Peninsula Community Church
May 8, 2011
Call Her Blessed: God’s Grace at Work
Text – Proverbs 31:10, 30-31. –An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. 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.
In Proverbs 31:1 we see that Proverbs 31 was written by King Lemuel who was actual King Solomon. He had been taught my his mother was thought to be Bathsheba. We will discuss more about this in a moment.
While this chapter of Proverbs contains many qualities and characteristics of a successful woman my desire is to focus on a just three of these qualities. The defining qualities of the Proverbs 31 woman can be summed in these three ideas:
- Strength or security (Prov. 31:25) – the Proverbs 31 woman is secure in who she is and what she has been called to do. This means that she is no coward. She does not compare herself with others. She does not walk in shame and regret because of past failures but holds her head high because of God’s work in her. One of the tools used by the enemy of our souls is to cause us to walk in condemnation, shame and regret. But in Romans 8:1 Paul reminds us that “there is now no condemnation to those who walk after the spirit and not after the flesh.” This is critical because one who walks after the spirit will allow God to assist them to walk in forgiveness and wholeness. Isaiah 40:31 highlights this when Isaiah proclaimed that those who “wait on the Lord shall renew their strength and that they would mount up with wings as eagles.”
- Dignity – her adornment is the inner beauty of who she is in Christ. The woman’s greatest beauty is found not in her outward appearance but in who she is as a person. The fact is one can have all of the outward beauty possible and still not find their satisfaction in Christ.
- It is important to note that because of her strength and dignity she is able to face the uncertain future with confidence because she above all else serves God.
- These first two qualities are held in contrast to the qualities of Proverbs 31:31 where Solomon states that charm is deceitful and beauty is vain. What Solomon is referring to is the inner beauty that comes from loving God and serving him. Today in America 13 billion dollars is spent on for plastic surgery and 7 billion dollars on cosmetics and beauty enhancers; that is an average of $100 per month per woman. And, yet so many are never happy with themselves. The key is to have an inner beauty that comes out of a relationship with God.
- The third quality here is that she will have a balanced fear of the Lord as opposed to charm which can be a sham and beauty that is empty. This is not the first time that Solomon emphasized the necessity of fearing God. He also concluded the Book of Ecclesiastes with these words: “The end of the matter, all has been heard, Fear God and keep his commandments for this is the whole duty of man.” The fear represented here must be not understood as cowering in fear but a healthy respect for God and a right understanding of who He is. In essence, the one who fears the Lord recognizes that all that they are comes from God and that they have been created for a purpose and that they must seek to fulfill that purpose in Christ.
What can we take away from this passage?
In reading this passage the potential for becoming discouraged is rather high but rather than being an unreachable goal Proverbs 31 outlines the grace and power of God to overcome any failure. For me there are three important aspects to this passage that must be considered:
First, this passage outlines a template for godly women to aspire to but it is not a legalistic set of rules that if one fails in anyone of these they would be considered a failure as a wife, a mother or for that matter a woman. This is a goal to reach. All of us are on a journey where we will have both successes and failures. We may not have arrived but we are growing each day and becoming more like Christ. While God is perfecting us, we have yet to be made perfect.
Secondly, this passage is a reminder that it is God that enables us to become the person He wants us to be. Paul reminds us of this in Philippians 2:12-13. Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. I recognize that there are some that feel they have failed in their role as mother and wife but there is more than enough grace in Christ to cover every failure and sin.
Thirdly, we see the power of God’s grace in this passage. Most commentators believe that the woman that had taught King Lemuel was none other than Bathsheba. The term Lemuel was another name that Solomon went by. Think for a moment of the work that God has done in Bathsheba’s life. She had sinned by having an affair with David who conspired to have her husband killed. Then their son died as a baby. Think for a moment what emotions she must have expressed during this time: anger, regret, feelings of failure, despair and insecurity. She should have been a failure but God had done something within her that changed her forever. And thus she could encourage her son to find a wife whose heart was after God.