Charm is deceptive and beauty does not last,
but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.
The book of Proverbs ends with a poem celebrating the ideal wife. A virtuous and capable wife is more precious than rubies.
The ideal wife is hard working, successful in business and able to order her household. She spins thread, makes clothes and always speaks wisely. She is truly a person of talent and integrity.
While many women aspire to the title of “Proverbs 31 Woman,” and many men aspire to catch one, this is clearly an idealised version of an upper class woman in a very different setting to our own.
There are several qualities that women and men should still aim for in God’s grace.
1. To be virtuous. This is about doing what is good and godly as a reflex action. We no longer need to ask “What would Jesus do?” because following the way of Jesus has become automatic. In most situations we don’t need to pray because God’s way is evident to the one who has spent years seeking His will.
2. Work hard. Like being virtuous, this is not a popular ethic in our culture. We waste so much time being entertained, preferring to watch TV rather than study God’s word, for example.
3. Sacrificial love for our family. Because we are brought up to exalt selfishness, it can be difficult to walk in the way of sacrificial self-giving.
4. Wisdom in all things. Wisdom is knowing how to make life work effectively for ourselves and the people who look up to us.
These qualities do not come easily to any of us. They are grown in us as we seek to follow the Lord each day.
Lord, may I become like the Proverbs 31 woman. Develop these qualities in me, I pray. Amen.