An excellent wife is hard to find. Steph Nickel shares what she has learned from Proverbs 31 – an excellent source of Old Testament wisdom.
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An Excellent Wife from Proverbs 31:21-31
Last time we discussed verses 10-20 of Proverbs 31. Today let’s focus on the rest of the chapter, verses 21-31.
“She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet. She makes bed coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple. Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them; she delivers sashes to the merchant. Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.’ Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates” (ESV).
Last time we talked about some of the qualities of this excellent wife, as she is referred to in the passage, qualities that are admirable whether we’re married or single. She is trustworthy. She is willingly hardworking. She cares for her family and others as well. Oh, that the same could be said of us!
An Excellent Wife is God-fearing
As we continue in the passage, we find out even more about this God-fearing woman. Not only does she take care of those in her household, she does so extremely well.
When I ask myself the question “Have I done the best I can for my family?” I have to say no. As believers, we are not under condemnation (Romans 8:1). However, the Holy Spirit does convict us about how to best honour the Lord and bless others. And as my mom used to say, “As long as God blesses us with life, we can have a fresh start and do better.”
I am very much an in-the-moment type of person. I see something that interests me and I leap before I look. I don’t prayerfully weigh my decisions as I should. Therefore, I haven’t done all that well planning for the future. I am so very thankful for the Lord’s great patience—and for my husband’s.
While “strength and dignity are her clothing,” she is dressed in fine linen and purple, a colour I understand was not easy to come by.
Strength and dignity … I most definitely want these words to apply to me. How about you?
An Excellent Wife is Diligent and Hard Working
The passage states that this woman and the members of her household are well-dressed. Verse 22 even refers to her bed coverings. I imagine her home was lovely. However, I have no doubt these things are mentioned to emphasize that she was a diligent, hardworking woman, not to encourage readers to become preoccupied with “the finer things in life.”
First Samuel 16:7 tells us that God is more concerned about the condition of our heart than He is with our appearance.
Too many times, when I’ve opened my mouth, my words haven’t been wise or kind. I know this isn’t the case as often as it used to be, but I still have a long way to go. It’s no wonder the psalmist said, “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!” (Psalm 141:3 ESV)
I once read a plague that said, “Lord, keep one hand on my shoulder—and the other over my mouth.” I can relate.
The Excellent Wife is not Lazy
It seems obvious by this point in the passage that this woman is not lazy, but the Lord saw fit to include the statement that she “does not eat the bread of idleness.” It is something God clearly wants to emphasize.
Laziness is not a commendable quality. It’s one thing to recharge our batteries as it were, but another to waste time, something that’s so easy to do with all the distractions of 21st century life. I don’t think endless hours of TV and games on my phone are the Lord’s idea of the best way for me to replenish my energy.
The excellent wife in Proverbs 31 has a family who thinks very highly of her. Her children call her blessed and her husband declares that she surpasses other women, even those who have “done excellently.”
I have to say that I have a far better relationship with my husband and our three grown children than I deserve. We truly do serve a gracious God.
A Woman Who is to be Praised
And if we had any doubt about what is most important to the Lord, He makes it clear in verse 30: “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised” (ESV).
The most important relationship we are to develop is our relationship with the Lord. The most important beauty we are to seek after is the beauty that will never fade.
As I mentioned last time, don’t let this passage discourage you and weigh you down. Ask for wisdom as to how the Lord would have you apply these truths to your life and draw on His strength to do so.
Just like the excellent wife in Proverb 31, may we seek to rightly fear the Lord and care for those He brings into our life.
Images courtesy of:
Couple – aliceabc0
Bedding – ErikaWittleib
Purple – ractapopulous
Woman’s Face – Giuliamar
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Stephanie is a freelance writer and a contributor to our Christian internet radio station, HopeStreamRadio. Read and hear more from Steph Nickel on the contributor’s page or at Steph Nickel’s Eclectic Interests.
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