December 30: The Proverbs 31 Woman
Lamentations 3:1–66; Romans 15:22–33; Proverbs 31:1–9
A Proverbs 31 woman is hard to find, but it isn’t for lack of effort. She’s been the topic of more than a few Bible studies. She can be recognized by her many positive traits—strong, courageous, and trustworthy. She is hardworking, discerning, giving, dignified, business savvy, wise, and kind. If we’re looking for a vice or an Achilles heel, we’ll have to turn to another passage in the OT (we’re sure to find more failures than achievers within its pages).
As we look through the list of qualities, though, it’s hard to check them all off, even for Type-A personalities. But the key to understanding the list of characteristics isn’t found it what we can attain. It’s found in the last verse—the crux of the poem. The crown of the woman’s wisdom isn’t her charm or her beauty or even her ability to “get things done.” It is her fear of Yahweh. This relationship with God guides all of her actions.
If we’re trying to earn favor with God by being “the best version of myself” or “being the best me,” we’ll fail miserably. If we live to define ourselves by a task, or even a role, we’ll fall short every time. It’s God’s work in us—through Christ—that defines us.
As redeemed people, we can strive to be wise and discerning thanks to the work of the Spirit. We can strive to be stewards of the time He’s given us. We can strive to live unselfishly in all of our relationships. When we fail, or when we fall short, we can trust that it’s not on our own merit that we find favor with Him. His favor extends from His enduring faithfulness to us.
How do you rest in
the “fear of the Lord”? How do all of your actions proceed from your relationship with Him?
REBECCA VAN NOORD
Barry, J. D., & Kruyswijk, R. (2012). Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
- I am the man that hath seen affliction to the rod of his indignation. He hath led me, and brought me into darkness, but not to light. Surely he is turned against me: he turneth his hand against me all the day. My flesh and my skin hath he caused to wax old, and he hath broken my bones. He hath built against me, and encompassed me with gall and labor. He hath set me in dark places, as they that be dead forever. He hath hedged about me that I cannot get out: he hath made my chains heavy. Also when I cry and sout, he shutteth out my prayer. He hath stopped up my ways with hewn stone, and turned away my paths. He was unto me as a bear lying in pieces: he hath made me desolate. He hath bent his bow, and made me a mark for the arrow. He caused the arrows of his quiver to enter into my reins. I was a derision to all my people, and their song all the day. He hath filled me with bitterness, and make me drunken with wormwood. He hath also broken my teeth with stones, and hath covered me with ashes. Thus my sou was far off from peace: I forgot prosperity, And I said, My strength and my hope is perished from the Lord. Remembering mine affliction, and my mourning, the wormwood and the gall. My soul hath them in remembrance, and is humbled in me. I consider this in mine heart: therefore have I hope. It is the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are renewed every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, saith my soul: therefore will I hope in him. It is good both to trust, and to wait for the salvation of the Lord. It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth. He sitteth alone, and keepth silence, because he hath borne it upon him. He putteth his mouth in the dust, if there may be hope. He giveth his cheek to him that smiteth him: he is filled full with reproaches. For the Lord will not forsake forever. But though he send affliction, yet will he have compassion according to tshe multitude of his mercies. For he doth not punish willingly, nor afflict the children of men, In stamping under his feet all the prisoners of the earth. In overthrowing the right of a man before the face of the most High, In subverting a man in his cause: the Lord seeth it not. Who is he then that saith, and it cometh to pass, and the Lord commandeth it not? Out of the mouth of the most High proceedeth not evil and good? Wherefore then is the living man sorrowful? man suffereth for his sin. Let us search and try our ways, a hast slain, and turn again to the Lord. Let us lift up our hearts with our hands unto God in the heavens. We have sinned, and have rebelled, therefore thou hast not spared. Thou hast covered us with wrath, and persecuted us: thou hast slain, and not spared. Thou hast covered thyself with a cloud, that our prayer should not pass through. Thou hast made us as offscouring and refuse in the midst of the people. All our enemies have opened their mouths against us. Fear, and a snare is come upon us with desolation and destruction. Mine eye casteth out rivers of water, for the destruction of the daughter of my people. Mine eye droppeth without stay, and ceaseth not. Till the Lord look down, and behold from heaven. Mine eye breaketh mine heart because o fall the daughters of my city. Mine enemies chased me sore, like a bird, without cause. They have shut up my life in the dungeon, and cast a stone upon me. Waters flowed over mine head, then thought I, I am destroyed. I called upon thy Name, O Lord, out of the low dungeon. Thou hast heard my voice: stop not thine ear from my sigh, and from my cry. Thou drewest near in the day that I called upon thee: thou saidest, Fear not. O Lord, thou hast maintained the cause of my soul, and hast redeemed my life. O Lord, thou hast redeemed my life. O Lord, thou hast seen my wrong, judge thou my cause. Thou hast heard their reproach, O Lord, and all their imaginations against me. The lips also of those that rose against me, and their whispering against me continually. Behold, their sitting down, and their rising up, how I am their song. Give them a recompense, O Lord, according to the work of their hands. Give them sorrow of heart even thy curse to them. Persecute with wrath and destroy them under the heaven, O Lord. Lamentations 3:1-66
- Therefore also I have been oft let to come unto you: But now seeing I have no more place in these quarters, and also have been desirous many years agone to come unto you.. Romans 15:22-33
- THE WORDS OF KING LEMUEL: The prophecy which his mother taught him. What my son! and what the son of my somb? and what, O son of my desires! Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways which is to destroy kings. It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine, nor for princes strong drink. Lest he drink and forget the decree, and change the judgment of all the children of affliction. Give ye strong rink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto them that have grief of heart. Let him drink, that he may forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more. Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and judge the afflicted, and the poor. Proverbs 31:1-9