Someone gave Lauren the microphone!
Today we will hear mostly from the lovely lady on the vox robora team as she shares her interpretation of the Proverbs 31 woman.
We are also going to include our show notes, for those of you who rather read instead of listen.
We’re back after our mini-break and our interview with the kubiks
Picking back up on our four part miniseries talking about proverbs 31 people
The first episode we talked about learning to be the best versions of ourselves by integrating our weaknesses into strengths,
The second episode dealt with our dating origin story and our own personal dating and courtship advice
This third episode is going to be woman centric and focusing more on the ladies today and who better than to share in her wisdom than an actual lady
Of course I mean my lovely wife, so without further ado.
Lauren Buchanan yaaaaay!
Today we are going to talk about:
The purpose of women
Fear of God
And our physical appearance
AND SO MUCH MORE
Purpose of Women
Before we dive into Proverbs 31 and how we can learn to be virtuous women in today's society, we thought it would be a good idea to go back to the beginning and see what role women were created for.
We all know the verse well. Genesis 2:18 says “it is not good that man be alone. I will create a helper suitable for him. The word for Helper in hebrew is Ezer Kenegdo. It isn’t easy to translate. Some bibles use Help meet which never made much sense to me. Other ways this could be interpreted are sustainer beside him and desperately needed counterpart.
The word Ezer is used used twenty other places in the old testament and in every other instance it is referring to God himself, when he is desperately needed. Here are some examples:
Blessed are you o israel, who is like you, a people saved by the Lord. He is your shield and EZER and your glorious sword
My EZER comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth
May the lord answer you when you are in distress, may the name of the God of jacob protect you. May he send you EZER
You can begin to see the magnitude of this word EZER. A better translation might be life saver.
Now kenegdo means alongside, opposite to or a counterpart.
So, if we are to be helpers, we are to be the lifesaver beside our husbands. Peers and equals, standing side by side, braving life's trials together as a team.
Sounds like a tough job, but that is the role we were created for. It would take a virtuous woman to fulfill such a role in the way God intended. Which brings us to Proverbs 31.
I think it’s also important to consider that all the traits that comprise the proverbs 31 woman should also be present in and complemented by her husband. Marriage is a partnership and we should avoid the mentality that either person has a higher intrinsic value over the other.
SHE FEARS THE LORD
The first time I ever did a study of the proverbs 31 woman, I wanted to find a list of exactly what I needed to do to be successful (in the eyes of God and man). What job should I have, should I even have a job, how many children do I need, what capacity should I serve at church etc. While having a cut and dry list would be great, I quickly realized that list does not exist, nor should it because although this describes perhaps a specific woman, it is meant to be an outline for any woman to use. Meaning it can be interpreted and applied in as many ways as there are woman who read it.
So today I am not going to be able to give you a list of what exactly you should or should not be doing. Instead, we are going to break down the verses and talk about what really matters. And that is the qualities and characteristics of a woman who fears the Lord.
The conclusion of this chapter in with “but a woman who fears the lord is to be praised. Why should we fear the God? We shouldn’t fear him because of who he is but because it pleases him that we do so. We also need to understand that fear here doesn’t mean a tremble in your boots kind of fear. But more of a reverence or awe of him. We shouldn’t be afraid of God as if he were to boogie man, fear is understanding your relationship to God and comprehending all the reasons He should snuff you out, but doesn’t. We are also promised blessings if we fear him. Psalm 112 describes a person that fears god. A great study would be to look into psalm 112 and see how these characteristics tie into the proverbs 31 woman. We will go into more detail next week on Psalm 112.
The practical manifestation of fearing God is obedience. If we fear god and do not sin, we will be blessed.
So to be a virtuous woman, we must fear and obey God
Holiness - SHE DOES GOOD
(verse 12 - She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.)
To do good and not harm is within the context of a marriage relationship but this can be said regardless of if you are in a marriage. We should always strive for goodness, holiness and a life free of sin.
There are so many ways we can avoid evil but one way I want to focus on today is rationalizing.
Rationalizing is a slippery slope towards sin. Here is the thought process: 1. It is wrong I won't do it. 2. It isn't wrong but I won't do it. 3. Since it isn't wrong, I'll do it.
The steps of a good person should not slide but stay steadfast in the direction of godliness. If you devote your life to the straight and narrow, you will bring everyone around you good and not harm, all the days of your life.
Trust - SHE SPEAKS WITH WISDOM AND KINDNESS
(verse 11 - Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.)
Trustworthiness is KEY in any relationship, in order for it to grow and develop in a healthy way.
A trustworthy woman should be discreet. When someone comes to me with their personal trials, they are telling me in confidence. They have given me their trust, and it is my responsibility to to respect their confidence in me and not spread what they share in private around as gossip.
We all have a reputation. Some are good, some are bad. Ask yourself, what reputation precedes you? Are you known for being a gossip? Or are you known for your active listening skills and sound judgment in discretion?
It is a tough question to ask, and I know I didn’t like the answer I came up with when I took a real honest look. Gossip is such a hard thing to overcome. I don’t know what it is but knowing stuff is just so addictive. I personally continue to strive for this character trait.
Speaking of gossip - lets move to verse 26
(verse 26 - She speaks with wisdom, and the law of kindness is on her tongue.)
It is incredibly difficult to control the tongue. It can be used to do good but it can easily be used to do evil. It is our greatest weapon.
I recently read this analogy where we should imagine there is a law at the gate of your mouth which says “no unkind word shall pass through.” Because that is what it means to have the law of kindness on your tongue.
