Friday, December 9, 2011

Proverbs 31 - The Secret of Our Success

LINK: Proverbs 31

BACKGROUND

Proverbs 31 are the words of Lemuel, but we do not know who he is except that he was a king and his name means "devoted to God." It has been speculated that Lemuel was from the kingdom of Massa in northern Arabia (Life Application Bible, p. 1131).

The instructions from 31:2-9 are from his mother and pertain mainly to her exhortations regarding adultery (see Proverbs 2:16-19; 5:1-14; 7; 22:14, and 23:27-28) and alcoholism (see 20:1; 23:2-0-21, 29-35). Drunkenness clouds memory and judgment resulting in unwise leading and oppression of people (21:8).

Proverbs 31:10-31 relate to the "Excellent Wife." It is an acrostic poem. Each of the 22 verses begins with a consecutive letter of the Hebrew alphabet. We do not know who wrote this part. The word excellent (NASB) or noble (NIV) is the Hebrew word hayil and is also mentioned in 12:4. Ruth was called "a woman of excellence" (Ruth 3:11). It is also translated "capable" in Exodus 18:21. We see from these verses that this wife was very capable. She cared for her family but also was involved in trading, investing in real estate, farming, selling, sewing, and manufacturing cloth! In addition to all of this, she gave to the poor and needy through her profit. As a result, her husband was honored, had full confidence in her, and lacked nothing. Her children also called her blessed.

What was the secret to her success? The secret was her reverence for God! It is appropriate that Proverbs begins and ends with reverence for God. This is the key to EVERYTHING and all that God desires.

REFLECTION/APPLICATION

I had a friend who looked for the perfect "Proverbs 31" woman to be his wife, and he made it clear to all the rest of the single women in which he was associated that we were not that woman! When he finally found one and married her (had to go to Canada to do it), we stood with "P 31" signs as he was leaving the wedding reception. I thought I had a picture in hopes of posting it, but I did not see it in my scrapbook. Oh well!

Does the list in Proverbs 31 exhaust or intimidate you? If you are a married woman, the best gift we can give our husbands and children is our fear of the LORD! I have seen many "domestic divas" who had it all together on the outside, but they were not growing spiritually and crumbling on the inside. If we are connected with the Lord on a day by day basis, He will direct us in our domestic and work duties. We do not need to feel less than worthwhile and imperfect in our execution of our duties as wives and mothers. We can look to this woman (or composite from many women) as an inspiration but know that our God has a specific plan for us as women, and we just need to listen to Him! Reverence is the key. Keep that in mind next time you don't feel like you are measuring up to the "perfect ideal."

PRAYER

Lord, teach us to be in awe of You! We ask this in Jesus' name. Amen.
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