Tag Archives: 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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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).

Bargains

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 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.


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!


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.


A Bug’s Life

Proverbs 30:24-25.

“There be four things which are little upon the earth, but they are exceeding wise: The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer.” (KJV).

ants

Little Ants:
In this passage of Scripture, we are about to be introduced to four little things, each one which will teach us an important lesson about life. Today’s first little thing is the ants. Now, this isn’t the first time we’ve been introduced to these little bugs. Solomon first referenced them earlier in Proverbs:

“Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, Which, having no captain, Overseer or ruler, Provides her supplies in the summer, And gathers her food in the harvest.” (Proverbs 6:6-8).

Wise Ants:
What do we learn about the ants? Even though they are little, they are wise. Even though they don’t have a captain, overseer or a boss, they gather their food and supplies to last them throughout the winter. That’s wisdom!

That’s amazing! Ants are bugs. Insects. The littlest, most insignificant of all of God’s creation. And yet, even without a mind or a soul, they are sometimes wiser than people! We would do well to look at the ant and learn a lesson from its life – if you can call it that.

Be the Bug:
In today’s Proverb, Agur adds some wisdom to what Solomon has previously taught us about the ants. He says that even though ants are not strong, they are wise and they plan ahead. What a great example for us! We might not be strong – and hey, we might not even be wise – but if we trust God and His Word and His wisdom, we can plan and prepare for the future. We can seek God’s wisdom and guidance from the Holy Scriptures every day, and avoid some of the pitfalls of life.

Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” Likewise, Joshua 1:8 says, “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” If you want to live a bug’s life – planning for the future, then get into God’s Word.

For over twenty years now – since I first gave my life to Jesus Christ – I have endeavored to live my life in obedience to God’s Word. And although I haven’t done it perfectly, I can testify that it has brought me joy, hope, peace and provision that I wouldn’t have had if I had neglected God’s Wisdom.

Be wise. Be prepared. Be the bug!


Beyond Me

Proverbs 30:18-19

“There be three things which are too wonderful for me, yea, four which I know not: The way of an eagle in the air; the way of a serpent upon a rock; the way of a ship in the midst of the sea; and the way of a man with a maid.”

Too Wonderful?

In this modern age, there are a lot of wonders to behold. The majority of those wonders consist of man-made technologies that capture and hold our attention only as long as they are new. Once the newness is gone and another gadget or upgrade hit the market (which is about every thirty seconds), the “wonderful” suddenly becomes boring and old.

Is there anything in this world that is made by man that is “too wonderful” to understand? For some people, the answer would be “yes.” For example, I will probably never understand how a person can manage to play a whole symphony on a horn with just three valves, much less how a rocket gets to the moon and back. But anything that is made by man can be understood by man, duplicated, and marketed. And once something is fully understood, the awe is gone.

Yes, Too Wonderful!

However, there are some things, no matter how much we learn, that will still be “too wonderful,” so much so that it will elude the wisest men alive (or ever lived). Not even the writer of this proverb could figure these things out.

Some things seem simple on the surface, but wind up far more complicated and intricate once we begin to examine them more closely. But even when we figure out the mechanics of some things, we later realize that there is a “way” about them that defies explanation: the way of a soaring eagle; the grace of a serpent moving across a rock; how a little boat survives in the midst of the sea; how ugly men attract beautiful women (Seriously!).

There are some things that are just beyond me, and I’m glad.