One thing I have been working on for a few years now is to avoid these two statements “I love her to pieces BUT” and “Bless her heart”. Starting a sentence with I love her BUT is simply a justification for bashing them. And adding Bless her heart at the end of a sentence is essentially the same. Oops, I just said something harsh about someone else and I need to backtrack so I’ll just tack on “bless her heart” and it’s all good. It isn’t all good. I am absolutely guilty of saying both these things on many occasions so I am not pointing fingers at anyone but myself here. If you see these traits in yourself, I have a challenge for you that I am going to strive for. I dare you to replace the BUT with a BECAUSE. Everything you have a negative thought about someone you want to share out loud. Bring that person up but replace the negative statement with a positive one.
Humility - HER WORKS BRING HER PRAISE
Verse 31 - Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
Isn’t it interesting that there is only one reference for her doing something for herself. Everything else she does for the betterment of others. She uses her talents to bless those around her, without complaint, but with joy, and doesn’t have to parade her accomplishments because they speak for themselves.
If we are so blessed to be able use our gifts to serve others. We must be extra diligent to make sure we keep our pride in check and stay humble
Although she is involved in many activities, it is her husband who is known in the gates. She is the perfect compliment to him and does not call attention to herself.
This also suggests she creates and sells her own wares- she is an industrious worker
Peace of Mind - SHE IS NOT AFRAID
This is easier said than done. We have talked about it before and we'll talk about it again. We have to learn to trust God and give our cares to him. He promises to provide for us if we diligently seek him
This is much easier said than done. It’s something we are still working on. I still get in my own way and feel like I need to micromanage every aspect of life.
Diligence - HER CANDLE DOES NOT GO OUT
Speaking of diligence, the biggest take away I get everytime I read through this chapter is how busy this lady is! All the time! She is up before the sun and never seems to quit.
Diligence is only one of about 20 descriptive verbs used in Proverbs 31, most of which have to do with physical activity.
A woman's work is never done, especially if she has a full time job on top of our household duties. The drudgeries of life can be overwhelming at times, so it is important to keep tabs on your mindset. I have heard it said, and it is a habit I enjoy doing, that if you ever find yourself complaining about having to clean the dishes for the hundredth time or do ANOTHER load of laundry, to instead fill your head with words of thanks. Thankful for the warm water to clean your dishes with and the fact that you have clothes to wash and a washer and dryer available to you to wash them in.
Gratitude dissolves contempt
Part of the husband’s task is to make sure he provides his wife with ample resources to accomplish her goals. Yes that will include physical labor on his part and no, that is not a bad thing
Benevolent - SHE REACHES OUT HER HAND
Another trait of a godly woman is her charity. She does not wait to be asked, she teaches out to the poor and needy and fills the gap.
There are so many people in this world and in the church that have needs. Everyone has needs. It is our duty to observe and see what those needs are and fill them without being asked.
This may look like giving something of monetary value to another in need. I have been on the receiving end of this and it is a true blessing when life gets you down and your not sure how to pay the bills. God always pulls through and one of his giving servants has seen the need and filled it. I am truly humbled to be on the receiving end of such a generous gift.
Others (like us) may not have any money to spare but that does not mean we have nothing to give. Our most valuable asset on this Earth is time and we can use it to bless others in so many ways. Through babysitting, or helping with a move. Through evening spent around a dinner table enjoy poor man's food and good company. Through service to others, especially the widows and orphans. We are commanded to do this but how often have weade the time? When was the last time you saw or wrote to a shut in? I'll be honest and say I have never made the time to do so. But what and honor it would be to spend an hour or two with a widow and shower her in love.
A physical Testimony - SHE IS CLOTHED IN FINE LINEN
There are a few things mentioned about a virtuous woman's physical appearance. The first is her health. She is strong and able bodied. This implies that she cares for herself physically. We must also are for our bodies. If we do not, we will be hindered from serving at our full capacity.
It does also mention in the chapter that she is clothed in fine linen. My interpretation of this in combination with other scriptures in the bible is that we should care for our bodies and present ourselves in a way that does not draw negative attention in either ditch. Meaning, we should not be SO humbled in our dress that we have huge holes in our clothes and wear potato sacks. But we also should not be so concerned with our looks that we become vain, or self conscious with our own appearance.
I think this is a great example of modesty. It would be assumed that this woman is beautiful, both inside and out. She has confidence in herself and is not ashamed of what she looks like. She uses her clothes to enhance the beauty that God has already given to her. And she covers herself in a way that is beautiful but not inappropriate. These general thoughts are a great way to look at our wardrobe.
For me, this means that I do wear makeup but only on special occasions. I enjoy dressing up but don’t feel the need to have the latest trends. I choose to wear clothes that are modest and not revealing or inappropriate. I am not embarrassed by what I look like and have confidence in myself and my physical appearance because this is the body God gave me and it is not my place to disapprove of his creation. Your choices in how you clothe your body will look different than mine and that is totally ok. As long as you are making your decisions based on godly principles and not just so you fit in with society.
There is so much that can be gleaned from studying this virtuous woman. I realize I am the voice sharing these thoughts but I am by no means suggesting that I qualify for such a title. What I encourage all of you to do, is to go find a virtuous woman as a mentor. Maybe it’s your mom or Aunt, or a lady in your congregation who is ahead of you in years. Seek her out and ask her for advice on life. She will “speak with wisdom and give faithful instruction” to you.
Let us all as woman, strive together towards virtue.
I have two books I want to suggest after this podcast. The first is the bible study guide I used while writing this episode called The woman that feareth the Lord by
The second book is called Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge.
Both will be linked in our podcast bio if you are interested in purchasing it.