This week our Bite of Bread reading plan is about “worth”. It’s a great study on what is of great worth to God which helps us navigate what should be valuable to us. One of the verses is Proverbs 31:10. “A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.” Well, I’ve always kind of really not liked this passage of Scripture, but a couple of years ago while digging deep, I found the secret to the Proverbs 31 woman, and now she is a sister rather than an enemy. I’ve written about her in my Ruth Bible study too. Here she is:
Do you know her?
She’s perfect. Perfect.
In case you don’t know her, let me introduce you. Here she is:
(Proverbs 31: 10-31)
[b]A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
She was the original Wonderwoman.
If I compare myself to her, I fail miserably. I don’t measure up.
I did try to sew when my kids were little. I was terrible at it. I sewed my thumb one day. Thankfully the needle just went through the very tip. I pulled it out quickly. (I don’t recommend this.) I stopped sewing when my daughter told me she felt like a taco in her Christmas dress that matched mine.
My garden boxes have trees growing in them currently.
The only flax I select is in a package from Costco.
I don’t know what a distaff is much less how to work with a spindle.
I do try to help the needy, but I often feel guilty that I don’t do enough.
I don’t make coverings for my bed. I do make my bed, most days. Does that count?
My children arise and call me “Momma.”
And I turn the lights off when I go to bed.
Can anybody relate?
Does this woman make you feel tired?[bctt tweet=”We sink in the quicksand of comparison, but we grow wings in the presence of camaraderie.” username=”wordsbyandylee”]
If we read a scripture and are burdened by it, we need to do some digging and praying until we’ve found our wings again. God’s conviction never burdens, it always brings freedom and life. The enemy wants us to believe that we aren’t good enough—we don’t measure up.
I found the Hebrew word that was translated as “noble character” interesting.
The word is chayil.
“Chayil: Might, strength, power; able, valiant, virtuous; army, host, forces; riches, substance, wealth. Primarily signifies military might.” (Key-Word, NIV, 1515).
So..the word doesn’t mean “perfect.” It means “strong.”
Does “virtuous” seem like it doesn’t fit in the definition? I always think of morality, but I found this in my college dictionary. It was the last definition:.Virtuous:
“[Now Rare] manly quality; strength, courage—by (or in) virtue of because of; on the grounds of—make a virtue of necessity to do or accept with an agreeable or positive attitude that which must be done or accepted anyway.”
Chayil is all about strength, courage, and attitude.
I need an attitude change about the Proverbs 31 woman. I think I’ll be thankful for her because really…she is amazing.
Rather than trying to live up to everything she does, I now read this as a testament of the value of women. She wasn’t stuck barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen. She was a thriving business woman who took care of her family with joy.
How cool was that?
But I believe it wasn’t all the things she did that made her so wonderful, it was her attitude. Her joy.
How do we find joy in our daily routine?
Pray for it.
And do 10 reps of thankfulness (at least) every day.
It’s all in the attitude, girlfriends. We are Proverbs 31 women. It’s not about how much we do but how we do it.
“Lord, please give us joy in our daily lives from the smallest of tasks to the most difficult. Give us strength and help us be thankful. Turn our labor to love. Give us grace for the day to do just what we need to do, no comparison to those around us or biblical wonder-women. May we be women of chayil.”
This post was first published as “I Never Liked the Proverbs 31 Woman” in 2014 here on wordsbyandylee.com.