ambitions, and more about the needs of others? Most are drunk with the wine of power, forgetting the law and perverting judgment, while the powerless suffer.


Leaders and Alcohol

Proverbs 31:4-5.

“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.” (KJV).

Confusion Surrounding Alcohol:

There is a huge debate that is going on within the Christian community surrounding the use of alcohol. On one side are those who say that Christians should never drink alcohol, period. They like to quote Scriptures like Proverbs 20:1: “Wine is a mocker, Strong drink is a brawler, And whoever is led astray by it is not wise” and Ephesians 5:18: “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit.” They preach that all alcohol use is evil and sinful.

On the other side are those who say that it’s okay for Christians to drink as long as they do so in moderation. They quote Scriptures like Psalm 104:14-15: “He causes the grass to grow for the cattle, And vegetation for the service of man, That he may bring forth food from the earth, And wine that makes glad the heart of man” and talk about how Jesus drank wine, and turned water into wine at a wedding (John 2:1-11).

(Then, of course, there are the liberals who say: “We’re under grace, not law, so Christians can eat, drink, be merry, and get drunk if they want to!” But they’re idiots, so we won’t consider their claims here).

What Does the Bible Say?

Although the Bible is abundantly clear that drunkenness is a sin, and that it can ruin your life (see Proverbs 23:29-35 and Isaiah 5:11), there are no Scriptures that explicitly forbid the consumption of alcohol in moderation. However, it does have a lot to say to leaders and their use of alcohol.

  • The Apostle Paul said that those who are called to be leaders in the church must not be given to much wine, or not heavy drinkers (1 Timothy 3:8).
  • In Leviticus, the Bible says that those who are called to the priesthood must not drink wine or intoxicating drink (10:8-10).

In today’s Proverb, there is a warning against kings or princes drinking wine or strong (alcoholic) drinks. The reason given for this warning is that if they drink alcohol, then they will forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted. Or, as Eugene Peterson says, “they don’t know right from wrong, and the people who depend on them are hurt.” (Message). Simply put, a leader who drinks alcohol will not be able to lead well.

The Leadership Challenge:

The challenge then to leaders is this: Although under the new covenant of grace, all things may be lawful for us, but not all things are beneficial. And if you are called to be a leader, alcohol will impair your ability to lead well. So, to be a good steward of your leadership gifting and calling, make a decision to say no to alcohol, and be the best leader you can be!


A Mother’s Advice

Proverbs 31:1-3 

“The words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him. What, my son? and what, the son of my womb? and what, the son of my vows? Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings.”

Lemuel’s Words

For most of Proverbs we have read the words of King Solomon, son of David. Now, in the last chapter, we read the words of king Lemuel, of whom we know nothing about. Some go as far as suggesting that Lemuel is another name for Solomon, but there is no way of knowing.

Why is it, then, that we have the words of another king? Wasn’t Solomon the wisest man to live? Yes, but even Solomon was wise enough to recognize wisdom in others. It may be (and this is only conjecture) that Solomon included these words of Lemuel, along with Agur, because he thought, “I couldn’t have said it any better…My thoughts, exactly!”

On the other hand, could it be that the compiler of Proverbs wanted to insert wisdom that Solomon would not, or could not have penned? Was it not Solomon who gave his strength to women? Could Proverbs 31 be a final warning to would-be kings that even though wealth and wisdom may be desirable, the wisdom of a godly mother is priceless? Just a thought.

A Godly Mother

Notice that this chapter starts out by saying, “The words of king Lemuel…” But notice, also, that the words of king Lemuel are actually the teachings, the advice of a mother who loved him, who felt for him, and who devoted him to God.

In verse 2 Lemuel’s mother describes him as her son, the son of her womb, and the son of her vows. Here is expressed a natural love that a mother has for her child; there is a deeper love that connects in a physical, pain-feeling way; and there is a love expressed in the fact that Lemuel was a son, probably like Samuel, who was dedicated to God. Why shouldn’t we listen to what she has to say?

Needed Mothers

There are probably numerous ways one could apply the third verse. However, I can’t help but think Lemuel’s mother is calling upon her son to remember who he is. God is also calling us to remember who we are.

“You are a man,” she said. “You are a king!” Oh, how we need more mothers to encourage their son’s masculinity…their leadership potential…their status as “kings.” But needed, even more, are mothers who would warn their sons of the dangers of the fairer sex. We need fathers, but we also need mothers who will shoot straight with their sons and tell it like it is: the wrong women can destroy you, and your kingdom.

I am thankful, not only for a godly father, but for a godly mother who loved me enough to teach me truth…to warn me…to beat my butt when I needed it. I’m thankful for a mother who said, “Listen! Be a man…be a king.”

There are strength-sappers and king-destroyers out there. Warn your son, mom, before it’s too late.


The Majestic Leader

Proverbs 30:29-31.

“There be three things which go well, yea, four are comely in going: A lion which is strongest among beasts, and turneth not away for any; A greyhound; an he goat also; and a king, against whom there is no rising up.” (KJV).  
“There are three things which are majestic in pace, Yes, four which are stately in walk: A lion, which is mighty among beasts And does not turn away from any; A greyhound, A male goat also, And a king whose troops are with him.” (NKJV).

The Three Pictures from Nature:

In this Proverb, Agur uses three word pictures (something he was fond of doing) to help describe a leader for us: A lion, a greyhound, and a male goat. The lion is represented because it is the strongest and mightiest beast that doesn’t turn away or back down from anyone. The greyhound is pictured because it is a fast and able creature. And the male goat is pictures as one that takes care of its flock. All of these are great pictures to define a majestic leader.

The Majestic Leader:

Solomon says that a leader – like the lion, greyhound, and male goat – is comely (beautiful) and majestic in pace. The leader, specifically referred to here as a king, is one against whom there is no rising up. Or, as the NKJV translates it, one whose troops are with him. When a leader is a good leader – majestic, strong, fast and caring – his people will stand with him, and his foe will be unable to stand against him. This is a wise lesson for all who would be leaders!

Do you want to be a good leader? Then like a lion, develop your strength and ability as a leader. Learn leadership lessons from the Bible, and especially from the godly heroes of the faith whose lives are examples for us. Read good books on leadership, and do whatever you can to develop your craft. When I became a pastor, one of the first things I did was to read all of the leadership books I could get my hands on – Spiritual Leadership by Oswald Sanders and Spiritual Leadership by Henry Blackaby, and anything by John Maxwell.

Secondly, like a greyhound, develop your speed as a leader. But recognize that leadership is not a sprint – it is a marathon. And if we want to finish our race well, we must run with endurance. Hebrews 12:1 tells us to: “lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”

Finally, like a male goat, develop your love and concern for your flock. The people you are called to lead are more important than your leadership position. Consider this great lesson that Jesus taught about leadership: “You know that in this world kings are tyrants, and officials lord it over the people beneath them. But among you it should be quite different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must become your slave. For even I, the Son of Man, came here not to be served but to serve others, and to give my life as a ransom for many.” (Matt. 20:25-28). If you want to be a great leader, lovingly serve those entrusted to your care. If you do these things, you will be a majestic leader.