You have made it! Congratulations! You studied through the entire Book of Proverbs in one month. That is quite a feat. Well done!
Chapter 31 is a climatic conclusion to the Book of Proverbs. It is divided into two sections of Hebrew poetry (kind of hard to see in English, but it’s there nonetheless): Wisdom for a King/Leader and A Wise, Excellent Wife/Mother. As a technical note, the King Lemuel referred to in this chapter is likely a different name for King Solomon.
Today I will present a basic breakdown of the chapter to aid your reading. I will offer a comment or two, but this chapter is so rich with truth and pictures of wisdom I do not want to get in the way.
Wisdom for a King/Leader: verses 2-9
A wise leader lives honorably and is holy (3), lives soberly (4-7), and shows compassion (8,9).
There are a number of temptations and pitfalls common to leaders listed in verses 2-9. A king/leader should steer wide of overindulgence, ruling over others unjustly/unrighteously, and being indifferent to the needs of others.
An Excellent Wife/Mother: verses 10-31
On to the beautiful part of this chapter. The lady portrayed here does exist (verse 10); she is not imaginary. And, ladies, you can be her. She is a lady of spiritual wisdom, practicality, and moral virtue.
What are some things that make her exemplary?
- Her husband has great trust in her (11). Why? She does “him good.” (Verse 12). She seeks to build him up and not undermine him. She speaks well of him, not harshly to him or about him.
- She is a diligent worker (13) who seeks the best for her family, and goes to great lengths for their wellbeing (14).
- She is a person of discipline and determination (15).
- She is a good steward and wise planner (16)
- She is a woman of virtuous, God-honoring strength (17). This strength comes from her character, compassion, and faith in God. The strength described here is not self-exalting or harsh toward others.
- She is wise and kind (26). She is the source of kindness and character for her children. They learn godliness from her example.
- She is observant and diligent (27). She is not lazy, asking to be pampered, or demanding to be served. Ladies, there is no mention of “self-care” in this chapter, or the entire Book of Proverbs, or in the Bible. I say this to point out that what society promotes to you is often the opposite of what God desires for you. In fact, what God values and prescribes for His children is usually in direct opposition to what our society and culture tout. Our culture recommends focusing on self, being served, and exalting and expressing “self.” I gently ask, do you find any of these things recommend in Proverbs, or this chapter? God offers blessing, honor, peace, joy, and abundant life in following His ways; they are not easy though. Society offers cheap trinkets that feel good for a moment; they are usually appeal to our selfish nature and are readily available. Do not settle for less than God’s best, regardless of who promotes it, how enticing it sounds, or who else is chasing after it.
What is the result of this excellent lady in chapter 31 following God’s ways and living in the wisdom that He provides? Earnest and consistent praise from her family. What greater honor, and blessing, and reward is there? I can’t think of one.
True Beauty: verse 30
Verse 30 closes out this remarkable chapter with a description of true beauty. A godly, wise women is a beautiful one. She is beautiful because of her virtue, wisdom, and character, not because of her charm, wardrobe, face, or form. Soak in that ladies, it will set you free. Also, consider 1 Timothy 2:9-10 and 1 Peter 3:1-6. Along with those verses Proverbs 31 will liberate you from trying to conform to society’s guidelines for attractiveness — which are temporary and often change. They will also aid you in seeking God’s description of beauty, which never changes and is eternal.
Next up …
In closing, thank you so much for your participation in this study and your feedback. If you are interested, we will begin our next study on Saturday, February 2. Together we will study the short New Testament book of Philippians. It is four chapters long. So, we will slow our pace considerably and soak in one chapter per week.
I think that you will enjoy the pace and the format that we will use. Each Saturday I will post an introduction to and outline of the chapter for that week. Each Tuesday I will post some supplemental material and explanation of the chapter. Each Thursday I will post some application points for you to consider and pray about. Sound good? Then join in with us. Also, please join the Bearded Acorn Facebook forum. It is a public forum that anyone can join. The BA Facebook forum will be a place for you to share your insights, thoughts, and post questions for our reading. It’s up and running. Go ahead and join in.
Once again, great job on studying through Proverbs. It’s a great book with a multitude of practical truths in each chapter. Way to go!