June 14, 2020
Daybreak: Proverbs 31:1-31
“Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.” (Proverbs 31:10)
Natalie, a young woman in our congregation, often testifies about the tremendous spiritual influence her godly grandmother had on her life. She relates, “When I was a young child, my parents were divorced, and I lived with my grandmother for about a year. She was my shining example of what a Christian should be. Every morning when we woke up, and every evening before we went to sleep, we would read the Bible and pray — sometimes for longer than I could keep my eyes open! She always tried to do the right thing, and she impressed upon me to do the same. She witnessed to others at every opportunity, and had a prayer list filled with people she may have only met once, as well as those she loved and cared for most. What a gift God gave me to spend so much time with such a stalwart Christian! After my grandmother passed away, I purposed in my heart that if I could be even a portion of what she was for God, He would be pleased.”
Without question, Natalie’s grandmother was a virtuous woman. But Natalie’s story could be retold with thousands of variations. Virtuous means strength of character and a moral firmness. Many of us have known women of virtue — women with a determination to love and serve God faithfully. If they had children, nothing was more important to them than to instill in their children a devotion to God. They would find time to kneel in prayer, perhaps with their arms around those children, interceding for their souls. They made every effort to show by their lives the necessity of living for God.
Our focus verse declares that the value of such women is “far above rubies.” A woman of strong moral character who is unfailing in her devotion to God and family is priceless! All that she does contributes to the well-being of her household. Her industry, resourcefulness, and character are above reproach.
This portrayal could seem daunting. Most of us do not possess all the unusual attributes and abilities of this outstanding woman. Yet the characteristics pictured in this passage are achievable. We do not become virtuous by our own strength or determination: it is only through the grace of God imparted to our hearts that such a testimony of excellence is possible. Like Natalie’s grandmother, we can look to this Proverbs 31 woman as an example and inspiration to be all that we can be in our devotion to God and others.
This chapter begins with words of wisdom from King Lemuel’s mother. There was no king of Israel by this name, so Lemuel was either a non-Jewish king or this name was symbolic for one of Israel’s rulers. In verse 2, Lemuel’s mother expressed loving concern for him, and indicated that she had previously pledged him to God. Then she went on to state three important lessons for her son. First, in verse 3, she warned against making sensual alliances with women, stating that doing so would ultimately cause his destruction. In verses 4-7, she admonished restraint from intoxicants, saying they hinder the ability to judge wisely. She also indicated that strong drink should be used only for medicinal purposes to deaden pain at the point of death, or when suffering from great distress. Finally, in verse 9 she exhorted her son to stand up for those who could not defend themselves, and to rule righteously, upholding the cause of the poor and needy.
Many Bible scholars believe verses 10-31 were authored by someone other than Lemuel. In the original language, they were written as an acrostic poem: each of the twenty-two verses started with a subsequent letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Each verse specifies a different trait possessed by a virtuous wife and mother, and concludes with verses portraying her as one who reveres God, and is praiseworthy in all she accomplishes.
This conclusion to the Book of Proverbs is especially notable because previous chapters graphically describe women who are contentious and sinful. In contrast, this text provides a striking example of a woman who portrays God’s wisdom and fulfills God’s purpose for her life.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
III. The sayings of the way of wisdom
E. The words of Lemuel (31:1-31)
1. The appeal of Lemuel’s mother (31:1-9)
2. The acrostic poem on a virtuous woman (31:10-31)
A Closer Look
- What are three of the activities performed by a virtuous woman?
- What are some reasons a virtuous woman might rejoice?
- How might we demonstrate having the “law of kindness” on our tongues?
May we determine to be virtuous men and women. Making the effort through God’s help will bring a priceless result.