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July 5, 2020 | Doug Sauder
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“She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness. Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her."— Proverbs 31:27–28 (NLT)
A lot has been written and said about the famous Proverbs 31 woman. Every Christian woman wants to be the Proverbs 31 woman and every Christian man wants to marry one. For some, it’s something to aspire to; for others it’s a daunting list they don’t feel equipped to live up to. If that’s you, I hope I’m able to encourage you today.
Here are a few things you may not know about the last chapter of Proverbs. Did you know that Proverbs 31 is a twenty-two-line poem? On the whole, this book of the Bible is about wisdom, and the “woman of noble character” referred to in this chapter is an expression of wisdom in action. The writer used the everyday good habits and practices of an upper-class Jewish wife—a woman who keeps her household functioning by buying, trading, investing, planting, sewing, spindling, managing servants, extending charity, providing food for the family, and preparing for each season—to show us the unsung glory of the everyday.
As a poem, Proverbs 31 shouldn’t be interpreted as a job description or criteria for all women to live up to, but as a celebration of wisdom in the everyday aspects of life, meant to encourage us in the overlooked, mundane aspects of life, the ones we don’t consider difference makers.
The other major thing to note is that the target audience for Proverbs 31 wasn’t women. It was never meant to be used by woman as a measuring stick. This was actually meant for men. It is something men in Jewish culture are intended to memorize so they may sing it as a song of praise to the women in their lives—their wives, daughters, sisters, and mothers. And if you really look closely, you’ll notice the only instructive language in it is directed at men, to praise their wives!
So, to my sisters in Christ, please don’t ever be discouraged by Proverbs 31 or feel you have to “measure up.” Instead, keep seeking Christ, keep growing in Him daily, and living to honor Him. Do your best to abide in Him; this is the most praiseworthy life you can possibly live.
To my brothers in Christ, remember to acknowledge the women in your life. Let them know how much you appreciate the things they do and the wisdom they exude every single day. I guarantee your words of affirmation mean more than you’ll ever know.
DIG: What stands out to you about Proverbs 31?
DISCOVER: When was the last time you recognized an influential and important woman in your life?
DISPLAY: Today, offer encouragement and affirmation to the women who have shaped your life. Thank them, show them your appreciation, and lavish them with praise!