Did you just shiver when you read the words “Proverbs 31 woman” in the title?
I know I used to, whenever I read the passage or saw references to it! You see, I used to compare myself to the elusive perfection of this woman. And I’d feel just a little subpar!
That is, before I understood two truths. One: this woman is not portrayed as perfect! She’s portrayed as a woman of noble character. Two: this woman fears the Lord.
In other words, her fear of God is the reason for her noble character and actions.
And so the Proverbs 31 woman passage is not a checklist you and I need to follow to be accepted by God – in Jesus we already are!
It’s rather an encouragement to us of the fruits that will come out of our relationship with God as we grow in wisdom.
And if you feel still a little bit “preached at” when you read this poem, note this: this poem was originally taught to a man – not a woman!
You see, this poem is actually an encouragement to King Lamuel to choose a wife of noble character.
And the person who encouraged him through this poem? His mother!
The Proverbs 31 Poem
In this poem, King Lamuel’s mother taught him to find a wife who was faithful to her husband, worked diligently, made time and money investments, looked after the household, worked hard, helped the poor, spoke with wisdom and taught with love.
King Lamuel’s mother also detailed the type of work the wife of noble character would do:
- select wool and flax and work with eager hands
- bring food from afar
- provide food for her family and servants
- consider fields and buy them
- invest profit to plant vineyards
- make and sell linen garments
- clothe herself and her family
Now, as this passage is included in the Bible that means it contains timeless principles, and it’s important for us today.
So here are nine timeless principles we can learn from the woman of noble character, based on Proverbs 31 verses 10-31.
1. Faithful Devotion
This wife loves her husband with true devotion. The passage states that the husband trusts in his wife, because she does him good, not harm, all the days of her life.
Nowadays, with the feminist movement, these concepts seem outdated to many people. But the truth is the whole Biblical narrative is consistent in this.
Husbands are to love their wives faithfully, wives are to love theirs husbands faithfully. Marriage is a covenant relationship between a man and woman before God forever.
Now, as Christian spouses we know that love is not just a feeling. It’s an action. And so we need to commit to faithful and loving devotion every day, through words and actions.
One thing I have found helpful is to make a list of things my husband appreciates, and then accomplish one every day!
How about you? What works well in your marriage?
2. Hard Work
The woman of noble character is diligent in her work.
Now, I don’t know the first thing about buying fields and planting vineyards! But I do know God’s calling for me: supporting my husband, raising my children, encouraging and ministering to mothers, writing and teaching. And as I grow in my walk with God, I’m to progress in diligence in those areas.
God has called each one of us for different paths.
You may be in a stage of your life where you’re a stay-at-home mother, and you occupy yourself completely with the needs of your children. (I went through this stage when my children were little, and I know it’s hard work! Go momma!)
Or you may be a mother to older children, and/or you may have a job, or a ministry. Whatever God has called you personally to do, do it! With all your heart! As if on to the Lord.
The poem states that the woman of noble character works willingly with her hands. And that she does not eat the from the bread of idleness. Service and work are part of our creation design. God himself exemplifies work to us by creating the world and everything in it for six days, and resting on the seventh.
Are there any particular areas you would like to develop strong working habits? How could you implement them?
The Proverbs 31 woman has servants! She delegates her work!
While I don’t have any servants, I sure can learn how to delegate tasks!
Delegation is wise! It means work is completed, but the burden does not fall solely on our shoulders.
Is this an area you feel you could grown in? If so, can you think of anyone who you could you delegate tasks to?
Take some time to reflect. 🙂
4. Excellent Household Management
The woman of noble character cherishes her home, as well as her business ventures.
Now, as mentioned before, she doesn’t undertake the work all on her own. But she accomplishes her homemaking and household management with excellence.
In my own opinion, this is an area you progress in with time and experience. I learn household management methods, tips and tricks every day!
This doesn’t mean my home is perfect, it just means it’s one of my responsibilities, and therefore worthy of my time and attention!
I believe that as mothers we will all have our own unique way of managing the home, and that’s as it should be. So when we think on how to improve we don’t need to compare ourselves to others (although we can definitely be inspired by others) but rather look at how we can improve, according to our personalities and circumstances.
Would you like to grow in this area? How could you improve?
The woman of noble character is a woman of compassion. Her work, heart and influence aren’t limited to her household. She also gives to her servants, to the needy, and to the merchants.
What does that look like for us?
Well, for me personally it means supporting missionaries and small businesses and doing voluntary work.
What does that look like in your life? Could you bake a cake for a lonely neighbour? Volunteer in a soup kitchen? Support a small restaurant?
Ask God for clarity, opportunities and a willing and compassionate heart! I know I need to!
6. Time Investment
This woman makes time investments – she uses the late hours of the night, and the early hours of the morning to work.
Now the principle here is to use time wisely, not (necessarily) to work late at night and early in the morning.
I know for myself, one of the biggest transformations I’ve been through as a mother is understanding how my time on Earth is finite. What this has done for me is that it’s helped me focus on my priorities.
It means that I spend many hours a day investing my time in learning, reading and writing, and also my relationship with my husband and children.
Now, in my case this means I wake up quite early in the morning to do a devotional time, and to work. But I recognize this is not the right path for all mothers and all situations.
You may be in a season of your life where you’re sleep deprived or have a health condition and you need to use your evenings and early mornings to catch up on sleep and rest.
Or you may be going through an easier stage in life, and, like me, you can use the evenings or early hours to pray, spend quality time with your husband, or pursue God-given work.
Whatever stage you’re in, ask God for wisdom on how to spend your time wisely.
7. Money Investment
This woman invests profit she got from buying a field to plant a vineyard.
Ughhh! I know nothing about sales and profits! But this begs the question: what is the timeless principle for today?
The way I see it, this is about making and investing money wisely. So, is there a way we can use the money we have to invest in God’s kingdom and purposes for us?
This may be investing in training, materials, a business venture, or medication and food for a loved one with a health condition. Whatever it looks like for you, pray for wisdom in what God wants you to invest in!
The Proverbs 31 woman speaks with wisdom because she is wise.
What is wisdom though? Is it the same as knowledge?
Well first off, knowledge is simply about information gained from experience. Wisdom is the ability to discern or judge what is right and true. It’s the ability to know how to apply knowledge.
So, for instance, knowledge could be knowing how to load and fire a gun. Wisdom would be knowing if and when it would be right to do so!
The woman of noble character is wise because she has learnt how to grow in understanding in how to apply what she knows.
How can we grow in knowledge and wisdom? Very simply, we can immerse ourselves in God’s word, ask for His wisdom, and apply what we know to our daily life.
9. Loving Teaching
Finally, the Proverbs 31 woman teaches with love. So she speaks truth, but not with harshness or bitterness. She does so from a position of love.
The Bible instructs us about this in Ephesians 4:15:
Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.
Teaching our children about God’s truth is paramount for us as mothers. But it’s important that we do so humbly, and lovingly and according to our unique personalities.
What do you feel God has taught you recently? How could you lovingly teach that to others today?
So those are the nine principles we can learn from the Proverbs 31 woman, but before you leave this page, I’d like to finish by reminding you that in God’s grace you are forgiven, redeemed and made perfect.
So again remember this passage is about encouraging you to grow to be more like God. As you grow in noble character.
Did you like this post? Share it and pin it!