By Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell (Guest Blogger)
Scripture Reading: Proverbs 31
Key Scripture Verse: Proverbs 31: 30 (NIV, Life Application Bible)
“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”
The sayings in this book of Proverbs are attributed to King Lemuel as he recounts the teachings of his mother. My Bible commentary indicates that little is known of King Lemuel; however, the book demonstrates wisdom of a mother’s advice to her son, the king.
She starts off saying to him, “Do not spend your strength on women, your vigor on those who ruin kings.” Then she says to him not to drink strong drink and “forget what has been decreed.”
Then she advises him on how to conduct himself as a Godly king: to “speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves” and to guard their rights. She tells him to judge fairly, especially taking care of those who are needy.
The rest of the psalm is all about Lemuel’s mother’s comments on what makes an ideal wife in the eyes of God. She describes a woman who brings good upon the household, works with her hands, gathers food for the home, prepares it, even taking long hours to do her work to assure that all are fed properly. She is a woman who is careful with her money and makes wise decisions such as buying a field and planting her own vineyard, working diligently at all of her work. She is a shrewd business person, mends her own clothes, gives to the poor and helps those in need. She makes clothing and bedding for her household and keeps them all warm when the cold weather comes.
Not only is a good wife kind to others and a hard worker, but she speaks with wisdom and “faithful instruction,” caring for her husband who finds her praiseworthy and her children who “call her blessed.”
Most of all, Lemuel’s mother describes a woman who does God’s will in all that she does—at home and outside of the home. She describes the perfect woman who likely does not exist but is the ideal.
Following God’s ideals of self-discipline, caring for the poor, being fair to all, choosing a partner in life who also upholds God’s will and works hard to keep everyone safe and secure, raising your children with faith and discipline—all of these would be pleasing to God.
God wants what’s best for us and his laws and decrees were put in place for our protection and happiness. Seems Lemuel’s Mom really did know what was best. We would be wise to pay attention in “fearing” the Lord, honoring his will and heeding his instruction. We just might be happier in our lives if we paid attention to this advice.